Report on Academic
Specialist Visit to Uganda:
February 17- March 5, 1999
By Clifford A.
Hill, Columbia University
About the Specialist
Professor Clifford Hill holds an
endowed chair, the Arthur I. Gates Professorship of Language and
Education, at Columbia University, where he also chairs the Department
of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College.
In addition, he directs the Program in African Languages at the
Institute of African Studies, which is housed in the School of
International and Public Affairs.
Professor Hill has been a research
fellow at a number of institutions abroad, such as the Max Planck
Institut f|r Psycholinguistik in the Netherlands and the Institut
Nationale de Recherches Pidagogiques in France. In this country,
his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation,
the National Endowment for the Humanities and Arts, the National
Institute of Education, the Fulbright-Hays Commission, and a number
of private foundations. He has been invited to present research
findings at major universities around the world.
This broad range of research experience
is reflected in his publication record. His initial publications
were on oral culture in West Africa; this concern with orality
has been further explored in a range of publications that address
issues of language and literacy development among African-American
students within American society. His research on language, space,
and time has been published in academic journals and books in
this country, in Europe, in Africa, and in Asia (it has also been
translated into various languages). In addition, Professor Hill
has published widely on language and literacy assessment, with
particular attention to the conflict between the traditional paradigm
and alternative ones that are emerging.
Professor Hill has served as a consultant
to language and literacy programs in many parts of the world,
especially in Africa and in Asia. In recent years, he has worked
with Nanjing University to develop a national center to support
English language teaching in the People's Republic of China.
Clifford Hill's Home Page
Areas of Specialization
Relations between reading and writing
in the classroom; testing and assessment; uses of traditional
oral culture in the classroom
During my visit, I offered the following
lectures, workshops, and seminars:
(1) Keynote address at the National
Conference on Language and Literature Teaching at Makerere University
held in Kampala February 25-27, 1999
The theme of the conference was 'Reading
and Writing Creatively,' and my presentation was entitled "To
Read is To Write: From Oral to Literate Culture." A written
version of the presentation will be included in the conference
proceedings, which are being published under a subsidy by the
USIS office in Kampala.
I attended various lectures and workshops
during the three-day conference, which was attended by more than
200 Ugandan teachers of English at different educational levels.
As I attended presentations, I attempted to provide bibliographical
information and supportive feedback to the presenters on the various
topics under discussion. The conference received strong media
attention, and USIS was identified as having made a substantial
contribution to its success (the conference was covered on national
television and in the two major national newspapers).
(2) Seminar for faculty members
of the School of Education, Makerere University, on current issues
in testing and assessment
The seminar was attended by about
50 faculty members, and afterwards I discussed with various members
their work in this area. I also presented to the School of Education
varous materials on testing and assessment, including four copies
of From Testing to Assessment: English as an International
Language (1994, Longman), a book edited by myself and Kate
Parry, who currently serves as a Fulbright lecturer/researcher
at Makerere University.
(3) Workshop for faculty and students
at the Institute of Languages, Makerere University, on using material
from oral culture in the teaching of English at various educational
levels (there were about 50 participants in this workshop)
(4) Workshop for faculty and students
at the Islamic University of Uganda on using material from oral
culture in English language teaching within an Islamic context
(there were more than 100 participants in this workshop)
Workshops (3) and (4) both presented
materials that were largely drawn from traditional oral cultures
(5) Seminar offered at the USIS
library on the use of the Internet, especially the World Wide
Web, in teaching English at the university level
This seminar was attended by Ugandan
personnel at the USIS branch and educators from various institutions
in Kampala. The library has excellent computer facilities so I
was able to make an online demonstration of how various websites
can be linked in English language teaching. Unfortunately, the
physical size of the library limited the number of participants
After the seminar, I explored with
faculty members at Makerere University the possibility of developing
relations with Teachers College, Columbia University, that would
support the web-based teaching of English. During the 1970s, the
Carnegie Foundation supported an exchange program between Makerere
University and Teachers College, and one possibility is to submit
a new proposal to the foundation for building a computer infrastructure
at Makerere University that would support web-based teaching.
We also discussed the possibility of submitting a proposal to
the university exchange program sponsored by USAID.
I would like to thank the local USIS
office and Makerere University for strong support during my visit.
In particular, I would like to thank Virgil Bodeen, the director
of the USIS office, for personal kindness and logistical support,
and Professor Kate Parry, a Fulbright fellow at Makerere University,
for generous hospitality and excellent technical support. Without
access to the Macintosh computer in her office, I could not have
adapted various handouts so that they more adequately reflected
the concerns of Ugandan teachers of English (handouts for all
the lectures, seminars, and workshops are available upon request).
During my time in Kampala, I was also able to complete a written
draft of the keynote address that will be included in the published
Bibliography on Testing and Assessment
Hill, C. (1992). Testing and Assessment:
An Ecological Approach. Inaugural lecture for the Arthur I. Gates
Chair in Language and Education, New York: Teachers College, Columbia
Hill, C. (1995). Testing and Assessment:
An Applied Linguistics Perspective. Educational Assessment, 2,
Hill, C., & Larsen, E. (1999). Children
and Reading Tests. (In the series Advances in Discourse Processes.
Ed. Roy C. Freedle.) Stamford, CT: Ablex Press.
Hill, C., & Parry, K. (1988). Reading
assessment: Autonomous and Pragmatic Models of Literacy ( LC Report
88-2). New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, Literacy
Hill, C., & Parry, K. (1989). Autonomous
and Pragmatic Models of Literacy: Reading Assessment in Adult
Education. Linguistics and Education, 1: 233-83.
Hill, C., & Parry, K. (1992). The
Test at the Gate: Models of Literacy in Reading Assessment. TESOL
Quarterly 26: 433-461.
Hill, C., & Parry, K. (1994). From
Testing to Assessment: English as an International Language. Harlow,
Parry, K. (1997). Literacy Policy
and Literacy Practice. Presentation at the 5th Annual Conference
on Language and Literature Teaching. Kampala, Uganda: Makerere
complete listing of publications on testing and assessment can
be found on my website: http://www.columbia.edu/~cah34
website also contains online versions of the courses that I teach
at Teachers College, Columbia University (e.g., Transcultural
Perspectives on Testing and Assessment).
Return to top of page
to English Language Specialist Program main page