2 months ago

Word TravELS 011 July - December 2017

ELS Programs Two APPEMI

ELS Programs Two APPEMI Cohorts L aughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.” When asked to reflect upon the APPEMI groups in the latter half of 2017, Dr. Pamela Young responds with the quote above by Oscar Wilde. “The CSC group laughed together from their first meeting to their graduation.” The Advanced Professional Program in English- Medium Instruction (APPEMI) is headed by Pam, the Academic Team Lead for APPEMI. Pam is the face, voice, mastermind, and trained dart-throwing ninja of APPEMI. (More details on the ninja bit to follow.) Between July and December of 2017, two cohorts with vastly different backgrounds and characteristics participated in APPEMI: the China Scholarship Council (CSC) cohort from China and the Universidad Tecnológica (UTEC) cohort from Uruguay. The CSC cohort included professors from a wide range of research areas—from Thermal Engineering to Comparative Literature; from Clinical Acupuncture to Information Management and Information Technology; from Teaching of Chinese as a Foreign Language to English Education; from Aquatic Animal Nutrition and Physiology to Accounting, just to name a few. So what do you get when you put brilliant yet diverse minds into the same room? As it turns out: a lot of laughter. At least that was the case for the CSC cohort. Pam recalls, “When they introduced themselves to each other…during their program orientation, one of the young men, whose name was Rui, said that ‘Rui’ meant ‘wisdom’ in Mandarin. Later in the introductions, a woman said that her name was Rui Rui, then added that this showed she was twice as wise as ‘Single Ray.’ Everyone laughed, and the nickname ‘Single Ray’ stuck, a gentle poke at the young man’s ‘less wise,’ as well as his unmarried, status.” “When I arrived to teach a class with this group, I could often hear them talking and laughing from a long way down the hall. During presentations by their colleagues, laughter was also common - not in a mean way, but in the spirit of enjoying each other’s company.” “Another characteristic of this group was their cohesion and support of each other,” Pam continues. “They helped each other out with language challenges, and gave helpful feedback to each other’s work.” The APPEMI classes for the CSC cohort were all delivered on campus at UAlberta. The participants had the time and opportunity to explore both the university and the city. In fact, one of the professors, a professor of musicology and master qin player—a qin is a traditional Chinese string instrument—had the opportunity W o r d T r a v E L S | 8

to guest perform with the Edmonton Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra at their concert and to also perform in a well-received solo lunch-hour concert at the Faculty of Extension. In contrast, the APPEMI classes for the UTEC cohort were delivered in a very different manner: online and in person. The cohort consisted of six “English language teachers in the same department…They too had a cohesive spirit,” Pam notes. The cohort may be from the same department, but they were not all on the same continent. “I taught them an instructional design course online,” explains Pam, “and they beamed into my office from their homes throughout Uruguay, as well as the U.K. and the U.S., where two of them were involved in other professional development activities. the teaching practices in nine classes, talked to the instructors of those classes about their experience teaching in English, and to undergraduate and graduate students about their experiences of learning content in English.” And yes, Wakayama is where Pam received ninja dartthrowing and camouflage training. In complete secrecy, of course. The dynamism and agility in how APPEMI can be delivered is unique amongst programs at the English Language School. Who knows, perhaps “APPEMI for Ninjas” might not be that far-fetched of an idea after all. “When I travelled to Montevideo to teach the lesson planning course, four of them learned with me faceto-face, while the other two participated via video. It was great to get to know them after our virtual introduction to each other, and they even took care of me when I didn’t feel well during the teaching gig.” APPEMI in Uruguay was not Pam’s first overseas “gig.” She has previously delivered similar courses in China, and was invited to a one-week observation visit at Wakayama University, Japan. Pam adds, “I observed W o r d T r a v E L S | 9