Dr. Michael Pasquale Awarded for Service to the Field of TESOL
by Kristina Pierson
Language is a unifying thread that ties people together, but it can also be a barrier to understanding and communicating with others. Dr. Michael Pasquale of Cornerstone University's Humanities Division dedicated himself to understanding and teaching the intricacies of language to help people better understand each other.
"I've always been fascinated with language and culture, even when I was young. When I was in kindergarten there was an opportunity to stay after school and learn German, and I said 'I want to do that,'" said Pasquale. "It's always gotten back to people. I wanted to learn language because I wanted to speak with people in their language."
In 2000, Pasquale came to teach at Cornerstone fresh out of graduate school. Nineteen years later, Pasquale is the 2019 recipient of the Earl W. Stevick Award, an honor bestowed on him by the Christian English Language Educators Association for his service to the field of English language teaching. While a large part of the award is tied to the field as a whole, candidates are also considered based on their displays of faith within their work.
"I'm honored that they selected me. It's an affirmation from peers that not only am I active in the field of TESOL, but I have been able to integrate my faith into my vocation as well," said Pasquale.
In addition to being a professor at Cornerstone, Pasquale has spent time as a member of the Michigan State Board of Education World Language Standards Development Committee, TESOL and Michigan TESOL. His service doesn't stop there. He also provides training for mission organizations and churches across Europe, Asia, South America and North America.
"English is such a big strategy used by mission groups all over the world to get into open countries like Europe and closed countries—it's a tool," said Pasquale. "With my wife Monica, I've been able to train missionaries in how to use this well in [the missionary context]. We want people to do it with excellence and integrity."
Currently, Pasquale is researching different learning environments, working with everyone from traditional students in the classroom to missionaries and even baseball players for the Detroit Tigers. He hopes to distill what makes a community one in which successful learning happens. Whatever the project, it is clear what the most important piece is for Pasquale: the people he serves.
"For me, teaching in a class is not just what textbook I'm going to use, but how I see my students and consider where they're coming from. It's how I attempt to make them feel like they're learning, and like they're cared for."