At the start of the new school year, classroom and ESL teachers will be meeting English learners (ELs) who are attending school in the United States for the first time. Teachers can alleviate many fears experienced by beginning ELs by creating a welcoming environment in their classes. A nurturing teacher and welcoming classmates can greatly help beginning ELs cope with the challenges they face. The more comfortable new arrivals feel in your classroom, the more quickly they will be able to learn. The more anxiety students experience, the less language they will comprehend.
Help ELs develop pride in their language and culture
Tie the cultures of your ELs to your curriculum whenever possible. ELs will bring a wealth of experiences from their families, homes, neighborhoods, and communities to school. Children with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds have stories and experiences that are unique. Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
As ESPers, we have the responsibility to learn as much as we can about how people communicate. By researching and learning about professional communication and reflecting on our teaching practices, we empower ourselves to create learning experiences for our students. Through such learning experiences, we empower our students to communicate for the purpose of achieving their specific goals. In sum, we promote leadership communication worldwide (when leadership is conceptualized as influencing others to achieve a vision/goal).
Accordingly, when I come across a resource that can empower ESPers worldwide, I want to share it with ESPers worldwide! Check out the following:
Bargiela-Chiappini, F., Nickerson, C., & Planken, B. (2013). Business discourse (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
When I was a student in an intensive English program, one of my teachers used this activity to help us be more specific and precise in our descriptions. And as easy as this activity looks, it required reaching beyond our regular everyday vocabulary.
Later, when I became a teacher, I used this activity with my students and found it really helpful.
As a “warm-up”, I showed my students a clip from the movie “City of Angels,” when the character Seth asked the character Maggie to describe a pear. Continue reading
Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard to get students to volunteer, so educators all have their own methods for randomizing the order in which students present or perform other tasks. Do you have students draw numbers from a hat or popsicle sticks from a jar?
I have a fantastic little line method I can do on the board that has both students and other teachers just scratching their heads, but despite how wonderful many of these low tech solutions are, they usually take up more precious class time than some other options out there.
Enter Random.org. Continue reading
The Game: It’s All in the Description is a great way to strengthen speaking and listening skills. In addition, it focuses on the present continuous verb tense and essential vocabulary to expand ESL fluency and overall language learning. It also builds questioning skills.
Research Says: Research supports the use of a language game like this to bring real world context into the classroom and enhance students’ use of English in a flexible, communicative way (Asian EFL Journal, December 2003).
If ESL teachers want to help their students understand content-area texts, they need to aid classroom teachers in learning teaching strategies that help English learners (ELs) gain new content area vocabulary. In a recent TESOL blog, I discussed modifying teaching methods and materials. In this blog, I will talk about strategies for teaching vocabulary to ELs that can be used by ESL and content-area teachers alike.
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
Sometimes, you get lucky! Or maybe I should say, sometimes things come together in just the right way. In this TESOL Blog post, I am going to focus on how such things came together to produce a successful teleconferencing activity.
I was teaching what I would call a Business English class for high-level learners. The class participants were Japanese professionals of different ages. One student was the head administrator of a university hospital. Another student had completed her undergraduate degree at UC San Diego. (That was 7 years earlier.) One of the students was the brand manager in an international (and non-Japanese) company, etc. All of the students worked for different organizations in the Tokyo area. They were all highly motivated.
Living in a foreign country can be difficult if one doesn’t understand many of the cultural concepts that “locals” sometimes use on a daily basis. When I came to the United States a few years ago, I realized how little I knew about the American culture. I appreciated people who were willing to help me and contribute to my “cultural education.”
Accordingly, I am curious sometimes if our students are aware of the meanings, let alone the history, of the cultural concepts that they encounter during classroom activities or in readings.
I’d like to share an idea that integrates a cultural component into writing. As examples, I used the concepts of the American culture (although some of them have become international), but this is not to say that this activity cannot be adjusted to local cultures in other teaching contexts. Continue reading
The Game: Word Ditto explores multiple meaning words. Multiple meaning words are just that: They have two or more meanings.
There are two main types of multiple meaning words:
- Those that sound alike (ex. bark as in the bark of a tree and the bark of a dog)
- Those that sound differently (ex. windy as in a windy day and a windy road)
Within these two main groups of multiple meaning words, there can be differences in:
- Capitalization (ex. You may see flowers in May.)
- Punctuation (ex. He prepared a résumé to find a job to resume working.)
- Parts of speech (ex. I like to fish (verb). The fish (noun) swam in the sea.)
- Tenses (ex. My aunt read the books that you like to read.)
- Degrees – literal or figurative (ex. My apartment is below yours. The corporal ranks below the general.)