4 Easy Improv Warm-ups for Speaking Classes

A. C. Kemp
A. C. Kemp

It can be tough to get students excited about learning, and in this time of online classes, with students sitting in front of a screen all day, it’s even tougher. However, a fun warm-up activity can raise energy and interest in preparation for the day’s lesson.

This post includes four simple and silly warm-ups from the world of improv comedy that lower student affect and build community and enthusiasm. Each one includes face-to-face rules and online adaptations. And don’t worry—you don’t need to be a comedian yourself—in improv, the students create the fun themselves. Continue reading

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Too Much EdTech: 3 Ways to Reduce the Technology Load

Stephanie Marcotte
Stephanie Marcotte

With the transition to remote, online, and hybrid learning due to COVID-19, there has been an increase in the amount of technology in education. Technology has been used to bridge the gap between different COVID-19 constraints and the need to keep business as usual, in all parts of life.

People are using video conferencing to communicate with each other, participate in professional development, and even teach their classes. Learning management systems (LMSs) are used to guide learners and keep families organized with class requirements. Trips to the gym have turned into fitness apps, and constant emails keep many up around the clock. With the surge to remain functioning during these unusual times, technology has taken center-stage for better or for worse. However, with technology creeping into every aspect of life, how do we reduce the technology load and reduce technology burnout? Continue reading

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Online Teacher Education Resources in ELT: Creating Opportunities to Practice Instruction Through Multimodal Assignments

Christine Montecillo Leider and Johanna Tigert
Christine Montecillo Leider and Johanna Tigert

In our previous posts on online teacher education, we have mainly focused on ways to build teacher candidates’ knowledge and dispositions for working with multilingual learners. While cultivating asset based perspectives and deepening pedagogical language knowledge are a foundational component of English language teaching (ELT) education, teacher candidates also need to learn to practice planning for, instructing, and assessing multilingual learners. However, this may seem challenging in remote teacher education courses. In this fifth post of the series, we ask:

How can we harness online multimodal resources for engaging teacher candidates in the practice of teaching? Continue reading

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Interactive Fiction for Reading, Writing, and Grammar

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Hello and welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning blog! Many of us continue with remote learning, and keeping students engaged from the other side of a webcam has become a consistent challenge. In this month’s post, we’ll explore text-based games, sometimes referred to as interactive fiction, and how we can use them as the foundation for engaging reading, writing, and grammar activities.

Text-based games are similar to the old choose-your-own-adventure books. Players are presented with a short, descriptive paragraph and then tasked with making a choice to determine how the story progresses. What is great about these games is the player controls them through text-based commands. These commands can be simple noun/verb combinations, such as “open door” to fully structured sentences (“open the door with the gold key”), which provide students opportunity to focus on forms. Continue reading

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Engaging ELs Who Are Disengaged During Virtual Learning

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

If you are an educator of English learners (ELs) who is instructing your students virtually, you are probably having difficulty successfully engaging them. This is especially true if you have newcomers in your class. For online learning in virtual classrooms, we need to revisit and modify tried-and-true strategies that we use to educate ELs when we see them in person in a brick-and-mortar building.

One challenge that I’m hearing about is that many classroom teachers are recording their lessons, and students view these lessons when they are able. ELs, especially newcomers, may not be able to understand a lesson taught this way. Beginning ELs need to have live lessons in real time with teachers every day. The also need an occasion to practice oral English language acquisition daily. Planning these lessons might be an overwhelming task for classroom teachers, so collaboration with ESL educators is crucial.

Here are six basic tenets for teaching ELs that translate well to virtual learning. Continue reading

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Aligning Ice Breakers to Lesson Objectives: 5 Fun Activities

Andrew Wykretowicz
Andrew Wykretowicz

Those of us who have been teaching adult ESL classes for a long time know that starting the class on time is almost impossible. Our students have jobs, families, and other responsibilities, making it hard for some to be on time. This fact used to really trouble me, because on one hand I wanted to be fair to those who showed up on time and were ready to study, and on the other I really did not want those being late to miss important parts of the lesson. I decided to focus on facilitation activities, sometimes known as ice breakers or warm-up exercises. Continue reading

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Music and Writing

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

Music can evoke powerful emotions and memories in human beings. We love a particular piece, or we hate it strongly, or it brings us back to a place and time. Music can also put us into a mindset for writing or inspire us to create something new. In this blog post, I propose a few ideas for integrating music into the teaching of second language writing. Continue reading

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Teacher Resilience in Africa During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Amira Salama
Amira Salama

As teacher associations across the globe gear up to support teacher development during the difficult times created by the COVID-19 pandemic, themes related to teacher professional development consistently appear in response to the crisis. In Africa, teacher resilience has strongly emerged as a theme defining teacher-shared practices. The efforts to open up and create teacher support groups and teacher networking platforms during this pandemic like never before have demonstrated the concept of relationships as a fundamental principle of teacher resilience (Luthar, 2006). Continue reading

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