Virtual Field Trips for ELT

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler

There are numerous ways to use technology today to take virtual field trips. These activities can be designed in many different ways. I tend to think of them as an extension of simulations or role-playing activities that have been popular in English language education for a very long time. Role-playing in language education allows us to create immersive simulated communication experiences in contextually meaningful spaces.

Traditionally, classrooms have been rearranged to resemble any number of target language practice settings: restaurants, bazaars, museums, historic sites, and so on. Learners can be placed in these spaces with specific language practice goals. With the enhancements available through various forms of technology, we can expand these immersive simulations in very interesting ways. Many of these new contexts allow learners to practice the relevant language with an increased sense of place as well as the ability to interact with and learn from virtual landscapes. Continue reading

Posted in TESOL Blog | Tagged as , , , , , | 1 Comment

Video Games and Violence: Facts and Fear

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Video games are back in the news again after a series of tragedies in the United States. It has become a familiar pattern, a young adult commits violence and an immediate response is to lay blame upon video games as the catalyst for the anger behind their abhorrent actions.

In the media, this blaming of video games is framed as a debate. It’s not. Decades of research have conclusively shown that playing video games does not increase aggression or violent behavior in players. The misalignment between the data and the perception can lead to educators needing to justify their use of video games in the classroom against unfounded concerns from administrators and parents about the dangers video games pose. As proponents of video games for learning, our role in these times is to help others separate evidence-based fact from fear and scapegoating. Continue reading

Posted in TESOL Blog | Tagged as , , , | Leave a comment

Back-to-School Basics: Avoiding Civil Rights Violations (Part 1)

Ayanna Cooper
Ayanna Cooper

It is the middle of summer in the United States and for some school districts the 2019–2020 school year has already started. Welcome back! For others, it will be starting soon. This blog, the second in a series dedicated to the civil rights of English learners (ELs), highlights a back-to-school basic: the enrollment process. Ah, yes, the paper work involved with starting school! Continue reading

Posted in TESOL Blog | Tagged as , , | Leave a comment

Trends in Second Language Writing: What L2 Writing Folks Are Talking About

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

This summer, I literally circumnavigated the globe, and in the process, I attended two conferences where scholars were talking about exciting new ideas in second language writing. While I was in Chile last year, I had the opportunity to participate in two other conferences with interesting regional and international writing-related topics. Although I am a regular at the TESOL Convention, I think it’s worth the effort to attend different conferences as well in order to get a sense of the discussions about writing among teachers and scholars from other organizations. This month, I will introduce the conferences and their host organizations and then summarize a few of the writing-related topics I learned about. Continue reading

Posted in TESOL Blog | Tagged as , , , , | Leave a comment

The TESOL Research Agenda: By and for Teachers

Jessie Curtis
Jessie Curtis

As a new member of the TESOL Research Professional Council (RPC), it is a great pleasure to introduce the council’s new series of communications highlighting the TESOL Research Agenda. This agenda outlines trends in English language teaching and research, serves to connect research with practice in our field, and supports teachers who are new to research. With the understanding that systematic inquiry forms the basis for action in our classrooms, we begin with a look at the agenda as a resource for teachers of English. Continue reading

Posted in TESOL Blog | Tagged as , , , | Leave a comment

Basics of Using Corpora

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler

A corpus is a collection, or body, of language. Though usually text-based, corpora (the plural of corpus) can include collections of spoken language as well. In fact, some of the most popular examples of corpora include TV news and U.S. Supreme Court transcripts. Other collections include religious texts, academic papers, Wikipedia, and, definitely the largest of all corpora, the Internet. Using a corpus to learn vocabulary can be a much more active experience than traditional, passive, approaches to learning vocabulary. Continue reading

Posted in TESOL Blog | Tagged as , , , , | 1 Comment

Linking Writing to ELs’ Lives Using Quickwrites

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Recently, I came across a mention of quickwrites (QWs) on Twitter. I immediately felt that they were a  terrific way to support English learners (ELs) as they learn to write. According to Linda Reif, author of The Quickwrite Handbook: 100 Mentor Texts to Jumpstart Reading and Writing (2018), a QW is a short, quick response that students make to a prompt. That prompt can be a short text, a passage from a mentor text, a poem, or a picture. Students write a quick 1–3 minute reaction to the prompt.

Reif’s ideas can easily be adapted for ELs by choosing texts that are at their English language development (ELD) level. Continue reading

Posted in TESOL Blog | Tagged as , , , , , , | Comments Off on
Linking Writing to ELs’ Lives Using Quickwrites

Teacher-Made Materials Design: 6 Flaws and Fixes

Gabriela Kleckova
Gabriela Kleckova

Despite a broad range of professionally developed language teaching materials, we often prepare our own materials (e.g., worksheets, checklists, surveys, tests, assignments sheets) in order to provide learners with more personalized, individualized, or localized contents and tasks. How many of such materials have you designed yourself in the past year?

The effectiveness of our self-made materials depends on many aspects. They should reflect the theories of second language acquisition, principles of teaching, knowledge of language use, and experiences with materials in use (Tomlinson, 2010, p. 82). Moreover, I believe that they should also be informed by principles of effective visual design because “visuals, layout, and design are indispensable parts of meaning making and of language acquisition and development at all ages” (Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018, p. 326). Simply put, well-implemented principles of visual language can support the teaching potential of our materials. Visual design flaws of teaching materials, however, may hinder students’ learning despite the other positive aspects they may have. Continue reading

Posted in TESOL Blog | Tagged as , , | 2 Comments