What’s Different About Teaching Second Language Reading to Adults?

Barbara Gottschalk
Barbara Gottschalk

Early in my career, I used to be jealous of reading teachers. They had so much native speaker reading research to back them up, they had curriculum, they had progress tests, and they had ways to diagnose deficits. In contrast, as an ESL teacher, it seemed like I had…nothing. Even worse, I was sometimes expected to use methods and materials that weren’t appropriate for my students. The differences with young English learners are just as great with older students. To prepare to write this blog post on what’s different about teaching second language reading to adults, I talked with a teacher who has been on both sides of this scenario. Continue reading

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A Series of Interesting Choices With The Oregon Trail for ESL

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning blog!

Sid Meier, creator of the classic video game series Civilization, once described video games as a series of interesting choices. It is a wonderful way to think about how to use video games in the classroom, as the outcome of those interesting choices create experiences for our students which they can compare with one another or even with real world events. This month, let’s explore how students can connect in-game experiences to the real world with the game The Oregon Trail. Continue reading

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4 More Ways to Support the Families of Multilingual Learners When School Opens

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

There are many reasons why families may not come to school for school programs and conferences about their children. As I discussed in my August 2021 blog, “5 Ways to Support the Families of Multilingual Learners as School Opens,” families may not have transportation to and from the school or babysitting for younger siblings. They may feel embarrassed by their lack of English or for being unable to read the notices that come home. They may not be able to leave their work to attend conferences. Here are four more steps that schools can take to engage the families of their multilingual learners (MLLs): Continue reading

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3 Strategies to Support EL Language Development in the STEM Classroom

Darlyne de Haan
Darlyne de Haan

I am sure that at some point in time you have heard or read something along the lines of “We are all literacy teachers when it comes to teaching English learners, regardless of the content area we teach.” Or that “language and content occur simultaneously.” But what does this mean and, more importantly, how does the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teacher teach something that they lack training in?

That is the topic for today’s blog, based on research published in the Journal of STEM Teacher Education (2016) and on the 2018 National Academy of Sciences Report, which I strongly recommend you read. Both articles can be downloaded for free.

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Writing Statements of Purpose for Awards and Grad School

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

This month, I will outline what goes into writing a very important but somewhat unfamiliar genre for most writers: the statement of purpose (SOP). I hope this is helpful both to readers who want to apply for something themselves and to teachers of students who will be applying. Some relevant program applications are coming up soon, most requiring an SOP:

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Building Your Online Community of Practice With Social Media

Laura Baecher
Laura Baecher

 Link to podcast of this blog.

Being more isolated during these pandemic times has made some of us long for the days of in-person professional development where we could spend time drinking coffee and chatting across a table with our colleagues. Like me, perhaps you find engagement with colleagues absolutely vital to your ongoing professional development. Now that we do so much remotely, we know that wherever we are in the world, we are part of an incredibly vast, diverse, and energized community of TESOL educators—but how do we find and then interact with each other? This is where an online community of practice comes in. Continue reading

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Avoiding Tokenism in Multicultural Education: 7 Strategies

Naashia Mohamed
Naashia Mohamed

One of the common ways in which schools address cultural diversity is by hosting a Cultural Day or Cultural Week. This may involve students being invited to dress in cultural attire, share dishes from their ethnic cuisines, and perform a traditional dance. Critics have called this the “Fs” of culture: food, folk-dancing, festivals, fashion, and flags.

While this approach to celebrating multiculturalism may be well intentioned and can help celebrate the unique identities of children and young people, if it remains a one-time celebration, it reduces culture to the visible and superficial. It may signal a tokenistic attitude that lacks genuine cultural responsiveness to families’ needs, aspirations, and desires. It may also imply an assimilationist ideology. By celebrating linguistic and cultural practices that are different to the dominant group in society, we are highlighting the existing inequity that keeps some families marginalized and disempowered. Such one-off celebrations signal that the dominant way of life must be the “normal” or “right” way, as it is the daily experience of the school. It also represents other cultures as static, exotic, or homogenous.

To move beyond a surface level acknowledgment of cultures, we need to embed culture at the heart of learning and make it a regular part of our teaching. You might like to try some of these suggestions. Continue reading

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STEM in ELT: Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Leaky STEM Pipeline

Darlyne de Haan
Darlyne de Haan

One of my main purposes for writing a blog on English learners (ELs) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) was to address and shed light on the leaky STEM pipeline and the issues revolving around the lack of ELs in STEM careers, but most importantly, the lack of ELs in STEM classes, advanced math, and advanced science courses starting as early as middle school.

Today’s post will connect an excellent article that I read in Education Week by Paunesku titled “The Deficit Lens of the ‘Achievement Gap’ Needs to Be Flipped. Here’s How” with culturally responsive teaching (CRT), which has a tremendous impact on student academic achievement. Continue reading

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