Celebrating 50 years of teaching English, changing lives

Thursday, October 30, 2014
Photo of MATESOL students

Since 1964, SF State has played a significant role in teaching English to speakers of other languages, a field known as TESOL. The University’s Master of Arts program one of the nation’s oldest and largest in the subject, and it is as important as ever. More than 25.2 million U.S. residents — or 9 percent of the population — possess limited English proficiency, according to a 2011 survey by the Migration Policy Institute.

Alumni and faculty gathered in the Humanities Auditorium on October 17 to celebrate the TESOL graduate program’s 50th anniversary. Speakers and special guests included SF State President Leslie Wong, 2014 TESOL Teacher of the Year Ann Fontanella and current and emeriti faculty — plus a reunion performance by the faculty’s “The Three Tenors.” Emeriti faculty were recognized, including Doug Brown, Danny Glicksberg, Jim Kohn, Pat Porter, Tom Scovel, May Shih, Barry Taylor and Sandy McKay.

Graduates of the program, which is housed in the English Language and Literature Department, have gone on to become language teachers, teacher trainers, program directors and TESOL faculty in adult education, community-based organizations, colleges and universities.

“How do you create lessons plans that will promote student engagement in order to create transformation in the student in the classroom, in society?” says Fontanella (M.A., ’92). “I think that’s really important. I learned that at San Francisco State.”


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