4 Ways to Celebrate Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month: Start With Names

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

In 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives recognized April as the National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month. Bilingual and multilingual learners are one of the fastest growing student populations in U.S. schools. The number of English learners (ELs) grew 28.1% between the 2000–2001 and the 2016–2017 school years. Currently, ELs represent 9.1% of all K–12 students in the United States.

How can school districts and/or individual teachers celebrate Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month? Names are a great place to start, because they are a huge part of a person’s personal and cultural identity, in particular for students who have immigrated to the United States. Here are four activity ideas for teachers to engage their students in the celebration, beginning with names. Continue reading

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Recent Research Trends in ELT: A Look at TESOL Quarterly

Scott Douglas
Scott Douglas

Part of the work of the TESOL Research Professional Council (RPC) is to identify research trends in teaching English as an additional language. Published research is one area where these trends can be identified, with a review of recently published full-length articles and brief research reports in TESOL Quarterly pointing to topics, contexts, and locations that have been in focus over the past few years. Since the start of 2018, 157 full-length articles and brief research reports have been published in the regular issues of TESOL Quarterly or as online versions of record (i.e., early view). Each of these articles and reports was coded for this blog post, with similar codes gathered together to uncover common trends. Continue reading

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4 Activities to Practice Simple Past and Present Perfect

A. C. Kemp
A. C. Kemp

English has 12 tenses: the simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive forms of past, present, and future. Fortunately, the students in my intermediate speaking classes can communicate their ideas clearly with only seven: three simple, three progressive, and present perfect.

Unfortunately, out of those seven tenses, there are two that those students often forget to use in conversation: simple past and present perfect. Continue reading

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Teach English Online More Effectively Using TPR Strategies

Kristin Fawaz
Kristin Fawaz

This blog post is sponsored by VIPKid.

While these three letters—TPR—might sound very mysterious, you have probably found yourself using this instructional strategy at some point in your life without even realizing it. That’s because TPR, total physical response, is actually a very simple and intuitive way to support language learners and communicate through language barriers.  In this article, we’ll break down how TPR works and how to use it strategically in your lessons to achieve lasting results with young language learners. Continue reading

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Assessment Equity for ELs: Put Students Before Data

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

As the time for assessing K–12 English learners (ELs) with an English language proficiency test approaches, many teachers and parents are concerned by COVID-19 health considerations during the administering of standardized tests. ELs  in over half of U.S. states are taking either the WIDA ACCESS or the ELPA-21. For both of these assessments of English language proficiency, students are required to go into school to take them. According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Most ELs and their families fall into these high-risk categories. Continue reading

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Language Learning With Among Us

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

This month, I had the opportunity to work with the U.S. Department of State’s Regional English Language Office in Belgrade Serbia to deliver a series of talks on games and learning. Teachers from around the world shared games they found to be effective activities and which students enjoy playing in the classroom. A game frequently mentioned during our talks was Among Us, a social deduction game that is a hit with players and great for the language classroom.
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5 Guidelines for Planning Writing Lessons

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

Though most teachers probably had to write formal lesson plans during their academic studies and practicum experiences, many of us stopped doing so as we became more expert in our work. In one sense, it’s logical that experienced teachers would not write out extensive lesson plans, given that we know our context and our content well enough to think through a lesson and predict how it will likely work for our familiar students. In this blog post, however, I want to encourage writing teachers to make an effort to write out a formal lesson plan once in a while.

Whatever format you use, even experienced teachers benefit from making detailed lesson plans from time to time. After 25 years of teaching in various contexts, I find it helpful for checking that my approach to teaching and my intentions for the lesson still align with what my students need and want to learn. Continue reading

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6 Tips for Teaching Impromptu Speaking

A. C. Kemp
A. C. Kemp

ELs are often called on to speak extemporaneously in content classes. They might be asked to outline a scientific process, explain a literary term, or compare two historical events.

Having to speak without preparation can be stressful, even in your first language. Some students freeze; others dive in and start speaking without a plan and end up rambling.  Trying to formulate thoughts and deliver them in a second language is an additional challenge.

However, your students can learn strategies to make answering impromptu questions easier. With a step-by-step plan and regular practice, you can help them gain confidence and master the skills to give clear, organized answers. Following are six tips for teaching impromptu speaking skills in your classroom. Continue reading

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