ESL Games: Name 5

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: Name “5” is a highly motivating game that provides amusement and interest while giving practice to vocabulary and speaking skills. This game encourages students to interact and communicate.

Research Says: It has been proven that “…learning vocabulary through games is one effective and interesting way that can be applied in any classroom. Games such as this are used for practice and review of language lessons, thus leading toward the goal of improving learners’ communicative competence” (Asian EFL Journal, Dec. 2003, N. Thi Thank Huyen & K. Thi Thu Nga). Continue reading

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Is Education for Pre-K–5 ELs Equitable? (Part 1)

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

On July 2, 2014, the United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Due to this Act, all students have the right to equal access to education. On the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, we must ask ourselves if its goals  have been reached.

Changes to the field of TESOL

The field of TESOL has seen amazing growth since I began teaching 30 years ago. There has been a huge change in regard to the content taught to and expectations for English learners (ELs). Equal access to education, however, does not mean that our ELs must receive the same materials and instruction as their English-speaking peers. In order for their education to be equitable, ELs must receive the extra help they need to reach grade level standards. Continue reading

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Trust, Leadership, and Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

I recently watched the commencement address of an MBA student at Harvard Business School with great interest. In an article that appeared on the Poets & Quants website, the commencement address of Casey Gerald was referred to as the “most stirring speech ever by an MBA.” Two paragraphs in that article captured my attention.

After arriving at Harvard Business School from Yale, Gerald said that HBS “changed who we were; it reminded us who we could be. It reminded us that we didn’t have to wait until we were rich or powerful, or until we actually knew finance, to make a difference. We could act [emphasis added] right now.”
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Effective Peer Feedback Through Modeling: Part 1

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

Peer review has long been regarded as beneficial practice in the teaching of writing.  In North American educational settings, learners are often asked to provide feedback on each other’s papers.  However, when international students come to study either in intensive English programs or in institutions of higher education, they may encounter difficulties during peer review activities because many of them never had experiences with this kind of practice.  As a result, students tend to give each other broad, irrelevant, essentially unhelpful comments.

This may be part of the reason that second language writers sometimes don’t take peer review activities seriously and/or disregard classmates’ feedback.  Therefore, it is important that writing teachers equip students with the knowledge on how to provide helpful comments on each other’s drafts.

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Guest Writer: 21st Century Flashcards with Quizlet

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

This week, you are in for a treat, courtesy of Andrew Pharis, an ESOL educator and fellow ed-tech enthusiast based in Japan. Andrew was a classmate of mine at USC and introduced me to a number of amazing sites, such as Quizlet. Rather than sharing what little I know about the site, I thought I would let you learn about it from a master, and Andrew has kindly agreed to share his knowledge with you. Thanks, Andrew!

Guest Writer Andrew Pharis

Guest Writer Andrew Pharis

When it comes to using flash cards to drill, vocabulary teachers’ opinions seem to vary from “useful tool” to “necessary evil” to “waste of time.”  Surprisingly, however, many students prefer it, and some schools expect it.  Whatever your feelings may be on the subject, Quizlet is an online resource that streamlines the process for students and teachers. Continue reading

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ESL Games: Finders Keepers – Scavenger Hunt!

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: Finders Keepers – Scavenger Hunt! is a fun way to reinforce vocabulary. The teacher helps create a list of what needs to be “found.” Finders Keepers – Scavenger Hunt! builds on comprehension and encourages players to learn more about their surroundings.

Research Says: The benefits of using games in the classroom are various. they “range from cognitive aspects of language learning to more cooperative group dynamics.” Games also lower the affective filter and encourage “creative and spontaneous use of language,” promote “communicative competence.” What’s more—games are fun. (“Index Cards: A Natural Resource for Teachers“in Forum, Lengeling & Malarcher, October-December 1997). Continue reading

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Finally, a focus on English learners

Rosa Aronson
Rosa Aronson

English learners (ELs) are a heterogeneous group with differences in ethnic background, first language, socioeconomic status, quality of prior schooling, and levels of English language proficiency. They are also the fastest growing population in K-12 schools in the United States, where 1 in 10 students is an English learner. By 2015, 10 million ELs will be enrolled in K-12 schools, and by 2025, ELs will make up 25% of the student population. To learn how best to serve this growing population, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently invited 11 executives representing key stakeholder groups to share their thoughts. TESOL International Association was among those invited.

Three questions were presented to the participants: Continue reading

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Learning the Ropes: A Project-Based Speaking Activity

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

Group oral presentations are a staple of many ESL classes. While students get a lot of speaking and listening practice during these projects because they are working in and outside of class with partners to prepare their presentations, it dawned on me last semester that these assignments, paradoxically, do not necessarily require them to speak in order to gather the information they present.  Most of the information my students have presented in the past was something they could find by browsing the Web—data about their country’s economy, current news stories, interesting facts about famous historical figures, etc.  While this may be helpful for their reading skills, I wanted the students in my high-intermediate IEP speaking & listening class to actually use their speaking skills to gather the information they would need for their presentation.

Hence, our “Learning the Ropes” project.  I challenged my students to get out into the surrounding community to find out information that could only be unearthed by having a conversation in English with a local “expert.” Continue reading

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Strategies for Providing a Bully-Free Environment for ELLs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

English language learners (ELLs) are often the targets of bullying. Accented language and cultural customs that are perceived as different frequently cause ELLs to be victimized by bullies. Bullying is evident in the classroom as early as preschool, and there are potentially many long-lasting effects of bullying for the victim.  Children who are bullied have low self-esteem and tend to be anxious and insecure.  They are often lonely and depressed. Because of bullying, their social skills are typically deficient, making it difficult for them to make friends (Nansel et al., 2001).

There are many types of bullying. Physical bullying is composed of actions such as hitting, pushing, and punching; verbal bullying includes name-calling and teasing; and emotional bullying consists of behaviors such as excluding someone from an activity. Continue reading

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One Side of ESP: English for Occupational Purposes

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

One thing that I have really enjoyed about my career in ESP has been the opportunity to work in academic and occupational settings. In other words, I have been able to create and/or teach ESP courses in academic institutions (e.g., universities, vocational schools, language schools, etc.) and in public and private sector organizations (e.g., company headquarters, factories, government offices, etc.).

I have also been able to teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Occupational Purposes (EOP). In this case, I do not necessarily mean academic or occupational settings. Continue reading

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