Touro Professor Honored by New York Times for Innovative Teaching Methods

Date: April 03, 2008
John Richard Green
John Richard Green
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Award Recognizes Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

New York, N.Y. - Richard Green, a teacher of English as a Second Language in the Speech and Communication Department of Touro College in Manhattan, has been honored by the New York Times for his innovative methods in teaching Basic Speech, Voice and Diction, and Fundamentals of Speech to students whose first language is not English.

Professor Green was one of five teachers honored by the Times' 2008 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Teachers of the Year Program. Now in its second year, the Times program recognizes ESOL instructors who consistently go "above and beyond the call of duty" to help students learn English and develop the skills they need to create successful new lives in the United States.

Mr. Green accepted the honor at a special reception at the Times on Monday, March, 31.

"Richard Green lives and breathes his teaching," said Hal Wicke, deputy chair of the Speech and Communication Department of the New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS) of Touro College, where Mr. Green teaches. "What is particularly successful for him is his inventive use of technology, and personalizing his instruction with videos and photographs. His students learn to care about how they speak English and can actually see their personal progress. Each one is presented with CD copies of their presentations so they can further practice at home their voice and diction, grammar and general speech."

The son of a Presbyterian minister, Mr. Green was born in Venezuela and has been teaching at Touro since 1990. A native speaker of Spanish and fluent in Portuguese, he earned two degrees in education at Michigan State University, where he graduated cum laude. He also studied at the University of Freiberg, in Germany, where he studied Spanish and German literature. He lives in Kensington Park, Brooklyn.

"I am very grateful to the New York Times for this award, and for their recognition of ESOL teachers in general and our commitment to giving these students tools to enhance their skills," said Mr. Green. "While it is vitally important for people learning English as a second language to know how to read and write, it is also important to understand the oral perspective. This holistic approach enables students to know how to handle job interviews, run meetings, and participate in debates. It is also gratifying that through technology and videotape, our students can see for themselves their progress."

In his work, Mr. Green composes original storytelling videos and fables set to music to teach voice, diction and vocabulary. He also has created international podcasts to promote cross-cultural awareness through role-playing and persuasive speaking strategies.

Lenin Ortega, associate dean of NYSCAS, noted how well Mr. Green's program compliments the reading and writing components of the English as a Second Language program at Touro.

"Touro students whose first language is not English have a truly welcoming environment here," said Mr. Ortega. "There is a United Nations of immigrants at our school, and through Mr. Green's wonderful use of technology, they learn from and encourage each other."

Touro's NYSCAS, a Manhattan-based school with over a dozen sites throughout New York City, serves students who mirror the economic, ethnic, racial and social diversity of New York's urban population. In addition to intensive English language programs, its thousands of students study liberal arts, computer science, human services, digital media arts, business management, accounting and health sciences.

The top prize was presented to Feliciano Jaime Atienza, a teacher at the YMCA International and at Queens Library. Mr. Atienza and the four honorees were chosen by a selection committee of ESOL advocates from the New York Public Library, Queens Library, City University of New York, Brooklyn Public Library and the Mayor's Office of Adult Education.