Back-to-School Basics: Avoiding Civil Rights Violations (Part 2)

Ayanna Cooper
Ayanna Cooper

In a recent conversation, a colleague asked me a number of questions about supporting schools with various program models in place for their English learner (EL) population. In an effort to provide appropriate language support, we often ask simple questions that have complex answers. Sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know. Last month’s blog focused on student identification procedures and appropriate placement and service models for eligible students. This month’s blog dives into the guidance for that placement and those service models. Continue reading

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11 Back-to-School Strategies for Teachers of ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Have you ever thought of what kind of support you would need if you were dropped into a classroom in a country where very few people spoke English? Think now of the newly arrived English learners (ELs) in our classrooms who must learn to speak, read, and write in English, but also must become acclimated to a new culture and learning environment. Because August is my fifth anniversary of writing blogs for TESOL, I went back over the list of what I have written to find 11 back-to-school strategies for teachers of ELs. Here are 11 ideas to use when you go back to school. Continue reading

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Virtual Field Trips for ELT

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler

There are numerous ways to use technology today to take virtual field trips. These activities can be designed in many different ways. I tend to think of them as an extension of simulations or role-playing activities that have been popular in English language education for a very long time. Role-playing in language education allows us to create immersive simulated communication experiences in contextually meaningful spaces.

Traditionally, classrooms have been rearranged to resemble any number of target language practice settings: restaurants, bazaars, museums, historic sites, and so on. Learners can be placed in these spaces with specific language practice goals. With the enhancements available through various forms of technology, we can expand these immersive simulations in very interesting ways. Many of these new contexts allow learners to practice the relevant language with an increased sense of place as well as the ability to interact with and learn from virtual landscapes. Continue reading

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Video Games and Violence: Facts and Fear

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Video games are back in the news again after a series of tragedies in the United States. It has become a familiar pattern, a young adult commits violence and an immediate response is to lay blame upon video games as the catalyst for the anger behind their abhorrent actions.

In the media, this blaming of video games is framed as a debate. It’s not. Decades of research have conclusively shown that playing video games does not increase aggression or violent behavior in players. The misalignment between the data and the perception can lead to educators needing to justify their use of video games in the classroom against unfounded concerns from administrators and parents about the dangers video games pose. As proponents of video games for learning, our role in these times is to help others separate evidence-based fact from fear and scapegoating. Continue reading

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Back-to-School Basics: Avoiding Civil Rights Violations (Part 1)

Ayanna Cooper
Ayanna Cooper

It is the middle of summer in the United States and for some school districts the 2019–2020 school year has already started. Welcome back! For others, it will be starting soon. This blog, the second in a series dedicated to the civil rights of English learners (ELs), highlights a back-to-school basic: the enrollment process. Ah, yes, the paper work involved with starting school! Continue reading

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Trends in Second Language Writing: What L2 Writing Folks Are Talking About

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

This summer, I literally circumnavigated the globe, and in the process, I attended two conferences where scholars were talking about exciting new ideas in second language writing. While I was in Chile last year, I had the opportunity to participate in two other conferences with interesting regional and international writing-related topics. Although I am a regular at the TESOL Convention, I think it’s worth the effort to attend different conferences as well in order to get a sense of the discussions about writing among teachers and scholars from other organizations. This month, I will introduce the conferences and their host organizations and then summarize a few of the writing-related topics I learned about. Continue reading

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The TESOL Research Agenda: By and for Teachers

Jessie Curtis
Jessie Curtis

As a new member of the TESOL Research Professional Council (RPC), it is a great pleasure to introduce the council’s new series of communications highlighting the TESOL Research Agenda. This agenda outlines trends in English language teaching and research, serves to connect research with practice in our field, and supports teachers who are new to research. With the understanding that systematic inquiry forms the basis for action in our classrooms, we begin with a look at the agenda as a resource for teachers of English. Continue reading

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Basics of Using Corpora

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler

A corpus is a collection, or body, of language. Though usually text-based, corpora (the plural of corpus) can include collections of spoken language as well. In fact, some of the most popular examples of corpora include TV news and U.S. Supreme Court transcripts. Other collections include religious texts, academic papers, Wikipedia, and, definitely the largest of all corpora, the Internet. Using a corpus to learn vocabulary can be a much more active experience than traditional, passive, approaches to learning vocabulary. Continue reading

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