4 Ways Teachers of ELs Differ From Reading Teachers

Barbara Gottschalk
Barbara Gottschalk

“Are you teaching them to read?” asked the custodian as she unlocked the door to my classroom. I had forgotten my key and needed to get ready for my before-school class with English learners (ELs). I didn’t have time to go in to detail so I simply replied, “I’m teaching them English!” Unlike the helpful custodian, we TESOLers know that English language development for ELs is so much more than reading. In fact, the best way to help ELs learn to read better in English is to help their overall English language development.

So what do teachers of ELs do differently compared to reading teachers for native speakers? Last month’s blog with Pat Lathers discussed the differences when teaching adults; this month. let’s focus on how teachers of younger ELs may differ from their reading teacher counterparts: Continue reading

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What Language Should Multilingual Learners Speak in the ESL Classroom? 6 Strategies

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

During a recent Twitter chat, a teacher of multilingual learners (MLLs) wrote that she was struggling with a class of fifth and sixth graders who persisted in speaking their home language (Spanish) in class. The teacher explained that her goal was to have students practice speaking English.

I remembered that I had a similar problem teaching a group of fourth- and fifth-grade Japanese-speaking students. Although I was a seasoned teacher of MLLs, it was my first experience with Japanese students and with having all my students from the same language background. It took me months to figure out how to to guide my students to appropriately use both their home language and English in school. Here are six ideas to help students focus on using all of their language resources in the classroom.

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Exploring the World of Walking Simulators: Using Games as Narrative Text

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning Blog. In this month’s blog, I wanted to dive into the genre of video games commonly referred to as “walking simulators.” These games are first-person narrative games that task players with exploring the clues to a mystery or event after the fact. These games forgo typical video game activities, such as fighting, crafting, or racing in favor of the player exploring an environment to solve a puzzle. In many ways, these games are more akin to short stories or novellas and can be used in classroom practice in much the same way.

One of the more invigorating aspects of walking simulator games is the focus on a more diverse array of stories and ideas while featuring more diversity of characters. These features provide a compelling case for their classroom use as players are provided an experience and worldview that may differ from their own. Over the course of an unfolding story, the players get to learn about the lives of others and to walk in a character’s shoes. Continue reading

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4 Steps to Get Started With Translanguaging

Hetal Ascher
Hetal Ascher

It can be challenging to move from a mostly monolingual English classroom to a more multilingual, inclusive one. However, the lasting impact is well worth the changes in classroom practice. Last month, Naashia Mohamed wrote a compelling case to incorporate translanguaging in the classroom in her post, “3 Ways to Harness the Power of Translanguaging.” Mohamed’s post contains a clear explanation of translanguaging along with a strong rationale for its use in the classroom with some handy classroom tips. To recap, translanguaging is the practice of using all the language resources available to you, integrating two or more languages in order to communicate and learn. Continue reading

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STEM and ELT: 9 Strategies to Help ELs Learn Science (Part 1)

Darlyne de Haan
Darlyne de Haan

I am very excited about the topics for the next two months because I will be focusing on strategies that all teachers can use to help English learners (ELs) be successful contributors in the science classroom no matter their level of language proficiency. This blog will cover four of the nine strategies, and the remaining five strategies will be covered in my November blog post.

Science constitutes one of the best subjects for ELs to practice reading, writing, listening and speaking English if the science is taught as inquiry based and using hands-on activities, links to prior knowledge, and allows time allowed for student collaboration. All of these characteristics enhance and give depth to the EL experiences in science. Because science content and language can be learned simultaneously, science has a distinct place in the development of academic language. Continue reading

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Frolleagues: Why Friendships at Work Matter

Laura Baecher
Laura Baecher

 Link to Podcast of this blog.

In an earlier blog I suggested that our strengths and skills in the professional sphere are interconnected with our personal growth and development, and that admonitions to separate the personal from the professional may not be realistic or helpful. In making the case for the interconnectedness of our personal skills and achievements with our professional ones, I focused on our growth as individuals. In this blog I want to further explore the strong connection between personal and professional development not through an individual perspective, but through the lens of friendship. In our increasingly displaced workspaces, colleagues who are friends are more important than ever in our professional and personal development. Continue reading

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5 Built-in iPhone Features That Can Help ELs

Brent Warner
Brent Warner

With the launch of new a iPhone inevitably comes a new iOS. (If you’re an Android user, I haven’t forgotten about you! I’ll be covering the same topic for Androids next month!) A lot of English language learners download all sorts of apps to help them with their vocabulary, grammar, listening, and more. But what many iPhone users don’t know is that Apple has a long reputation of growing useful accessibility features that can help students (and anyone else who wants to learn) get more access to English training with only a few taps on the screen.

Let’s look at five built-in iPhone features, some unsung and some brand new, that can boost learning for dedicated students.

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3 Ways to Harness the Power of Translanguaging

Naashia Mohamed
Naashia Mohamed

When 14-year-old Zena moved from Turkey to New Zealand, she was apprehensive about going to school. Zena had learned some English in school in Turkey but was not confident that she would be able to follow the teachers or converse with other students when she joined her new school. Zena’s family was Egyptian and spoke Arabic and Turkish at home. Zena’s parents worried that because she was an English language learner, Zena wouldn’t fit into her new school or be able to keep up with her school work even though she had been an excellent student in her previous school.

Zena’s story is not unique. It is one that many children and young people from immigrant and multilingual backgrounds share. Children all over the world receive education in a language that is not spoken in their homes, or in a language that forms only part of the linguistic landscape of the home environment. In such cases, what can educators do to make students feel welcome and create a sense of belonging in school? Continue reading

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