NMTESOL Fall Workshop

Chop! Shop! Chore! Shore!

Anyone looking through the window of Albuquerque’s Northwest Library on October 15th must have been bewildered by the word signs moving up and down to a strident beat. It was the free NMTESOL Fall Workshop and the enthusiastic participants within were practicing exercises to use in their language classrooms. In this latest professional development session sponsored by NMTESOL we were treated to three engaging and useful presentations by Felicitas Coates, Lonnie Dai Zovi and Tom Pierce.

Felicitas Coates, an ESOL, ECME and GED instructor at UNM Valencia, led the group in warm-up and icebreaker activities designed to create bonds and serve as quick language assessments. She shared many activities used in her years of teaching in both New Mexico and California. One of her favorite projects was holding a classroom “Health Fair” to promote topic-based language development. Students dressed in lab coats and acted out the role of health care professionals and patients. They were able to borrow stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs to make the experience more authentic. Students “invented” new medicines and created commercials to promote them.

Lonnie Dai Zovi, an APS teacher and published language instruction songwriter, spoke on the use of music and rhythm to promote language learning. Using samples from her many instructional CD sets including Rocking Rhythms and Rhymes Lonnie demonstrated how to use music to introduce culture, alter mood or emotion, and teach specific grammar features, vocabulary, phrasing, and language usage. We clapped and shouted our way through sound recognition and cloze exercises, and belted out some popular songs that with embedded grammatical target structures. Lonnie’s many language CD and workbook sets which are available for purchase at http://www.vibrante.com.  (Handouts available here.)

Tom Pierce, an ESOL/English Instructor at CNM Community College presented techniques for teaching writing to ESL students. He noted that although the word “rhetoric” has taken on negative connotations, it is important for language learners to master basic rhetoric to meet the demands of college and workplace writing and accomplish different communicative tasks in daily life. Tom demonstrated ways to teach rhetorical forms such as narration, description, comparison/contrast and persuasion to English language learners. Follow the link to learn more. Practice of rhetorical forms, he stressed, should lead to mastery of socially useful and empowering forms of writing. (Handout available here.)

You can reach the presenters by e-mail at fcoates1@unm.edu ; TPierce@cnm.edu; Lonnie@vibrante.com

NMTESOL is already making plans for the Spring 2010 Workshop. If you would like to present, please contact us at nmtesol@gmail.com