Action Research: Untangling the Gordian Knot

Özgehan Uştuk
Özgehan Uştuk

I have been teaching English as a foreign language since 2010, and I have been actively involved in TESOL research since 2014 when I started my graduate studies. TESOL’s Research Agenda has made it clear that TESOL practitioners are concerned both with instructional issues and societal problems yet experience challenges in engaging in research as a part of their everyday teaching practices.

As I learned more about action research, I felt like I had found the avenue to answers for the “burning questions” (Burns, 2010, p. 28) in my practice. However, when I started my first action research study, I saw that it produced a new problem—how could I position myself both as a researcher and a teacher? That was my Gordian Knot, an ancient legend coming from my land, Turkey. According to the legend, the Gordian Knot was an impossibly tangled knot, and the one to solve it would rule all knowledge. For me, the notion of practitioners conducting research was just as tangled. However, I encountered an unexpected ally that empowered me as both a practitioner and a scholar in the field. Continue reading

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6 Questions to Ask When Designing Teacher PD

Laura Baecher
Laura Baecher

Last month, I paid homage to a number of dead ideas in professional development (PD), and they offer a great guide in thinking about what not to do! But what should we be doing? In this blog, I suggest six conceptual questions to consider if you are in the position of advising on, shaping, or making choices about the PD plan in your institution. These are the considerations—often skipped over—that lead to deeper and more impactful professional learning outcomes. Continue reading

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6 More Ways to Cultivate Belonging in the Classroom

Naashia Mohamed
Naashia Mohamed

Following on from my last post about cultivating belonging in the classroom, I’d like to share a few more simple ways that teachers can help students feel a greater connection to the school. When a student feels accepted for who they are, is treated with respect, and feels supported by their peers and other members of the school community, they will feel a sense of inclusion. This is particularly important for children and young people who come from backgrounds that may be different from the majority of students in the school. Continue reading

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Strategies to Reduce Plagiarism and Increase Engagement

Brent Warner
Brent Warner

Plagiarism: scourge of the writing class and bane of teachers’ existence. Whether students are lifting others’ words accidentally or on purpose, there’s always something that comes up that puts us into a position of questioning the authenticity of some portion of a submission. While no teacher got into the profession to police student work, sometimes we find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, and we have to do some detective work.

Additionally, our students may not understand the concepts of plagiarism, or they may have simply made a mistake in the writing process. With a caring approach, a few tech tools, and some improved pedagogical practices, we can all reduce our time spent chasing down problems, and instead we can get back to the good work of guiding our students to writing success. Continue reading

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Asking the Right Questions: Research in and for the Classroom

Antonella Valeo
Antonella Valeo
As teachers, we routinely come across challenges in our classrooms and respond by trying out new approaches. This response may work for us individually, in the moment, but may not help us manage similar issues as they surface. In addition, without a systematic approach, a response that works in the moment may not contribute to substantive change beyond our own classroom. An intentional, systematic approach to reflecting on classroom practice can make it possible for us to contribute to our own classroom and beyond—in other words, research. Continue reading
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4 Critical Strategies for Teaching Multilingual Learners

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Recently, #MLLCHAT on Twitter had a dynamic discussion based on a new book by authors Andrea Honigsfeld, Maria Dove, Audrey Cohen, and Carrie McDermott Goldman entitled From Equity Insights to Action: Critical Strategies for Teaching Multilingual Learners. We were honored that one of the authors, Andrea Honigsfeld, was our special guest on the chat.

According to Honigsfeld, “Equity for multilingual learners (MLLs) means that students’ cultural and linguistic identities, backgrounds, and experiences are recognized as valued sources of knowledge.” Teachers of MLLs need to respect the background that that these students bring to the classroom. Here are critical teaching strategies for teaching multilingual learners, based on ideas from Honigsfeld’s book, or on discussion stemming from the book. Continue reading

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Lesson Plans for Educators—Minecraft: Education Edition

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning Blog. This month, we dig back into the world of Minecraft to explore Minecraft: Education Edition (Minecraft: EE).

One of the biggest challenges in using more games in the classroom is a lack of examples of effective use of games in the classroom. In much of the game-based learning literature, there is a focus on the software, or student perceptions about using games, without much explanation on how a game was used or what activities or materials were used with the game. Addressing this lack of materials is perhaps the best aspect of Minecraft: EE because Microsoft has created a web portal for teachers to discover and share lesson plans for use with the game. Continue reading

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STEM and ELT: 7 Science Reading Strategies

Darlyne de Haan
Darlyne de Haan

There is growing interest in how to teach English learners (ELs) science in the general education classroom especially because science contains a lot of reading and academic language. The strategies I discuss here, including the four strategies from Part 1 of this series, are intended for you to use immediately use in your classroom. The nine strategies come from the 2008 book Science for English Language Learners: K-12 Classroom Strategies (edited by Fathman & Crowther). Because of the depth and breadth of the reading skills strategy, today we will only be focusing on Skill 5 (Reading Skills), the fifth of the nine strategies to help ELs learn science. Continue reading

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