6 Tips for Successful Online Presentations

A. C. Kemp
A. C. Kemp

Few activities in the ESL speaking class are as challenging for students as presentations. Giving one can be overwhelming because it involves so many different skills—from fluency, pronunciation, and grammar to clear organization and smooth delivery.

Giving a presentation online brings additional difficulties for students. Gestures must be smaller and eye contact is with the impersonal camera. In addition, some students have trouble with bandwidth or privacy at home, making a live presentation difficult.

And these online presentations are problematic in other ways. When students use slides, for example, they can spend as much time on graphic design as the actual presentation; additionally, with slides filling the screen, the student’s own image is so small that delivery skills are hard for the teacher to judge. With a large class, a long series of presentations can make it hard for other students to stay focused as they watch their peers. This is exacerbated because when presenting online, there is a greater temptation for students to read from a script off-camera, making presentations monotonous.

Here are six tips for more successful online presentations that address these challenges. Continue reading

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EL Teacher Self-Care: Setting Boundaries Between Work and Home

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

In December, 2020 I heard from many teachers who reported how stressed and burnt out they felt. One of my fellow NJTESOL/NJBE Executive Board members, LeighAnn Matthews, wrote on her Facebook page,

I consider myself a pretty positive and upbeat person. I don’t complain. But I am tired. I’m exhausted. Burnt out. The weight of worrying and keeping track of literally 100s of English learners is catching up with me. What’s going on at home? Why aren’t the students coming to school? Are they OK? What do they need?

These are unprecedented times. Most of you have had to adopt changes in your teaching environments, moving from face-to-face instruction to virtual or hybrid environments. Families of your English learners (ELs) might be in crisis as parents lose their jobs or need to stay home to help their children with their schooling. Your responsibilities have probably grown during the pandemic. Your district may rely on you to translate notices to the parents of your students. They may expect you to troubleshoot difficulties that your ELs have in academic classes. You may feel fatigued and overwhelmed. Most teachers reported that they found it easier to set boundaries when teaching in-person than they did in a virtual classroom. Continue reading

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Level Up Your Online Teaching With OBS

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Happy New Year and welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning blog!

As many educators come off a hopefully restful winter break, I wanted to take time this month to revisit a piece of software featured in my April 2020 blog postOpen Broadcaster Software (OBS)—a free and open-source broadcasting software used extensively in video game streaming on Twitch, YouTube, and more.

For teachers entering another semester of remote learning, OBS is a fantastic addition to your digital toolkit, and so this month I wanted to do a slightly deeper dive into the software. With OBS, you can combine a variety of sources onto your screen to navigate between resources more effectively without the need to share, unshare, and reshare your screen in meetings via Zoom, Teams, Facebook Live, or more. Let’s take a look. Continue reading

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Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

Happy New Year! As we hang up new calendars and prepare for another academic term, it’s also a good time to think ahead for ourselves and our students. New Year’s resolutions are a January tradition for many people. We make resolutions to improve our fitness, diets, and other habits. Why not also make a few resolutions related to writing and teaching writing? Continue reading

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Member Moment: Chadia Mansour

Chadia Mansour
Chadia Mansour

TESOL Member Moment celebrates our members’ achievements and contributions to the field of English language teaching. Continue reading

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10 Reasons to Put Community Before Content

Stephanie Marcotte
Stephanie Marcotte

Education is a moving train. We are constantly collecting data, teaching lessons, doing evaluations, and grading student work. With COVID-19, we are doing this nonstop. With classrooms looking different than they did before COVID-19, we are still under the same pressure to get the desired outcomes from our student and our classes. Though content and outcomes are part of our classroom life, they are not everything. Our classroom community is far more important than any content that we could possibly teach.

Here are 10 reasons why community is more important than content. Continue reading

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The Polar Challenge Game for EL Collaboration

A. C. Kemp
A. C. Kemp

You may have played the “desert island” game before: You’re put in a group and asked to work together to choose a limited number of items you’d want to have with you if you were stuck on a desert island together.

As the weather here in New England gets colder, I like to play a variation on this game called the Polar Challenge, in which my students are “sent” to a secret location above the Arctic Circle for 2 years as punishment for an imaginary crime. As in the desert island game, the idea is for groups to work together to figure out what they will need to survive in a remote area. Continue reading

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Providing Inclusive Holiday Activities to ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Many elementary-age English learners (ELs) in the United States spend a good part of December discussing Santa, elves, and reindeer. They listen to stories about Santa and his trip around the globe. They make presents for their parents and participate in discussions about what they want for Christmas. ELs sing Christmas songs, many of them based on the religious aspects of Christmas.

Parents of ELs may not realize that most of their children’s classmates would receive gifts from Santa, and they may not be aware of how left out their child feels. Unfortunately, many of us give little thought to the children who are looking in from the outside during our celebration of December holidays. Continue reading

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