Pronunciation Perspectives Part 2: A Video Conversation with Tracey Derwing

Karen Taylor de Caballero
Karen Taylor de Caballero

In a recent post, I shared portions of my video interview with Dr. Tracey Derwing, coauthor of Pronunciation Fundamentals: Evidence-Based Perspectives for L2 Teaching and Research (Derwing & Munro, 2015). Here, I bring you more from that interview, focusing on Derwing & Munro’s early work together and how they went about writing their new book.

I received my copy of Pronunciation Fundamentals just last week, and I can already say this: Derwing and Munro have achieved what seems to elude many. That is, they’ve written a book that communicates their message accessibly and, well, humanly (and therefore humanely, especially if you are a graduate student who will read this book not by choice, but rather by assignment). Indeed, this is a book that should be assigned reading in TESOL education programs. Continue reading

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Debunking 5 Myths of U.S. Immigration

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

The Republican Presidential campaign has added fire to the discussions about immigration in the United States. In this blog,  I would like to review some of the immigration myths that are propagated by politicians and offer resources backing up the facts on immigration. It is my feeling that the anti-immigration rhetoric by candidates for president of the United States will affect the learning environment that ELs encounter in our schools. ELs need a supportive school community in order to succeed in school, and anti-immigration sentiments may affect this. It is our job as ESL teachers to learn the facts about immigration and defuse some of these misconceptions in our schools.

MYTH #1: There is a huge increase of the number of immigrants in the United States.

FACT: The number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States has declined from 12.2 million in 2007 to 11.3 million in 2013. Continue reading

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Critical Thinking About Technology: An ELT Activity

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

Our world is awash in new technology. New electronic gadgets, new smartphone apps, and new forms of social media abound. But which of these will stand the test of time? And how do these dazzling technology innovations compare in significance to those of the past?

This was the critical thinking and speaking task that I recently asked my advanced adult ELLs to tackle as a prelude to watching a series of TED Talks and YouTube videos about technological innovations ranging from 3D printing to a windmill build from scrap materials by a 14-year old in Malawi .

In groups of three, I asked my students to think about the long sweep of human history and to come up with their own list of 10 technological innovations that they deemed to have had the greatest impact on humanity. Continue reading

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ESP For Social Change: What Is Your Passion?

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

How often do you ask yourself the following questions?

  1. Who are my students?
  2. Why are they learning English?
  3. Why am I teaching them English?
  4. In addition to English communication skills, what are my students learning from me?

As ESPers, I think that we ask and answer questions 1 to 3 in a typical needs analysis. In this TESOL Blog post, however, I would like to explore all four questions in the context of ESP for social change. Continue reading

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5 Icebreakers for English Interaction

Kristen Lindahl
Kristen Lindahl

In the United States, it’s that time of year again, when students and teachers excitedly (reluctantly?) return to the classroom after summer vacation. First and foremost, you’ll want to get your students talking to you and to each other!

In the language classroom, interaction provides many benefits. First, interaction may give students the chance to provide each other with comprehensible input, or input that is slightly above the learner’s current level of language acquisition. Slower, simplified speech, repeated vocabulary, and a chance to negotiate meaning may help students better understand English in use. Continue reading

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Taking TESOL to the World: Vietnam

Andy Curtis
Andy Curtis

The TESOL President’s Blog

In the previous TESOL President’s Blog post, I wrote about leading and managing change and innovation, which was one of the main themes of TESOL International Association’s first symposium in Vietnam last month, which followed the association’s first academy in India, in April. These first-time TESOL International events are clear indicators and concrete examples of how the association is continuing to grow and develop, and to become even more international, in response to the changing needs, wants, and demographics of its members.

The symposium in Vietnam (sometimes written as Viet Nam) took place on 28 and 29 July and was held in Danang (or Da Nang), which is a coastal city in central Vietnam, with an estimated population of around 750,000, making it the country’s third largest city (by population). Continue reading

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Getting to Know Each Other Through a Single Word

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

During the first week of classes, it is important to establish a warm and collaborative atmosphere in the classroom and help students to get to know each other. Surely, there are a lot of “getting-to-know-you” activities and icebreakers that teachers can use to accomplish these goals. Some of them were described in my previous blogs: Writing Activities for ELLS: Getting to Know You, and Getting to Know You Writing Activity: Using Names.

Today, I’d like to share ideas that could help learners to get to know each other by using a single word. These ideas are very simple, and they can be adjusted to various levels of language proficiency. Continue reading

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5 Ways To Jumpstart Your ELL Class This Year

Nathan Hall
Nathan Hall

Two months ago, we were wrapping up postservice training. Now we’ve either started our preservice training or are counting down our remaining days of vacation. That means we have to get our classrooms ready for new students, and when our students are English language learners, there are some specific things we can do to make the first few months easier for us and for them. These include:

1. Use name cards.

I’m a big believer in using folded cardboard cards as temporary name tags for my students until I get to know their faces. Instead of filling them out myself, I have the students write on it what they would like me to call them so they can choose whether to use their real names, a nickname, or an Americanized name. I collect these at the end of class so I can use them to take attendance. For the next few classes, I pass these out again so I can see their face and name at the same time, which helps me make the connection a little quicker. Continue reading

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Literature in ELT: Who’s Afraid of Literature?

Guest Author
Guest Author

Sybil MarcusA Guest Post by Sybil Marcus
Sybil Marcus has lived and worked on four continents.  She taught ESL at the University of California at Berkeley Extension and at the Summer English Language Studies on the Berkeley campus.  She has presented at conferences in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. For 15 years, she ran a PCI workshop for TESOL on integrating literature into language studies. She has also run workshops internationally for the U.S. State Department on Using Literature for Critical Thinking and Using Literature for Conflict Resolution. She is a coauthor with Daniel Berman of the A World of Fiction series, which uses literature to teach integrated language and critical thinking skills to ESL/EFL students at the high-intermediate to advanced levels.

I admit it—I’m passionate about using literature, especially short stories, for language learning. As I result, I take every opportunity to talk about this to teachers of intermediate to advanced-level ELLs. Continue reading

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Guest Writer: Independent Online Reading Practice

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Rebecca Palmer, a colleague of mine at Northern State University, has the unenviable task of teaching beginner reading to a very mixed level group of adults in the Academic English Program. While many of the materials we have dug up seem far too childish to use with adult English language learners, she has really found a great variety of appropriate online resources to use with students both in and out of the classroom. It is my pleasure to have her introduce you to some of them today, and, since many of these sites would work well for a wide range of levels and ages, you can pick and choose what will work best for you, your learners, and your teaching context.

I am encouraging my beginner-level college-age ESL readers to use their smartphones and tablets for easy-reading practice anywhere, at any time. If students use the “share” buttons on their electronic devices, most of the websites below are easy to access with just one click without an app. If an app is required, I steer students to free apps. The key to out-of-class reading practice is to make sure that students choose extremely easy articles to read and that they look for topics they find interesting. Here are a few of my students’ favorite online easy-reading sites. Continue reading

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