DepartmentDepartment of Intercultural Studies
Biola AffiliationsEmployee, Faculty



  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  • M.A., University of Pittsburgh
  • B.A., Oberlin College


Dr. Purgason brings to her classes in TESOL methodology, curriculum, materials, and intercultural communication her years of experience living, studying, serving, and teaching in India, Russia, Korea, China, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Mauritania, Indonesia, Kuwait, Oman, Tajikistan, Vietnam, and Spain. She has received two Fulbright fellowships and the Biola Faculty Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. She has been a U.S. State Department English Language Specialist. Her professional interests include methodology in local context and professional ethics.

Dr. Purgason has presented on methodology-and materials-related topics at more than 30 local, state, and national TESOL conferences, and has spoken about TESOL at Urbana and other similar conferences. She is the author of "Planning Lessons and Units" in Celce-Murcia, Brinton, & Snow (2013), "Classroom Guidelines for Teachers with Convictions" in Wong and Canagarajah (2009), English Language Teaching in Theological Contexts (2010), and “A Clearer Picture…A Reader Responds to Julian Edge’s ‘Imperial Troopers and Servants of the Lord’” in TESOL Quarterly 36:4 (2004).


  • California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • Christian Educators in TESOL (Chair 2000-2001)


  • "Planning Lessons and Units," in M. Celce-Murcia, D. Brinton, & A. Snow (Eds.) Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, 4th ed., Heinle (2013).
  • Purgason, K. (Ed.) (2010). English Language Teaching in Theological Contexts. Pasadena CA: William Carey Library.
  • “Classroom Guidelines for Teachers with Convictions,” in S. Canagarajah & M. Wong (Eds.) Christian and Critical English Language Educators in Dialogue: Pedagogical and Ethical Dilemmas. Routledge (2009).
  • “A Clearer Picture...A Reader Responds to Julian Edge’s ‘Imperial Troopers and Servants of the Lord,” TESOL Quarterly 38:4 (2004).
  • "Distance Education for Training ESL/EFL Teachers," in K. Richards (Ed.) Review of ELT: ELT by Distance Learning, a volume of ELT Documents. British Council (1994)


  • "Building Bridges between Generations of Teachers," discussion co-led at TESOL, Toronto 2015
  • "Multi-level Activities with Proverbs," presentation at CATESOL Santa Clara, 2014.
  • "Recommendations for Novice-NEST and Trained-NNEST Teaching Teams," presentation at TESOL Portland, March 2014.
  • “Adapting Authentic Materials for High Interest Lessons,” Los Angeles Retional CATESOL, 2013
  • “English Language Teaching for Cultural Self-Expression and Multicultural Understanding,” presentation at the International Conference on Multiculturalism and Global Community, Tehran, Iran, July 2010.
  • “Critical Thinking and Courteous Conversation,” invited speaker, Los Angeles Regional CATESOL, 2010.
  • “Essentials of Teaching Conversation,” post-convention workshop, TESOL Boston 2010.
  • “Developing ESL Materials from Public Radio: ‘The gods of business,’” demonstration at Los Angeles Regional CATESOL, 2008 and CATESOL, 2009.
  • “Clashing Values, Ethical Dilemmas, and Teaching Conundrums,” discussion session, TESOL Denver 2009.
  • “Song-Based ESL Materials: Teacher Choice and Student Choice,” demonstration at Los Angeles Regional CATESOL, 2007.
  • “Managing Communicative Classes of 50+ with Student Teams,” poster session at CATESOL San Diego, 2007; presentation at TESOL New York, 2008.
  • “Get into Groups Made Efficient and Effective,” demonstration at CATESOL San Francisco 2006 and TESOL Seattle 2007 (also published at
  • “Easy Ways to Create Jigsaw Activities for Interactive Reading Classes” demonstration at CATESOL Long Beach, 2005.
  • “Encouraging Professionalism in Volunteer-Based Organizations, “ chair of five-speaker colloquium at TESOL Long Beach, 2004.
  • “Preparing Adult ESL Students for Choices,” paper at TESOL Baltimore, 2003 and CATESOL Pasadena, 2003.
  • “Hearing the Voice from Within: Parker Palmer in Teacher Education,” paper, with Joe McVeigh, at TESOL Baltimore, 2003.
  • “EFL in (International) Theological Seminaries,” chair of colloquia at TESOL Baltimore, 2003, and TESOL Salt Lake City, 2002.
  • “Addressing the Language Gap,” featured speaker for IEP strand, Los Angeles Regional CATESOL, 2002.
  • “Getting Students to English,” paper at Los Angeles Regional, Long Beach, 2000, and CATESOL state conference, Ontario, 2001.
  • “Student-Created Information Gap Activities,” demonstration at CATESOL state conference, Fresno, 1997; workshop at TESOL national conference, Seattle, 1998 and New York, 1999.
  • “Options for Using Your (Outdated) Textbook,” plenary at Conference on Methodology for Secondary Teachers 1996, sponsored by Peace Corps, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
  • “An Active Methodology for Teaching Technical English,” plenary at Conference on Optimizing Foreign Language Education 1996, sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
  • “Communicative Pronunciation Activities,” demonstration at TESOL, Long Beach, 1995.
  • "Learner-Centered Vocabulary Activities," demonstration at CATESOL state conference, San Diego, 1994.
  • "Helping Students Avoid 'My Most Embarrassing Moment,'" paper presented at CATESOL state conference, Sacramento, 1991.
  • "Distance Education for TESOL: Designing an Individualized Methods Course," paper presented at TESOL national conference, San Francisco, 1990.
  • "Making Drills Communicative," demonstration at CATESOL state conference, Pasadena, 1987, and CATESOL Los Angeles regional conference, 1989.
  • "A Model for Teacher Training for the Authentic Language Plus Model of Language Instruction," part of a project for the National Security Agency and UCLA, 1987.
  • "Listening Skills for Technical Students," paper presented at Conference on Academic Preparation Programs, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1986.
  • "Diagnosing and Treating Pronunciation Problems," demonstration at CATESOL Los Angeles regional conference, 1985.

Christian Conferences

  • Christians in English Language Teaching conferences:
    • Organized the first CELT conference in Long Beach, 2004, with 40 invited speakers
    • Mentored planners and served on committees for subsequent CELT conferences including in San Francisco 2005, Denver 2009, and Hong Kong 2012.
    • Presented the following at CELT conferences:
      • Multilevel Activities with Proverbs (2015)
      • Using Folktales to Prompt Multiskill Practice and Spiritual Questions (2014)
      • ELT Professionals Wanted: Christians and Grant-Funded Opportunities (2014)
      • Adapting Authentic Texts for Spiritually Valuable and Pedagogically Useful Lessons (2013)
      • Is English a Force for Good or Bad? (2012)
      • Teaching Critical Thinking and Courteous Conversation in a World of Choices (2010)
      • Speaking of Faith: Developing ESL Materials from Public Radio (2008)
      • Helping students understand biblical references in media and literature (2007)
      • Popular Songs, ELT, and Spiritual Issues (2006)
      • Magnet, Catalyst, and Seed: Models for TESOL and Mission (2006)
      • English Language Teaching and Development (2006)
  • Urbana invited seminar speaker: “English Language Teaching and Missions,” St. Louis, 2009, and 2012
  • Speaker for mission agencies and church conferences, including OMS, OMF, Passion for the Nations
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