7 Tips for Doing Read-Alouds the Right Way

Barbara Gottschalk
Barbara Gottschalk

Early in my career, when I taught a self-contained class of fourth- and fifth-grade newcomers, I definitely did read-alouds the wrong way. I knew research showed the benefits of reading aloud to students, especially English learners. I knew reading aloud to students models fluency, builds background knowledge, and increases students’ vocabularies. I also knew reading aloud to students can pique their interest in specific books as well as reading in general.

What I didn’t realize, however, was a classroom practice this beneficial needed to be done purposefully. Far too often, I’d just grab a picture book from a stack of possibilities on my desk—sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit, without even reading it first myself. That’s right—no planning, no follow-up. Not good! I put read-aloud time IN my lesson plans, but I didn’t plan FOR it. You can increase the effectiveness of your read-alouds by planning them carefully and integrating them into the curriculum. Here are some tips I’ve learned for doing read alouds the right way: Continue reading

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Let’s Celebrate the Resilience of ELs During the Pandemic!

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Much has been written over the past year about the “learning loss” that many U.S. students are experiencing. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected education around the world when face-to-face teaching in schools was suspended. I have noticed how often the term learning loss is mentioned in discussions that I read from experts around the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) analyzed a study from the Netherlands that showed learning losses are up to 60% larger among students from less-educated homes, confirming worries about the uneven toll of the pandemic on children and families.

From my experience in speaking to teachers around the United States and reading frequently about the topic, it is evident to me that educators are really worried about English learners’ (ELs’) learning loss during the pandemic. Continue reading

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ELT for Video Games: Language and Video Game Careers

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Hello and welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning Blog. For video gamers, June is a big month as each year the video game industry hosts the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), a 3-day event where the major video game publishers announce their upcoming games. This year, E3 is all digital (12–15 June), and so it is a great time to watch along. It also makes June a great month to highlight just how large the video game industry is and what that means for our students—jobs!

People who are not frequent video game players are often surprised by the size of the video game industry. As educators, we should be aware of just how large the games industry is because it is a frequently multilingual industry with career potential for our students. Estimated to be around US$150 billion a year, the video game industry is 2.5 times the size of the film industry and 5 times larger than the music industry. Continue reading

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4 Low-Prep Creative Writing Ideas

Hetal Ascher
Hetal Ascher

In need of a quick, low-prep lesson? Here are some creative writing activities that my students and I have enjoyed over the last year. These ideas work whether you are teaching in person, online, or hybrid, and they all allow students to exercise their creative writing skills and senses of humor. Continue reading

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STEM in ELT: 3 Ways to Address STEM Inequities

Darlyne de Haan
Darlyne de Haan

If our goal is to “seal” the leaky STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) pipeline for English learners (ELs), we must first look at the three areas of greatest impact on students’ exposure to STEM courses:

  1. Teacher preparation
  2. Teacher self-efficacy
  3. Community resources in low-income areas

(“Low-income” is defined as communities where over 80% of students are on reduced lunch meal plans at school.) Research on the leaky pipeline from my May 2021 blog stated that students who do not find personal meaning or relevance in STEM-related fields by their middle school years will not pursue anything beyond what is required in school (Lyon et al., 2012).

Let’s dive a little deeper into our three focus areas. Continue reading

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Why Use the Term “Professional Development” and not “Training”?

Laura Baecher
Laura Baecher

Greetings readers! I am truly honored and excited about serving our global TESOL community as the new blogger on topics related to professional development! (Click here if you’d like to listen to this as a podcast!)

Since this is my first blog post for this interest area, I thought it was a great opportunity to define why we (I!) specifically use the term “professional development” rather than “training” for this blog. It may just seem like a simple word choice, but as you know, words matter! Continue reading

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Understanding Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy

Naashia Mohamed
Naashia Mohamed

In recent years, there have been many calls to transform approaches to schooling in pluralistic societies that have treated the languages, cultures, and ways of being of people of colour as deficiencies that have to be overcome to succeed both in and out of school. Scholars have proposed a range of educational frameworks that can be adopted to engage learners whose experiences and cultures are traditionally excluded from mainstream settings, and adopt ways of repositioning their linguistic, literate, and cultural practices as resources and identity-affirming assets.

Such culturally responsive pedagogical approaches will empower students not only academically but also socially, emotionally, and politically. Given the range of different frameworks that promote culturally responsive pedagogies, (e.g., culturally relevant teaching, culturally responsive teaching, and culturally congruent teaching) let us turn to see what the terms really mean and how the frameworks sustain the cultures of minoritized students. Continue reading

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(Re)Exploring Flipgrid: 3 Underutilized Features

Brent Warner
Brent Warner

One of the biggest frustrations for teachers who have moved online is the seeming disappearance of opportunities to have students walk us through their thinking. In a face-to-face class, we can quickly check in when we pass by students struggling with a problem, but now many of us are seeing submissions with no understanding of where they came from.

One way to help us see what students are thinking when we can’t just swing by their desk is to create a low-stakes check in system with Flipgrid.

Flipgrid has been discussed here on the TESOL blog for its great uses in teaching speaking, and it has a huge community of die-hard advocates online. One of the great potential uses is to have students show us their thought process as they are working through a problem. Over the last year, Flipgrid has announced a number of amazing features, including the use of a whiteboard with live inking, stickers and custom backgrounds, and my favorite, screen recording! Let’s look at these and see if it might be time to explore some of the features you may not have known about. Continue reading

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