and Using Networks
year, the U.S. Information Agency helps the TESOL organization (Teachers of English to
Speakers of Other Languages) reach out to the world of English language professionals.
Much of this cooperation takes place in conjunction with TESOL's annual convention, which
was held this year in Seattle, Washington, from March 17 to 21. USIS played an important
part in supporting the theme of TESOL '98 -- "Connecting Our Global
Community" -- by making it possible for many professionals in the EFL global
community to connect with their international colleagues.
President Connects with Audiences in Latin America
In one of her last addresses as president of TESOL, Mary Ann Christison discussed the applications of brain-based research to second language education during a convention plenary that was televised live to Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Following her address, Dr. Christison answered questions from the international audience, which numbered more than two-hundred. Some of the participants are involved in brain-based research themselves, and they reported that the program was very informative and useful in terms of EFL methodology. The two-hour broadcast from the TESOL convention was arranged by Worldnet, the television service of the U.S. Information Agency, and was hosted by Worldnet's Jim Bertel.
TESOL Talks Live to the Middle East
TEFL professionals at the convention "connected" with colleagues in Cairo and Jerusalem during a telephone conference call set up by USIS and moderated from Seattle by Jan Miller, the Regional English Language Officer based in Amman, Jordan. It was the first such live link-up between Egyptian and Israeli interlocutors. During the one-hour session, participants discussed the cultural component of EFL teaching, including habits and expectations, educational systems, and textbooks. The objective was to highlight the importance of cross-cultural and professional training for teachers, to overcome stereotypes in EFL settings, and to demonstrate how conference calls can be used as a teaching tool.