Make Some News! Current Events for ELT

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler

Contemporary news stories and current events can be a great context for English classes. The relevance and currency of content can increase interest and engagement and having students create their own news reports can help increase fluency, accuracy, and confidence (Tseng, 2018). Teachers can provide learners with news in text, video, or audio across various levels of complexity. Learners can also be supported to create their own news stories, reports, videos, or even newspaper websites.

Today, I share some suggestions for using the news in a variety of ways. I hope that those of you who have experience using other ways will share that in the comments. Continue reading

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10 Scaffolds to Support EL Learning, Part 2

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Last month, in “10 Scaffolds to Support EL Learning Part 1,” I listed five types of scaffolds that strengthen a English learners’ (ELs’) ability to comprehend the content that is being taught in the classroom. As I explained in Part 1, a scaffold is a temporary framework that is put in place to provide ELs with a supportive learning environment and help them take ownership of their learning. We learned about

  1. using visuals, realia, and multimedia;
  2. connecting new information to prior experiences and learning;
  3. using miming, gestures, and modeling;
  4. preteaching academic vocabulary and key concepts; and
  5. supporting EL writing using sentence frames.

This month, I’d like to talk about five additional scaffolds: Continue reading

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Gamifying the Classroom, Part II: Core Motivations

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Hello again, everyone! It’s another month and another blog post on gamification. Last time, we surveyed the foundational aspects of gamification—sketching out a definition, highlighting examples, and covering where to learn more. This month covers the core aspects of gamification and what to consider when applying it to the classroom.

The Eight Core Drives

In his book Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards, Yu Kai Chou itemizes gamification into eight core principles, each of which encompasses an aspect of motivation. These core principles are a solid foundation on which to gamify your classroom. Continue reading

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Writing-Related PD in the TESOL Resource Center

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

With summer break a reality for many teachers in North America, you might be thinking about professional development and wanting new ideas to infuse in your teaching after the holidays. Now is when you actually have time to devote to learning new ideas and deepening your knowledge of theory—but there are not many conferences going on, and books are expensive. Never fear! There are lots of opportunities online where you can increase your knowledge and fill your toolbox of teaching techniques. This post introduces one of those: the TESOL Resource Center (TRC).

The TRC is a service TESOL International Association provides to members and nonmembers. Billing itself as a place to find activities and lesson plans, the resource center serves as a searchable repository for both member-submitted and organization-created materials. Some are available open access and others require logging in with your TESOL membership credentials. Many resources are related to teaching second language (L2) writing. Continue reading

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The Unapologetic Advocate: You’ve Got Mail

David Cutler
David Cutler

I was all set to do a full review of the classic 1998 rom-com You’ve Got Mail, starring Thomas J. Hanks and Meg Ryan, but then I thought to myself, “Everyone loves this movie already, does it really need a review? Also, it’s 2019 so I might be a little late to the party. And, this an advocacy blog, despite my best efforts.” But if you don’t think I can tie this movie into advocacy, you’ve greatly underestimated my pop culture prowess. I’m also just too lazy to think of a new title.

I’ve spent a lot of time encouraging advocates to meet with their members of Congress, but I do understand there might be some obstacles that prevent advocates from committing the time to in-person meetings. Your senator’s offices might be too far away, maybe you can’t seem to find an opening in the office’s schedule, and maybe you’re just too busy…umm…TEACHING! Luckily, there’s more than one way to be an active advocate. One of them is what we in the advocacy biz call a “light lift.” These are simple actions that generally don’t take too long to complete. They can also be done at any time of day, in the comfort of your own home, with your favorite Netflix show blaring in the background. Continue reading

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