90 Tech Resources for Teachers

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

With a hundred posts under my belt, I thought a recap would be good before moving forward with new material. Below are 90 tech resources that have appeared on the TESOL Blog over the past several years, organized somewhat loosely into nine major categories. Click the name of the resource to be directed to the TESOL blog post in which it is mentioned and click the URL to go to the resource itself. Continue reading

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ESOL Community Scavenger Hunts

Robert Sheppard
Rob Sheppard

Scavenger hunts can be a really fun addition to your adult ESOL activities repertoire. They get students out of the classroom and into the community, they can be structured to require a lot of communication in English, and they engage a lot of valuable community navigation skills. I’ve seen successful scavenger hunts with young adults at an academic IEP and adult immigrants in community ESOL, and even a successful Chinatown scavenger hunt for a class of adult Mandarin learners.

The basic structure should be somewhat familiar to anyone who’s participated in a scavenger hunt themselves: Continue reading

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Multilingual ELL Children’s Literature: 6 Great Books

Shannon Tanghe
Shannon Tanghe

One recognized benefit of children’s literature is its ability to act as both a window and a mirror. A mirror in that it may offer a reader a reflection of oneself, which can be a form of validation that one is not alone, and a window in that it opens up new perspectives—introducing new people, places, and experiences.  These windows and mirrors are both important—it is beneficial for all children to both see pieces of themselves reflected in the books they read and also to explore books as a way to learn about the world around them.

This blog posting shares six contemporary children’s picture books, all of which have ELLs as central characters. Each of these stories shares the experiences of a child who is exploring the process of merging one understanding of the world with new insights through learning a new language in a new environment and, in turn, usually discovering and negotiating new aspects of his or her identity. Continue reading

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5 Characteristics of Highly Effective Classroom Teachers of ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Classroom teacher practices are key to the success of English learners (ELs) in elementary school. In this blog, I will look at the characteristics of highly skilled classroom teachers of ELs. I am inspired by an article by Christine Coombe in TESOL Connections entitled “10 Characteristics of Highly Effective EF/SL Teachers” and wanted to present an elementary school version geared toward classroom teachers. Here are my five essential characteristics of highly skilled elementary classroom teachers of ELs.

  1. A strong relationship with students
  2. A thriving learning environment
  3. Scaffolds to support EL learning
  4. Flexible grouping of students
  5. The value of diversity in the classroom

Continue reading

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Newcomer ELLs: 10 Little Things That Have a Big Impact

Guest Author
Guest Author

A guest post by Patricia Hanson
In this blog, Patricia Hanson shares 10 things that even the busiest teacher can do to ease the transition into a new school environment for both ELLs and their parents.

Having spent time internationally before I started teaching English language learners (ELLs), I have gained insight into how parents feel about having their child away from their side while in a new country. A new school year is a time of uncertainty and anxiety for many mothers and fathers whose children are starting that school year in a country with a different culture.

Over the years that I have worked with ELLs, the teaching assistants and I have engaged in some rituals in order to ease the transition into a new school environment for both ELLs and their parents.  Here are 10 suggestions that should not unduly burden even the busiest teacher and can have a big impact. Continue reading

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ESP Project Leader Profile: Robin Sulkosky

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In this ESP Project Leader Profile, we meet Robin Sulkosky, who is a leader in the TESOL ESPIS, as you will read below. Born and raised in central Alabama, Robin currently lives in Japan with his wife, an Army veterinarian. He serves as an EFL instructional technician to Japanese engineers and planners at a naval ship repair facility. This year, Robin has plans to conduct a needs analysis on behalf of his division and introduce an ESP course for his students on integrated fleet maintenance. Robin taught ESL at Auburn University Montgomery for 4 years, and, before his post in Japan, he served as a composition lecturer at Auburn University and Howard University. Continue reading

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ELT Best Practices: EAP in Canada

Sherry Blok
Sherry Blok

Scott Roy Douglas, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus and Publications Chair of TESOL affiliate BC TEAL, speaks of EAP in the Canadian context, authentic tasks for authentic purposes using authentic contexts, and how learners from diverse linguistic backgrounds contribute to our campuses and communities. Continue reading

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Graduate Student Voices: Writing as a Nonnative Speaker

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

As a nonnative speaker of English, I know that writing in a second language might be challenging, particularly when it comes to academic discourse. A considerable body of research in our field provides numerous suggestions on how to help undergraduate L2 writers. Graduate students, on the other, somehow tend to receive less attention in the literature. Yet, nonnative graduate student writers face a number of challenges, and I am certainly aware of that based on my own experience.

I asked three graduate students in the field of applied linguistics—Aleksandra (from Poland), Mengying (from China), and Chen (from China)—to share their experiences as nonnative academic writers. I asked them the following questions:

  1. What is the biggest challenge in writing that you face as a graduate student and a nonnative speaker of English?
  2. What assistance/helpful advice have you received in grad school that helped you with your writing?
  3. From your perspective, what could universities/graduate programs/advisors do to alleviate writing challenges of nonnative graduate students?

Continue reading

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2 Reasons to Apply for the Professional Development Travel Grant for Practicing ESL/EFL Teachers

Sherry Blok
Sherry Blok

Attending the annual TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo transformed my career. Let it transform yours! Not only does it renew and refresh my teaching practice through attending a variety of sessions offered each year, but it also connects me to like-minded educators who share the same passion as I do for English language education. This year, I am honoured to be coordinating the Professional Development Travel Grant for Practicing ESL/EFL Teachers as it offers opportunities to new members to experience a formative professional development opportunity like no other. I’ve reached out to a few recent recipients to share their experiences. Continue reading

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100th Post Special: The Highlights

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

This is my 100th post for the TESOL Blog, and I want to take the opportunity to celebrate this milestone by looking over the highlights of the past several years, which started with my introduction on December 21, 2012 and continued with regular posts mostly about educational technology as well as a stint live from the TESOL convention in Portland in 2014.

3 Most Viewed

1. Tech Break: Running Dictations is the post that I wrote that has been viewed the most. In this post, I shared an active and engaging activity where students work in pairs or groups and use all their language skills to compete against the clock and other groups. It has always brought a lot of excitement and energy into my classroom and can be used with just about every language level and age group. For another similar exercise, try Move It, outlined in another post from the tech break series. Continue reading

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