Tuesday, October 25

Jobs Teaching ESL Worldwide

  The American University in Cairo - English Language Instructor, Egypt
Asia and Oceania
  American University of Sharjah - Faculty Position in TESOL/English Linguistics with expertise in ESP, United Arab Emirates
  Confidential - English Language Teacher - China, China
  Global Exchange Center - Paid TEFL Teaching Internship in China, China
  Meten English - Meten English, Experience China by teaching, China
  Shanghai Tutoring Expat Network - Immediate Postings Available for English Trainers in Shanghai and Surrounding Areas, China
  English Language Fellow Program - Teacher Trainers in India, India
  It's Academic Educational Staffing - Campus Director - Canadian Owned and Operated ESL and Career College located in New Delhi, India, India
  St. Mary College/Nunoike Culture Center - Instructor of English, Japan
  College English Program, Seoul National University - Non-tenure Track Full-time Lecturer, College English Program, Seoul National University, South Korea
  Confidential - Assistant Professor in AJOU University, South Korea
  The University of Colorado Colorado Springs - EFL Positions at the Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village, Daegu South Korea, South Korea
  Winglish - Teacher Trainer, Winglish-UCR TESOL Certificate Program, South Korea, South Korea
  University of Macau - Senior Instructors in English Language, Macau
  www.zirve.edu.tr - English Instructor, Academics with PhD. in ELT or Ling.,Teacher Trainers,Testing Officer Recruitment, Turkey
Europe and Eurasia
  Project Harmony International/Georgetown University - Senior English Language Teacher Trainer, Georgia - DEADLINE EXTENDED, Georgia
  Project Harmony International/Georgetown University - English Language Teacher Trainer, Rep. of Georgia - DEADLINE EXTENDED, Georgia
  Centre for Educational Policy at Nazarbayev University - Teaching Instructor for Professional Development Course, Kazakhstan
  English Language Fellow Program - Senior English Language Fellow - Russia, Russia
North America
  Confidential - Contract Lead ESL Teacher and Curriculum Developer, United States
  Indiana University School of Education, IUPUI - Assistant/Associate Professor, Elementary Language/Literacy, United States
  Measured Progress - Professional Development Consultant, United States
  Pinaceae Company Limited - Online ESL Teachers, United States
  Pittsburg State University - IEP Lecturer Full-Time, United States
  The International Educator - ESL Teacher (K–12), United States
  EF Education First - Director of Assessment Development,
  Arkansas State University - ESL Instructor, United States
  Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley - Professor of Education (Assistant, Associate or Full): The Education of English Language Learners, United States
  University of California, Riverside - International Education Programs - TESOL/TEFL Programs Academic Coordinator, United States
  University of Southern California - Assistant or Associate Clinical Track Faculty for MAT TESOL, United States
  English Language Center, University of Denver - Director, English Language Center, United States
  University of Delaware - ESL Instructor, United States
  University of Delaware - English Languate Institute - ESL Faculty Positions, United States
  EF International Language Centers - Academic Director in Miami Beach, FL, United States
  English Language Program, University of South Florida - TESL Instructor, United States
  University of Northern Iowa - Academic Support Coordinator, United States
  Intensive English Program@Boise State University - Intensive English Instructor, United States
  Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools - ESL Teacher, United States
  UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE - Assistant Professor in Linguistics, United States
  County College of Morris - English as Second Language – Full Time Faculty, United States
  Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines - Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, Writing, United States
  Pearson Education - Development Editor, United States
  Teachers College, Columbia University - Director of the TESOL Certificate Program, United States
  Intensive English Program, University of Dayton - IEP Instructor, United States
  University of Dayton - Coordinator of TESOL Initiatives, United States
  Oregon State University - Winter School Instructors (TOEFL and GMAT test preparation), United States
  Oregon State University - Instructor - English as a Second Language (ESL), United States
  Department of Modern Languages Carnegie Mellon - A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, United States
  Graduate Education, University of Pennsylvania - Tenure-Track Assistant/Associate Professor of Educational Linguistics, United States
  Temple University - Director for Intensive English, ESL, United States
  The Pennsylvania State University - ITA Program Coordinator, United States
  The Pennsylvania State University - ESL/EAP Writing Program Coordinator, United States
  The University of Memphis - Assistant Professor in Applied Linguistics/ESL, United States
  Angelo State University - ELLI Instructor (9 month position), United States
  University of North Texas - ESL Instructor IELI 9 mos, United States
  University of Texas at Arlington - E.L.I. - Instructor, United States
  Stratford University ESL Program - ESL Part-time to possible full-time teacher, United States
  Virginia Commonwealth University - VCU - English Language Program Instructor, United States

Thursday, October 20

Argument Development Strategies = High TOEFL iBT Score

As a TOEFL instructor, the first question I ask each new TOEFL class on the first day is: "Okay, so what is an essay?"

From twenty students from twenty different countries I get twenty different answers.

Then I ask, "Okay, so what is a thesis?"

Twenty different answers.

Then I ask, "Okay, so what are rhetorical strategies?"

Nothing. Silence.

This is typical of each new TOEFL class. Conclusion? Most non native, English-speaking students are not familiar with western-style, argument development (remember an essay is an argument, be it verbal or written). Why is this a problem? Because the TOEFL iBT is all arguments. That’s right – all arguments.

Why is the TOEFL iBT all arguments? Because argument development is the foundation of the English-speaking educational system. Students at U.S., U.K., Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand universities listen to lectures (verbal essays), write essays (written arguments), read text books (written arguments), and express opinions in seminars and give presentations (verbal arguments).

As you can see, argument development is the foundation of the western-educational system. Where did it come from? TOEFL? No. It came from the Greeks about 2,000 years ago. Aristotle, Socrates, Plato. That gang.

How does argument development connect with the TOEFL iBT? Simple. Like I said, the TOEFL iBT is all arguments. That means if you (the test-taker) want the highest-TOEFL iBT score possible, you must understand basic argument development.

Do standardized TOEFL texts (Longman, Delta, Cambridge, Princeton, Compass, Thompson) teach basic argument development starting on page one? Do they teach the difference between induction and deduction? No. The above-standardized texts all start with an analysis of reading section questions and strategies, such as skimming and scanning. Yes, skimming is important. Yes, scanning is important. But if you do not understand basic rhetoric (the tools of argument development), you will not get the highest TOEFL iBT score possible. It's that simple. Yes, a good vocabulary is important, but it will only get you so far. Many of the reading section questions are rhetoric-based questions, so you must know basic rhetoric.

Remember: A good vocabulary is part of language use, and language use (the word choices and sentence types you use when developing an argument) is part of argument development
As a TOEFL instructor and TOEFL author, I have identified the disconnect between what test-takers need and what standardized TOEFL text books teach (or don't teach). What test-takers need is a foundation in basic rhetoric before they learn test strategies specific to each task.

But how, you ask, is learning argument development strategies possible in a three-month (or shorter) TOEFL course, or by self-study? The solution is to start with the independent essay, the last task on the TOEFL iBT.

Why start with the independent essay? Because the independent essay is the foundation essay. By learning how to write a proficient independent essay, you (the test-taker) will quickly acquire basic and essential argument strategies needed for the TOEFL iBT. If a test-taker can write a proficient independent essay, he/she will answer reading and listening section questions proficiently; they will also answer speaking tasks proficiently and write integrated essays proficiently. This, in turn, will result in a higher final TOEFL score. This fact has been proven time and again in my TOEFL classes.

As a TOEFL instructor, I focus on the needs of my students first. What do my TOEFL students need? An introduction to basic argument development. As a TOEFL author, that is what I teach in my books Scoring Strategies for the TOEFL iBT A Complete Guide and Speaking and Writing Strategies for the TOEFL iBT.

Standardized TOEFL texts, however, do not focus on test-taker needs. Instead, they "teach to the test." Teach-to-the-test means they teach strategies as the appear in order on the TOEFL iBT: reading, listening, speaking, writing. TOEFL text books have taught TOEFL this way for years! Why? Because they are focused on the test and not on the test-taker. What is more important? The test or the needs of the test-taker? You do the math.

What do test-takers need to get the highest possible TOEFL score? Argument development strategies. That is what my TOEFL books teach.

Saturday, October 15

The Reading Section - Why is it so hard?

For many TOEFL students, the reading section is the most challenging section of the TOEFL iBT. Why? Because...

The Essays are Long, Hard and Boring!

That's right. Really boring. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the TOEFL game and university life. You don't always get to study what you want to study. And yes, the TOEFL essays are hard. Very hard. ETS (Educational Testing Services) designs them that way. Why? Because with TOEFL, ETS is recreating the university classroom experience. Are essays in university texts easy? Nope. They are long, hard and boring. One more thing. The reading section essays on the official TOEFL test are much harder than the sample essays in standardized TOEFL texts. How can you prepare for the reading section? Force yourself to read long, hard, boring English material. What about memorizing word lists? That's okay. But if you are not using those words in context every day, thereby reinforcing their meaning and usage, you will forget most of them.

Remember: The best reading strategy for students at the TOEFL level is to read, read, read. Reading forces you to create pictures in your brain (contextualize). When you create pictures in your brain, you identify them with labels. Those labels are words specific to the context. This is how advanced language learners learn. By contextualizing. Word lists have no context; that is why memorizing word lists is not always the best way to prepare for the reading section.

The Essays are Full of New Words!

Yup. Lots of new words. They will drive you crazy - and stop you cold. That is their purpose. For example, you're reading along and you suddenly find a word like xenodocheionology. Even now this word has stopped you, right? Right. How about this word? Triskaidekaphobia? Still stopped? For how many seconds? Five? Ten? (Xeno-what? Triska-who?) The clock is ticking. This is exactly what happens on the TOEFL reading section. New words stop you cold as your hard drive (brain) scans to find the meaning (I know this word! I know this word!). If your brain can't find the meaning, you just look at the word. Why? Because you want to know its meaning (If I look at it long enough, maybe I will figure it out!) The problem is as you are parked on a word, you are wasting time. If you waste time, you won't have time to finish the essays or answer the questions. Obviously, you can't stop and figure out each new word. ETS knows this. That's why there are lots of new words in each essay. For testing purposes, ETS wants to know if you can figure out a new word not from the dictionary in the your brain but from its context (see contextualizing above). That is how advanced language learners learn new words, by seeing how a new word is used in context. That is what TOEFL measures: Are you a proficient English reader? Can you figure out new words from context only? If you can, you will get a high score.

I Don't Have Enough Time!

"There is not enough time to finish the reading section! If I had more time, twenty minutes, I would get a higher score." I always hear this complaint. Unfortunately, you only get an hour to complete the reading section. My students think this is unfair. Maybe. I don't know. What I do know is that the TOEFL iBT was designed by psychometricians. What is a psychometrician? Somebody who studies psychometrics (mind + measure). Basically, a psychometrician studies the human brain and how it performs under a time pressure while doing a standardized test such as TOEFL. Who designed the TOEFL test? The psychometricians at ETS. Using calculators and stopwatches, the ETS psychometricians have proven that one hour is the right amount of time to read 3 long, hard and boring TOEFL essays and answers all the questions. And what do the psychometricians at ETS do with all those TOEFL scores? They measure them and compare them and study them, and make conclusions about your brain. What are those conclusions? The average TOEFL score for the year ending 2009 was 79/120 (see scores). Is 79/120 a good score, a bad score, a typical score? I wouldn't worry about that. Worry about your own score and leave the psychometricing to the psychometricians.

FYI: xenodocheionology means "love of hotels"; triskaidekaphobia means "fear of the number 13."

Saturday, October 8

Body Paragraphs - Common Problems

When developing body paragraphs for your independent essay, avoid these problem areas: 1) serial topic listing; 2) lack of topical unity; 3) topic redundancy.


Look at the following body paragraph from an actual independent essay.

A new airport in my hometown will create new jobs for young people. A new airport will also help increase taxes. In addition, a new airport will bring more people to my home town. Best of all, a new airport will help create other businesses that will support the airport, such as hotels and restaurants. Finally, a new airport will reduce unemployment. As you can see, a new airport is a good idea. 

Looks pretty good, right? Let's take a closer look. First off, grammatically, this sentence is perfect. However, notice how each sentence introduces a new topic. We can actually put the topics in a list, like this:

A new airport in my hometown will:
1. create new jobs for young people
2. increase taxes
3. bring more people
4. create support businesses
5. reduce unemployment

Note how the writer has created a list of topics and put them in a series (one after another). This is called serial topic listing. Okay, so what's wrong with that? The problem is each new topic should be a new body paragraph. That means this independent essay should have five body paragraphs! The second problem is a lack of topic development. This is a serious problem. How can you fix it? Simple. Instead of making a list of topics, focus on one topic and develop it, for example:  

A new airport in my hometown will create new jobs for young people. In my hometown, when young people graduate from high school and college, they leave right away and go to the big cities. In the cities, there are more jobs and a better future. However, if we had a new airport, the young people would stay because there would be new jobs. There would be jobs like construction and catering, as well other jobs connected to the airline business like hotels and restaurants. This would be good because more new jobs means the young people will have a reason to stay and develop the economy of my hometown.

Remember: A lack of topic development - especially in the body paragraphs - is the number on reason why test-takers score low on the independent essay. I know. I see this problem all the time. To get a high score, avoid serial listing. Focus on one topic per paragraph and develop it.


Look at the following paragraph. Can you identify the problem?

A new airport in my hometown will create new jobs for young people. In my hometown, when young people graduate from high school and college, they leave right away and go to the big cities. For example, my boyfriend went to America and is now living in Manhattan. He is a systems engineer and he got a good job and wants to become an American citizen. I am thinking about joining him because he has this really great apartment and I want to study English, and maybe look for a job in design or something. This happens a lot. Young people are always leaving my hometown. This is not good. But if we had jobs, maybe we would stay.

This paragraph starts off really good. The writer focuses on young people leaving her hometown because there are no jobs. Then, she gives the example of her boyfriend and develops the topic of living in America. Living in America? What happened to the airport? As you can see, living America is new topic. At the end, the writer jumps back to the topic of the airport, new jobs and young people. Confusing? Yes. This is an example of a lack of topical unity. The writer starts off saying apples, apples, apples, then suddenly says oranges, oranges, oranges, then jumps back to apples, apples, apples.

Remember: A lack of topical unity is a common problem. It will result in a lower score. To get a higher independent essay score, focus on one topic per paragraph.


Look at the following paragraph. Can you identify the problem?

A new airport in my hometown will create new jobs for young people. In my hometown, young people need jobs because jobs are good for young people. Jobs are good because they give work to young people who need jobs. I am young and I need a job so new jobs are good for young people like me. New jobs will help not only young people but all people. So new jobs are good for everyone, old and young. I support the airport and new jobs.

This is an example of topic redundancy in a body paragraph. Redundancy means repeating. In this case, the topic of jobs is repeated, over and over. The result is the writer is not saying anything, just filling up space.

Remember: The writing raters are trained to look for serial listing, a lack of topical unity, and topic redundancy. Avoid these problem areas and you will increase your independent essay score.

Want to know more about body paragraph strategies for speaking and for writing? Check out my TOEFL texts.

The Pro

Wednesday, October 5

Scoring Rubrics - What You Need to Know

What is a rubrics? Rubrics means "a list of rules" against which something is rated or measured. For TOEFL, there are speaking rubrics and writing rubrics. ETS did not make up these rubrics. They are universal rules of proficient argument development going all the way back to Aristotle. For this discussion, let's focus on ETS's independent writing task rubrics.

Sounds really official - The Independent Writing Task Rubrics! Don't worry. Translated, it simply means, "personal essay writing rules." If you follow the rules (the rubrics), your independent essay will demonstrate proficiency. Wait! What does proficiency mean? Proficiency means "skill and knowledge."

Okay, so let's say you scored 5 on your independent essay. Why? Because in your essay, you demonstrated proficiency (skill and knowledge). Because you demonstrated proficiency, you didn't break any rules. You played the TOEFL writing game perfectly and scored big. Great!

Now let's say you got a 2.5 on your independent essay. That means you broke a few rules, lots of rules - big rules. Okay, so how do you go from 2.5 to 3 to 4 to 5? Easy. Follow the rules. Do standardized TOEFL texts teach you the rules? No. Do they teach you how to apply the rules? Sorry.

Instead, standardized TOEFL books say, "Look at this example of an independent essay. It is a 2.5. Trust me." Unfortunately, standardized TOEFL texts do not tell you why the example independent essay is a 2.5. There is no rhetorical analysis. Instead, these texts leave it up to you (the test-taker) to compare your essays to ETS's rubrics. Sounds easy? Right? Wrong. Why? Because ETS's independent writing task rubrics are difficult to understand, for test-takers and instructors alike.

Why are ETS's rubrics hard to decipher from a scoring point of view? I think ETS is being purposefully vague. ETS is not in the business of helping you get a high score. ETS is in the business of designing tests. Period. That means TOEFL texts must teach the rules of writing to test-takers. Unfortunately, standardized TOEFL texts do not teach test-takers how to interpret ETS's writing rubrics. Instead, these same texts say, "Do this! Do this! Do this!" but they don't tell you why from a scoring perspective. Now think: How can you get a high writing score if you don't understand the rules of the game? It's like having a car accident because nobody told you how to drive. Frustrating? You bet.

That, in my estimation, is a central flaw in standardized TOEFL texts: they do not teach speaking and writing rubrics specific to the TOEFL game. However, my texts, Scoring Strategies for the TOEFL iBT A Complete Guide and Speaking and Writing Strategies for the TOEFL iBT, do.

Before writing my TOEFL books, I asked myself: How can my TOEFL students get the highest possible speaking and writing scores? What is the first step? The first step is understanding the rubrics (the rules). If you don't understand the rubrics - if you don't read the driver's manual - you are guessing. You don't want to guess. Your future is too important.

Want to learn more? It's all in the books.

Monday, October 3

Good link for college and university info

The link below has lots of great info about university and colleges in the U.S. and England.

Check it out.

The Pro