We are proud to bring you the 2017 Volume 33 (Spring) issue of MinneTESOL Journal. The theme weaving through the articles in this issue centers around understanding the complexities of the worlds of our ESL/EFL students and thus the English teaching profession. A critical element of the field is allowing individuals to share their stories, whether as language learners, teachers or as residents in a cultural community. The power of story is beautifully exemplified in the piece by Shegitu Kebede, the keynote speaker at the 2016 Minnesota English Learner Education Conference. She generously shares her life story from the war-torn country of Ethiopia, to the refugee camp in Kenya and to living in the United States as a refugee, where she has experienced great success, for example as the founder and president of Women International at the Well and co-owner of Flamingo Restaurant in St Paul, Minnesota. With her own creative examples of assisting other refugees, she encourages all of us to make a difference to individuals around us.
In addition to listening to and encouraging our students to develop their identities through sharing their stories, a critical task of ESL/EFL teachers in this current political climate is advocacy. We have two excellent articles equipping our readers with facts and sound strategies for countering hostile discourse toward refugees and immigrants. The first article is by Andrea Echelberger and is titled, “What Can I Do? Suggestions from an Allies and Advocates Panel Discussion.” The second article around advocacy is by Susan Ranney, who received the 2017 Harold B. Allen Award, and her article is titled “Bring Glove: Teaching and Advocacy Go Hand-in-Hand.” Teacher advocacy is important and difficult work. Karla Stone, another 2017 Harold B. Allen Award winner, engages the reader in a thoughtful and delightful narrative around the similarities between teaching and joga and offers ways that teachers can reflect and refine their practice. An example of advocacy from the EFL context comes from Mariya Gyendina and Rebeka Fergusson-Lutz, who created an EFL college culture course that incorporated a curriculum that aimed to provide students with a more complex understanding of the US culture and enable them to analyze other societies through a similarly critical lens.
In addition to the excellent content, this issue is special to us also because it is the last issue for which we will be serving as the Senior Co-Editors. We have truly enjoyed the last six years of publishing this great journal and making some changes to keep it fresh and relevant. We are forever thankful for all the great readers of this journal and the numerous professionals who have contributed to the journal through authoring pieces, reviewing articles and serving on the editorial board.
We are excited to announce the new MinneTESOL Journal Co-Editors! They are Jen Oullette-Schramm and Amy Hewett-Olatunde. You will hear more from them as they get going with their new assignment Both Jen and Amy have been involved with MinneTESOL and MinneTESOL Journal for years, as board members, authors, manuscript reviewers, and idea generators. We are thrilled that they have agreed to take the lead on the journal and are pleased to introduce them to you here.
Jen Ouellette-Schramm, Ed.D.
Jen is English as a Second Language Academics faculty at Riverland Community College and adjunct faculty at Hamline University. Her teaching and research focus on how developmental diversity and growth in adulthood shape distinct learning experiences among ESL learners and their teachers. Returning from a year as guest faculty with Freiburg University’s English department in Germany, she looks forward to bringing the innovative practices and scholarship of Minnesota’s ESL educators to the MinneTESOL readership.
Amy has been an English language (EL) teacher for the St. Paul Public Schools in St. Paul, Minnesota at LEAP High School since 1999. Amy has also taught adult, workforce, secondary, and post secondary graduate and undergraduate English learners and pre-service mainstream and EL teachers. In addition to her current role as a full-time EL teacher at LEAP High School, she has worked at Hamline University and the University of St. Thomas in the Advanced Degrees, Certificate, Licensure, Additional Licensure and CUE Program since 2007 both as a professor and supervisor. She serves on capstone and dissertation committees. In addition to these roles, she is the current past president of MinneTESOL. She is the 2015-16 MN Teacher of the Year, 2015 St. Paul Rotary Club Teacher of the Year, and 2015 Minnesota Monthly Magazine Teacher of the Year, and received the Land-o-Lakes/WNBA Lynx Aspiring Women Award in October of 2016.
Welcome aboard, Jen and Amy!
Anne Dahlman and Kim Johnson
MinneTESOL Journal Senior Co-Editors 2011-2017