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Geer hired as associate director of TESOL Institute

Huntington, Ind.-Huntington University's newly launched Institute for TESOL Studies has hired Valerie Geer as associate director. TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

"TESOL is a very specific field of study, complete with its own set of approaches and methodologies," Geer said. "People might mistakenly think that, by virtue of speaking English natively, they can competently teach English to others. This is not the case. Huntington University's Institute for TESOL Studies is offering a valuable training tool for many types of students and majors who might find themselves interacting with ELLs (English Language Learners)."

In her new position, Geer has designed courses for the TESOL/English as a New Language (ENL) programs and selected textbooks and library holdings related to the TESOL field. Her other tasks will include raising awareness about the institute, networking with organizations and agencies that work with ENL populations, communicating with current and prospective students, and teaching the Foundations of TESOL course.

Prior to joining her role with the institute, Geer taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at the Beijing Institute of Technology in Beijing, China. She also has taught English language learners ranging from middle-school students to adults in Washington, Illinois and Indiana. In addition, Geer serves as the curriculum coordinator and lead academic trainer for Huntington University's three-week teacher-training program in Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province, China.

Geer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Intercultural Communication from Northwest University in Kirkland, Wash., and her Master of Arts degree in TESOL and Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. She is a member of TESOL Inc. and the Christian English Language Educators Association.

Huntington University's Institute for TESOL Studies was established in June. The institute's first program, a 22-credit minor in TESOL for non-education majors, was first offered this fall beginning with the Foundations of TESOL course. This course will be offered again in the spring of 2010. The minor will lead to a TESOL Certificate.

"Receiving a TESOL Certificate not only gives students the know-how of English language instruction, but it gives them credibility and hire-ability as well," Geer said.

Non-education majors receiving a Huntington University-issued TESOL Certificate will become qualified for a wide variety of TESOL-related positions in the U.S. and abroad. Some churches and para-church organizations offer English education to immigrants and refugees in the U.S. Countless schools abroad, from the elementary level to the university level, hire TESOL-trained, native English-speakers to teach their English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses.

"Ministry and missions majors, education majors, and social work majors - to name a few - along with teachers, ministry leaders and pastors can all find relevance in pursuing TESOL," Geer said.

Pending state approval, the Institute for TESOL Studies will offer a certification in English as a New Language (ENL) for Huntington University education students and area teachers. Education majors receiving an ENL Certificate will have met Indiana state standards and will be eligible to teach ENL students in the public school setting. Additional formal training and informal consulting in ENL and TESOL methodologies will be available to local, regional and international schools, agencies and social service organizations.

As evidence of the need for the institute, Geer cited a recent article in NEA Today Magazine, a publication by the National Education Association. The article listed Indiana as one of a few states that had experienced more than 300 percent growth in non-native English speakers over the past decade.

"These numbers are continuing to increase, including in our local population in Huntington," Geer said. "These students are not coming from one single country, but represent a rich international presence in our community. Now is a strategic and important time for Huntington University to launch its TESOL programs."

The Institute for TESOL Studies is housed in the lower level of the Administration Annex on the campus of Huntington University. For more information, log on to or contact Geer at (260) 359-4296 or