Reporter: Would you please talk about TESOL International Association to English teachers in China?
Debrah Healey: I am happy to talk about TESOL International Association. It is a group of English language educators, a global association, and what we aim at is to help with knowledge, expertise, standards and everything teachers might need. It is a membership-based association, so our members are volunteers. We have an office staff, but it is very small. And we count on our TESOL members to do a huge amount of work with the association allowing us to deliver resources to as many English language teachers and learners as possible. We hope that many of you here in China will also become TESOL members one way or another because we feel that it is of great value to English language teachers everywhere to be part of our group.
Reporter: How is the Internet changing language teaching and learning today?
Debrah Healey: The Internet has been changing language teaching since the mid1980s when it first started showing up in classrooms, though much more now than then. It allows teachers to connect their students to people. For me, that’s the main thing. You can connect to other people, talk to real people rather than to a machine. The real power of the Internet what we didn’t have before is this ability to reach out and connect learners to learners. Maybe just elsewhere in China, but it could be learners to learners in other parts of the world and then English changes. It is not a book subject. It’s with real people. It’s used for communication. I think that’s the main power of the Internet.
And with digital natives they are very good at social media, but they may not really know how to use the full range of technology tools. How well do you write using the tools of technology? And maybe they don’t. What I find is that many of the digital natives don’t really know how to do a spreadsheet or create a template in word processing. For the rest of us are a basic use of a different set of technology tools. They are not English teachers. What teachers can do is to find online resources to incorporate into the curriculum. When these resources are incorporated thoughtfully into the curriculum, it becomes so useful and helpful. But it’s thoughtful incorporation into a curriculum, not just “go look online and do something”. So teachers are really important in the Internet age.