Languaged lives: a new perspective on TESOL teacher identity

Languaged lives: a new perspective on TESOL teacher identity

The Plurilingual TESOL Teacher: Insights into EAL/D learning from the teachers own language experiences Liz Ellis, University of New England Languages Build Communities TasTESOL 2018 Conference Hobart, 19th May 2018 We are all plurilingual That is, we all have a linguistic repertoire Greater plurilingual experience Lesser plurilingual experience more bilingual/multilingual

more monolingual dialect style genre language register 2 Are we teaching just English English as an only language? Or are we teaching

English as an additional language/dialect? To learners who Have an existing language repertoire Are adding to their plurilingualism Will continue to use all their languages May have/be children who will either keep or lose home languages (effects.?) 3 TESOL just English Little interest in learners other languages Instruction all in English No requirement that teachers speak any other language than English No recognition of/support for teachers other languages in the profession

No professional development involving language learning / discussion of languages Privileging of native speaker teachers over non-native speaker teachers (because Just English is what counts.) 4 Logical outcome English is taught through English by a teacher who is monolingual or who is expected to act as if s/he is monolingual 5 Effects

Learners other languages, and their lives as plurilingual language users are paid little heed Plurilingual teachers languages are unvalued Teachers with little plurilingual experience are not supported to gain any 6 A monolingual view of TESOL a naturalised discourse(Fairclough 1999) akin to the flat earth of pre-Columbian times 7

Plan Origin of my interest in this topic my story Theoretical frameworks Data from teachers in 4 studies, 15 years, eight countries Show how our own language experiences give insights into learners journeys linguistics, social, emotional Suggest a more languages-friendly TESOL 8 Ellis 2016 Based on 4 studies Qualitative data

Over 140 teachers Australia, Canada Ecuador, Indonesia, Japan, Scotland, South Korea, UAE Adult immigrants & adult EFL learners 9 Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The plurilingual TESOL teacher: The hidden language lives of TESOL teachers and why they matter Ellis 2016. Berlin, De Gruyter 10

Teachers languaged lives experiences of learning, encountering, using and/or teaching languages throughout life are foundational to the informing and shaping of their identities contribute to their teaching practice, either consciously or unconsciously are a valuable resource help in understanding learners trajectories help in meeting learners diverse needs are more relevant to their teaching than earlier identity categories involving nativeness 11 A languaged life Virginia teaches ESL in Ontario, Canada

I grew up in a British colony and until I was fourteen, I was not allowed to learn [in] another language [than English]. When I was fourteen the country became independent and then they introduced another language [Malay] so from five years old to fourteen I was only taught one written language [English] but the spoken language was different. We spoke Hakka at home and I learnt all my other languages simply by listening, listening and watching TV and listening to radio when I was working in Singapore I didnt speak Mandarin and my boss gave, well, an ultimatum, you want your job, you go and learn Mandarin um, so I hired a woman from Taiwan and I went to her house twice a week for six months to learn Mandarin and I did that as an adult I went to her house for two hours - it was one hundred percent Mandarin from the very start and that was why I was able to learn the language so quickly, the ability to overcome the fear of making mistakes when you are learning a second language is, is one of the first things, I think, I try to tell my students, you have 12

to make mistakes in order to learn I remember very, very distinctly in [Southern city], in the States, I stayed with a family ... I remember so distinctly sitting there staying with them for three days and not understanding a word they said because their accent was so strong. They were speaking English, but I could not understand them and it was very hard because um, I, I couldnt communicate with them and I know they were speaking English. Spanish is the second language there, in the States, theres so many people there who speak Spanish, so it was easy to learn that language I love that language, I love Spanish. Sit[ting] in a bar and talk[ing] was how I learnt my Spanish when I was in the States, I have forgotten every word I learned I think. We would meet in the student union once a week and it started off with just me listening to them and, they would help me and that was how I learnt

my Spanish. The thing is though, is [if] the ear doesnt hear the language you lose it and I havent been listening to anyone speak Spanish well, ever since I came to Canada. Its not spoken here . So, Ive lost I would say, seventy-five percent of it. It would be easy for me to pick it up again, but not at this moment - I would not be able to understand it. 13 Summary of Virginias language-learning and language-using experience Language proficiency to native or near-native levels in Hakka, Malay, English. Intermediate proficiency in Mandarin, lapsed intermediate proficiency in Spanish. Experience with home language (Hakka) being different from the language of the community (Malay) and the language of school (English) I would go to school and I would study English but it would still be Chinese at home because my mother

and my grandmother-in-law they only speak Chinese. I did not have to translate in my mind when I speak from Chinese to English, it just, it just comes Experience with learning via the medium of L2 (English) my written um, first language is English and because it was the same for all my friends so when we were in school, we only spoke English Experience at age 14 of having to develop written competence in a language in which she previously only had oral competence (Malay) it was easy because I could already speak the language [Malay], now all I had to do was to put the words into it Experience of learning a language as an adult, taught in the medium of that language (Mandarin) I know what I had to do to learn my Mandarin especially because I learnt that as an adult, all right, in my, when I hired this lady from Taiwan to teach me Mandarin

Experience of migrating to a country (USA) where a different variety of English was spoken from that she was familiar with. They were speaking English, but I could not understand them 14 Experience of another dialectal difference, this time with a Mandarin-speaking banking client, leading to a cross-dialectal interpreting solution [The client] spoke Mandarin and I speak Mandarin, but he had an incredible, incredibly strong Beijing accent and I knew he was speaking Mandarin [but I couldnt understand him] it was crucial because I had to make a decision whether or not to lend him the money. So I had to understand him [so I rang my husband and we had a 3-way conversation] Experience of learning a language informally through social interaction (Spanish) it started off with just me listening to them [my friends] and they would help, they would help me and that was how I

learnt my Spanish Experience of losing a language through lack of use (Spanish) So, Ive lost I would say, seventy-five percent of it Desire to regain a lost language, and confidence that it is possible I would really like to learn my Spanish again Experience of retaining a language despite lack of use, because of its being deeply ingrained in childhood (Malay) I guess with Malay because I learnt it as a kid even though I have not used it for um, you know, ten years, ah, if I were to go, go home and it comes right back to me, I dont forget it like I, like I would have forgotten all my Spanish. You dont forget something that you, thats so deeply ingrained already Experience of having differing abilities in various domains (Hakka, Mandarin, Cantonese) Hakka its definitely a social language. I would not be able to do it in a university, I would not be able to study um,

science in Hakka, or geography in Hakka, um, Mandarin and Cantonese um, I would say I am a little more technical because I use that at work a lot so in terms of money terms, banking, um, yes, Im comfortable with that 15 Language teacher identity research We are still mired in the native/non-native dichotomy despite challenges to it Inequity in employment keeps the dichotomy alive Repositioning NNS as bilingual transfers the stigma NS always presumed to be

monolingual 16 Language teacher identity: the context of my research projects Focus on adult TESOL (EALD) In English-speaking countries and others influenced by the English-only model English is taught via medium of English and NS are the privileged teachers 17 Addresses Pavlenkos call for new discourses, new identity options and new imagined communities for teachers of language (2003:266)

Acknowledges Faez (2011) framing of teachers linguistic identities as situated and co-constructed Chimes with Motha et als (2012) call for translinguistic identity-as-pedagogy: that is, acknowledging that our teaching practices are informed by our life histories, and that our identities impact our pedagogies.. (p.13) 18 My starting point for research As an educator of language teachers, observing that teacher trainees with languages experience caught on more quickly to a) analysing language: language awareness b) understanding the language learner:

language learning awareness Ie identities as plurilinguals informed their development as language teachers 19 Plurilingual teacher identity Who is the teacher? What is her linguistic identity? What linguistic funds of knowledge (Moll and Gonzalez 2004) reside in the teacher? Can the teachers linguistic identity contribute to the learning of an additional language? Do teachers linguistic identities belong in the private domain or can/should they be incorporated into language education systems? 20

How do teachers different language learning backgrounds affect their knowledge and beliefs about teaching language? How do the knowledge and beliefs of plurilingual teachers differ based on their different experiences? No single theoretical framework 21 Theoretical frameworks plurilingual repertoires (Taylor and Snoddon 2013) language teacher cognition ( Woods 1996, Borg 2009)

teacher identity studies ( Faez 2011, Motha et al 2012) bilingual lifewriting (Besemeres 2002) the learner as L2 user somebody who is actively using a language other than their first, whatever their level of proficiency(Cook 2011) learners funds of knowledge (Moll and Gonzalez 2004) 22 Plurilingualism the repertoire of varieties of language which many individuals use, andtherefore the opposite of monolingualism; it includes thefirst

language and any number of other languages or varieties (Council of Europe 2001) even so-called monolinguals possess layers of language: regional and social variations as well as technical language which they will continue to expand (Piccardo, 2013, p.603) plurilinguals may not possess a full mastery of a language, but still view it as an enriching component of their overall linguistic repertoire (Lin, 2013, p.522) 23 The teacher as plurilingual Identity as a language teacher Identity as a language learner Identity as a language user / attriter / relearner

Identity as an L2 user Emotions attaching to language experiences Language awareness Language learning awareness 24 Theory: teacher cognition (1) Teachers theories and beliefs the rich store of knowledge teachers have which derives from a variety of sources and which forms the basis of their internal resources for planning and conducting their teaching (Clark and Peterson 1986:258 emphasis added)

25 Teacher cognition (2) teachers mental lives (Walberg 1977) conceptions of practice (Freeman 1996) teachers theories (Borg 2003) personal, biographical and historical aspects of ... teachers lives (Goodson 1992) .. complex and interrelated processes of personal experiences, beliefs and practices (Fang 1996) experiential vs received knowledge (Wallace 1991)

26 Language Awareness Language Awareness movement (UK, Hawkins 1999, James 1996) LA is the ability to contemplate metacognitively an item of language over which one already has a degree of skilled control and about which one will have developed a coherent set of intuitions (James 1998) Ie items over which you already have cognitive and linguistic control Linguistic awareness / Metalinguistic awareness / Knowledge about language / Consciousness (see Jessner 2006) The more language experiences you have to reflect on, the richer your language awareness is likely to

be 27 Language apprenticeship Postmus 1999, Hawkins 1999, Herdina and Jessner 2003 Bilingual and L2 user identity Norton Pierce 1995, Pavlenko and Lantolf 2000, Valdes and Figueroa 1994: Circumstantial / elective bilingualism The learner as L2 user (Cook 1999, 2007)

28 Ellis: data from 4 studies Research introduced as about teacher beliefs Classroom observations as a basis for discussion Extended semi-structured interviews with teachers about teaching philosophy critical incidents in the classroom which illuminate their stance beliefs about learners, language, language learning And finally Teacher language biographies 29 Analysis

Classroom observations (60) Qualitative interviews and language biographies (n=87) and open-ended survey responses (n=56) Iterative readings, extraction of themes Language biographies and narratives Categorised on 8 dimensions Proficiency at highest achievement (lapses, loss) How learned (formal classes, migration) Age learned (early/late childhood, adolescence, adulthood) Reason for learning (own motivation / parents / migration) Affect towards the language (fondness, ambivalence, guilt, dislike) Frequency of current use Total number of languages acquired, or had potential to acquire (eg living an expat life)

Circumstantial plurilingual experiences Elective plurilingual experiences Monolingual experiences 30 There have been many past attempts to categorise bilinguals Elite/folk bilinguals Early/late, simultaneous/sequential Natural/academic Circumstantial bilinguals: those who because of their circumstances, find that they must learn another language in order to survive (immigration, conquest, border changes, postcolonial states, marriage)

Elective bilinguals: those who choose to become bilingual and seek out formal classes or contexts in which they can acquire a foreign language (Valds and Figueroa 1994, p.12) Elective is about choice circumstantial about lack of choice 31 I adapted Valds and Figueroa in 2 ways: 1. From bilingualism to plurilingualism

2. From categorising individuals to describing experiences: Elide is a circumstantial plurilingual Elide has circumstantial plurilingual experiences She was born in Italy but migrated to Australia as a child. Spoke Italian at home, learned ESL at primary school She also has elective plurilingual experiences Studied French and German at high school Learnt Spanish and Mandarin at adult community college Now teaches Italian and ESL at TAFE 32 Identity formation of Ts with circumstantial plurilingual experiences growing up with two or more languages

so its always been two languages [growing up], always, so its very hard for me to imagine what it would be like not to have two. (Greta, CB/EB NNS Australia, Study 1) I grew up very much biculturally languages are very much related to thought processes and therefore its very important to retain them in order to have those different modes that are part of who you are. (Shanaz CB/EB, NS Australia Study 1) its [being bilingual] just almost like a, it becomes a way of life, and it just shapes your whole being, and my friends who are in Quebec almost all of them are bilingual I know its shaped my life and it continues to do so (Sara, CB/EB, NNS, Middle East Study 2)

33 Circumstantial plurilingual experiences II: using 2 languages within the family code-switching, bilingual identity, domain-based language choice my children both speak English a lot of the time at home, and then if I want to get things done quickly its English. Not that theyre naughty, but they do find it harder to grasp if I speak Cantonese to them. And at home is half half. My husband speaks Cantonese with me, but then we do throw in English words every now then, for convenience, like there are some terms in English and maybe we are talking

about work and so on, so we do mix a lot of English even into our Cantonese conversation, but with the children mainly English. (Rebecca, CB, NNS, Australia, Study 1) I still use Spanish with my closest friends, you see, so probably it depends on where I am [which] is my dominant language. And if you ask me to talk about me, like if you talk of personal things, I dont like using Spanish (Lidia, CB, NNS, Australia, Study 1) 34 Circumstantial plurilingual experiences III: linguistic aspects of migration I definitely the fact that my parents came here from Austria as refugees my mother had a very difficult experience as a migrant in Australia if youre talking about learning a

language, it teaches you a lot of things, and coming from a [different] background or being different in a way teaches you a lot of things about the students (Helena, CB/EB, NS, Australia, Study 1) my life really depended on how well I spoke and because I didnt speak well, I, I didnt speak French well because I didnt come from a French family, I came from an ethnic Polish Ukrainian background, and they sent me to um, French school, they had to fight to get me in so it was just a very nonwelcoming situation. I know what it feels like not to fit in and not to be speaking the language of the majority (Sara, CB/EB, NS, UAE, Study 2) I understand that sense of alienation from the familiar, from the language all around you, from the people, from the food, from smells, all those things. (Shanaz, CB, NS, Australia, Study 1) 35

Circumstantial plurilingual experiences IV: experience as an ELL immigrant, as a child or adult submersion, learning ESL, pride and shame in L1 I do understand what its like if you dont have a clue whats going on and I can appreciate the fact that you might not understand the teachers first or second or third explanation, Ive been there before myself (Bede, CB/EB, NS, Canada, Study 2) I spent the first 6 months learning [English], so I sort of can relate to the fact of having to learn a language as a second language in another country so I suppose that kind of helps a little bit too. (Simone, EB, NS, Australia, Study 1) I know what its like to be on the receiving end: not be able to quite catch what everyone is saying.

And also I think I appreciate the difficulty of having to express yourself in this other language so I think thats a fairly major component actually of my sort of philosophy of teaching and my approach. (Anna, EB, NS, Australia, Study 1) 36 Circumstantial plurilingual experiences V For 5 teachers English replaced L1 as their dominant language language shift, language loss, subtractive bilingualism my feeling now is I wished I had [retained Polish], and that it was better. As a young kid I didnt want to have anything to do with not being true blue Aussie, but now I really regret [it]. And as a matter of fact Ive bought myself some Teach Yourself Polish books but I really do regret not keeping it up. (Ofra, CB/EB, NS, Australia, Study

1) my parents separated and so on, and so that had an impact on language and so on. But I did I know that when relatives came, Austrian was spoken, the Austrian dialect was spoken and I can remember understanding all those conversations and so on. But over time I didnt communicate. Like a lot of the kids you didnt answer, and then you lose the facility (Helena, CB/EB, NS, Australia, Study 1) 37 Identity formation of Ts with elective plurilingual experiences 1. Prestige languages: French, German, Italian, Indonesian, Spanish and

Japanese through classes at elementary, high school or adult levels 38 I can do it: language learning is hard but possible I was learning French two years ago and French for me was so difficult, you know, why? every personal pronoun has a different conjugation, right, so, for me, .learning French was very difficult but ah, I could do it at the end right? (Paz, CB, NNS, Ecuador, Study 2) the frustration is one of the things you never forget and you remember that you had similar problems and what you did to overcome [them].

(Lidia, CB NNS, Australia Study 1) It was one hundred per cent Mandarin from the very start and that was why I was able to learn the language so quickly (Virginia, CB/EB, NS, Canada Study 2) 39 Elective plurilingual experiences in prestige languages cont. experience of formal language learning observation of their own learning and communication strategies experience of success and failure in the classroom experience of different teaching approaches 40

Identity formation of Ts with elective plurilingual experiences 2. Non-elite: Uzbek, Turkish, Nepali, Khmer, West African Krio experience of second language learning informal experience of living in a new culture/cross-cultural communication experience of being viewed as an outsider experience of learning from family members 41

Being an outsider I stayed with a family who were very traditional Uzbeks I helped with the babies and helped with the cooking, and all of that, so I was right in there - sometimes theyd say go and do this go and put this in - like they have fermented cabbage - you know like the Koreans do? with chilli and stuff - they have that as well, and they wanted me to go and put it back in the thing and I wasnt sure what I was supposed to do and I went back and said Im sorry, I dont know what to do, and they thought I was an idiot - Ive had people talk to

me like I was 2 years old, and - all of those things which our students experience as well (Fiona, EB, NS, Australia, Study 1) 42 Identity as a language person Many Ts embarked on a TESOL/languages career because: Ive just always been interested in language (Hilary) I always had this hankering to learn the language (Mary) Im interested in language - its actually a hobby I would say (Pamela) Ive always liked them [languages]. That was just my little thing I was good at (Penny) Im a bit of a - what do we call it - a language nerd (Steve) 43

Discourse: language is an indulgence, a hidden passion, a personal quirk no relevance to career Irony: English-only TESOL kills teachers other languages disuse attrition These teachers who love languages become trapped in a career where English is the only legitimate linguistic capital (Coleman 2012:19) How far does this apply in your context? Are languages valued in the school, or is English the only legitimate linguistic capital? 44 Language awareness

Im aware of how you can speak a language without articles, I think a person whos monolingual doesnt know how you can talk without the, and pronouns too (Fiona, EB, NS, Australia, Study 1) I can appreciate that there is another way of expressing things using a different language. (Anna, EB, NS, Australia, Study 1) when youre fluent in more than one language, realizing that different languages work in different ways and you cannot just translate just word for word (Bede, CB/EB, NS, Canada, Study 2) 45 Im a learner too.. Identity as an L2 learner but also if they see that my Japanese isnt great but Im trying

were all in this communication soup together and they help me, and they correct my pronunciation (Amaya, EB, NS, Japan, Study 2) And of course I tell [students] what my background is and that Ive done various languages and taught them and travelled there and so on. And then I always say to them I do understand I know what its like and I understand, Im sympathetic. (Colin, EB, NS, Australia, Study 1) 46 Identity as an L2 learner (2): Language learning awareness it kinda goes back to what I said before - the fact that I have learned other languages and I speak other languages helps me be a better teacher because I know what its like to be a student Im actually convinced that

if I didnt speak any other languages I wouldnt be as good a teacher (Bede, CB/EB, Canada, Study 2) my own problems of learning a language help me when I think about the problems that a Spaniard may be having if I didnt have those languages I think ah I wouldnt have that insight into their problems that theyre likely to face if I hadnt been through that process myself its the process and the access to the vocabulary areas and the grammar, language structure (Chloe, EB, NS, Scotland, Study 2) 47 ACTA standards Know, have empathy for and be responsive to the diverse linguistic, cultural and socio-historical characteristics of EAL/D learners Understand the nature of EAL/D learning

Use intercultural understandings and skills . Support the use of the home language or dialect for classroom learning, involving intercultural officers where possible 48 Summary Teachers themselves see their languages as a resource Plurilinguals as an asset Monolinguals as a lack but a potential resource

Plurilinguals : L2 learning needs effort but is possible Monolinguals : L2 learning is difficult and may be unachievable The mainstream TESOL profession neither requires nor values languages Teachers draw on their linguistic identities in their teaching How do languaged lives feature in your teaching context? 49 By acknowledging teachers languaged lives we open possibilities for more

plurilingual practices Bilingual teaching and translanguaging as pedagogy becomes possible - with homogenous language groups More sensitive plurilingual teaching becomes possible strategies for including students home language(s) to develop their language awareness 50 Suggestions for professional learning Mapping our language biographies: experiences with language and language learning What value do these experiences have for teaching and for understanding learners? Consider them in relation to the professional standards: Know, have empathy for and be responsive to the diverse linguistic,

cultural and socio-historical characteristics of EAL/D learners Understand the nature of EAL/D learning Use intercultural understandings and skills . Support the use of the home language or dialect for classroom learning, involving intercultural officers where possible (ACTA 2015) 51 Becoming possible.. Learners of the same L1 working together in L1 and reporting back Strategic cross-linguistic comparison with learners other languages Schools stocking good quality dictionaries in

students languages and teaching them to use them critically Teachers running learning groups in a language they speak, using translanguaging pedagogy, training up advanced learners to take over Teachers getting credit for taking language courses: reflecting on being a learner Developing a plurilingual pedagogy that respects the heritage and learned languages of learners and teachers More recruitment of plurilingual teachers 52 Special issue of TESOL Quarterly

Varghese M., Motha S., Park, G., Reeves J., and Trent J. (Editors) 2016 Special Issue of TQ on Language Teacher Identity, Vol 50 Number 3 September 2016doi: 10.1002/tesq.333 Ellis (2016) I may be a native speaker but Im not monolingual. Re-imagining all teachers linguistic identities in TESOL. 53 What does your language life look like? Proficiency at highest achievement (lapses, loss) How learned (formal classes, migration) Age learned (early/late childhood, adolescence,

adulthood) Reason for learning (own motivation / parents / migration) Emotions re the language (fondness, ambivalence, guilt, dislike) Frequency of current use Circumstantial plurilingual experiences Elective plurilingual experiences Monolingual experiences (language encounters matter too!) 54 Selected references Ellis, E.M. (2016)The plurilingual TESOL teacher: the hidden languaged lives of TESOL teachers and why they matter. Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter

Besemeres, Mary. (2002). Translating one's self: language and selfhood in cross-cultural autobiography. Bern: Peter Lang AG. Borg, S. (2009). Teacher cognition and language education: research and practice. London: Continuum. Cook, V. (2007). The nature of the L2 user. In L. Wei (Ed.), The Routledge Applied Linguistics Reader (pp. 77-89). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Faez, F. (2011). Reconceptualizing the native/nonnative speaker dichotomy. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 10(4), 231-249. doi: doi:10.1080/15348458.2011.598127 Motha, S., Jain, R., & Tecle, T. (2012). Translinguistic identity-as-pedagogy: implications for language teacher education. International Journal of Innovation in English Language Teaching, 1(1), 13-28. doi: NA Pavlenko, A. (2003). "I never knew I was a bilingual": Reimagining teacher identities in TESOL. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 2(4), 251 - 268. doi: DOI: 10.1207/ S15327701JLIE0204_2 Taylor, S. K., & Snoddon, K. (2013). Plurilingualism in TESOL: promising controversies.

TESOL Quarterly, 47(3), 439-445. doi: 10.1002/tesq.127 Valds, G., & Figueroa, R. (1994). Bilingualism and Testing: A Special Case of Bias. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. 55 My background

Grew up in Wales Languages graduate French, German Italian Teacher of EFL and ESL Teacher educator Taught / trained language teachers in Lao, Indonesia, France, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Uruguay, UK, Australia Learning and attrition of: Catalan, Portuguese, Lao, Japanese, German, Indonesian, Italian Speak Spanish and French and worked in both Taught Spanish at UNE and informally

Translation Spanish - English 56 Thank you!! 57

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