Report on Academic
Specialist Visit to Uzbekistan: November 10-16, 1998
N. Sullivan, Bilkent University
About the Specialist
Patricia N. Sullivan is the Director
of the Master of Arts program in English as a Foreign Language (MATEFL)
at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. She has been the Director
since 1997, filling that position as a Fulbright scholar. She is on
leave from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She holds a bachelor's
degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1964); a
master's degree in ESL from the University of Hawaii (1979), and a
doctorate degree in Education in Language, Literacy, and Culture from
the University of California, Berkeley (1996). She has been a teacher
of English and teacher trainer in California as well as in Afghanistan,
Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and Turkey. Her recent publications are on
the implementation of communication language teaching approaches by
Vietnamese teachers in Vietnam (see Sullivan, 1996; Kramsch & Sullivan,
1996). In addition she has co-authored three books on TOEFL preparation
(see Sullivan and Zhong, 1988, 1996, 1998).
Areas of Specialization
Second/foreign language pedagogy
Sociocultural approach to foreign language learning
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
From November 12-14,1998, I participated
in the Second National Conference for Uzbekistan Teachers of English
(UzTEA) held at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent,
Uzbekistan. I was invited to attend the conference to give a plenary
address plus two workshops on the TOEFL exam to Uzbek participants.
There were approximately 250 people at the conference, most of them
English teachers from Tashkent, Samarkand, Bokhara, and Ferghana.
My professional activities included
giving the opening plenary and conducting the two workshops as described
above. In addition, I attended several other workshop sessions and
the UzTEA general assembly, led an interest section meeting, was a
discussant in the closing panel, and joined the opening and closing
My plenary talk opened the conference,
and was titled "Nasreddin Hodja Meets ELT." In it I outlined four
trends in English language teaching, introducing each with a folktale
from Nasreddin Hodja. It was well received, as evidenced by the conference
participants continually referring to it over the three-day conference.
In addition to the plenary I gave two
workshops that focused on the TOEFL exam. The first one, which was
filled to overflowing, was titled "Understanding TOEFL: A Background
View." For that session, I discussed the history of the TOEFL and
its relationship to ETS, SAT, and GRE. I described the new computer-based
changes, and the changes in second language research that led to the
development of a new test. The second workshop was planned as an interactive
session in which participants could practice taking the exam on computers.
For that workshop, I had arranged to have a computer projector so
that the TOEFL CD-ROM sample test could be shown to all participants.
I had visited the computer lab several times previous to the session
in order to be sure that the computer program was properly installed
and running, and that the computers in the room had the TOEFL Sampler
installed. Unfortunately, however, this workshop was less well attended
than the first one, possibly because it was the only workshop scheduled
in an adjacent building, and possibly because - as I was told - conference
participants felt uncomfortable using the computers. It was unfortunate
that so few attended the computer session, since that was exactly
what they needed to experience in order to train others to use the
computer. The two 90 minute workshops that I held were only enough
time for an overview of issues concerning the TOEFL.
Feedback from the two TOEFL workshops
and various talks with Uzbek teachers of English brought to the fore
the amount of confusion there is regarding the TOEFL. It is newly
given in Uzbekistan, and there is quite a lot of anxiety and much
misinformation that surrounds it. Misinformation led some teachers
to think they needed to "write a TOEFL," without realizing that these
exams are officially prepared by Education Testing Service, and have
strict conformance guidelines. Some were under the impression that
young children needed to be prepared for the exam. There was, in short,
much need for basic sessions on what the TOEFL consists of, what is
purposes are, who produces it, and who should take it. With the initiation
now of the computer-adaptive test format, there are additional concerns.
Few schools have the necessary CD-ROM equipment to allow students
to prepare properly for the test. The participants of UzTEA and of
the workshops I gave, especially those from outlying areas in Uzbekistan,
expressed the need and desire for us to continue the dialogue and
offer informational sessions at a later date. At this point, this
Berman, R. (1994) Global thinking, local
teaching: departments, curricula, and culture. ADFL Bulletin
26 (1). 7-11.
Brown, H. D. (1994). Principles of
language learning and teaching. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Regents.
Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind.
The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.
Kramsch, C. (1993). Context and culture
in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kramsch, C., & Sullivan, P. (1996). Appropriate
pedagogy. ELT Journal, 50 (3), 199-212.
Richards, J. (1998). Beyond training.
New York: Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J. (1995). The language
teaching matrix. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sullivan, P. and Zhong, G.Y.Q. (1989).
TOEFL Skills for Top Scores. ARCO. Simon & Schuster.
Sullivan, P. and Zhong, G. Y. Q. (1998).
Supercourse for the TOEFL. 4th edition. ARCO. Macmillan.
Sullivan, P. and Zhong, G. Y. Q. (1998).
TOEFL . 9th edition. ARCO Macmillan.
Sullivan, P. (1996a). English language
teaching in Vietnam: An appropriation of communicative methodologies.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
Sullivan, P. (1996b). Sociocultural influences
on classroom interactional styles. TESOL Journal, 6 (1), 32-34.
Sullivan, P. (in press). Language play
and Communicative Language Teaching in a Vietnamese classroom. In
J. Lantolf (Eds.) Socio-cultural theory: An approach to second
language acquisition Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sullivan, P. (in press). Spoken artistry:
Performance in a foreign language classroom. In J. K. Hall. and. L.
Verplaetse (Eds.) The Development of Second and Foreign Language
Learning Through Classroom Interaction. Lawrence Erlbaum.
Widdowson, H. (1994). The ownership of
English. TESOL Quarterly 28 (2). 377-88.
Woods, D. (1996). Teacher cognition
in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Uzbekistan Teachers of English Association
Bilkent University MA TEFL Program