Report on Academic
Specialist Visit to Morocco:
July 4-17, 1999
By Jann Huizenga, University of New Mexico at Los Alamos
About the Specialist
Jann Huizenga has worked in ESL/EFL
teacher education around the world since 1982, in countries as
diverse as Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Slovakia, and South Africa. She
is currently working with Albanian experts on a national EFL curriculum
for Albania, funded in part by USIA. She has taught in the M.A.
in TESOL Program at Hunter College, CUNY, in the M.A. in Education
Program at the College of Santa Fe, and is currently a teacher
trainer at the University of New Mexico at Los Alamos. Ms. Huizenga
has an M.A. in French Language and Literature (1975) and another
in Linguistics/TESOL (1978) from the University of Michigan. She
has been a Fulbright grantee in Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Italy
and is the author of more than 20 ESL/EFL textbooks, including
Arrivals: Cross-Cultural Experiences in Literature, Writing
Working, Reading Workout, All Talk, and Collaborations.
Areas of Specialization
Literature and ESL/EFL; cooperative
learning and interactive classroom management; second language
literacy; cross-cultural awareness; vocabulary, idioms and lexical
approaches; ESL/ESL curriculum design; and materials development
The 15th annual (two-week intensive)
Summer Institute of English in Rabat, Morocco focused this year
on the teaching of writing. More than 120 secondary teachers of
English from all over Morocco participated in this exhilarating
event, expertly organized by Abdelkrim Raddadi of USIS, Casablanca
with the help of Abdellatif Fauzi.
The seminar accomplished a number
of important goals. First,
there was a clear and very positive shift over the course of the
two weeks in teachers’ perceptions of the teaching of writing
in their English courses. At the start of the course, teachers
registered a startling distaste for the teaching of writing, and
many acknowledged that glorified grammar exercises were the only
type of writing their students engaged in. At the end of the course,
an informal survey of about 50 participants indicated that most
had developed a much more optimistic view of teaching writing.
Teachers were eager to talk about the ways in which they planned
to alter their classrooms: a) by paying more attention to writing
and to the writing process, b) by focusing more on the content
of student writing and allowing students to write for self-expression,
c) by setting up cooperative classrooms where peers helped each
other, and d) by focusing on student writing progress rather than
student deficits. My sessions dealt with ways to turn young students
on to writing, managing cooperative classrooms, and contrastive
The Institute also fostered beautiful
cross-cultural exchanges. The American staff members experienced
the generosity of Moroccan hospitality in its many forms. One
evening, for example, we were clothed in Moroccan gowns and treated
to traditional hand tattoos with henna. Conversely, we shared
aspects of American culture with the teachers- especially in the
evening activities, which focused on modern American literature
(my session), American embroidery patterns, Zydeco music, and
songs and games.
The seminar encouraged an ongoing
relationship between American and Moroccan English-teaching professionals.
Four members of the Institute staff were Moroccan and four members
were American--a very healthy balance, I found. The American staff
members joined the Moroccan Association of Teachers of English
(MATE)--soon to be a TESOL affiliate-- and were invited to return
to Morocco in March to present at the annual MATE convention.
Some of us exchanged addresses with the Moroccan participants
and plan to keep in touch regarding common interests and problems.
Participating teachers expressed
a keen appreciation for the American/USIS presence at the institute.
Connor, U. (1996). Contrastive
Rhetoric. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Huizenga, J. (1995). Arrivals:
Cross-cultural experiences in literature. White Plains, NY:
Huizenga, J. and Thomas-Ruzic, M.
(1990). Writing workout. Boston, MA: Heinle and Heinle.
Kagan, S. (1994). Cooperative
learning. San Juan Capistrano: Resources for Teachers.
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