USIA English Language Programs

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs


Report on Academic Specialist Visit to Egypt:
May 29 - June 18, 1999

By Christopher E. Renner, Kansas State University


About the Specialist

Christopher E. Renner is a Linguistically/Culturally Diverse Populations' Consultant and Teacher Trainer at the Midwest Equity Assistance Center, College of Education, Kansas State University. He has been at the Center for one year whilst completing his course work for a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to this position, he was a tenured English as a Foreign Language Instructor at the University of Naples - Federico II, Faculty of Medicine 1986 - 1997 and the Faculty of Pharmacy 1997 - 1998. He also taught for many years at the American Studies Center in Naples. Prof. Renner received his BA in psychology and history from the Franciscan University of Ohio in 1978. He did graduate studies in TESOL at Teachers College, Columbia University in 1987 and 1991. He holds both the Royal Society of Arts Certificate and Diploma in TEFLA. He received his Masters of Education from Framingham State College (MA) in International Education in 1998. Prof. Renner has travelled and lectured in Italy, Austria, Poland, France, Spain, Greece, Malta, Lebanon, Egypt and the United States. He has co-authored two secondary EFL textbooks: Hot Issues and Issues for the 2000s. Both textbooks were published by Loescher Editore and incorporate global education themes and Multiple Intelligence theory.


Areas of Specialization

Teaching and learning styles, language learning strategies, second language assessment/placement, multiple intelligences, curriculum development, peace education, global education, nonviolent conflict resolution, human rights education, multiculturalism, and gender equity.


Trip Report

The primary focus of this visit was training EFL instructors, in-service trainers, Ministry of Education officials, university faculty, and students at the Faculties of Education in Alexandria and Assuit in nonviolent conflict resolution, the theory and practice of Multiple Intelligences put forth by Howard Gardner, and the promotion of Civic Education across the curriculum. An intensive seminar, "Integrating Global Awareness into the Language Classroom - Part II" was held in Cairo. This seminar used a trainer-of-trainers approach and consisted of four intensive 6-hour days of studying, experiencing and discussing conflict resolution and MI theory. This seminar was a follow-up involving the same participants who attended a similar intensive training seminar held in October, 1998.

Workshops were also held at the Center for Curriculum and Instructional Materials Development, an independent think-tank for the Ministry of Education, on assessing content for Civic Education and establishing goals and objectives for Civic Education in the Egyptian elementary and secondary curriculum - all subjects. A follow-up session was held at this Center in which curriculum developers presented Global Education themes they had included in the textbooks they were writing.

At the National Center for Educational Research and Development, another independent think-tank of the Ministry of Education, a lecture entitled: "What and How to Include Civic Education in the Curriculum" was held. This body establishes the aims, goals and objectives of the Egyptian public school curriculum. An underlying objective of this lecture was to indicate to this group that channels of communication needed to be established with the Center for Curriculum so that the two groups could establish common aims for including Civic Education in the curriculum.

Finally, on the last day of my visit, I presented a teleconference from the Ministry of Education to its 28 in-service centers entitled: "Education for a Small Planet: How to Build Global Connectedness." I am unsure how many people participated in this teleconference, but I was told that over 2,000 participants would have access to this forum. After the lecture, questions were take from 10 in-service center concerning the content of the lecture and issues of curriculum development for implementation of the ideas expressed.

A formal visit was made to Dr. Nabil Eid El-Zahhar, Dean, College of Education, Suez Canal University. This visit was conducted with Haynes Mahoney, Cultural Affairs Officer, and Margo Abdel Aziz, Program Controller. Dr. Zahhar has designed a required course in peace education for all students at the faculty. We discussed the syllabus, his goals for the course, and how bridges of cooperation could be established between the work the Office for Cultural Affairs and the Regional English Language Officer are carrying out in the inclusion of Civic Education in curriculum design and content with his program.

My reflections on this visit are: Whereas in October, 1998, I worked with a special, select group of EFL specialist, this time I had the opportunity to interact with individuals at all levels of the academic structure. This interaction provided me with many insights and enabled me to make concrete connections with what I was saying on a theoretical level and what individuals identified as needs. The Egyptian education model is similar to models I have encountered in Italy and Greece which are dominated by the teacher. Students are expected to be quite and not ask for explanation. The primary model of instruction is lecture with little or no resources for group work.

An underlying principle of Civic Education is the gradual but continuous development of the individual in a holistic approach. This is why I chose this time to focus of the theory of learning Gardner and others are putting forth. If we want peaceful classrooms that produce mature adults who actively participant in the society with compassion, altruism, and respect, then our classrooms must become a micro-model of such a society.

Many participants expressed to me their frustration with the standardized exams which are given at the end of each academic year and determine if a learner passes to the next grade. These exams account for a large majority of the learners final grade, as much as 95%. Whereas only 5% of the grade is determined by the work the learner has done during the course of the year in the classroom. This approach can easily block any real curriculum reform implementing MI theory or focusing content on Civic Education themes. Another expressed concern was the size of the classes; some elementary schools have 40 - 50 students per room, as well as the lack of basic resources. All of these concerns are important when educating for a democratic society and in some way need to be addressed for the long-term good of the academic structure.

I was interviewed by a Cairo radio station for a program they called: "Hot Issues." This 15-minute interview centered on the need for curriculum renewal that provided learners which the knowledge, skills, beliefs, abilities, and values for the next century.



Suggested Bibliography

Conflict Resolution:

Birch, Barbara M. Prosocial Communicative Competence in the ESOL Classroom. TESOL Journal, Winter 1993/1994, pp. 13 - 16.

Carter, Jimmy (1993). Talking Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation. New York, NY: Dutton Children's Books.

Cherubini, Nicoletta (1994). Conflict Resolution in the FL Classroom: Memories, Dreams... and Materials. Post-Conference Proceedings, Networking English Language Learning in Europe.

Chethow-Yanoov, Benyamin (1994). Conflict - Resolution Skills Can Be Taught. In: Bjerstedt, Åke (Ed.) Education for peace: A conference report from Malta. Peace Education Reports, No. 13. Malmö, Sweden: Department of Educational and Psychological Research, School of Education, Lund University.

Cohen, Richard (1995). Students Resolving Conflict. Glenview, IL: GoodYearBooks/ScottForesmen

Drew, Naomi (1995). Learning the Skills of Peacemaking: A K-6 Activity Guide on Resolving Conflict, Communicating, Cooperating. Carson, CA: Jalmar Press.

Drew, Naomi (1999). The Peaceful Classroom in Action: A K-6 Activity Guide on How to Create One and How to Keep It! Torrance, CA: Jalmar Press.

Girotti, Maria Rosina, Christopher Renner, Cinzia Riguzzi and Sonia Selleri (1999). Issues for the 2000s. Torino, IT: Losecher Editore.

Johnson, David and Roger Johnson (1995). Reducing School Violence through Conflict Resolution. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Kale, David (?). Peace as an Ethic for Intercultural Communication (bibliographical information unavailable).

Lantieri, Linda (1995). Waging Peace in Our Schools: Beginning with the Children. Peace, Environment and Education Vol 6, No. 19.

Levin, Diane E. (1994). Teaching Young Children in Violent Times: Building a Peaceable Classroom. Cambridge, MA: Educators for Social Responsibility.

Multiple Intelligences:

Armstrong, Thomas (1994). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Campbell, Linda, Bruce Campbell and Dee Dickinson (1996, 1999). Teaching and Learning through Multiple Intelligences (2nd Edition). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Christison, Mary Ann (1997). Emotional Intelligence and Second Language Teaching. TESOL Matters, June/July.

Fischer, Kurt and Samuel Rose (1998). Growth Cycles of Brain and Mind. Educational Leadership, Vol 56, No. 3, pp. 56 - 60.

Fletcher, Mark (1997). The Brain-friendly Revolution. TESOL Spain Newsletter, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp17 - 20.

Gardner, Howard (1993). MultipleIntelligences: The Theory in Practice. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Gardner, Howard (1999). A Multiplicity of Intelligences. Scientific American Presents, Vol 9, No. 4, pp 19 - 23.

Lazear, David (1991, 1999). Eight Ways of Teaching (3rd Edition). Arlington Heights, IL: Skylight Training and Publishing.

Lazear, David (1999). Multiple Intelligence Approaches to Assessment: Solving the Assessment Conundrum. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press.

Sternberg, Robert (1996). IQ Counts, But What Really Counts Is Successful Intelligence. National Association of Secondary School Principles Bulletin, Vol. 80, No. 583, PP 18 - 23.

Walters, Joseph and Howard Gardner (1995). The Development and Education of Intelligences. In Fogarty, Robin and James Bellanca (Eds.). Multiple Intelligences: A Collection. Arlington Heights, IL: IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing.

White, Noel, Tina Blythe, and Howard Gardner (1995).Multiple Intelligences Theory: Creating the Thoughtful Classroom In Fogarty, Robin and James Bellanca (Eds.). Multiple Intelligences: A Collection. Arlington Heights, IL: IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing.

Wolf, Pat and Ron Brandt (1998). What Do We Know from Brain Research? Educational Leadership, Vol 56, No. 3, pp. 8 - 13.



Recommended Links

Rainforest Action Network--includes "kid's corner" that has teaching materials on the environment.

Global Issues Special Interest Group (GISIG) - International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL)

"One world, One people" project --includes classroom activities.

Global Issues in Language Education (N-SIG) -- Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT)

New Internationalist Magazine -- Also has articles with discussion guides in "easy English" for use in the EFL classroom.

Our Global Neighbourhood -- interactive page for global citizenship produced by the Commission on Global Governance

World Wildlife Fund

Association for World Citizens -- strongly pro-peace, anti-military

Institute for Global Communications -- supports many peace and justice organizations.

PeaceNet -- promotes alternatives to violence

United Nations

Rethinking Schools -- progressive US Educational organization addressing issues of poverty, prejudice, and conflict resolution.

Economic Security Project -- promotes sustainable development

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

UNESCO's Culture of Peace Project

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) -- International Child Development Center

The Noam Chomsky Archive -- Archives of one of America's most prominent political dissidents

Amnesty International (check out the "links")

Committee of Concerned Scientists -- an independent organization of scientists, physicians and engineers dedicated to the protection and advancement of the human rights and scientific freedom of colleagues throughout the world

ERIC Clearing House on Languages and Linguistics

ERIC search engine for bibliographies


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