Monday, January 19, 2009

The News from TexTESOLV

Global Partners:Yakut TESOL and TexTESOL V

What does a Russian region settled by Cossacks in the early 17th century have in common with a region settled in Texas in the 19th century by cattlemen? Well, there are several parallels, including a dependence on horses for livelihood and survival. Then there’s the centuries-old struggle against extreme temperatures, albeit opposite extremes. The most recent connection, however, is a formal agreement between the TESOL affiliates of the two regions to work together for mutual benefit.If you like to travel to exotic destinations, if you take pleasure in the cultural enrichment of working with professionals from different cultures, if you enjoy collaborative lessons connecting students and teachers around the world, or if you have an appreciation for engaging professional development, then you should read on to see how you can personally benefit from and contribute to this new partnership.A formal signing in Yakutsk on July 14, 2008 cemented the partnership between Yakut TESOL and TexTESOL V. Don Weasenforth’s (Immediate Past President of TexTESOL V) representation of TexTESOL V at the 2008 Yakut TESOL Summer Institute represented an initial step in fulfilling the agreement, and Larissa Olesova’s (Immediate Past President of Yakut TESOL) attendance at the 2008 TexTESOL State Conference will strengthen our burgeoning relationship. Review the agreement and consider how you might get involved:
Donate books to the Sakha State University English teacher training library.
Integrate a Web-based collaborative project in your courses, connecting your students with students in Yakutia. Yakutia teachers of all levels of instruction—elementary through higher education—are available for collaborative projects.
Establish a student or teacher exchange with Yakutia schools, colleges, institutes, or universities.
Contribute to teacher training at future summer institutes in Yakutsk. If you are interested in these opportunities or have other ideas of how to support the partnership, contact Don Weasenforth at 972-881-5970 or

The Interview with Dr. Christine Meloni (GWU)

The interview with Dr. Christine Meloni (The George Washington University, USA) of March, 2007. She visited Yakutsk and the Yakut TESOL First International Conference in June, 2004. Larissa Olesova interviewed Christine about her impressions of Yakutia and teaching EFL in Yakutia. Read the answers. You may leave your comments.

LO: What were your first impressions of Yakutia and Yakutsk in 2004?

CM: My first impression was that the people were very friendly and very kind. They made me feel at home immediately.I was very impressed with the generosity of the people. When I ate in someone's home, the meal was always a banquet!Many things surprised me. I was surprised by the buildings on stilts and by the pipes outside of the buildings rather than in the walls. I was very interested in hearing about the impact of the cold weather on these buildings.I was rather shocked that one's used toilet paper was put in waste cans rather than in the toilets.I was surprised that many of the cars had the steering wheels on the right even though people drive on the right.I was surprised that I did not see many shops and that most of the shops were inside buildings where you couldn't see them from the outside.I was surprised by how much the native music resembled the music of the American Indians.

LO: How were your first impressions changed to compare with your impressions when you spent some time there?

CM: My impressions did not change. The people were wonderful at the beginning and were wonderful throughout.

LO: What do you think about teaching EFL in Yakutia? According to your impressions of talking to the conference participants?

CM: I was very impressed with the teachers that I talked to in Yakutsk. I was amazed, first of all, by how well they spoke English, even those who had never been to an English-speaking country. I was also impressed with their enthusiasm and dedication to the field of ESL.

LO: Have you found any problems in the situation with teaching English in Yakutia?

CM: The teachers at the conference seemed very interested in improving their teaching and seemed very aware of the latest trends in the field. I didn't notice any big problems.

LO: What could you suggest for teachers of English in Yakutia?

I would suggest that they try to get involved with Internet technology so that they can have close contact with ESL teachers around the world and so that their students can interact with other students using the English language in authentic ways. Blogs and wikis are two technologies that could benefit students' writing and reading skills, for example. Larissa has many wonderful ideas for implementing ideas for using the Internet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yakut TESOL and TexTESOLV Partnership

The article is in Essential Teacher, December issue 2008.

A Message from Teresa about Webhead

Dear Larissa,

So sorry for the very short notice, but I started the new year with very unpleasant vertigo problems - first time - that have kept me away from the computer. I'm feeling better now after medication started a week ago.

Becoming a Webhead 2009 (BaW09) officially starts tomorrow, Jan 12, but registration is ongoing. To join, please go to our Yahoo Group, click "Join this Group" and complete the process.

In the meantime, we have a wiki where you can see everything that will be happening over the next 6 weeks.

Hope you and your summer trainees can join us!

Happy New Year!!!

Hugs, Teresa