Culturally relevant or responsive teaching is a pedagogy grounded in the idea that educators teach to students’ unique cultural strengths. Geneva Gay is one of the early leaders in this field, and her book Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice (2000) became popular as a way to teach ethnically diverse students. Early work in this field focused on African American and Native American students in the United States.
In 2004, I published an article on my website entitled ESL Teacher as Cultural Broker after hearing James Banks speak on multicultural education. I urged classroom and content-area teachers to avoid interpreting the behavior of others through the eyes of their own culture. The idea that teachers should be culturally responsive to ELs became a passion of mine. Today, the term “culturally responsive teaching” has been expanded to include culturally and linguistically diverse students. In her recent book, Making Connections: Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain (2014), Zaretta Hammond relates the term to culturally and linguistically diverse learners and links classroom instruction and cognition.
Here are four pathways to a culturally responsive classroom that teachers need to take: Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
In this TESOL Blog post, you will read the ESP project leader profile of Anne Lomperis, who has been an English for occupational purposes (EOP) leader in the English for Specific Purposes Interest Section (ESPIS) for many years. In my eyes, Anne has been a global consultant who works with powerful clients, especially in the Middle East. In TESOL conferences, I have heard her explain how she navigates various mazes to get her projects done without ever revealing specific information about her clients!
As I write this blog post, Anne is actively involved in the production of a video marketing interview on her small business. That video (which she was invited to produce) will be broadcast on IFE (in-flight entertainment) on American Airlines (and now U.S. Airways, too, due to the merger) on all U.S. business and first class flights in December 2015 and January 2016. Continue reading
As English language teachers and teacher educators, we spend countless hours thinking about English itself—its sounds, its symbols, its features, its use, its development…the list goes on and on. We spend so much time thinking about English that we don’t often look to the students’ first language as a source of pedagogical help. O
ne way knowing about our students’ L1 might help us is explaining why students make the errors that they do, some of which are due to cross-linguistic influence. The interaction of two or more languages in the mind can be seen as a positive thing, as it indicates the learner’s growing interlanguage and developing proficiency in the additional language.
But, if teachers are unaware of the differences between their students’ language(s) and English, they may not understand why English learners make some types of errors (and whether or not we should consider them “errors” at all—but that is a larger debate). Continue reading
Tutoring second language writers has a lot in common with teaching writing in the classroom. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind when working with students one-on-one.
Here is a list of strategies that I learned from my colleagues as well as from my own teaching experience:
1. Start your tutorial by establishing an agenda. Because tutorials normally have a limited amount of time, it’s practically impossible to cover everything students want to talk about with regard to their papers. Therefore, decide together with the student what should be the focus of the tutorial. Be realistic and specific about the things you can accomplish in a limited amount of time. For example, you can focus only on one passage in a student’s paper or look at several recurring grammar mistakes. Continue reading
Ten years ago, U.S. teachers grumbled about “teaching to the test” as administrators told them, repeatedly, how important it was for the school to make annual yearly progress—the dreaded “AYP.” The worst part for us ELL/ESL specialists is that our students only have one year from their enrollment date in an English-speaking school to either not take the English language arts portion or take the reading/writing in their native language, despite the fact that learning a new language through a school environment can take much longer.
For those intervening years, we’re allowed to use few accommodations beyond word-for-word translations and interpreters, and these usually aren’t allowed for the English language arts sections. But that often doesn’t account for how our students may not be familiar with the tests’ formats. Continue reading
Professional development has always been near and dear to my heart as I am a self-declared lifelong learner. Sounds like a cliché, I have to admit, but it has transformed my career as an educator and my life. Like many of you, in addition to all of my teaching duties, I do my best to keep abreast of advancements in the field to keep relevant, dedicated, and inspired. Most of all, I do it for my students, because they deserve it.
Almost a decade ago, I spearheaded a professional development program at my institution, inspired by my learning at TESOL conventions. What began as simple, informal brownbag lunch discussions have blossomed into a professional development program for the entire department. So what’s stopping you? Here is a trouble-shooting guide to help you get your professional development program off the ground. Continue reading
While I do my best to bring you educational technology highlights, there are some really exceptional sites out there, for example Common Sense, that are completely devoted to this topic and have an absolute wealth of information to explore. Previously, I wrote about a Common Sense resource called Graphite, and today, I want to recommend another such site, EdSurge, which according to the website, is “an independent information resource and community for everyone involved in education technology.” Continue reading
Pardon the clickbait phrasing of the title, but it seems to have gotten you reading, and this post is all about just that: getting students to read. Below, I’ll be talking about extensive reading (ER), a practice that researchers and theorists unanimously endorse, but which too seldom makes its way into the classroom. First, I’ll talk about what ER is and why it’s so important, then we’ll proceed through the remaining wh-s and wrap up with a how.
What is Extensive Reading? So, extensive reading is a technical term, but it’s actually rather descriptive as well: It means reading at great length. We can get a little more specific than that, though. It’s reading a lot of easy texts of one’s own selection, primarily for pleasure. If we want to put some numbers on it, an “easy” text is one in which 98–100% of the vocabulary is known, and “at great length” means at least 20 minutes at a stretch, but really as much as possible. Continue reading
Each year, the annual TESOL Convention provides speaking-pronunciation-listening enthusiasts with dozens of opportunities to dig deeper and learn more about teaching oral/aural skills. Just browse through the Pre- and Postconvention Institutes for TESOL 2016, and you’ll see six sessions that focus on these important skills.
But if you really love pronunciation, you should also know about the annual Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching (PSLLT) conference. Started by Dr. John Levis in 2009, the PSLLT is the world’s largest L2 pronunciation conference and the only conference of its kind in North America. Largely research-focused, the PSLLT is an intimate conference that draws 100–200 participants from around the world. Continue reading
I hope you enjoy this second blog by Early Childhood expert Karen Nemeth. In her first blog on the role of play, Karen reviewed the research included in David Kohn’s New York Times article. In this blog, she is sharing trends in play-based education for young learners in the context of the Common Core.
This is my second post based on the New York Times opinion piece, Let the Kids Learn Through Play. In my last post, I described the advantages of using play-based learning for English learners. In this follow-up, I want to address some of the trends that connect the history of play-based learning to the future of education for ELs in the context of the Common Core. Continue reading