Logo for Graduate School

Alan Seaman, Ph.D.

Wheaton College Graduate School

Director of TESOL
Professor of Intercultural Studies

On Faculty since 1993

Phone: (630)752-7044


Ph.D. English Education/TESOL, University of Virginia
Concentrations: Applied linguistics, second language literacy, educational research.
Dissertation: "Visual Literacy and Second Language Fluency: The Process of Composing in a Second Language from a Visual Prompt"

M.A. English, M.Ed. English Education, University of Virginia

B.A. English and Fine Arts, College of William and Mary

About Alan Seaman

I have a broad-based background in the field of TESOL. Over the years, I have served as a high school ESL and English teacher and program director for a public school district, the director of an EFL program at a university in China, and as an ESL teacher for international students at the University of Virginia. In addition, I have worked as an adult ESL teacher in three states and have taught English as a foreign language to children and adults in English camp programs in several countries. Long after transitioning into teacher education and research, I still thoroughly enjoy teaching the English language to children and adults each year.

My professional interests include research into language assessment, second language literacy, ESL/EFL program models, English language instruction in Asia and Latin America, and the role of English in globalization. During the past decade, I have worked on two major ESL/EFL textbook series, so materials development is a major focus of my work. I am interested in applied research that helps agencies and teachers make well-informed decisions about English language teaching.

In addition to my faculty position at Wheaton College, I have served as the senior managing editor for a PK- 6 EFL textbook series, Passport to Adventure. I have also served as an English Language Specialist for the U.S. Department of State, and serve on the National Selection Committee for Fulbright Scholarships.

Courses Taught

  • Descriptive English Grammar for TESOL
  • Teaching Reading and Composition to ESL/EFL Learners
  • Teaching Speaking and Listening to ESL/EFL Learners
  • Curriculum and Materials Development for TESOL
  • Principles of Assessment for TESOL
  • Teaching ESL to Children, K-12
  • Qualitative Research for Second Language Educators
  • Theoretical Foundations of TESOL Methodology
  • Classroom Dynamics Practicum in TESOL
  • Foundations of Materials Development for TESOL
  • Practicum in Materials Development

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)
  • American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL)
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Illinois TESOL-BE (2nd Vice President, Chair of 2004 state convention)
  • Phi Beta Kappa


My individual research interests include second language writing processes (my dissertation focus), the history of English language teaching in Asia, and best practices for teaching English speaking, listening, reading, and writing. I am currently researching local methods for teaching the English language to younger children in bilingual schools worldwide. My current research study is a comparative analysis of English teaching practices with children in Indonesia and Columbia.

I have worked on a number of collaborative research projects in the areas of second language assessment, program models for elementary and secondary ESL, materials development for adult ESL, and ESL issues in international schools.

Papers Published and/or Presented

I have presented or co-presented over 75 papers at International TESOL Conventions, and have presented workshops for teachers in a number of countries, including China, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Cambodia, Costa Rica and Indonesia.

Presentations (2000-2016) at TESOL Conventions

Workshops for National and International Schools Outside the U.S. (2000-2012)

Recent publications include the following:Passport to Adventure: Kindergarten and Primary 1 Levels (2010). Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Press. (I serve as the senior editor for this PK-12 EFL textbook series for schools in Latin America, Asia, and Central Europe.)

  • Vroom, Sara. and Seaman, Alan. (2014). Cross-cultural perspectives on teaching English as a foreign language to children: A multinational survey. TESOL Journal 5 (3).
  • Seaman, Alan, and Vroom, Sara (2014). Passport to Adventure: Explore C Level Student Book, Teacher Book, Blackline Masters, Audio CDs. Colorado Springs: Purposeful Design Publications.
  • Passport to Adventure: Wonder, Imagine, Discover, and Explore Levels (2013). Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Press. (I serve as the senior editor for this PK-12 EFL textbook series for schools in Latin America, Asia, and Central Europe.)
  • Seaman, Alan. (2010). Responding to the challenge of large mixed-ability classes in China. In Multilevel and Diverse Classrooms, (pp. 9-21) Baurain, B. and Ha, P., eds., Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
  • Seaman, Alan. (2007). Program Report: The Mindanao English Language Education Enhancement Project. U.S. Department of State. 
  • Seaman, Alan. (2005). "Six Principles for Teaching Large Multilevel Classes." Teacher's Edition. Vol. 17:10-12, March 2005. 
  • Seaman, Alan. (2004). "Current Approaches to Assessment and English -- No Problem." Hot Topics in ESL Website. www.enp.newreaderspress.com/ENP_hottopics.asp 
  • English - No Problem! A Five-Level Adult ESL Textbook Series, (2004). Alan Seaman,et al, National Editorial Council, Syracuse, NY: New Readers Press.
  • Seaman, Alan. (2002). Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language. Chicago, IL: Chicago Public Schools, Office of Language and Cultural Education. 
  • Seaman, Alan. (2000). Evaluating an Innovative Elementary ESL Program. U.S. Department of Education: ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) ED444386. 
  • Seaman, Alan. (2000). "Evaluating an Innovative Elementary ESL Program," American Language Review. Sept./Oct. 2000. 
  • Seaman, Alan. (2000). "Program Evaluation as a Critical Context for Teacher Education." TEIS Newsletter, TESOL, Inc., 15:4. Fall 2000. 
  • Seaman, Alan. (2000). "Developing Effective ESL Programs in International Schools." ACSI World Report. Summer 2000. 
  • Seaman, Alan, and Linda Hayward. (2000). Standardized ESL Test Equating Study: Equating the CELSA and the NYSPT with the MELT SPLs. U.S. Department of Education: ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) ED 445084. 
  • Seaman, Alan. and Barry Sweeny, et al. (1997). "Collaboration, Reflection, and Professional Growth: A Mentoring Program for Adult ESL Teachers." TESOL Journal 7:1. Autumn 1997. 
  • Seaman, Alan. (1997, 1996). Effective Practices in Teaching English as a Second Language: A Guidebook for Mentoring in Adult ESL Programs. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education.