Anyone who teaches writing most likely has something to say about responding to student writing. Some might like it and others hate it; some might find it effective while others think it’s pointless. But whatever the views and opinions are, I believe all writing teachers would agree with Dana Ferris that response to student writing is “one of the most challenging aspects of the writing instructor’s job” (Ferris, 2007, p. 165).
The research base in this area is comprehensive and contains a variety of inquiry directions, the most common of which are related to types of feedback—explicit or implicit, direct or indirect, focused or unfocused, written or oral. Strictly speaking, studies on all these various types of feedback pursue one major goal—to make it effective for students.
I’d like to share an approach that I found helpful for my students. Continue reading
In many intermediate and advanced ESL classes, it’s common to assign a novel for students to read for class. Less common is the assignment of a work of nonfiction. And rare indeed, in my experience, is the assignment of a theatrical play.
Yet, as I discovered this semester in a multilevel fluency workshop, plays are exciting to students. Plays are all dialogue and, needless to say, offer endless opportunities for students to showcase their dramatic skills and practice their pronunciation at the same time. The challenge was finding a play that was suitable for a mixed-level class. Continue reading
Although it seems to have been around for a number of years, I just recently stumbled upon Lyrics Training, a fun site that uses music to get students listening, reading, writing, and even speaking—well, singing. I am excited to share it with you and actually enjoyed the site so much that I spent quite a bit more time than anticipated testing it out. The same thing might happen to you. Continue reading
The number of English learners (ELs) in U.S. schools has increased 51 % over the past 10 years, and the achievement gap between ELs and general population students has grown wider. The percentage of English learners who score “below basic” on standardized tests was 72% on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) math exam, which is three times lower than the general population of students. In addition, 66% of ELs live 200% below the poverty line.
A Stanford University study showed that that characteristics associated with effective teachers for students in general are not necessarily associated with effective teachers of ELs. Here are some of the characteristics that I believe define practitioners in our field.
Effective teachers of ELs are the following: Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
In this TESOL Blog post, it is my pleasure to announce a TESOL ESP Interest Section project on the professional communication of ESP project leaders. Please continue to read this post in order to find out how you can participate!
The idea for this project came from the comments below of the current TESOL ESPIS Chair, Jackie Gishbaugher, about the ESPIS Open Meeting at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto. Continue reading
When I was teaching in a community English program several years ago as part of my teaching practicum in the MATESOL program, I—as well as some of my fellow graduate students—faced the problem of students coming late to class. As a beginning instructor then, I didn’t know what to do, so I talked to my supervisor, and he suggested that I tried doing an interesting activity at the beginning of each class, before the main lesson. He said it would help me avoid wasting time while waiting for the late students, and it would also be a reward for those students who arrived on time.
I followed my supervisor’s suggestion and soon enough noticed positive results: Because the students expected me to do something interesting and informative at the beginning of every class, more of them tried to come on time. Continue reading
The TESOL President’s Blog
It’s hard to believe that another year has passed. At the TESOL 2014 convention in Portland, Oregon, USA, I was giving my acceptance speech as president, and at TESOL 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I delivered the TESOL Annual Report as your president. I’m proud to say that this year has been one of collaboration, productivity, and vision.
When I was running for the president’s position, I made three promises to our members. The first was my commitment to making TESOL accountable to its members and the global community by listening to and representing diverse voices to address critical issues of “TESOL-international,” and to affect positive changes. The second was to work closely with the Board of Directors, tirelessly advocating for our association locally, nationally, and internationally. My third promise was to further strengthen TESOL’s research and professional development agenda. I am pleased to say that by working collaboratively with the TESOL Board of Directors and the TESOL staff team, I have kept my promises to our members. Without the Board and staff team working together, without the support and trust of our members, it would have been impossible for us to accomplish so much this year. Continue reading
When families of English learners (ELs) are actively engaged in the education of their children, those children will attend school more regularly, be less likely to drop out, and be more successful academically. Many classroom teachers do not know how to communicate with parents who do not speak English and who are not familiar with U.S. school practices. On the other hand, many families of ELs may not be familiar with the practice of meeting with their child’s teacher and do not know what is expected of them during a parent-teacher conference. The goal of this blog is to help teachers hold productive parent-teacher conferences. Continue reading