近日，美国世界英语教师协会（TESOL International Association，以下简称TESOL）主席Dr Ester J. de Jong一行受邀参观中国日报社，并表示，TESOL愿意向中国英语教师提供和分享先进的教育资源和理念。事实上，中国日报社21世纪英语教育传媒多年来一直与TESOL保持着良好的学术合作关系。此前，在常州举行的第十六届二十一世纪全国中小学英语教学年会上，双方签署了学术合作协议，将强强联合展开深入合作，为广大英语教师提供全球权威的英语教学、研究及培训服务。
Dr. Ester J. de Jong is a Professor in ESOL/Bilingual Education, and the Director of the School of Teaching and Learning. She teaches courses in bilingual and bicultural education and in curriculum, methods, and assessment for English speakers of other languages. Prior to academia, she worked for the K-12 public schools in Massachusetts as the Assistant Director for Bilingual Education and ESL programs. Her research focuses on two-way bilingual education, language-in-education policy, and mainstream teacher preparation for bilingual students.
Q: How many years have you been working in TESOL?
A: I’ve been with TESOL since 2001. I started working for the University of Florida and as well as being an ESL teacher, so I have to learn a lot more about English language teaching. I got involved in a bilingual interest section, which is a knowledge based community of TESOL and I had an opportunity to be the chair of that section later, which really got me more involved with the organization. After that, I had pleasure to get involved in the nominating committee and then became part of the board of directors. That gave me an idea of how to look at the entire organization and what we’re doing. Last year I was selected as the president-elect, and this year in 2017-2018 I’m the president for TESOL International Association.
Q: As the president of TESOL, how do you evaluate the significance of your organization?
A: TESOL is a tremendous resource that both helps you ongoing professional development as well as connect you with others that do what you do. You can learn and continue learning about your field and build your expertise through TESOL, but you also get connected with other people and build the network together. Because we know being an English language teacher you can’t do it by yourself. You need to have supporting system of other people. I think the great thing for me about TESOL is that you can’t stop people from all over the world about what it does like. So I think that community building and professionalism that we bring to the task of English language teaching make TESOL International Association for me so important.
Q: As this year’s TESOL Summit Meeting has mentioned, with the demand for English language teaching and learning continues to grow globally, many questions must be answered, such as the qualities of a competent English language teacher, the role English should play in a multilingual global society etc. Which do you think is the most significant one and why?
A: All the things are so connected with one and another. It’s not one thing that is the most important. We have recognized a number of priorities that follow different, what we call mega-trends. TESOL will follow certain tends such as migration and technology, and respond in an innovative way. As an association, what we do and what we want to do is to be a resource and work with many other entities, to promote this kind of professionalism in our field as we look ahead and really think about very hard what it means to teaching English and how we do that, and how we do it well.
Q: How do you see the English teacher training market in China?
A: I think it such amazing diversity that you have within China in terms of teacher preparation, not only in terms of where teachers teach but also the kind of preparation that they receive. Within China like you see in the context, some people have formal preparation and some people do not but are very eager and very interested and want to do a good job. In that sense China language teaching market is very similar to our context as well. I hope that is the place where TESOL really help support those involved in teacher preparation, to use resources that TESOL brings.
Q: What kind of resources TESOL provide for English language teachers or those prepare for teachers?
A: TESOL offers a variety of resources to better their own credentials and understanding what it means to teach English as a second or foreign language. We have a lot of web seminars, workshops and certificate programs etc. We have wonderful standards for what it means to be not only for English language teacher but also what a good English language program looks like. So one of the greatest resources that TESOL has for the Chinese market, would be the same standards we have, because regardless the country you are in, these standards hold true. That’s a great opportunity for China to closely look at the standards that TESOL has put out there and we as an organization can help professionalize the English teachers of China to be the growing respected career that it is.
Q: What are the main advantages and disadvantages of online training compared to face-to-face training? Which form of training does TESOL prefer to offer?
A: The question is always about what kind of format allows us to do what we want to do. I think what we’re doing is what the online environment best suits for and how do we maximize good principles for good online teaching. Face-to-face events mean a lot of interaction, a lot of people talking to another. But the online environment created a way that makes the online really effective. For example it’s much easier in many ways to differentiate with online environment, we say everybody needs to have base knowledge. It’s also much easier in an online environment to be flexible. Face-to-face course means you have to be in a certain place at a certain time. Then the online course allows you self-paced, allows you to do that when it makes sense to you as a teacher or professional. It also means that face-to-face cannot always reach everybody as easily and so online environment may help you do that. But sometimes you just have to see people especially when you want to build community of practitioners and have a sense that, after the course you want people to continue to work together and be professional community. Sometimes starting that in a face-to-face environment helps with that but sometimes you can put these together.