Vivian Leskes Ward
Vivian Leskes Ward is Professor of English as a Second Language (ESL) at Holyoke Community College (HCC) in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where she has worked for fifteen years. She has a masters degree in Bilingual Education from the University of Massachusetts. She teaches all levels of ESL to students from diverse backgrounds. Russian-speaking students comprise the second largest language group, but as many as fifteen different cultures may be represented in her ESL classrooms. In 2001 and 2005, she worked in Poltava, Ukraine, as a program and curriculum consultant, training foreign language faculty in current TEFL pedagogy, mentoring faculty and modeling methods of reading and writing instruction, evaluation techniques, collaborative learning techniques, and oral communication skills. In 2006, she worked in Brebes, Central Java, Indonesia as an advisor to secondary school administrators and English language faculty.
In addition to teaching ESL and consulting on TEFL pedagogy, Professor Leskes is a student of languages. She is fluent in Spanish, has intermediate skills in French, and is now embarking on what she considers one of the more humbling experiences of her professional life, the study of Russian. At Irkutsk State Linguistic University in Irkutsk, Siberia, she will lecture on and model current methodology in language instruction in the United States, including pronunciation methodology, active learning techniques, the use of cooperative learning groups, the development of content-based curricula and alternative concepts in assessment. Through these teaching experiences and her own study of Russian, she will further her research, which examines, in the context of their respective societies, the cultural differences between language classrooms in the US and in former Soviet countries.