Creative Writing in a Second Language

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

Many of us spend our time teaching writing for academic purposes, preparing students for high-stakes exams or for admission to a higher level of academic study. We focus on elements of writing that will show students know how to organize a text and develop an argument, how to cite sources and indicate a stance on an issue. Too much of this, however, and both we and our students will start to resent writing and wish we could do anything but draft or grade another 5-paragraph essay. (For a series of TESOL Blog posts arguing both for and against the notorious “5-paragraph essay,” click here.)

Today, I want to explore ways that we can have more fun in the L2 writing class. I am not arguing that we stop teaching academic writing entirely, but instead want to share a few ways that we can help students find joy in writing. In doing so, I hope that they can also realize they have a voice and something to say. Continue reading

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The Unapologetic Advocate: The 2019 TESOL Advocacy Summit and Why You Need to Attend

David Cutler
David Cutler

With the weather getting warmer here in Washington, DC, I’m confident that two things must be right around the corner: my annual Golden Girls marathon, and the 2019 TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit. As much as I may want to, I won’t discuss the former, and instead highlight why you need to attend this one-of-a-kind TESOL advocacy event.

As I’ve discussed before, TESOL professionals not only have the right to advocate on behalf of the students and peers, but also the responsibility. I can think of no better way to embrace this responsibility than by attending the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit. For 3 days in June, TESOL professionals from all over the country descend on our nation’s capital in order to learn about the current policies impacting English learners and then advocate for change on Capitol Hill. Here are just a few reasons for you to attend the summit. Continue reading

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The Unapologetic Advocate: The 2019 TESOL Advocacy Summit and Why You Need to Attend

Augmented Reality for Language Learning

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler

Augmented reality (AR) presents us with so many opportunities for language teaching and learning. If you are not familiar with this concept, perhaps the best example is Pokémon Go! This cultural phenomenon continues to be so compelling that it has inspired news events such as this one, just yesterday: “After causing mayhem, Pokemon Go shut down at Minnesota State Fair.”

This viral AR game captured the world’s imagination a few years ago, and I believe the engagement that this technology promotes can be harnessed for similar effect in the language classroom. AR allows us to interact with the physical world around us while our understanding is enhanced through the addition of digital content that is layered on that physical world. This additional content can include any information that might be helpful for a particular experience, such as video, directional guidance, historical content, or a virtual personal guide. Continue reading

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5 Ways to Help ELs Develop Pride in Their Heritage

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

English learners (ELs) offer a rich resource from which mainstream teachers and students can learn about other languages and cultures. If teachers support the diversity in their classrooms, all students will begin to understand and value the many distinct cultures of the world. Teachers should take advantage of this natural resource that is in their classrooms and support ELs from diverse backgrounds to develop pride in their heritage. Following are some classroom practices that you and your colleagues can adopt to help the ELs in your school develop pride. Continue reading

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5 Ways to Help ELs Develop Pride in Their Heritage

A Framework for Understanding Games and Learning

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Hi all, welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning blog! This month I wanted to highlight Reinhardt and Sykes’ (2012) framework for incorporating games into classroom practice in response to Mary McDonnell who, on my initial blog post, asked for some games and learning research.

Reinhardt and Sykes (2012) have outlined a four-part framework for games in the language classroom that considers best practices for the use of games for second language (L2) learning. It’s a fantastic entry point for understanding the ways educators can view games and their role in the classroom. Continue reading

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A Framework for Understanding Games and Learning