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Interview with David Nunan

You have had an extensive career in the field of TESOL. What are your proudest achievements?

DN: My proudest achievements are having two wonderful daughters, one of whom has gone into the field of TESOL as an editor. Apart from that, it is not up to me to talk about my 'achievements'. I've just done what I love to do. It's up to others to judge my performance and to decide what constitutes an achievement.

Can you tell us about your involvement with Anaheim University?

DN: I have been involved with AU since it's inception in 1996. I created the TESOL program, and have been involved in its teaching and administration from the start.

How can an MA or Certificate in TESOL help someone's career in English Language Teaching?

DN:  It will give students essential knowledge and skills for being an effective language teacher.

What makes Anaheim University's MA TESOL and TESOL Certificate programs unique, unlike any other programs?

DN:  It employs the best people in the field, and gives students direct access to these people.

What do you feel are the benefits of studying online over on-campus?

DN:  It allows any-where any-time study, and enables students to connect work and study.

As a teacher, what parts of teaching online do you find to be more than enjoyable or effective than teaching on-campus?

DN:  I can be in contact with my students on a daily basis, not just on a weekly basis.

Although the MA TESOL program is mostly taught online, two four-day residential sessions are required. Could you perhaps explain why the requirement is there? In other words, why can't whatever is done during these two sessions onsite be done online?

DN:  It gives both the students and the faculty an opportunity to get together annually. Classes are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Thursday to Saturday at each of the residential sessions and then Sunday is a half-day so that people have time to catch their flights out of town, etc. In addition to the time that we spend in the classroom with our students where they make presentations, and undergo intensive study, the residential session gives us an opportunity to get to know everyone in a face-to-face setting.

What kinds of things have your students or graduates gone on to do?

DN:  They have gone on to teach and to pursue doctorates.

What advice would you give to prospective teachers thinking of teaching?

DN:  Think of what you do as a profession.

What advice would you give to TESOL professionals thinking of publishing?

DN:  Be prepared to be rejected and keep trying.

How many presentations do you give every year? How do you select the theme of your presentations? 

DN:  I give between 35 - 45 public presentations each year. The themes on each of these presentations are usually based on my current research and practice.

David Nunan, currently serves as Vice-President for Academic Affairs for Anaheim University, and is the founding Dean of the Graduate School of Education. Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Nunan's role is to oversee the quality of academic programs being offered by Anaheim University. Dr. Nunan is a world-renowned linguist and best-selling author of English Language Teaching textbooks for Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Cengage Learning. His ELT textbook series "Go For It" is said to be the largest selling textbook series in the world with total sales exceeding 2.5 billion. In 2000, David Nunan served as President of TESOL, the world's largest language teaching association, and was the first person to serve as President from outside North America. David Nunan formerly served as Chair and Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong and has been involved in the teaching of graduate programs for such prestigious institutions as Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, Monterey Institute for International Studies, and many more. In 2002 Dr. Nunan received a congressional citation from the United States House of Representatives for his services to English language education through his pioneering work in online education through Anaheim University. In 2003 he was ranked the 7th most influential Australian in Asia by Business Review Weekly, and in 2005 he was named one of the top "50 Australians who Matter". In November 2006 Dr. Nunan was awarded the Convocation medal for outstanding achievement and contribution internationally to the profession of Teaching English as a second language, from Flinders University, where he earned his Ph.D. in Education and Linguistics. In December 2006 David Nunan was invited by the Australian Prime Minister to attend the Advance Leading 100 Global Australians Summit in Sydney, Australia.