Guest Writer: Technology in an Adult Ed ESL Program

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Realizing that readers of the TESOL Blog teach in a wide variety of contexts, I invited a colleague, Darrin Hetrick, whose students are very different from my own, to share his experiences with technology in the classroom. For those of you teaching in adult education with limited available technology, his story may seem familiar, but his solution can give you a starting point for introducing your students to technology, too. Thank you for sharing, Darrin!

“Who here is on Facebook?” I asked my five upper-beginner ESL students one day. I received back five blank stares. Incredulous, I repeated, “Facebook? Do you have it?” Finally, one of the five pulled out a smartphone, held it up, and said, “Facebook? Yes, teacher. I…Facebook.” In that class, only 20% of the students in that class had even heard of Facebook! Continue reading

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A Congressman in My Classroom: Making Connections

Guest Author
Guest Author

A Guest Post by Lori Menning
Lori has been teaching in the School District of New London, Wisconsin, for the past 13 years, where she is also the district ELL/bilingual coordinator. In addition, she instructs current and future ELL and bilingual teachers for Silver Lake College. This is her fourth year serving as WITESOL advocacy chair, and this year she is also WITESOL President. Lori provides workshops and presentations at regional, state, and national conferences, teaching best practices and strategies for working with ELLs.

As Advocacy Chair for WITESOL, I attended the past three TESOL Advocacy and Policy Summits in Washington, DC. During these powerful summits, I participated in grassroots activities led by John Segota and had the opportunity to meet with my local members of congress on Capitol Hill. These meetings were sometimes challenging. So the congress members could make connections, I shared current happenings in my high school classroom, school, and district. I also invited them to visit my classroom and meet the ELLs. Continue reading

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7 Magic Steps Toward Developing Teachers as Leaders

Yilin Sun
Yilin Sun

The TESOL President’s Blog

With all the educational reforms around the world and increased demand for teacher accountability and more rigorous student learning outcomes, the need to engage teachers in professional development has never been as urgent as it is now.

Recently, I have been asked to give talks on developing teachers as leaders—a topic that has seen an increasing interest among ELT professionals. In reviewing the current trends in professional development, two major trends surfaced. Continue reading

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4 Strategies for Scaffolding Instruction for ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

In this blog, I am going to highlight how teachers of ELs can meet the language needs of their students through scaffolding. Teachers need to take into account the language demands that ELs face in content classrooms and use scaffolding to meet these demands.  When teachers scaffolds lessons, they break down the language into manageable pieces or chunks. This way, students can be given the necessary support to understand the information provided in the lesson. Here are four ways of  scaffolding  lessons when ELs need support during a content area lesson. Continue reading

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Transforming Students Into Researchers and Leaders

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

One of my passions has been preparing my undergraduate students in Japan for their leadership roles in the future. What I have been learning in this regard is also important for ESPers. In this TESOL Blog post, I will explain to you what I mean.

Maria Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College, wrote an article titled “Transforming Today’s College Students Into Future Leaders” that was published by Forbes. The first part of that article is as follows: Continue reading

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10 Steps for a Successful Conference Experience

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

I love attending professional conferences in our field. It’s a place where I can learn from experienced teachers and established scholars, participate in intellectual conversations, share my own teaching ideas, and, of course, meet new people and feel a part of our diverse academic community. Conferences have definitely become hallmarks of my professional life as a teacher.

For many of us, attending a conference requires tremendous sacrifices—both in time and money; therefore, it is absolutely necessary to make it a positive and enlightening event. In light of the upcoming 2015 TESOL Annual Convention & English Language Expo in Toronto, Canada (25–28 March), I would like to offer 10 suggestions on how to get the most out of your conference experience. Continue reading

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PowToon: For Presentations and Videos

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

In a number of past posts, I have talked about delivering content in a variety of ways using sites like Prezi for giving presentations as well as GlogsterEDU, Youtube, and eduCanon to flip your classroom. Today, I have another great resource to add to the mix. It’s PowToon for education!

According to the website, “PowToon is an online animated presentation software that allows anyone to create amazing animated presentations and animated explainer videos,” which means it could replace your current presentation software and/or help you flip your classroom. Continue reading

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TESOL Mourns the Loss of Dr. James E. Alatis, Founding Member

Andy Curtis
Andy Curtis
Dr. James E. Alatis

Dr. James E. Alatis

With great sadness, TESOL International Association mourns the loss of Dr. James E. Alatis, a founding member of TESOL and its first executive director. Jim Alatis touched many lives during his tenure as TESOL executive director and throughout his career.

The first time I met Jim, I didn’t know it was him! It was 20 years ago, at my first TESOL Convention, in 1995, at Long Beach, California. I was overwhelmed with the scale and scope of the conference, as it was the biggest event I’d ever attended at that time. I remember talking with someone who said to me, “It’s OK. Joining TESOL is like becoming a member of an extended, international family.” I was comforted by that, and I later learned that the person I’d met was Jim Alatis. That brief initial encounter has stayed with me all these years and helped to shape everything I’ve done within the association since then.

Dr. Alatis will be sorely missed. For more about his life and work, please read the statement from TESOL.

Please feel free to share your memories of Dr. Alatis in the comments.

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Speed Paraphrasing

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

Learning how to paraphrase is a crucial academic writing skill. Teaching paraphrasing is also a great way to teach critical thinking skills, because the struggle to write a succinct paraphrase forces students to wrestle with the underlying meaning of a writer’s statement. Here’s how I introduced this topic in my English for academic purposes class this semester.

Rather than give my students long blocks of text to paraphrase, I started with simple aphorisms by some of America’s greatest writers. Take, for instance, the following quotation attributed to Ernest Hemingway:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.” Continue reading

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ELs Living With Trauma, Violence, and Chronic Stress

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

I’d like to welcome and thank guest blogger Debbie Zacarian, whose impressive credits are listed below. Debbie and I are presenting a TESOL- sponsored a webinar on Wednesday, 4 March 2015, about Teaching English Learners Living With Trauma, Violence, and Chronic Stress. We are also presenting a half-day Preconvention Institute on this topic on 25 March from 1 pm–5 pm at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto, Canada.

Last month, a film, Spare Parts, was released. It’s based on the true story (and book) about four undocumented Latino high school students who formed a robotics team that beat MIT engineering students in a contest. Their personal stories as well as the recent questions and comments heard at President Obama’s Town Hall Meeting on Immigration shine a much-needed light on a large and growing segment of the nation’s population.

Continue reading

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