Professor, Director of Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language Program
An energetic approach to ESL teacher training
Paul Abraham likes to stay active. He jogs (limiting races to five miles), hikes in Ireland and Great Britain (referred to as "tramping" in the local lingo), and enjoys horseback riding (most recently in South America). He brings energy and gusto to language and learning, and he expects MATESL students to do the same.
"I ask that students be open, work hard, and consider new ways of doing things -- and I support them in achieving success," he said.
During a recent yearlong sabbatical, Abraham completed the second textbook in his reading/vocabulary series, Contact USA, and taugh at the University of Santiago de Chile (USACH), where he was a Fulbright scholar. In 2004, he recieved a Fulbright alumni award for a two-year exchange between USACH and Simmons, including a semester-long teaching experience for a 2005 graduate of Simmons's MATESL program.
Abraham, who began his career teaching Spanish and French in public schools, also has taught in Japan and worked for Boston University's Center for English Language and Orientation Programs. At Simmons, his ESL courses emphasize theory and significant hands-on experience -- often two full semesters of student teaching.
"I particularly want students to consider theoretical constructs and the historical overview as they begin their work in ESL. This interface of theory and practice is at the heart of how I help prepare students as teachers," said Abraham.
MATESL students endorse his methods.
"Alums caution me not to reduce instruction to a recipe book of activities," he said. "ESL graduates never know where they will land -- abroad, in public schools, with adults, or with teenagers. However, if they carry a theoretical foundation, they can go anywhere with confidence."