Awards Presented at TESOL
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Awards Presented at TESOL

The Language Acquisition and Instruction Committee (LAI), an ad hoc commitee of the TOEFL Policy Council, has established two annual awards to recognize individual contributions to the field of ESL/EFL language acquisition and instruction. This year's awards focus on the use of technology. The 1998 recipients are Martha C. Pennington, Powdrill Professor of English Language Acquisition at the University of Luton, Luton, U.K., and Mark J. Warschauer, Researcher at the University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center.

Pennington's substantial submission consisted of four published works: (1) a book, The Computer and the Non-Native Writer: A Natural Partnership (Hampton Press, 1996); (2) a journal article," Writing the Natural Way: On Computer" (Computer Assisted Language Learning, 9(2/3): 125-142, 1996); (3) the introductory article," The Power of the Computer in Language Education," in an edited collection on CALL, The Power of CALL (Athelstan, 1966); and (4) the edited collection itself.

Pennington's focus is on computer-assisted writing for second language students. She designed her book to review the research, explore the implications for learning and teaching, and disseminate the findings to second language teachers. Her coverage of recent research is thorough -- including studies of both native and nonnative speakers -- and she attempts to explain discrepancies in the findings. In The Power of CALL, she points out some capabilities of computers that are more specific to second language students. Two examples are (1) the ability of computers to provide nonthreatening simulations to practice performance for real situations and group interactions that facilitate the process of interaction and negotiation necessary to communication and language learning and (2) the usefulness of computers in providing speech analysis and training in phonology. In The Computer and the Non-Native Writer: a Natural Partnership, she provides practical information about structuring classroom practice. Her discussion should help teachers understand the potential impact of using computers for writing and should be useful to them in evaluating texts produced by word processing. The use of hypertext, multimedia, and hypermedia by students is also discussed.

Warschauer's book, Email for English Teaching: Bringing the Internet and Computer Learning Networks into the Language Classroom (TESOL Publications, 1995), is among the best-selling and most acclaimed titles in TESOL Publication's history. It has received favorable reviews in more than a dozen academic journals in the U.S. (e.g., Modern Language Journal) and around the world (e.g., Critical Forum in Australia). It has recently been translated and republished in a Japanese edition (Yohan Publishers, Tokyo, 1997) and a Chinese-English bilingual edition (Bookman Publishers, Taipei, in press).

While Warschauer's book is one of many that explain the Internet and online sites, Email for English Teaching is remarkable for its in-depth treatment of language learning issues related to the use of online technologies. It focuses on the issues and interests of ESL/EFL teachers around the world in teaching and learning with online technologies.

Warschauer's book reviews relevant research on second-language learning via computer networks. It discusses pedagogical principles and teaching activities in a wide range of situations -- from electronic communication in a single classroom, to the linking of partners around the world, to the classroom use of online resources, to distance education -- based on prior research and on second language acquisition theory. The book proposes a project-based learner-centered pedagogy that takes full advantage of online capabilities for promoting collaborative language learning.

The 1998 LAI awards were presented to Pennington and Warschauer by the chair of the LAI Committee and the executive director of TOEFL during TESOL '98. The presentations were made at an LAI colloquium designed to solicit audience participation in a discussion of issues related to the impact that the changing TOEFL test will have upon the teaching and learning of English internationally.

1999 Awards

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Last Updated: 1999/02/09 Release Level: 3