Monthly Archives: September 2006

Pei-Yu Shih

The NNEST Caucus Member of the Month
September 2006
peiyushih
Pei-Yu Shih
peishih[at]dolphin[dot]upenn[dot]edu

Questions: Could you please tell us a bit about your linguistic, academic and professional background? How many languages do you know? How long have you been living in an English speaking country? Did you do your undergrad studies in the U.S. as well?

Pei-Yu: I earned my B.A. diploma in Taiwan and also took some credits for secondary education during the school year. Compared to other students in Taiwan, I was lucky to learn English earlier before attending junior high school. Later in my college years, I got a part-time job in teaching English to beginners. After being a part-time English teacher for three years, I decide to pursue my master degree in TESOL program, because I always feel I that need more than what I’ve known while teaching. Before coming to the U.S., I assisted my professor with her research in the field of teacher education. I constructed an E-portfolio to record my progress in taking secondary education courses. Though I learned German a little bit, I only speak Chinese, Taiwanese, and English fluently. Actually, I came to the U.S. and worked during the summer time for three months two years ago; however, this is my first time to study in a graduate program.

Question: What are your academic areas of interest? The most recent conference presentation(s)/ publication?

Pei-Yu: I’m interested in curriculum design, adult education, and literacy. In the past two years, I’ve been involved in learning the philosophy of whole language teaching. I’m always curious about how to integrate it into foreign language learning. I like the philosophy that Dr. Goodman proposes, but sometimes I would wonder whether it’s applicable in the context of second or foreign language education.

Question: How about our extracurricular hobbies and interests?

Pei-Yu: I enjoy going biking, playing badminton, and walking. Since I learn to play piano for two years only, I still love to spend some time on it when I feel that I need some music to fresh me up. Getting around with families is a great comfort to me.

Question: Do you have any future plans as a NNEST (personal and professional, long term or short term plans)?

Pei-Yu: At present, I’d like to enrich my profession in language learning and teaching. To be more practical, I’m now looking for some opportunities to teach English to adult learners while getting my degree. When I complete my M.A. degree, I will find a job and work for several years before I start pursuing a Ph.D.

Question: How did you initially become interested in NNESTs and their issues?

Pei-Yu: I got a part-time job in teaching English when I was a college student. I began to face lots of problems, such as why students can’t pronounce certain sounds correctly, or why some learners perform better than others. In order to know more about such issues, I took courses which were relevant to EFL and also participated in some workshops. I searched on TESOL website (http://www.tesol.org) and found out that there is a NNEST caucus – it’s very exciting to learn that there is a group of people who are interested in the same issue as I do.

Question: As an NNEST in the U.S., what have been your most vivid memories (positive/negative) in your academic and/or professional practices? If you were to name one single huge challenge for NNESTs in your context, what would that be?

Pei-Yu: I just began my M.A. degree this summer and was frustrated by my speaking performance. It’s not easy to find a part-time job here because most of them asked for native speakers.

Question: How would you describe the most important contributions of non-native speaker professionals to L2 learning/ teaching, and applied linguistics?

Pei-Yu: I would say that non-native speaker professionals are more likely to understand the needs and obstacles of foreign/second language learners. NNEST will be able to predict the possible situation that might happen in the classroom. Moreover, growing in the same background culture is a benefit to NNEST because they can explain certain ideas more precisely by comparing those to similarly existed concepts in their native language/culture. This comparison will smooth students’ anxiety in learning a new language.

Question: How did you get to know about NNEST Caucus?

Pei-Yu: I subscribed to the TESOL membership and got the chance to join in different TESOL groups. I like the issues that are related to my concern as being a NNEST.

Question: What are the things (if any) you would like to see the Caucus and its members initiate/do?

Pei-Yu: I would like to know more information about job searching or job lists on the Caucus. I believe it will be advantageous to those who are interested in working here.

Thank you, Pei-Yu!