Guest speakers can make a powerful, lasting impression on students. They share their wisdom and experience, lead by example, and give students a clear, realistic picture of success. I mean, who could forget that time Mr. T came to motivationally speak to our 5th grade class, and for years to come we aspired to be vigilante soldiers of fortune cruising the streets of L.A. in a GMC Vandura trying to clear our names of a crime we didn’t commit?
Okay, so maybe we don’t all remember that. And maybe some dreams are best abandoned. And maybe some speakers are more effective than others. In this post—the first of two on the topic of guest speakers in adult ed—I’m going to cover some types of guest speakers you may want to consider inviting to your class. Next time, I’ll provide a step-by-step process for prepping inexperienced guest speakers, to make sure that the visit is positive for everyone involved. Continue reading
Immigrant students in the United States have already suffered the trauma of leaving behind their extended family, friends, teachers, and schools. They enter a U.S. school and can also lose their name. Their name may be deliberately changed by parents or school staff, or an error may be made in the order of the name or its spelling. These mistakes can have lasting effects on students.
A person’s name is part of his or her cultural identity, and it is up to schools to get it right. In order for teachers, administrators, or office staff in your school to enroll students with the correct the name, they need to understand the naming conventions of different cultures. Here are seven naming customs from different cultures. Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
As we move forward with the ESP project leader profiles, I have become increasingly interested in how ESP project leaders get the “buy in” (i.e., support) of stakeholders for ESP projects. In this connection, I have found the TV program Shark Tank to be relevant. In this TESOL Blog post, I share how I have used specific episodes of Shark Tank to teach my students how to more effectively promote their business ideas in English. Continue reading
One of the greatest benefits of being online is the global connectivity it brings—connection to other people, other places, other perspectives, and, of course, other languages. Language teachers have been long aware of the connection between language learning and cultural ties, and are often very creative in bringing culture into the classroom and creating experiences for students outside of it, as well.
A current tool that TESOL educators might find intriguing for these purposes is Google Cultural Institute, which has brought Google’s unique technology to the world’s art galleries and museums. Once you’re on the Institute’s page, you can browse more than 6 million items that range from works of art, photographs, personal items from historical figures, and videos from multiple time periods. Continue reading
The TESOL President’s Blog
In 1988, I saw an Eddie Murphy movie called “Coming to America.” At that time, I had not yet made my first trip to the United States, so I was intrigued by how people from other countries would experience America their first time there. Over the last 20 years, I’ve made many trips all over the United States, but as someone who has been based in Canada, in different parts of Asia, in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere for most of my life, I was excited about attending, for the first time, this year’s TESOL Advocacy and Policy Summit, which took place in Washington, DC, on 21–23 June. Approximately 90 TESOL educators attended the summit, which is a reflection of how this event has grown over the years; there were also a few participants from outside the United States, including me. Continue reading
In today’s blog, I continue describing strategies for keeping a personal journal. In my last blog, I referred to personal journals as a tool for improving writing fluency and overcoming the problem of not knowing what to write about. As I also mentioned, I used this strategy at the suggestion of my writing teacher, and it helped me overcome my writing apprehension.
The issue that some students may face with keeping a personal journal, though, is their lack of experience, or perhaps the mundane character of this practice. So let’s look at some ideas that students can use to find joy in keeping personal journals. Continue reading
I took a deep breath when I heard the announcement: Our school wanted to emphasize open-ended questions in all classes. Teachers would spend less time asking questions that could be answered with a simple term or a “true/false,” as is the case with closed-ended questions, and instead had to implement more questions designed to assess how well students could describe a process or apply knowledge to write out a more thorough and often subjective passage.
That seemed like a scary situation for my English language learners at first, but then I realized what a great opportunity this was for my students to practice speaking and writing if they could overcome their fears of making mistakes. Continue reading
One of my goals as an instructor in an intensive English program (IEP) has been to encourage my students to pay more attention to the news in the United States. (See “Producing Newscasts for the ESL Classroom“) When students watch the news in English, they strengthen their listening skills, expand their vocabulary, and increase their awareness of American culture.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 26 June 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage was one of several “hot topics” in the news this summer that we tackled in class. Beforehand, I wrestled with the question of how best to approach this issue in a class where I knew that a number of students, because of their religious beliefs, might disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision. Continue reading
As much as I hate to admit it, fall classes are just around the corner, so I have been spending a lot of time recently creating activities for my students. Vocabulary practice has been one area students always seem to want more help with, and I have been focusing on that for a while now.
At the same time, I am making an effort to reduce the amount of paper I use during the course of the semester, which has forced me to explore new ways of doing things. I have always found Discovery Education’s Puzzlemaker handy, but that works best for printable worksheets. Luckily, a coworker recommended Hot Potatoes, and I have been an activity-making fiend ever since. Continue reading