As ESL instructors, we often learn at least as much from our students as they do from us. But that truism was borne out in an unexpected way recently in my beginners’ evening ESL class as we wrestled, in time-honored fashion, with the simple past.
My students had gamely participated in a number of tried-and-true communicative activities designed to help them practice one of the trickiest skills: forming questions in the simple past. Avid futbol fans, they had interviewed each other about the 2014 World Cup results using prompts that I had helped them generate: Did Brazil lose? Did Germany win? Did Argentina beat the Netherlands? What was the score? Continue reading
Posted in TESOL Blog
Tagged as adult ESL, adult language learners, alexandra lowe, ESL grammar, evergreen, Posing Questions in the Simple Past, question word order, teaching grammar, teaching simple past, teaching tenses, using auxiliary verbs in simple past
In my last blog, I talked about the inequities of the learning environment for English learners. This discussion included class size, grouping, the number of schools serviced by the ESL teacher, and the size and location of teaching space. In this blog, I would like to talk about the inequitable funding and programs for ELs.
Background on federal policies affecting English learners
An important Supreme Court decision, declaring that ELs have the right to the same education as their English-speaking classmates, is the Lau vs. Nichols decision. Continue reading
The TESOL President’s Blog
Last month, I had a great opportunity to be part of TESOL’s 2014 Advocacy & Policy Summit, held on 22–24 June. This is the largest such event yet, with nearly 70 TESOL educators representing 25 affiliates from across the United States (and a few from outside the United States) coming together to learn more about national policy issues affecting the field, and to advocate for the needs and interests of English learners and TESOL educators. This was my first time participating in the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit, and I was very excited to be part of this important event to learn, share, and shape the future of education together with other advocates.
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
One of the things that I value most about being involved in TESOL is the opportunity to connect with ESPers around the world. Accordingly, I have been asking myself the following questions:
- In what contexts do we meet other ESPers?
- What do we learn from each other?
Let’s start with the first question. Where do we meet other ESPers? In my own case, three places come to mind:
- Publications (including websites)
I had the great honour and pleasure to represent TESOL and speak at the “International Conference on Language – Enhancing Language Ability and Education for the 21st Century”* held on 5–6 June 2014 in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The Government of China invited 400 government officials, policy-makers, researchers, educators and development partners, and UN agencies from China and around the world to discuss and reflect on challenges and new approaches for effective language education and planning.
The conference focused on the enhancement of language ability and language education for human civilization and social progress. Three themes were addressed:
- language ability and sustainable social development,
- innovation in language education, and
- international exchange and cooperation.
In my last blog, I shared a modeling activity that writing teachers can do to help students analyze each other’s writing and make more out of peer review activities. Today, I would like to describe a modeling activity that uses ineffective comments—ineffective feedback—as a pedagogical tool to teach students how to provide effective comments on their peers’ drafts. Continue reading
Cloud storage is something that I use every day, and the only reason I did not write about it sooner is because I thought I already had. How could I have forgotten to share something so basic? I have no idea, but here it is. Your life will never be the same; it will be easier, much easier.
In case you have not heard, cloud storage is big these days. With cloud storage, you can store all sorts of virtual files in a “cloud” and then access everything from other devices. You may do most of your planning on a computer at school, but many of us probably go home and continue to work on our personal computers or devices. Wouldn’t it be nice if all your materials from your school computer were accessible at home or elsewhere?Cloud storage makes this possible. Continue reading
Thank you to all those who took the time to review the report from the Governance Review Task Force, and share your feedback. As many of you observed, the review was a very thoughtful and deliberative process to analyze the governance system of the association and evaluate its effectiveness in meeting the needs of members and the field. Based on the data collected by the task force—data provided by many of you—the review provided strong indications that the governance system may no longer be as effective in serving members and the field as it was when it was originally developed several decades ago.
The challenge in moving forward is how best to respond to the results of the review. While the report provided a very comprehensive list of options and alternatives for consideration, it’s clear based on the feedback received by the board that: Continue reading
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
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