June 9, 2009
Source: Piedmont 2008

Boldt, Heather.
ESL Program, The Graduate School


Project Summary

I think my course project was relatively straightforward because I was able to take the theme of sustainability
and work it into an existing ESL graduate course, ESL 516. This course is the final class in a required sequence for
graduate students whose first language is other than English and who did not place out of Emory’s ESL program.
Since the course objectives, in terms of improving communication skills, were already set, all I had to do was
incorporate the sustainability theme into the tasks. That being said, when I sat down to actually design the course,
despite my very rewarding experience in the two-day Piedmont Project workshop, writing the syllabus and planning
the schedule became just one of many things to cross off my “to-do” list. So, my advice regarding how to keep
things fresh and exciting is to be creative! I can’t tell you how much adding an activity designed around one of my
favorite songs energized me (see below for lyrics to the song). Another piece of advice is to take good notes during
the workshop sessions. I referred back to my notes on numerous occasions, to find articles that a speaker had
mentioned or just to scan for ideas that I had regarding what to add to the course. As for any major challenges, I
think they are still to come. As you will see when you read the syllabus and the daily schedule, each student will
choose a focus within the broader theme of “sustainability.” Since there is such a sea of information on this topic,
I’m afraid that they may be overwhelmed at first. Although I’ve created a bank of articles to get them started, if I
teach the course again, I may have to narrow the focus from the outset. This time, however, I’m just going to let the
students go with their interests and see what happens.

Download: Boldt.pdf (206.5 KB)

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