1. From Theory to Practice & Back in TESOL
slide : Script
1 Rebekah: This is Marie Takai. She has an M.A. TESOL from SJSU and is
currently teaching three levels of Japanese at Sunnyvale-Cupertino
Marie: This is Rebekah Sidman-Taveau. She taught in my M.A. TESOL
program at SJSU and was my practicum teacher last spring.
Rebekah’s PhD in Foreign Language Education with a focus on
TESL. She is currently ESL Coordinator and Lecturer at San
Francisco Art Institute and part time faculty at SJSU.
2 Rebekah: To start, Marie will share some of her innovative and successful
lessons. Then we will both talk about specific theoretical connections
we see to her practice.
Marie managed to engage her beginning class in the collaborative
publication of an international recipe book, to have her beginning
students give presentations of their recipes and share them with the
class. As I witnessed Marie’s lesson and learned about her cook book
unit, I saw connections to different theories including:
Constructivist/socio-constructivist learning theory
Comprehensible Output Hypothesis
Motivation Theory and the
Affective Filter Hypothesis
I will talk about each of these theoretical connections as Marie
explains her lessons but first lets here a bit about the
transformation Marie went through to be able to implement these
lessons. A key point we would like to make today is that it is not a
one way trip from reading about theories to consciously
implementing them. Theory can be utilized pre-during-post lesson
and in conscious and unconscious or even inadvertent ways.
Marie’s story is testament to this.
3 Marie Hello, so let me start by telling you a bit about my teaching context.
My practicum teaching took place in an Adult School in the South
Bay. The class was Beginner High – the third lowest of nine levels.
They only knew basic grammar and vocabulary and seldom spoke
2. out in class. The size of the class was about 25 – 30. As other adult
school classes, this class was also transient: students came in and
went out. It was a multi-ethnic class with students from nine
countries – Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese, Mexicans, Indians & an
Iranian, a Peruvian, a Vietnamese, and a Japanese. It was a
morning class which included a lot of female home makers especially
middle aged Asian women.
4 Marie In this photo, I may look cheerful but, at the beginning of my
practicum, I was very nervous. The tremendous pressure felt by a
typical student teacher frustrated me. I felt I was not qualified to
teach and my self-esteem was very low. In short, I was suffering
from classic imposter syndrome.
The woman sitting next to me is my mentor teacher. She is an
experienced professional teacher. Her students admired her for her
great teaching skills and kindness. She was an American and a
native English speaker. Yes, she seemed to represent the main
stream of the American culture. As an Asian non-native speaker, I
felt intimidated by the presence of the perfect ESL teacher.
What made me feel worse was that I had been traumatized in my
former language learning experiences. Though I had lived in the U.S
for five years, my English was nothing but a stumbling awkward
production. In Japan, where most of the classes I took where
behaviorist based approaches, my English grades were always
terrible. The mean teachers corrected every single mistake and I
didn’t enjoy learning at all. Having been an unsuccessful learner,
how dare I teach English to others?