Scaffolding PD in Uzbekistan: Cascading Student-Centered Methodologies

Armen Kassabian and Yuta Otake
Armen Kassabian and Yuta Otake

This post is part of a series on Scaffolding PD in Uzbekistan as part of the English Speaking Nation Secondary Teacher Training (ESN) Program; you can read an overview of the program here.

Starting 4 March 2022, 82 core trainers began cascading the information they learned from TESOL’s 6 Principles and George Mason University’s Teaching English Through English course to 837 regional peer mentors throughout all 14 regions of Uzbekistan. Continue reading

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Writing Across the Curriculum

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

As TESOL professionals, we often think of ourselves as English teachers whose primary work is supporting our students to learn the English language. Learning English entails learning how to use English for various purposes, including writing in school and college. Sometimes textbooks or required curriculum frame writing as an exercise for practicing newly learned grammar structures or vocabulary words.

As I have discussed in previous blog posts, however, writing is not a skill that should be taught in isolation of its applications in the “real world,” whether that real world is a university classroom or a medical office or a factory. Today, I want to introduce you to a vibrant area of discussion in the writing studies community that may offer you some additional ideas for teaching English to your students. Continue reading

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6 Effective Practices for Teaching STEM to MLLs

Darlyne de Haan
Darlyne de Haan

Teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math; for simplicity, I’ll use STEM in this article) to multilingual learners (MLLs) can be very challenging because STEM vocabularies can be very complex for even the native English speaker—so imagine that same vocabulary for students whose primary language is not English. However, every teacher should understand that a student’s ability to speak English should not be confused with the student’s ability to think scientifically.

My next few blog posts will focus on STEM project ideas for MLLs and different ways to help these students, based on their levels of language proficiency. But first, it is important for you to be aware of six effective practices in teaching STEM to MLLs that will help you as you navigate the projects. Continue reading

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4 Tips for Preparing a Winning Conference Proposal

Laura Baecher
Laura Baecher

Almost as soon as we pass TESOL 2022, it is already time to prepare for TESOL 2023! Perhaps you are thinking about putting in a proposal but you are a bit unsure about how to best organize it, or you may think you don’t have enough content to contribute. You might have tried in the past to submit a proposal for a conference and were not accepted, or you have never given it a try.

In any case, preparing a conference proposal is a great professional development activity as it causes you to stop, look at your body of work, delve deeper into those specialized areas of practice you enjoy sharing, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Whether for TESOL International Association (deadline is June 1!), a local or regional TESOL affiliate, or other education conference you are interested in, the same general rules apply when preparing a conference proposal that is more likely to be accepted. Continue reading

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Using Language Portraits to Explore Students’ Identities

Naashia Mohamed
Naashia Mohamed

Lily was born and raised in New Zealand and described herself as a Kiwi with Chinese heritage whose dominant language was English. She was proud of her Chinese background but did not use Mandarin for purposes beyond everyday conversation with her family. Her grandparents, based in China, described Lily as a “foreigner” because her proficiency in Mandarin and her understanding of Chinese culture did not meet their expectations. However, at school, Lily’s teacher regarded her as Chinese and as an English learner because she spoke a language other than English at home.

Lily’s example illustrates the complex nature of identities and how conflicts occur between our self-attributed and other-ascribed identities. Continue reading

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Roots and Culture: Celebrating Haitian Heritage Month

Ayanna Cooper
Ayanna Cooper

May marks the 24th year that Haitian heritage month has been celebrated in the United States. Having started in Boston, Massachusetts USA, this month of celebration has been picked up by other U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Miami, and New York. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Haitian Creole is the sixth most common language spoken by K–12 multilingual learners (MLLs). Among those MLLs who identify as Black, Haitian Creole is the second most common language.

As part of affirming students’ home languages and cultures, learning about their cultures year round is important—but especially during certain times dedicated to elevating specific heritages. Continue reading

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How to Improve Reading Comprehension? Team With a Theme

Barbara Gottschalk
Barbara Gottschalk

“We don’t read that much at school. Mostly we do our work,” observed Selena, a third grade multilingual learner (MLL). I knew the “work” she was referring to involved reading, but obviously she didn’t think it was real reading. I had asked about her reading experiences in school, and was dismayed to hear her frank answer. Still, I wasn’t surprised. Continue reading

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Easy Online Comics for ELT

Brent Warner
Brent Warner

Over the last decade or so, comics and graphic novels have moved from what many considered disengaged distractions to great ways to encourage literacy in the classroom. In fact, there are teachers out there using comics as the core of their curricula, keeping students invested in their learning through storytelling all year long. But this is no secret to language teachers. As long as we’ve been able to give students a pencil and fold a piece of paper into six (or four, or eight) panels, we’ve encouraged our students to make up stories, build dialogue, and practice more English. Continue reading

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