TESOL Arabia Abu Dhabi Chapter,
Teacher Education SIG, Research SIG
The Centre for Professional Development for UAE
Educators at Zayed University
~ Four workshops ~
Making the Most of your Materials
Colin Toms (TE SIG)
Toward Effective Handwriting Instruction
- Erven Bowery
Critical Thinking: The Fifth Skill – Lyn Bray
EFL Writing & Error Correction
Dr. Sadiq Midraj (Research SIG)
Publishers Bookstalls & Refreshments
Zayed University, Abu Dhabi
Thursday, 17th March 2005
09.30am - 12:30pm
Non-Members will be asked to pay 40AED for attending the sessions
For further information, please contact:
Douglas Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Acting) Abu Dhabi Chapter Representative
Sadiq Madraj Research SIG Sadiq.Midraj@zu.ac.ae
Lauren Stephenson Teacher Education SIG email@example.com
Having worked as development editor for a major series of ELT coursebooks, I can attest to the amount of preparation
that goes into their publication. Materials are written, edited, piloted, expanded and updated in order to ensure that they
suit their projected audiences. However,
“No coursebook can be ideal for any particular class… an effective classroom teacher needs to be
able to evaluate, adapt and produce materials so as to ensure a match between the learners and the
materials they use.” Tomlinson B in Carter and Nunan, eds., The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to
Speakers of Other Languages. CUP, 2001)
Two questions implicitly derive from this statement:
1. How can we evaluate the demands of our target audience with a view to then evaluating our materials?
2. What, consequently, are the ways in which we can adapt those materials?
This workshop comprises a highly practical, hands-on series of activities that aim to raise teacher awareness of how
published materials can be adapted and exploited. It considers the learner and the learning situation before then inviting
attendees to experiment with adapting existing published materials to suit their own particular needs.
The activities, deriving from insights by Krashen, Johnson, Nunan and Gairns and Redman, are as enjoyable as they
are instructive. The workshop takes in the principles of vocabulary selection and the use of contextual support in
listening texts. It culminates in a substantial group-work activity during which a dense and potentially controversial
reading piece is adapted for local suitability. If nothing else, attendees come away with a useful booklist to promote
further reading on the subject. This workshop would be of particular value to inexperienced or NNS teachers of EFL.
Beautiful handwriting was once regarded as Everyman’s Craft—but sadly, no longer. The teaching of penmanship has
degenerated, both in the U.S and worldwide, into little more than an embarrassment. Many teachers have given up
expecting legibility, and feel they have to wait for the development of typing skills in their students. Handwriting reform
is one answer. A powerful way to improve our students’ handwriting (and our own) is to adopt what master calligrapher
Tom Gourdie calls The Simple Modern Hand, which is based on the insights of the Renaissance writing masters Arrighi,
Palatino, Tagliente, and Mercator. Participants in this workshop will learn solid principles that can enhance any personal
style. After students adopt an ergonomic writing posture and pen hold, they begin by observing and practicing the
natural clockwise and counter-clockwise scribble movements of the hand, and then go on to learn consistent letter
formation, slant, height and spacing, joins, pen-lifts, and so on. A rhythmic flow is established and speed increases with
practice. Students and teachers alike will be surprised at the results in a very short time as these principles are applied.
Special informational tips will be given on how to inspire and help Arab students succeed in this vital area.
Erven Bowery has been an educator for nearly two decades, having taught in various school systems, colleges and
universities, and language programs in the United States, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. He
holds a Master of Science in TESOL, and is state-certified in Secondary English, ESL, Elementary Education, Music,
and Gifted & Talented Education. His interests include calligraphy, archery, musical improvisation, and studies in world
cultures. One of his main motivations for teaching is to help learners tap into their natural creativity by trusting their
own processes and insights.
Lyn Bray has extensive experience teaching adult migrants and international students in Australia. She has also been a
teacher educator at the University of South Australia. She now teaches at the Military language Institute in Abu Dhabi.
A lack of critical thinking skills in school leavers has been identified as a problem for post-secondary educators in the
UAE (Australian Education International website, accessed August, 2004). In practice, the concept of “critical thinking”
varies for different disciplines. For example, the critical thinking taught in a school of Philosophy focuses on argument
and logic, whereas the critical thinking developed in English literature programs is for the evaluation of literary texts.
We need to be clear about what kinds of thinking skills are most important for our students.
In this interactive workshop, I will first address the need for the teaching of critical thinking in English language
courses, linking it with developments in computing and communication technologies. The participants will then be
invited to discuss the nature of critical thinking as they understand it. My own contribution to the discussion will centre
around three types of critical thinking:
Logic and reasoning
Reflection on learning
I will provide examples of each type as I have used it in my own teaching, and draw out implications for students in
Lyn Bray has extensive experience teaching adult migrants and international students in Australia. She has taught
Critical Thinking as part of a Foundation Studies course, and lectured in TESOL at the University of South Australia.
She now teaches at the MLI in Abu Dhabi.
Dr Sadiq Midraj
The facilitator provides different options on how feedback can be provided through scaffolding. The presentation also
sheds light on different types of errors and EFL students' perceptions of the value of error correction. Samples of
different forms and classroom examples on error corrections will be provided.
Dr. Sadiq Midraj has taught all EFL/ESL grade levels and an array of English education courses in the Middle East
and the USA for over 16 years. He received his doctorate in curriculum and instruction and his double Masters in
Applied Linguistics and Curriculum & Instruction from Indiana State University. He is currently the Coordinator for the
Center for Professional Development and an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Zayed University.