7 Virtual and Face-to-Face Activities for the First Week of School

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

As we go back to school this fall, many teachers are faced with changing school policies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. School districts that originally planned to go back full time to their brick-and-mortar buildings may have to change their plans at the last minute depending on the COVID-19 statistics in their state. Many teachers are planning for both face-to-face and virtual classrooms because their districts are implementing a hybrid model.

I think teaching during a pandemic is the biggest challenge modern teachers have ever faced. Many teachers will be meeting their students for the first time in a virtual classroom. Getting to know students is a necessary step for all teachers in setting up a safe and caring environment, whether it is virtual or face-to-face. Continue reading

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Making Discussion Boards More Engaging

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

With the world’s education systems shifting to online instruction as the COVID-19 pandemic continues into a new academic year, teachers need to think carefully about how we can maintain the interactive features we value in face-to-face classes without endangering our students’ health. Most learning management systems (LMSs) have some form of discussion board tool that allows students to post something they have written and reply to their classmates’ posts. Depending on the LMS, these may be simple text boxes where students can only write words, or they may have more functionality and allow students to share links and images as well.

Discussion boards are useful because they make it possible to have asynchronous interaction in an online format. Students can work on their own time but also see their classmates’ ideas and collaborate. With social distancing required in classrooms, this format can be more personal than sitting 6 feet away and shouting through masks during an attempt at face-to-face discussion. Students can also make use of internet resources to support their writing. Continue reading

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Member Moment: Hind Elyas

Hind Elyas
Hind Elyas

TESOL Member Moment celebrates our members’ achievements in and contributions to the field of English language teaching. Continue reading

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5 Ways to Keep a Personal Connection to Students Online

Ilka Kostka
Ilka Kostka

As many schools and institutions gear up to return to instruction for the new academic year, teachers all over the world are preparing to continue with the online teaching formats they transitioned to in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. What many teachers miss the most is building relationships with their students and getting to know them on an individual basis.

In this blog, I discuss simple ways that I have maintained a personal connection with my graduate English-language students in my online listening and speaking course. These ideas are applicable in either synchronous or asynchronous instructional settings, and they can be adapted for varying English language proficiency levels. Continue reading

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300 TESOL Advocates Attend First Ever Virtual Advocacy and Policy Summit

TESOL International Association
TESOL International Association

This past June, TESOL International Association held its first ever TESOL Virtual Advocacy & Policy Summit. Over 3 days, more than 300 TESOL professionals from all over the world came together to learn, network, and take action on a number of critical policy issues. This year’s summit was supported in part by TESOL’s strategic partner, the American Federation of Teachers.

With the goal of equipping TESOL professionals with the knowledge to become influential advocates on behalf of English learners (ELs), the summit saw attendees spend the first 2 days learning from policy experts, networking with other TESOL professionals, and understanding effective advocacy techniques and strategies. The summit concluded with an online day of action where TESOL advocates sent more than 2,000 messages and social media posts to members of the U.S. Congress. Continue reading

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5 Helpful Apps for Remote ELT Collaboration

Stephanie Marcotte
Stephanie Marcotte

Collaboration is vital to teaching and learning. Before COVID-19, collaboration might have happened at the copy machine, in the hallway, or in department meetings. Things changed last spring with the onset and spread of COVID-19. During this time, we had to respond and act quickly.

Now, we all face uncertainty with our back-to-school plans for the fall. It is more important than ever that we find new (and sustainable) ways to help facilitate our collaboration with each other regardless of whether we are online, remote, in-person, or using a unique hybrid. This is our time to move from the defensive of managing a crisis to the offensive!

This blog provides five apps that can help you collaborate with other teachers, colleagues, community members, and even parents during the fall semester and beyond. Whether you are working remotely or teaching in-person, these are helpful tools that can keep your lessons, projects, and priorities moving in a positive and sustainable direction. Continue reading

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3 Online Whiteboard Speaking Games

A. C. Kemp
A. C. Kemp

Many of us are now teaching online, and it can be challenging to find ways to engage students who are sitting in front of a computer all day. How can we get students talking with the enthusiasm they have in the physical classroom?

One solution is to take advantage of virtual whiteboards for fun, descriptive activities that help students improve their speaking skills. This post explains technical requirements and provides instructions for three whiteboard games: 1) Moving Pictures (beginner), 2) What’s the Difference? (intermediate) and 3) Picture This! (advanced). Continue reading

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Online Teacher Education Resources in ELT: Blogs, Vlogs, and Podcasts

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

In this second part of our blog series on virtual teacher education, we discuss how to help teacher candidates vicariously experience classroom life when limited to online sources. When teaching our teacher candidates face to face, we like to lift up practitioner voices by having ESL teachers and administrators visit our classes as guest speakers and by having teacher candidates observe and teach in classrooms with multilingual students.

What do we do when we can’t be physically in the same space with teachers, observing and discussing effective practices for multilingual learners? Continue reading

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