20th ARTESOL Annual Convention
English for More Effective Participation in our Global Society
August 11-12, 2006
Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto, Cordoba, Argentina
M.A. in TESOL Instructor of English at the English Language Studies Department of The New School University in New York.
Keynote Speaker sponsored by Public Affairs Section of the U. S. Embassy
Areas of Specialization
ESP, Critical Thinking, Business, Economics, University, Secondary, Young Learners, K-8, Materials Development and Teacher Education.
Kathryn Koop has been teaching a variety of language, literature and business communication courses at the English Language Studies Department of The New School University since 1992. In 2003 she received a grant from the U.S. State Department for development of the Books in a Box Project. She has had Fulbright Fellowships to Yugoslavia (’89) and Kazakhstan (’99 and ’02) and has also participated in numerous teacher-training and business-related projects in China, Russia, France, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Panama, and many countries in Central America
and Eastern Europe. Much of her work overseas involves professional development for teachers of English in meeting their students’ changing needs for English as the International Language of Communication.
In 2002 she served as editor and advisor for a series of ESP Workbooks with colleagues from the ESP Department of the Faculty of Philology, University of Skopje, Macedonia. She has also been working with a group of Russian textbook writers in a novel American Studies Textbook Project slated for publication this year.
Prior to coming to The New School, Ms. Koop taught at Ramapo College of New Jersey where she was also the Associate Director of the Center for Pluralism and coauthored “Guide to Students and Families of the New Immigration”.
Beyond EFL: English as the International Language of Communication
In the teaching of English as a Foreign Language, the focus was usually on grammar, vocabulary, literature and culture. Students studied English to be teachers or translators, or for further education. But in our changing world, English has taken on a different role, that of the International Language of Communication. Although the initial move toward English may have been business, probably the real force behind all of this is the progress of technology…computers and the internet. The world connects through English. Just one of the results of this is that there are now more nonnative speakers of English than native speakers in the world. English has become the means for communicating meaningful content in our global society.
Using Authentic Materials in the Language Learning Classroom
Integrating authentic materials (items not made specifically for the teaching of English) into the English language teaching curriculum can enhance the development of communicative and critical thinking skills. The evaluation of information and the communication of meaningful content are skills necessary for effective participation in our global society. When materials which are current and relevant to the students’ lives are brought into the classroom, the learning continues when the student leaves the classroom. Such items offer vocabulary and structures in common usage and motivate students to think and express their thoughts in English. This is the beginning of lifelong learning.
Why Teach Critical Thinking?
Our technical world and evolving global society is driving our need for more literate critical thinkers, especially for effective participation in the global economy. Thinking is driven not by answers, content information, but by questions. Questions force us to focus our attention on the most important points. Questions stimulate our thinking for defining problems and determining solutions. The real aim is to stimulate the thinking and asking of questions to generate further questions.
Reading and Writing and the Development of Critical Thinking Skills
Reading and writing skills are essential to the development of critical thinking skills and are key to being effective in our info-technological society. Constructing meaning from listening or reading is the basis of our cognitive ability. It is more than just mouthing back words if it becomes part of our understanding through reflection and evaluation.
Speaking and writing communicate the outcome of the response to question. Although listening and speaking are often the first response in communicating, reading and writing are an integral part of the process of engaging in “critical thinking” since they offer more time for evaluation, discourse, and dissertation