P R T E S O L
A publication of PRTESOL: An organization concerned with the
teaching of English to speakers of other languages.
A Quarterly Newsletter Volume 35, Issue 3 WINTER 2008
Post-Convention Highlights Professional Articles
President’s ﬁnal message Language Acquisition: A Critique of Page 16
the Theories We Apply to the
Page 3 Teach Me how to Laugh
Classroom and Why We Don’t Know
Regional Chapters: Directory of new Luz Estrella Méndez Del Valle, Ph D
Chapter Presidents Ann Albuyeh, Ph.D. Page 7
Page 11 Page 4
True progress is bilingualism for all: A
Page 14-15 Page 26
response to Porter’s plenary address
at the 2008 PR TESOL Conference 2009 Calendar of Events
Financial Report 2008 Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, PhD
Page 27 Page 24 Back cover
The 35 Annual PRTESOL
Convention has taken its rightful
place in history. Teachers from all
over Puerto Rico and the Dominican
Republic met for two exciting days
of training, learning, sharing,
planning, and having fun. What a
joy it was to meet so many of our
Teaching English is a science
(lingistics, phonology, morphology,
etc), but it is also an art. The art of
communicating, of motivating
students, of creating materials,
designing lessons, even decorating
We look forward to 2009 with high
hopes of seeing PRTESOL grow in
inﬂuence around Puerto Rico and
the Caribbean helping teachers at all
levels in both the science and the art
of teaching English.
Prof. Carmelo Arbona,
P R T E S O L - G R A M
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE: issues -
Message from the President 3 20%)
Cell Phone Use: A Convenience, A Hazard or An
About Faculty Resource Network 5
May reproduce articles for classroom use. Quotations up
Teachers: Who are They? 6
to twenty - ﬁve (25) words are permitted if credit to the
Videogames as a Potential Tool for Classroom
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Pre-Convention Section 9-16
Convention Registration Guidelines
Keynote Speakers p.10
Hotel Information p. 11-12
Pre-Registration form p. 13
Concurrent Sessions p. 18-21
2008 PRTESOL Membership form p. 22
P R T E S O L - G R A M
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dr. José R. Sellas Aponte
President, PRTESOL 2008
Greetings! PRTESOL Family,
It is with great pleasure and joy in my heart that I write my ﬁnal message as President of the PRTESOL Organization during 2008. We
have had an extremely challenging year. It has been a year of many surprises, a year of high expectations, a year where PRTESOL
demonstrated that it is one of the ﬁnest organizations on this beloved issland. As I reﬂect upon everything that was carried out during this
year, I am extremely proud of our accomplishments. Here is a brief summary of PRTESOL’s major achievements during 2008.
We carried out 6 successful Regional Conferences during this year where we impacted hundreds of classroom teachers and professors
Island wide. We had over one hundred ESL Professionals participate of our Summer Institute in UPR, Humacao. We had special activities
that were carried out by the Chapters, in addition to the Regional Conferences. These special activities provided additional beneﬁts to
teachers, classroom students, and their parents. The 6th Annual – Dominican Republic Outreach was held in Dominican Republic with
Regarding membership, we had over 500 ESL Professionals with active membership status during this year. Over 100 of these became
members for the ﬁrst time in 2008. In addition to this, we have approximately 20 active members from the United States and over 100
active members from Dominican Republic. This shows that we have a solid reputation as a prestigious organization.
We had three successful publications of the PRTESOL-Gram that included professional articles, pictures of our different activities, and
the general information we wanted to share with our membership. Our ﬁrst PRTESOL-Gram came out in summer 2008 and we sent over
900 copies by mail. Our Pre-Convention Issue came out in fall 2008 and we sent out over 700 copies by mail. Our post-convention
PRTESOL-Gram will be sent to over 700 members. I am extremely satisﬁed with the evolution of this Newsletter, and proud to have
carried out 3 successful publications during my Presidency.
The PRTESOL-Website was one of our most challenging and rewarding tasks. Even though it was an immense challenge at the
beginning of the year, by the end of the year the PRTESOL-Website was up and running adequately. In addition to our main website, we
have three Regions that have created Chapter Websites. And we look forward to the moment, that all six chapters have websites linked
to the main website.
We relied heavily on E-Mail to keep in touch with Board Members and also with our Membership. This type of communication became a
primary source for the instant promotion of all our activities, by the forwarding of messages to the majority of our membership. This year
PRTESOL has take a gigantic step embracing advanced communication technology.
Two of our most important accomplishments this year dealt with the PRTESOL By-Laws and the PRTESOL Election. This year the 2008
PRTESOL By-Laws were ratiﬁed through the mail by over 100 members. The By-Laws of PRTESOL had not been revised since 2003. In
addition to this, over 100 members voted by mail in the PRTESOL Election. This is the ﬁrst time in many years that we have broken the
mark of over hundred votes counted for each area. This demonstrates the unconditional support of our membership throughout the year
to the PRTESOL Organization. Our Membership understands the importance of professional development and that the PRTESOL
Organization marks the pace of ESL professional development on the island.
The most important accomplishment for the PRTESOL Organization this year was the 35th Annual PRTESOL Convention & Exhibit, titled:
The Next Generation of ESL: Tapestry for Success. Our two-day Convention at the Gran Meliã Hotel in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico was
fabulous: 60 presentations, over 30 exhibit tables, over 300 attendees, the PRTESOL Band, 10 ushers that guided and helped our
attendees, 2 outstanding keynote speakers, and the extraordinary PRTESOL Board of Directors making sure that every aspect was
perfect. Everyone is well aware of the economic difﬁculties that Puerto Rico and the world are undergoing at this time. I feel extremely
satisﬁed to know that our membership had faith in us and supported our convention.
Finally, I would like to thank all the PRTESOL 2008 Board Members for your outstanding contribution and hard work throughout this year.
We have accomplished many things this year. To our attendees, keynote speakers, presenters, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, ushers,
hotel personnel, family, and friends thank you all for your contribution to the success of the 35th Annual PRTESOL Convention & Exhibit.
I want to extend a warm welcome to Prof. Miguel Camacho our new PRTESOL President and the Board of Directors for 2009. May this
year’s journey be smooth and rewarding!
God Bless You All!
José R. Sellas Aponte
PRTESOL President 2008
P R T E S O L - G R A M
Language Acquisition: A Critique of the Theories We Apply to the Classroom
and Why We Don’t Know More
Ann Albuyeh, Ph.D.
Professor, English Linguistics
University of Puerto Rico- Río Piedras
Theories of how people learn language have been around for hundreds of years, but the application of such theories to
second language teaching really dates from the 1950’s. Since theories of Second Language Acquisition have been applied to
classroom methodology, the degree of optimism they have inspired has been negatively reflected by a notable lack of results in
the classroom. This fact, no doubt, explains the following observation made by Rod Ellis (1994, 685) in his ground-breaking
book The Study of Second Language Acquisition: “Theories of SLA [Second Language Acquisition] are not usually dismissed
as a result of empirical study or powerful argumentation, but, instead, tend to slip slowly and gently into oblivion.”
If one is easily discouraged, the fact that in 2008—after some forty years of sustained research—“the jury is still out” on
the most basic questions regarding language acquisition might be cause for despair. And so, Muriel Saville-Troike’s excellent
book, pondering Second Language Acquisition over a decade later than Ellis’s, can present us with a coherent picture of the
range of confusing views regarding: 1) What is learned?, 2) How is it learned? and 3) Why is the success rate so variable? –
but no definitive answers to even one of these questions.
This paper will explore the problems involved in both theorization and classroom application; outline an original – but
possibly equally doomed! – suggestion regarding how language acquisition works, and outline a not-so-original application of
this to the classroom, intended to avoid the pitfalls of the past.
Although I’ve been teaching English as a Second Language on and off for 35 years now, by mere coincidence I was
exposed to language acquisition theory more than a decade before I had every taught in a classroom. In the late 1950’s, while
still in grade school, I had the good fortune to have a babysitter who was an elementary education major at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, and, no doubt out of boredom, liked to tell me about what she was learning in her classes. Tracking the
linguistic behavior of my infant brother over the two years she babysat for us, Peggy described to me, in simplified form, what
she had been taught about how children learn language.
As I realized when I myself attended the UW-Madison as a young adult, what she had described was the theory of
behaviorism as applied to language acquisition. But by the period I’m talking about, the 1970’s, linguists discussing language
acquisition at the UW-Madison, spoke of behaviorist theory with ill-concealed condescension. I learned that what Peggy had
been taught, and had no doubt subsequently applied to her own teaching, was just plain wrong. Innateness was the ticket, and
some fellow university student babysitter may have described LAD, Noam Chomsky’s “Language Acquisition Device” to his
or her young charges during the 1970’s just as Peggy had passed on to me the accepted truths surrounding behaviorism a
As much as any other field, (and I’ll bring up a parallel point about math education a little later), Teaching English as a
Second Language has been plagued both by the force of such theoretical shifts and a natural tendency in the academy to frame
theoretical discussion as an “us vs. “them” debate in which “we” are right and “they” are wrong. In fact, from the late 1950’s
when Peggy was simplifying the tenets of behaviorism for my benefit, formal, highly publicized debates (which continue to be
published) were held between the famous linguist Noam Chomsky and the even more famous psychologists, the behaviorist B.
F. Skinner and cognitive development psychologist Jean Piaget. I’m going to first consider these influential views regarding
how children learn language, whether first or second, and then bring up adults later in the paper.
2. Philosophical Underpinnings to Views of Language Acquisition
It’s worthwhile to consider the fact that the different views regarding language acquisition held by these three famous
scholars, which have continued to inspire language learning theories to the present day, owe as much or more to the opposing
Western philosophical world views which directed their thinking than to experimental research results or the like.
The nineteenth-century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote: “The great majority of men live like bats, but in
twilight, and know and feel the philosophy of their age only by its reflections and refractions.” Because I think Coleridge was
right, I’m going to briefly discuss the philosophical schools influencing the thinking of Skinner, Chomsky and Piaget, and
subsequent generations of language theoreticians, to emphasize to what extent, bat-like, we teachers of English as a Second
Language have been buffeted about by these reflections and refractions of the major Western philosophies.
(Continued, page ??)
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As has often been pointed out, modern epistemology, the branch of philosophy which investigates the origin, nature,
methods, and limits of human knowledge, has two bases: empiricism and rationalism. Polar world views, the former focuses on
the material world, the latter on reason and the mind. To understand to what extent shifting back and forth between the two
philosophies has epitomized the western academy, we have to march back in time to fifth-century BC Greece, and contemplate
the influence of Socrates who taught Plato who taught Aristotle – the three scholars credited with laying the philosophical
foundation of Western culture, no less.
Aristotle’s stress on sense perceptions led in the seventeenth century to John Locke’s affirmation of the foundational
principle of empiricism: “There is nothing in the intellect that was not previously in the senses” (Tarnas 1991, 333). The
empiricist philosophies of Locke, and later Berkely and Hume led to a “scientific materialism” which was reflected centuries
later in the narrowed scope of behaviorist theory and more happily the experimental rigor of its methodology as propounded by
the psychologist J. B. Watson in 1924, and generations of scientists thereafter. Famously, of course, linguists such as Leonard
Bloomfield applied the theoretical and methodological perspective of behaviorism to their own teachings and research from the
Rationalism has a parallel history, moving from Aristotle’s student Plato to the seventeenth-century philosophers
Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, who in turn influenced the modern linguist Chomsky, culminating in his 1966 publication of
a work entitled: Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought.
3. The Three Most Influential Theories Regarding How Language is Acquired
For those who aren’t familiar with them or who may appreciate having their memory refreshed, here is a thumbnail sketch
of the different views of language acquisition upon which even the most recent first and second language acquisition theories
Behaviorism tends to conceive of the brain at its initial state as a tabula rasa, a blank slate, to which knowledge is added
through sense experience and interaction with the environment, i.e. the focus is on Nurture. Learning typically involves
stimulus-response conditioning. In language acquisition this view highlights imitation and feedback. Through the successful
imitation of adults and the accidental combination of rewarded sounds, words are learned which are then combined to form
short phrases which in turn are combined to form sentences. Skinner conceived of language as “behavior reinforced by other
persons” and asserted that language behavior can be accounted for in a way that is in principle no different from the learning
behavior of rats in the laboratory. Thus, importantly, in this view language learning is seen as just one type of general learning
(See e.g. Malmkjaer 1991, 53—57).
Rationalist thought posits the existence of mental structures in the initial state, i.e. at birth. In language acquisition as
conceived of by Chomsky this translates into the proposal that a baby is born with a brain equipped to learn language. The
baby’s brain contains innate structures which have sometimes been referred to as LAD (Language Acquisition Device) as
mentioned above, or sometimes thought of as a “Universal Grammar” consisting of linguistic principles and parameters.
The term “principles” refers to sometimes highly abstract and specific properties of grammar, often broadly defined to
include many aspects of language. These principles have in practice reflected the current version of linguistic analysis being
carried out by Chomsky and his followers. The idea is that although a given language will only contain a subset of the total
number of principles, no human language will have a structure that contradicts any one of them. An example of an innate
principle is the “Projection Principle.” This principle would predispose a child to expect that syntactic structure is determined
by entries in the lexicon. For example, the choice of the verb give entails the use of a specific syntactic pattern including a
subject and an object.
“Parameters” involve fixing a value or resetting a default based on exposure to linguistic data. Parameters have two or
more possible values and the setting of one may imply the setting of others For example, a parameter may involve whether a
language is the type that allows the dropping of subject pronouns or not. Thus, the setting would be “Yes, this language does
drop subject pronouns” for Spanish, or “No, it doesn’t” for English. (See e.g. Akmajian et al 1995, Field 2004.)
Since the current tendency is to see the brain as being somehow hard-wired for language learning, with innate capacities
and cognitive structures already in place, interaction with the environment, following an Innateness view of language
acquisition, is downplayed, i.e. the focus is on our genetic endowment and Nature. As you can see from the specificity of the
proposed principles and parameters, language learning is unique, special, and distinct from general learning.
If you think that Chomsky’s innateness views are stupid—an intelligent person told me that just the beginning of last
semester, or if, as in my own case, you were trained to think that the behaviorist views of B. F. Skinner are stupid (well, my
professors didn’t use that word, but that’s what they meant)—you might reflect on the following. The most profound minds in
the history of Western culture have swung back and forth between these opposing views of what knowledge is and how it is
gained for over two thousand years.
There have been philosophers who have positioned themselves midway between the two extreme viewpoints, and who
have also significantly influenced modern thought regarding language acquisition. The eighteenth-century philosophy of Kant
is a case in point. Kant criticized Leibniz and the rationalists for believing that reason alone without sense experience can
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calculate the universe, and he criticized Locke and the empiricists for believing that sense impressions alone, without a priori
concepts of understanding could ever lead to knowledge (Tarnas 1991, 345). A self-proclaimed advocate of “dynamic
Kantism,” Piaget rejected both Skinner’s extreme behaviorism and the extreme innateness arguments of the newcomer
Chomsky. Identifying himself as “anti-empiricist,” Piaget pointed to the “insufficiency of an ‘empiricist’ interpretation of
experience,” arguing that “no knowledge is based on perceptions alone.” But although his focus on the mind makes him
essentially a rationalist, Piaget also rejected the strong innateness claims of Chomsky (hence his debate with the younger
linguist), arguing “nor do any a priori or innate cognitive structures exist in man . . . the functioning of intelligence alone is
hereditary” (Piatteli-Palmarini 1980, 23). Agreeing with Skinner and opposing Chomsky in this regard, Piaget also conceives
of language learning as merely a case of general learning.
Using a computer analogy doesn’t totally work here, but you could say that what Chomsky is claiming is innate is what’s
on the hard-drive of the brain and what Piaget is claiming is innate is part of the software, a learning program. You might
describe Piaget’s view, therefore, as claiming that knowledge structures develop in the mind as a result of the ongoing
interaction which occurs between this learning program and the environment.
According to Piaget, the child’s genetically determined developmental program dictates the stages and the pace of the
learning. The learning progresses as a result of twin processes called “assimilation” and “accommodation.” In assimilation,
the learner’s existing knowledge structures modify perceptual input. In other words, the interpretation of the perceptual input
is limited by the level of knowledge which the child has at any given point. In accommodation, the knowledge structures
themselves become modified as they adapt to perceptual input. In other words, contact with the environment leads the child to
modify and advance his/her state of knowledge. Through these two processes, the learner in effect climbs step by step to new
generalizations in the development of language.
For example, a child is at the most basic level 1 linguistically. Using this basic linguistic knowledge the child interprets
language input in a limited way. But this partially successful interpretation of language input itself adds to the knowledge the
child has of the language. This allows the child to progress to level 2 of linguistic knowledge. Then the child uses this level 2
linguistic knowledge to interpret language input with a bit more success. This more successful interpretation of language itself
adds to the child’s growing language corpus and that allows the child to progress to level three of linguistic knowledge. Then
the child uses level 3 linguistic knowledge to interpret language input with even more success. This more successful
interpretation of language in turn adds to how much language the child knows leading to level 4 of linguistic knowledge. And
so on, until the child has mastered the language. Second language acquisition theories which focus on input and interaction as
well as “interlanguage” stages owe a debt to Piaget’s model.
Significantly, Piaget’s developmental stages which relate most obviously to language acquisition occur within a time
frame which is roughly parallel to that proposed as the “critical period” for language learners. As many of you know, the
Critical Period Hypothesis was proposed by Eric Lenneberg in 1967. This notion has been supported in various versions these
last four decades and in its most usual form hypothesizes that from about 18 months to nearing the onset of puberty there exists
a sort of “window of opportunity” for successful and complete language acquisition. Once this critical period is passed,
language learning is both more difficult and probably destined to never achieve complete fluency (See e.g. Field 2004, Lust
and Foley 2004.)
4. Second Language Acquisition Theories
If Nature vs. Nurture is essentially a problem which no one should imagine will be solved in the near future, it hasn’t
stopped linguists and psychologists from lining up on either side of the debate. (In point of fact, second language acquisition
theorists have mostly focused on Nurture.) As Vivian Cook pointed out in 1988, the opposition between these two approaches
in language acquisition has been a “long and acrimonious” one in which “neither side concedes the other’s reality.” Something
made equally obvious by the historic Chomsky, Skinner, Piaget debates of decades past referred to above and any review of the
literature carried out today. The recent state of the Nature vs. Nurture debate is outlined in Ewa Dąbrowska’s 2004 book
entitled Language, Mind and Brain, and illustrated throughout the review of second language acquisition theories presented in
Mitchell and Miles (2004) and Saville-Troike (2006), for example. Dąbrowska asserts that still today: “One of the most
controversial issues in contemporary psycholinguistics is the extent to which our linguistic abilities depend on ‘general
purpose’ cognition,” i.e. following Skinner and Piaget vs. what she terms the “modularity hypothesis,” i.e. that language
learning is separate, following Chomsky and his supporters. (Dąbrowska in her book argues against the latter view.)
It may be because I proposed my own second-language learning theory in my 1985 Ph.D. dissertation that I think this, but
in my opinion, the field of second language acquisition has been more guilty than most in producing a regrettable proliferation
Certainly this concern was voiced as early as the 1990’s when linguists such as Roger Griffiths (1990), Michael Long
(1993) and Rod Ellis (1994) raised the alarm. Weary of the theoretical overload, Ellis complains about “too much theorizing
and not enough empirical research.” However, I don’t think the real problem has been any lack of empirical research. There
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actually have been a lot of empirical studies done in the last few decades. (I also carried out empirical research in Mexico to
test my theory.)
In fact, from the Contrastive Analysis Theory, which focused on teaching the differences between L1 and L2, to the
multiple manifestations of Stephen Krashen’s theories, with their various claims regarding how people learn second
languages, much sustained empirical research has been carried out—but for all the heroic efforts of the researchers the
findings have been, to say the least, inconclusive. Certainly for any happy detail of language learning that has been
uncovered, it is no coincidence that a number of people in the field have made recourse to the story of the blind men and the
elephant. (I used this myself a number of years ago only to discover that some other linguist had also proposed it, and I’ve
since seen it referred to again in relation to second language acquisition.) Of course, each blind man’s concept of what an
elephant was depended on which part he happened to grab a hold of.
Lacking the critical understanding of the brain which will light up the whole picture, our philosophic predispositions, the
happenstance of the decade in which we received training, the structure of the languages which we are observing (a point
made by Ewa Dąbrowski), any number of constraints on our perspective—all of these factors inevitably lead us to the kind of
partial truth which rendered each of the blind men both right and essentially wrong when they tried to describe the whole
animal. Yes, it will finally be possible to understand the processes of both first and second language acquisition, but I can
confidently say it will not happen in our lifetimes. That this view is not mere pessimism, but just a reflection of the reality we
face, is supported by Saville-Troike’s (2006, 175) comment regarding basic disagreements as to what constitutes knowledge
of a second language: “Resolution of the disagreement is not likely in our lifetimes, and perhaps it would not even be
desirable.” She continues with a non-elephant analogy: “I have suggested that we recognize these differences as being like
different views we get of Mars through seeing it with different color filters. They complement one another and all are needed
to gain a full-spectrum picture of the multidimensional nature of [Second Language Acquisition].”
5. A Possible Model of Second Language Acquisition: My Newer Theory
Here’s a hypothesis:
1) What is provided by Nature? Everyone is born with a language specific hard-wired learning device such as
hypothesized by Chomsky which exists in the brain as a result of thousands of years of evolution. Like the discussion of what
neuroscientists are discovering about the brain and mathematical learning which I’ll discuss below, the “messy, random
process” of evolution has resulted in a complex intermingling of language circuitry with other brain functions, making our
sorting out of where this “hard-wiring” is and how it functions even harder to identify. You have this for your whole life and
it allows you to learn not only aspects of your first language but any additional languages, including learning languages as an
2) What is provided by Nurture? I’m hypothesizing that behaviorists were also always right about the learning of
particular aspects of language e.g. function words and inflections, and that these aspects of language are learned from input
and interaction in a more or less stimulus-response conditioning manner such as hypothesized by Skinner. Also I’m guessing
that this allows you to learn aspects of not only your first language, but any additional languages, including those learned as
3) How does Nature interact with Nurture? Of course, Piaget focused most on child development, and I think there will
turn out to be a good reason for this focus with regard to his concept of language learning. If I can continue with the idea of
Piaget’s learning model as a software program (when we discuss the brain more specifically below, you’ll see this isn’t quite
adequate), my guess is that since the function of Piaget’s general learning program is to allow child cognitive development, it
plays itself out and ceases with the onset of puberty. My hypothesis is that this learning program provides a boost to the
general learning achieved through a behaviorist stimulus response model. In other words, language learning which relies
heavily on input and interaction (e.g. the learning of function words, inflections, pronunciation, etc.) receives substantial
assistance from this general learning software between infancy and puberty. This additional assistance accounts for the
perfect acquisition of first and additional languages by children who receive sufficient exposure. This software would “run
out” at puberty, and this would account for the effects of the “Critical Period” proposed by Lenneberg.
6. Factors that Matter More in Second Language Acquisition than First Language Acquisition
The first group of factors affecting second language acquisition involves internal differences between first and second
language acquisition. Obviously, a big consideration here is how knowing a first language affects the learning of a second. At
the brain level the questions include: Is the same brain circuitry involved in learning a second language? It seems that the
answer will be “No” or at least “not completely.” Another question involves where the second language is stored. Is there an
overlap between first and second languages? For example, if the languages are Spanish and English, how are the lexicons
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stored? Do the words casa and house share a single storage point? Are they organized with words from their respective
languages, but these words are co-indexed somehow? Moreover, if parameters have been set for L1, how are they reset for
L2? If the Spanish parameter for no required subject pronoun has been set, how will the brain add a contradictory setting for
English? Furthermore, how is processing first one language and then another achieved as language acquisition proceeds?
Additionally, if L2 is typologically very different from L1 (say Spanish and Chinese) does restructuring of the brain proceed
in a different way than if L2 and L1 are similar (say Spanish and Italian)? Also, age is a significant internal biological factor.
Not only may there be fewer learning processes available to the older learner of a second language, but conversely the older
learner may profitably take greater advantage of already developed analytic abilities.
The second group of factors affecting second language acquisition more than 1rst language acquisition involves external
differences between the two. Social contexts of second language acquisition can be quite different, as can the effect of
social factors on learning. As Saville-Troike points out typically, motivation, issues of identity, and the relevant status of L1
and L2 in either a national or global context are considerations which have important consequences for second language
acquisition. Additionally, institutional requirements, and the institutional constraints imposed on learners are relevant to
much second language acquisition. Furthermore, in a social context, biological factors such as age, and sex, and also group
categories like ethnicity, educational level, occupation and economic status affect the learning of second languages. In my
opinion, to date, research into external factors has yielded more useful data for the teaching of ESL than any research into
the internal factors of second language acquisition.
7. Applying These Views to Education: Lessons from Another Field
In March of this year, The New Yorker published an essay which I found both comforting and scary. Called “Numbers
Guy: Are Our Brains Wired for Math?,” the author of this “Annals of Science” piece, Jim Holt, describes the research of the
Paris-based neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene. Paralleling the breakthroughs in language-brain mapping that began with the
nineteenth-century work of Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke, Dehaene studied a brain-damaged patient who was exhibiting a
number processing deficiency grouped under the general name “acalculia.” Acalculia is to math difficulties what aphasia is
to language problems.
In the late 1980’when Stanislas Dehaene first brought the language -brain mapping successes of the American cognitive
psychologist Michael Posner to the attention of Dehaene’s Ph.D. advisor, his advisor wasn’t interested. Focusing on
determining the abstract organization of cognitive functions, Dehaene’s doctoral advisor “didn’t see the point of trying to
locate precisely where in the brain things happened” (Holt 2008, 44). In my opinion, this is a shortsightedness regrettably
often seen among both researchers and educators interested in second language acquisition.
His advisor, notwithstanding, Dehaene has become a pioneer in a field called “numerical cognition.” Not surprisingly,
in the context of our current discussion, these neuroscientists, in the words of Holt (2008, 43), are also “puzzling over which
aspects of our mathematical ability are innate and which are learned and how the two systems overlap and affect each other.”
In case Piaget’s compromise position with regard to the Nature/Nurture debate outlined above sounded like a happy
solution, the evidence from applying Piaget’s theories to mathematics education provides a sobering lesson. Holt (2008, 45)
castigates the “new math” teaching methodology (I can’t remember much of it, but I was taught this in the Madison school
system), “now widely thought to have been an educational disaster” both in the US and abroad. Holt explains:
The new math was grounded in the theories of the influential Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, who believed that
children are born without any sense of number and only gradually build up the concept in a series of developmental
stages. . . . and that there was therefore no point in trying to teach them arithmetic before the age of six or
seven . . . .By now it is generally agreed that infants come equipped with a rudimentary ability to perceive and
If I found it comforting to know that it’s not only the linguists and psychologists who are still tackling the basic
questions regarding Nature vs. Nurture, I found it worrisome to reflect on the innocent faith in experts which apparently led
countless educators to “do the wrong thing” in the classroom. This has, of course, been the experience of countless other
educators, from my babysitter Peggy no doubt to myself and other ESL teachers, as I’ll illustrate below.
8. Science to the Rescue
What’s the problem here? How could essentially the same debate continue for two millennia, and how could the
modern research of decades provide educators with so little to go on? To paraphrase the first Clinton campaign: the short
answer: “It’s the brain, stupid.”
The good news is that the gross mapping of lesion sites with both linguistic and mathematical aberrations has in just the
last decade or so been superseded by the sophisticated technologies of MRI’s, Magnetic Resonance Imaging methods, and
the like. And although our picture of what is going on is still relatively crude for example, the same spot in the brain might
light up for two tasks but different neurons could be involved for each one—such technology has the capability of
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supporting or refuting details of models proposed for theoretical reasons. In the words of Dehaene, “Psychology has become a
little more like physics” (Holt 2008, 45).
Over the last few years, neuroscientists such as Judith Rapaport at the National Institute of Health and Paul Thompson at
UCLA have been using MRI’s to track the growth and changes in the brain from infancy to puberty. Rapaport states “One of the
things we were able to find out, almost at once, was how unexpected the findings are . . . just by following a normative
population,” i.e. not looking at aphasia patients but doing MRI’s on normal individuals (De Francesco 2002, 2). An important
finding of Rapaport’s team is that development is uneven across the brain. For example, different parts of the brain reach their
peak in terms of volume or growth at different ages. Thompson’s color-coded MRI mapping of children’s growing brains
illustrates a complex pattern of growth and loss. In particular, Thompson and his colleagues found an unexpected wave of tissue
growth which spread from the front to the back of the brain. They found that the frontal brain circuits which control attention
and are responsible for learning new skills and being able to think ahead underwent their greatest growth period in children
between the ages of three and six (DeFrancesco 2002,.3; PBS 2002, 2). As the brain continued to change, key reorganization
was evident in the MRI’s of children of approximately 7 to 11 years of age. Between the ages of 11 and 15, the region known to
house language centers underwent a rapid growth spurt and then declined abruptly. This, of course, may be an important reason
for the perceived differences in child and adult language learning which motivated hypotheses regarding a critical period which
ends around puberty, referred to above. In a PBS interview, Thompson reports that “Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was how
much tissue the brain loses in the teen years. Just before puberty, children lost up to 50 percent of their brain tissue in their deep
motor nuclei [which] control motor skills such as writing, sports, or piano” (PBS 2002, 2—3) Thompson and his colleagues’
work has been compiled in a “brain atlas,” which you can access on the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging UCLA website
(www.loni.ucla.edu) and Thompson 2000 (reproduced on the same site), which show color brain scans which are the first maps
of brain growth in individuals and teens.
In the same PBS interview, William Greenough, a neuroscientist at the Center for Advanced Study at the University of
The principle news based on both newer techniques like fMRI and other technologies is that the brain is a very dynamic
place and continues to be so throughout development and even into adulthood. New synaptic connections continue to form
between neurons throughout life. Patterns of myelination [the process by which brain cells are covered with a fatty white
substance called myelin, which aids in the transmission of information between cells], while perhaps most dynamic from
early development through adolescence, continue to change at least into the 4th decade of life. . . . Perhaps most exciting is
that at least some regions of the brain continue to generate new neurons in adulthood, and those neurons appear to
participate in the learning and memory process (PBS 2002, 2).
Kurt Fischer, director of the Mind, Brain and Education Program at Harvard points to how much still remains to be
Most of the recent advances in brain science have involved knowledge of the biology of single neurons and synapses, not
knowledge of patterns of connection and other aspects of the brain as a system. In time, the new imaging techniques will
help scientist and educators to understand how brain and behavior work together, but we have a very long way to go (PBS
9. Conclusion: What to do in the Meantime; What to Take to the Classroom
A graduate student and ESL teacher in the Puerto Rico school system told me this semester that educational policy now
favors an eclectic approach to teaching methods. This was good news. I remember teaching Language Acquisition not so long
ago to graduate students who told me that the Department of Education had required them to go out and buy one of Stephen
Krashen’s books, The Input Hypothesis, if I’m remembering correctly, and apply it to their ESL teaching because he had been in
Puerto Rico presenting this theory. This was just one of a series of five theories that Krashen put forth—that very fact tells you
that his ideas were not writ in stone—and these hypotheses were merely in the process of being tested out by him and other
linguists to mixed results. In fact, Rod Ellis’s award-winning 800-plus page survey of the study of second language acquisition
(1994, 685) which I referred to above specifically points to Krashen’s infamous Monitor Theory as an example of the way in
which second language acquisition theories “slip slowly and gently into oblivion.” As the Piaget- new math disaster illustrates,
it has been dangerous to adapt teaching methods to the theorizing of even scholars of greater renown, and some would say with
a better track record too, than some of the Second Language Acquisition theoreticians who have influenced teaching
Moreover, if as appears likely, second language acquisition involves multiple structures in the brain and both language
specific and general learning processes—and. in the latter case, it appears some which continue beyond childhood and some
which don’t—surely language teaching would have to rely on multiple methods to capitalize on all of these factors. In fact, I
think that the success of some of the computer programmed teaching, especially supplementing face to face language use, is to a
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great extent a result of the variety built into the tasks of the computer learning programs and the eclectic nature of the second
language instruction that’s offered.
Therefore, whether you prefer the analogy of the blind men and the elephant or the multi-lenses with which to view Mars,
it’s my firm belief that we let theorizing and even empirical research designed to test second language acquisition theories
intrude on teaching methodology at our peril. On the contrary, it will be the eclectic, multi-task methods drawn from the
classroom experience of generations of ESL teachers, combined with the more recent stunning technological breakthroughs,
that will prove to be the source of successful, innovative ESL teaching for years to come.
[The paper concluded with an eight-minute excerpt of a PBS DVD entitled “The Secret Life of the Brain,” which included
the study of the brain of a child learning both Spanish and English, cited below.]
Albuyeh, Ann. “The Constituent Analysis Theory of Complexity.” Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1985.
Akmajian, Adrian, et al. Linguistics: an Introduction to Language and Communication, 5th ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
Chomsky, Noam. “Review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior.” Language 35 (1959): 26—58.
Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought. New York: Harper and Row, 1966.
Coburn, Kathleen., ed. Inquiring Spirit: A Coleridge Reader. London: Minerva Press, 1951.
Cook, Vivian. Chomsky’s Universal Grammar. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988.
Dąbrowska, Ewa. Language, Mind, and Brain: Some Psychological, and Neurological Constraints on Theories of Grammar.
Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2004.
DeFrancesco, Laura. “Watching How the Brain Grows: MRI Offers New Insights into Brain Development.” The Scientist
16:27 (February 4, 2002), 6 pages. http://www.loni.ucla.edu/~thompson/MEDIA/PNAS/thescientist.html/ [June 11,
Ellis, Rod. The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994
Field, John. Psycholinguistics: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge, 2004.
Griffiths, Roger. “Speech Rate and NNS Comprehension: a Preliminary Study in Time-Benefit Analysis. Language Learning,
40 (1990): 311—36.
Holt, Jim. “Numbers Guy: Are Our Brains Wired for Math?” The New Yorker, March 3, 2008, 42—7.
Krashen, Stephen. The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. London: Longman, 1985.
Long, Michael. “Assessment Strategies for SLA Theories.” Applied Linguistics, 14 (1993): 225—49.
Lust, Barbara and Claire Foley, eds. First Language Acquisition: The Essential Readings. London: Blackwell Publishing
[check, now part of Wiley], 2004.
Malmkjaer, Kirsten, ed. The Linguistics Encyclopedia. London: Routledge, 1991.
Mitchell, Rosamund and Florence Miles. Second Language Learning Theories, 2nd ed. London: Hodder Arnold, 2004.
PBS Online and WGBH/Frontline. “How Much Do We Really Know about the Brain?” Frontline: Inside the Teenage Brain.
2002. Reported in http://www,loni.ucla.edu/~thompson/MEDIA/PNAS/pbs_brain_interview.html/ [ June 11, 2008].
Piatteli-Palmarini, Massimo. Language and Learning: The Debate between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1980.
Saville-Troike, Muriel. Introducing Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006
The Secret Life of the Brain, prod. by David Grubin, 5 hours, PBS, 2002, DVD.
Skinner, B. F. Verbal Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1957.
Tarnas, Richard. The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View. New York:
Harmony Books, 1991.
Thompson, Paul, et al. “Growth Patterns in the Developing Human Brain Detected Using Continuum-Mechanical Tensor
Mapping.” Nature 404 (March 9, 2000), 190-193. http://www.loni.ucla.edu/~thompson/JAY/nature_paper.html/. [June 11,
P R T E S O L - G R A M
PRTESOL 2008 Elections
Meet the Regional Chapter Boards
During the Convention each regional chapter held meetings and events including elections. It is vital that every
member attend his or her chapter meeting. Find your chapter below and make sure you take an active role in all
your chapter’s activities.
President: Dr. Evelyn Lugo, Universidad
del Este, Carolina
President: Dr. Gladys Cruz,
Bayamón Campus website: http://
NORTHERN CHAPTER SOUTHERN CHAPTER
President: Carla Rodríguez, Student President: Celeste Morales, University of
Inter American University, Arecibo Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus
email: firstname.lastname@example.org email: email@example.com
WESTERN CHAPTER CAGUAS
President: Prof. Enrique Chaparro, President: Denise Ferrer, Department of
Manuel Morales Feliciano Elementary, Education
email: firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Professor Idia Rodríguez González, of the University of Puerto
Rico in Arecibo (UPRA) died on Friday, January 23, 2009 of
pancreatic cancer. Idia had been a long-time member of
PRTESOL and a member of the committee that revived the
Northern PRTESOL Chapter in 1990. She later served as
President of the Northern Chapter from 1994-96. Idia also
served as Higher Ed representative and was a familiar face
both as attendee and workshop presenter at many a PRTESOL
conference throughout the years. Before her illness, she had
been director of the Honor program at UPRA and had been
coordinating The Center for Faculty Development at the
Arecibo campus. Totally involved in campus life, she served
from 2000-2003 as Academic Senator and from 1996 to 2000,
she was director of the English Department as well as a
member of the Administrative Board.
The University and the English Department benefited
enormously from Idia’s service as a professor, administrator,
and colleague. She was a versatile and dynamic professor who
served on numerous committees within the University. She was a
vibrant and resourceful colleague who will be sorely missed.
Professor Rodríguez had a Master’s Degree in secondary education from the University of
Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. She is survived by her husband, Edgardo Cabán and her two sons
Edgardo and Leonardo. Her funeral was held on Sunday, January 25 in Arecibo.
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Teach Me How to Laugh: Humor in the Teaching-Learning Experience
Luz Estrella Méndez Del Valle, PhD
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
Proverbs 17: 22
Humor through time, has been considered an important factor in human socialization (Pollak and Freda 1; Cassidy 1;
Granick 74). It has the capability of easing an individual’s daily routine, and making life more bearable during moments of
great strain (Goldstein and McGhee xiii; Granick 73; Millicent 268). Research reveals that humor can reduce the negative
feelings that provoke sickness, tension, and stress burnouts (Cousins 1979; Check 1997; Laurence and Dana 1982; Coleman
1992; Ziegler 1998; McMahon 1999; Cornett 2001; Lawson 2001; Weaver and Cotrell 2001; Olsson 2002). Because of this,
many researchers have suggested the presence of humor in the classroom setting. According to their findings, humorous
classroom interactions reduce the anxiety students confront when being exposed to rigorous study and unknown concepts
(Monnot and Kite 1974; Gomes de Matos 1974; Trachtenberg 1979; Maurice 1988; Deniere 1995; Khelr et al.1999; Thorne
1999; Korobkin 1988). Moreover, many students consider a good sense of humor as one of the most important characteristics a
teacher should have (Pollack and Freda 1; Berk 4).
Hence, the purpose of this particular study was to briefly review the definitions, theories and taxonomies concerning
the concept of humor offered by various researchers (Robinson 1977; Morreall 1983; Glasser 1986; Granick 1995; Long and
Graesser 1998; Ziegler 1998; Cornett 2001; Schmitz 2002). The investigation focused on how humor affects the classroom
setting, and how it is used as a motivational tool in teaching (Vizmuller 1980; Koestler 1964; Nilsen 1999; Minchew 2001).
Through the use of a brief questionnaire, this study examined how a specific group of college professors teaching at a campus
located in the central mountain region of Puerto Rico used and perceived humor in their classroom interactions. The study
objective was to assess these college professors’ perceptions and usage of humor in order to reaffirm what other studies have
stated: humor is also a powerful motivational instrument for college level instruction (Cohen and Herr 1982; Moses 1985;
Lowman 1994; White 2001).
1. College teaching dynamics have dramatically evolved from the strict monotonous lecture to the energetic
interaction of thought, creativity and technology (Korobkin 1988).
2. Humor has not weakened the educator’s standing. On the contrary, teachers have become strong role models that
use humor to transform their teaching strategies, enhance the classroom setting, and the way in which their students
view the world (Khelr et al. 1999). Sixty-five percent (65%) of the respondents admitted using types of humor in
their classroom interaction.
3. Personal experience (93%) and funny anecdote (93%) were preferred in general as a group and by gender.
4. Gender differences showed that women were more willing to make fun of themselves in front of their students
contrary to men. On the other hand, sarcasm (15%) was rejected by all respondents (Ziegler 1998; Sudol 1981).
5. Sixty-four percent (64%) of the respondents used various media channels for humorous interaction in their
classrooms. Books (90%) and articles/news prints (85%) were preferred by group and gender.
6. The findings on the whole disclosed the faculty’s perceptions on the effects humor has in their teaching dynamics.
Eighty-five (85%) of the participants stated that humor should be used to: relieve stress, motivate, create a healthy
environment, promote thinking and gain attention. Humor as a mechanism to discipline students negative attitudes,
developing students’ self-image, helping students understand other cultures and handling unpleasant situations was
totally rejected by the respondents.
Overall, humor wisely used has the capacity of changing poor pupils into outstanding achievers.
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Berk, Ronald. Professors are from Mars and Students are from Snickers. Virginia: Stylus Publishing, 2003.
Cassidy, A. “And Then the Elephant Said…” Parent Magazine 71 (1996): 96 – 98.
Check, John. “Humor in Education.” Physical Educator. 54.3 (1997): 165 – 168.
Cohen, P, and G. Herr. “Using an Interactive Feedback Procedure to College Teaching.” Teaching of Psychology. 138 (1982):
Coleman Jr., Gordon. “All Seriousness Aside: The Laughing-Learning Connection.” International Journal of Instructional
Media. 19.3 (1992): 1-7.
Cornett, Claudia. Learning through Laughter: Humor in the Classroom. Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation,
Cousins, Norman. Anatomy of an Illness Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration. New York:
Deniere, Marc. “Humor and Foreign Language Teaching.” International Journal of Humor Research. 8.3 (1995): 285 – 298.
Glasser, William. Control Theory in the Classroom. New York: Harper and Row, 1986.Goldstein, J., and McGhee, P. The
Psychology of Humor: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Issues. New York: Academic Press, 1972.
Gomes de Matos, Francisco. “Humo(u)r, A Neglected Feature in Foreign Language Teaching.” Creativity: New Ideas in
Language Teaching. 8 (1974): 1-2.
Granick, S. “The Therapeutic Value of Laughter.” USA Today. 124 (Sept. 1995): 72-74.
Khelr, Neeleam, Susan Molstad, and Roberta Donahue. “Using Humor in College Classroom to Enhance Teaching
Effectiveness in Dread Courses.” College Student Journal. 33.3 (1999): 400 – 407.
Koestler, Arthur. The Act of Creation. London: Hutchinson, 1964.
Korobkin, Debra. “Humor in the Classroom: Considerations and Strategies.” College Teaching. 36.4 (1988): 154- 158
Laurence, Peter, and Bill Dana. The Laughter Prescription. New York: Ballantine Books, 1982.
Lawson, Wendy. “Engaging with Humor.” Adult Learning. 12.8 (2001): 1- 4. The Living Bible. London: Tyndale House,
Long, Deborah, and Arthur Graesser. “Wit and Humor in Discourse Processing.” Discourse Processing. 11 (1988): 35-60.
McMahon, Maureen. “Are We Having Fun Yet? Humor in the English Classroom.” English Journal. 88.4 (1999): 70 – 72.
Maurice, Keith. Laugh while Learning another Language: Technologies that are Functional and Funny. English Teaching
Forum. 26.4.2 (1988): 20-24.
Millicent, Abel. “Interaction of Humor and Gender in Moderating Relationships Between Stress and Outcomes.” Journal of
Psychology. 132.3 (1998): 267 – 277.
Minchew, Sue. “Teaching English with Humor and Fun.” American Secondary Education. 30.1 (2001): 58 – 65.
Monnot, Michel and Jon Kite. “Puns and Games: Paronomasia in the ESL Classroom.”TESOL Quarterly. 8.1 (1974): 65-71.
Morreall, John. Taking Laughter Seriously. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983.
Moses, I. “High Quality Teaching in a University: Identification and Description.” Studies in Higher Education. 10 (1985):
Nilsen, Aileen, and Don Nilsen. “The Straw Man Meets His Match: Six Arguments for Studying Humor in the English
Classroom.” English Journal. 88.4 (1999): 34-42.
Pollack, Judy, and Paul Freda. “Humor, Learning and Socialization in Middle Level Classroom.” Clearing House 00098655,
70.4 (1997): 1- 5.
Robinson, Vera. Humor and the Health Profession. New Jersey: Charles B. Slack, 1977. Schmitz, John. “Humor as a
Pedagogical Tool in Foreign Language and Translation Courses.” Humor. 15-1 (2002): 89-113.
Sudol, David. “Dangers of Classroom Humor.” English Journal. (1981): 26-28.
Thorne, Michael. “Using Irony in Teaching the History of Psychology.” Teaching of Psychology. 26.3 (1999): 222- 225.
Trachtenberg, Susan. “Joke Telling as a Tool in ESL.” English Teaching Forum. 13.1 (1979): 89-99.
Vizmuller, Jana. “Psychological Reasons for Using Humor in a Pedagogical Setting.” The Canadian Modern Language
Review. 36.2 (1980): 266-271.
Weaver, Richard, and Howard Cotrell. “Ten Specific Techniques for Developing Humor in the Classroom Setting.”
Education. 108. 2 (2001): 167- 179.
White, Gayle. “Teacher’s Report of How They Used Humor with Student’s Perceived Use of Such Humor.” Education. 122.2
(2001): 337 – 348.
Ziegler, John. “Use of Humor in Medical Teaching.” Medical Teacher. 20.4 (1998): 341-344.
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The 35th Annual PRTESOL in Pictures
Exibitors made available a wide range of materials and resources Regional chapters met and elected new leadership.
Hundreds of teachers met at the Gran Melia Hotel and Resort for two dynamic days of professional renewal.
Workshops gave teachers effective tools they can use. Exhibitors eager to help teachers.
The 2008 PRTESOL Board of Directors conclude a successful year.
P R T E S O L - G R A M
The 35th Annual PRTESOL in Pictures
An excellent lunch is the perfect
time for participants to share with
new friends or renew friendships
with former classmates and
Professor Inocencia Nieves,
winner of the Lifetime
Achievement Award, is
congratulated by Prof.
Participants had the opportunity
to choose from over 60
workshops, and they also
enjoyed two excellent keynote
speakers, Dr. Mario Herrera and
Dr. Rosalind Porter.
Some of the
prizes at the
P R T E S O L - G R A M
B. At least one general mee1ng, known as the
Annual Conven1on, will be held each year.
C. The membership will be no1ﬁed of the program
for the general mee1ng at least 30 days prior to
the scheduled date.
D. Members present will cons1tute quorum.
The Bylaws of Puerto Rico TESOL E. The agenda of the business mee1ng shall be
distributed to the membership at the annual
An Aﬃliate of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other
I. Name: The name of this Organiza1on is Puerto
Rico TESOL (PRTESOL), an aﬃliate of TESOL
(Teachers of English to Speakers of Other A. Oﬃcers of PRTESOL are the President, Vice‐
Languages) President, and Immediate Past‐President.
B. They must be members of PRTESOL and TESOL
C. The oﬃcers of PRTESOL and the Execu1ve
PRTESOL, incorporated by the Puerto Rico State
Secretary, the Membership Secretary, and the
Department under the Ley General de
Treasurer shall compose the Execu1ve
Corporaciones para el Estado Libre Asociado de
Puerto Rico (January 9, 1956), is a non‐proﬁt
professional Organiza1on that is dedicated to: D. The term of oﬃce for the President, Vice
President, and the Immediate Past President is
1. promo1ng scholarship and professional
the period established in Ar1cle XIV.
E. The terms of oﬃce for the Treasurer, Execu1ve
2. providing opportuni1es for study and research;
Secretary, and Membership Secretary are
3. dissemina1ng informa1on and research on the
established in Ar1cle XIV.
teaching of English to speakers of other
F. The elected and appointed oﬃcers shall
perform du1es as prescribed in Ar1cle XIV.
4. w o r k i n g c o o p e r a 1 v e l y t o w a r d s t h e
improvement of instruc1on in all programs
which seek to provide students with the VI. Board of Directors
opportunity to become proﬁcient English A. It shall consist of the President, Vice‐President,
language learners; Immediate Past‐President, ﬁve representa1ves
5. coordina1ng informa1on with the local, elected by the total membership, the Regional
stateside, and interna1onal professional Chapter Presidents or Vice‐Presidents, the
organiza1ons with similar goals; Execu1ve Secretary, the Membership Secretary,
t h e Tr e a s u r e r, t h e C o m m u n i c a 1 o n ’s
6. promo1ng the recogni1on of English as an
Chairperson, Sponsorship Chairperson and the
addi1onal language tool for communica1on,
Publishers’ Liaison. The last six, all appointed by
and not as a supplan1ng means of expression at
the Board, have a voice but no vote on the
the expense of the second language learner’s
Board of Directors.
na1ve language and culture.
B. The elected members shall serve terms of oﬃce
speciﬁed in Ar1cle XIV and may not hold more
than one vo1ng posi1on on the Board.
A. Membership in PRTESOL is open to all who are
C. The ﬁve elected representa1ves on the Board
concerned with the teaching of English to
shall represent the Organiza1on’s membership
speakers of other languages.
a s a w h o l e b u t s h a l l b e c h o s e n a s
B. All paid‐up individual or joint members are
representa1ves of the following professional
en1tled to vote in elec1ons and be admiWed to
areas: Elementary Educa1on, Secondary
all mee1ngs held by PRTESOL.
Educa1on, Higher Educa1on, Private School,
C. Representa1ves of ins1tu1onal members enjoy and Student Representa1ve (ESL or teacher
all membership privileges except vo1ng. training. This person must have an ac1ve
D. Membership shall be for twelve months. program of 12 undergraduate credits or 6
D. Only PRTESOL members who are English
IV. General MeeHngs
Educators or students of English Educa1on may
A. A general mee1ng is one in which the total
form part of the Board of Directors.
membership is invited to aWend.