Board Games for the ESL/EFL Classroom

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another installment of the games and learning blog. In last month’s blog post, we looked at Minecraft as a standout video game for the classroom. This month, we go analogue and take a look at three great tabletop games for the ESL classroom. Continue reading

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Writing for Professional Development

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

So far in my posts about second language writing, I have focused on topics about teaching writing to language learners. As writing teachers, however, we owe it ourselves and our students to be writers as well as teachers of writing, so this month, I would like to share some of my experiences as a writer. Continue reading

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Strategies to Combat Anti-Immigration Bullying

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

On 3 August 2019, a mass shooting occurred at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, USA. A gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 others using a version of an AK-47 assault rifle. The gunman posted a White nationalist, anti-immigrant manifesto shortly before the attack. What makes this mass shooting especially alarming is that the gunman deliberately targeted Mexicans, officially making it a hate crime.

This extreme example of bullying exacerbates the fears that our English learners (ELs) are already experiencing because of well-publicized ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids and increased bullying in their schools. In the past, ELs were frequently victimized by bullies because of their race, accented language, and cultural customs that are perceived as different. Over the past few years, bullying of immigrants has become a nationwide phenomenon.  Modern day bullies attack not only race but also nationality. Immigrants all over the United States are affected by the anti-immigrant message “Go back to where you came from.” Continue reading

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5 Apps for English Learning and Teaching

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler

It’s quite common to not allow the use of mobile phones in the English classroom. However, there is an increasing array of opportunities to use them in meaningful ways. Because students today are likely to have their own devices, we should put them to use. This requires integrating them purposefully so that they are not simply a distraction, but rather an enhancement to the existing class activities.

Of course, there are a number of apps available for use on our phones. In fact, there are so many apps today that it can be very difficult to choose the ones that are most useful for our particular students. Here are a handful of apps that I think have a lot of potential for language teaching and learning. Continue reading

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Tidying Up Your ELT: 3 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Teaching

Gabriela Kleckova
Gabriela Kleckova

In this blog, I share a few tips on decluttering your teaching. My thinking about the topic of clutter in teaching has been inspired by recent movements to let go of our possessions in order to be happier and freer—becoming a minimalist. The principles behind the movements, in my opinion, have some application to teaching as well. As you can declutter your houses for better lives, you can declutter parts of your practice for better teaching. Continue reading

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Back to School With Minecraft

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Welcome back to another TESOL games and learning blog post. As a new school year starts in many parts of the world, it’s a great time to take a look at Minecraft.

Perhaps most everyone has heard of Minecraft at this point. The gaming juggernaut has sold more than 176 million copies by mid-2019, making it one of the most successful games of all time. At its core, Minecraft is digital Lego—a pixelated world of blocks that players can use to mine resources, build structures, and equip themselves with resources for adventure. Since its release in 2011, Minecraft has become a darling of education, and many believe its popularity among educators is what prompted Microsoft to pay US$2.5 billion for the game and its creator Mojang in 2014. After the purchase, Microsoft reached out to teachers to figure out just what they were doing with the game.

What makes the game popular among educators? Minecraft’s open world nature and lack of in-game tutorials position it is an “object to think with” (Papert, 1980, p. 23) that rewards trial and error. It’s a sandbox-style game meaning there are no set goals or objectives. In many respects, Minecraft is more of a toy than a game; the user can apply their own rules and goals to it. The openness of the game allows teachers to use it any way they see fit as well. Teachers have used it for language learning, creative writing, and world history.

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The Unapologetic Advocate: Advocacy is Just a Click (or Two) Away

David Cutler
David Cutler

After a summer hiatus, which included a successful 2019 TESOL Advocacy and Policy Summit, my annual Golden Girls marathon (180 episodes over 3 months, you do the math), and the departure of my boss and mentor John Segota, I’m back to shamelessly and unapologetically plug a great new resource that recently launched for TESOL advocates. Continue reading

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Graduate Students and L2 Writing

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

Much discussion on academic writing revolves around undergraduate students and their transitions from secondary school into university. Despite the large numbers of international students enrolled in U.S. institutions—nearly 400,000 in 2016-17, according to the Migration Policy Institute (Zong & Batalova, 2018), with up to 81% of students in some STEM fields coming from other countries (Redden, 2017)—far less has been written about the genres graduate students write or how instructors and advisors can support their learning to write in those genres. Continue reading

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