Online Teacher Education Resources in ELT: Content-Area Language Demands

Christine Montecillo Leider and Johanna Tigert
Christine Montecillo Leider and Johanna Tigert

This is the fourth post in our blog series. Previously, we’ve focused on supporting teacher candidates preparing to work with multilingual learners more broadly, while here we focus on specific content areas.

We teach sheltered English immersion courses to teacher candidates working toward a teaching license in content areas, and in these courses we focus on cultivating asset-based dispositions and culturally responsive teaching so that teacher candidates can develop critical perspectives and pedagogical practices to become linguistically responsive teachers. However, while the teacher candidates we work with are committed to being the best classroom teacher they can be, we know that good teaching is simply not enough when working with multilingual learners. Further, though most teachers work with multilingual learners, not all of them necessarily identify as teachers of multilingual learners.

All teachers need to develop an awareness of the (English) language demands in their classroom and use it to inform their curricular and instructional decisions. In this post, we explore the following question:

How can we help teacher candidates
recognize the role of language in their content areas? 

Continue reading

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4 Pathways to a Culturally Responsive Virtual Classroom

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Culturally responsive teaching (CRT) is grounded in the idea that educators teach to students’ unique cultural strengths.  A well-known author in the field of culturally responsive teaching, Zaretta Hammond,  has provided professional development based on her book,  Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain. She provides some excellent professional development entitled Distance Teaching and Remote Learning in the Age of COVID-19.  These webinars are available virtually.

In view of the move to virtual learning in many classrooms across the United States, I would like to link the pathways to a culturally responsive classroom to online instruction of English learners (ELs). Following are four avenues to a culturally responsive classroom that teachers of ELs need to take into consideration when teaching virtually. Continue reading

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Level-Up Your Games and Learning Knowledge: 6 Resources

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Greetings everyone, and welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning Blog. This month’s post highlights books and journals that are some of my favorite games and language learning resources. These are the resources I recommend to others looking to enhance their game design knowledge, level up their games in language learning knowledge, or stay current in games and language learning research. Continue reading

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Teaching Workplace Writing

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

Much of our discussions of writing instruction revolves around academic writing and preparing students for their future studies, from high school to university to graduate school. But few of our students plan to become professors, so it’s important for writing teachers to understand the types of writing that students may need to do in careers outside of academia. In this post, I provide an overview of the writing done in nonacademic professions and discuss how to help students learn those forms of writing.

Here, I focus on the forms of writing done by professionals in what are sometimes called “white collar” or “desk” jobs, not those entailing more manual labor. These positions usually require some level of higher education (ranging from an associates degree to a doctorate). Some such workers are employees of large corporations, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies, while others are self-employed. The writing they do for their work differs from academic writing in that it “has a pragmatic or instrumental focus…it is primarily concerned with getting things done” (Bremner, 2018, p. 1). Continue reading

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3 Innovative Ways to Use Breakout Rooms in ELT

Stephanie Marcotte
Stephanie Marcotte

In the age of remote and online teaching, it is more important than ever that we find ways to encourage group work in our lessons. While we can no longer rearrange desks in a circle or send groups of students into different classroom spaces, we need to find ways to create these similar collaborative and horizontal learning experiences for our English learners (ELs).

As more and more educators rely on video conferencing to host their online, synchronous courses, now is the time to think creatively and strategically about how we will encourage student discussion and small group work. One beneficial function to many video conferencing programs is the option to create a breakout room. This enables educators to divide their course into smaller groups, for example completing “get to know you” activities in small groups or discussing a chapter in a novel with guided discussion questions. More and more, the breakout room is becoming staple of the online, synchronous classroom. However, there less traditional ways that we can take advantage of this useful online teaching tool, and this blog aims to draw attention to three innovative ways that you can embed breakout rooms in your online teaching. Continue reading

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3 Speaking Skills for the First Day of Class: Hit the Ground Running

A. C. Kemp
A. C. Kemp

For many of us, the first day of school is fast approaching. The first class is crucial because it sets the tone for the rest of the semester. Therefore, we focus on creating a friendly, low-stress environment, setting clear expectations, and building community through introduction activities.

One thing we don’t always do is teach new skills on the first day. However, doing so can add another dimension to the class and give students a feeling of accomplishment right off the bat.

Following are three examples of how speaking skills can be built into introduction activities that you may already be doing: The Name Game (vocabulary), Twist and Shout (tag questions), and In Common (question intonation). Continue reading

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Online Teacher Education Resources in ELT: Cultivating Positive Dispositions With Multimodal Resources

Christine Montecillo Leider and Johanna Tigert
Christine Montecillo Leider and Johanna Tigert

In this third part of our blog series on virtual teacher education, we discuss how to help teacher candidates develop asset-oriented dispositions for teaching multilingual students. All teacher candidates have preconceived beliefs, and there are a number of assumptions about English learners and myths about bilingualism that may negatively impact teacher practice with multilingual learners. Teacher candidates may have had limited opportunities to interact with multilingual learners, and many do not share the backgrounds or experiences of their students. Moreover, though teacher candidates may think of themselves as allies to diverse students, they may struggle to put these stances into action through antiracist education. In this post, we explore the following question:

How can we use resources available online to help teacher candidates recognize their implicit biases and develop more asset-based perspectives? Continue reading

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Trace Effects: A Game for Language Learning and Teaching

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn

Welcome to another edition of the TESOL Games and Learning Blog! I hope many of you were able to attend TESOL’s Virtual Convention last month. During the Convention, TESOL President Deborah Healey delivered the fantastic keynote “Teaching With Play: Games, Game-Based Learning, and Gamification.”

This month’s post highlights a game referred to several times in Deborah’s talk: Trace Effects. Released in 2013 by the U.S. Department of State, Trace Effects is a free game developed specifically for the English language learning classroom. Deborah and I had active roles in the development of Trace Effects and have worked with students and teachers around the world on integrating the game into classroom practice. Continue reading

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