Yakut TESOL Conference: Reflections on Language and Culture

Luciana de Oliveira
Luciana de Oliveira

This past June, I had the opportunity and honor to represent TESOL at the Yakut TESOL Conference in Yakutsk, in the Siberian region of Russia. The theme of the conference was “Contemporary Issues in EFL Teaching: Teaching Writing by Nonnative English Speaking Teachers for EFL Students.” The conference had around 120 participants, all EFL teachers from around the region. Some had to cross miles and miles to get to Yakutsk, and all seemed to be really happy to be there.

I gave a plenary, titled “Nonnative English-speaking teachers teaching writing at all levels”; two presentations, “A Genre-Based Approach to Writing Instruction” and “About TESOL”; and a workshop, “A Genre-Based Approach to Writing Instruction: Strategies and Tips for Implementation.” Continue reading

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6 Tips for Communicating With Families of ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

For most school districts in the United States, the new school year has begun.  Schools are enrolling an increasing population of immigrant and refugee children in their classrooms. Classroom and content-area teachers will need to meet the challenge of communicating with and engaging the families of their English learners (ELs).

One of our roles as ESL teachers is to facilitate the communication between our school and the family members who are responsible for the care and education of the ELs. EL families may not be familiar with the practice of meeting with their child’s teacher and do not know what is expected of them during such a meeting. Many classroom teachers do not know how to communicate with family members who do not speak English and who are not familiar with U.S. school practices. Continue reading

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Taking Risks in ESP – A Sign of Expertise?

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

What does it mean to take risks as an ESP practitioner? Is such risk-taking a sign of expertise? This TESOL Blog post is inspired by an article in the area of professional communication that I first read several years ago. The contents of that article are applicable to our work as teachers in a classroom or as trainers in a company:

Candlin, S. (2002). Taking risks: An indicator of expertise? Research on Language and Social Interaction, 15(2), 173–193.

Sally Candlin (spouse of Christopher Candlin, by the way) focuses on expertise in summarizing the contents of her article above: Continue reading

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Getting-to-Know-You Writing Activity: Using Names

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

In many schools and educational programs around the world, the end of summer is considered to be the beginning of a new academic year.  For us, teachers, this period involves lots of preparation, including designing a course syllabus, developing lessons plans, and thinking about the ways we can engage and motivate our students from the very beginning of the semester. The first day of classes is particularly important, as it introduces students to the material yet to learn, introduces them to their teacher and the classmates, and sets the tone of the course.

Although the first couple of days may be considered introductory, we still should try to provide our students with the opportunity to learn English and use it in meaningful activities.  Today I ‘d like to share a “getting-to-know-you” activity that we can use on the first day of classes. Continue reading

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Take a Virtual Field Trip

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

While educators are often limited by time, funding, and logistics when it comes to field trips, virtual field trips can make them a real option again. Students get a similar learning experience and teachers can focus on the educational side of things without having to worry about collecting consent forms, tracking money, finding chaperones, etc. Virtual field trips are the way to go and they are gaining in popularity; just Google “virtual field trips” and you will see what I mean, but how do you use a virtual field trip with your class? Read on for a couple of examples.
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ESL Games: ESL – Tic Tac Toe

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: ESL – Tic Tac Toe is a quick, fun way to review any number of grammar forms or vocabulary words. It builds on higher level thinking skills and provides language practice in various skills—primarily listening, speaking, and reading.
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Living VenTESOL’s Spirit!

Yilin Sun
Yilin Sun

The TESOL President’s Blog

Last month, I had the honor to represent TESOL International Association by delivering an opening plenary talk at VenTESOL’s 32nd convention in Caracas, Venezuela.
The theme of VenTESOL’s event was “Examine, Support and Renew ELT for the Next Generation.” The conference attracted more than 500 participants from different parts of Venezuela and neighboring countries.

Everyone I met was so excited to engage in conversations about English teaching and learning, passionate to learn more about TESOL International Association, and eager to share stories about their work and how much they value the opportunity to be part of the conference. The 3-day event was a perfect illustration of VenTESOL’s motto, “Live Ven-TESOL’s Spirit: Teachers helping teachers from the heart.”
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A Great Grammar Resource: Learn American English Online

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

*note: An earlier version of this blog featured an incorrect link to Learn American English Online

Last year, one of my students introduced our class to Learn American English Online, a website that he liked to use on his smartphone to practice his grammar during breaks at work and at home. As I explained in an earlier blog post, this website includes seven color-coded levels of instruction, ranging from beginner to advanced. Each lesson is introduced by a folksy video that explains the relevant grammar point and includes a series of grammar quizzes and dictation exercises (with answers) that students can use at home for additional controlled practice.

The website is a great resource in a “flipped classroom,” because it allows students to preview a grammar point at home before coming to class to practice the use of the grammar in communicative activities.

This semester, I have also started to use another feature of the website for my beginning students. Continue reading

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Creating a Welcoming Classroom Environment for Pre-K–5 ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

At the start of the new school year, classroom and ESL teachers will be meeting English learners (ELs) who are attending school in the United States for the first time.  Teachers can alleviate many fears experienced by beginning ELs by creating a welcoming environment in their classes. A nurturing teacher and welcoming classmates can greatly help beginning ELs cope with the challenges they face. The more comfortable new arrivals feel in your classroom, the more quickly they will be able to learn. The more anxiety students experience, the less language they will comprehend.

Help ELs develop pride in their language and culture

Tie the cultures of your ELs to your curriculum whenever possible. ELs will bring a wealth of experiences from their families, homes, neighborhoods, and communities to school. Children with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds have stories and experiences that are unique. Continue reading

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Business Discourse (2nd edition): Relevant for ESPers Worldwide!

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

As ESPers, we have the responsibility to learn as much as we can about how people communicate. By researching and learning about professional communication and reflecting on our teaching practices, we empower ourselves to create learning experiences for our students. Through such learning experiences, we empower our students to communicate for the purpose of achieving their specific goals. In sum, we promote leadership communication worldwide (when leadership is conceptualized as influencing others to achieve a vision/goal).

Accordingly, when I come across a resource that can empower ESPers worldwide, I want to share it with ESPers worldwide! Check out the following:

Bargiela-Chiappini, F., Nickerson, C., & Planken, B. (2013). Business discourse (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
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