English Language Specialist Claire Bradin Siskin traveled to Thailand and Malaysia for approximately two weeks to give several presentations and workshops at ThaiTESOL, engage with English Language Fellows in the region, and conduct teacher training workshops in several different locations around Malaysia. Siskin was the plenary speaker at this year’s ThaiTESOL speaking on the conference theme: Digital Literacy in English Language Learning and Teaching. Siskin also participated in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) English Language Fellows’ midyear conference in Chiang Mai. Siskin had surveyed EL Fellows about their use of technology, learning that the EAP group faces some particular challenges—so where technology lectures often trumpet strategies for excelling with the Internet, Siskin offered a different twist: “Strategies for Coping with the Internet.”
After her work in Thailand was completed, Siskin moved on to Malaysia, where she conducted two-day events in three more locales. She spoke to primary- and secondary-school teachers in the cities of Terengganu and Kuching, then addressed university instructors and graduate students in Tanjung Malim. Siskin spoke on topics that included differentiated instruction, critical thinking, blended learning, and the use of technology to teach culture. The teachers had opportunities to try out the suggested techniques themselves and to create activities for their own classes. In her interactions with the teachers, Siskin found that while they often had Internet access, their lack of familiarity with useful Internet resources held them back. She saw great enthusiasm from both younger and older teachers as she introduced them to sites and tools for mobile-assisted language learning, digital literacy, and social networking. Siskin felt that this project and its numerous components were a success and was flooded with requests from workshop participants for her presentation slides and materials to be shared with the wider community.
Claire Bradin Siskin has taught ESL for 17 years and was the director of the ESL Writing Online Workshop (ESL-WOW) Project at Excelsior College in Albany, New York. She recently completed a 3-year term on the Board of Directors of TESOL International; she currently serves on the editorial boards of both Computer Assisted Language Learning Journal and CALICO Journal.