5 Sources of Support for New TESOL Teachers

Kristen Lindahl
Kristen Lindahl

In my previous blog entry, I posed some ideas for helping future TESOL teachers transition from the role of student to teacher.  To follow up on that, I focus this entry on the next step:  how to support those new TESOL educators once they are in the workforce and heading up their own classrooms.

Below are five online resources that focus on providing support for new teachers in different ways:  the first two are sites that provide both classroom tools and online communities to help out new teachers; the third is a letter by a teacher to teachers to help them imagine their future selves as teachers; the final two are aimed more at teacher educators, administrators, or mentors to consider as they help support new teachers in their profession. Continue reading

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3 New Year’s Activities

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

Happy New Year! It’s a great time to start a new semester with a holiday-related activity that would help your students to get to know each other and practice English. I thought I would share a few activities that you could do during the first week of classes.

Activity 1. Collage: The Year in Review

For this activity, you should have 1) several magazines and other periodicals with pictures, 2) scissors, 3) glue, and 4) papers (format A4) according to the number of the students. Each student will receive each of the above materials. The task is to create a picture collage—a personal overview of the previous year in pictures, that is, major activities and events, interesting stories, and highlights. Continue reading

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Charting a Course Through Graphs, Charts, and Other Organizers

Nathan Hall
Nathan Hall

If your school is like mine, your administrators are constantly evaluating various data to give everyone something to discuss on the in-service days. All of these facts gets condensed into an easy graphic with lines, bars, or fractionally divided slides presented on a PowerPoint and projected or passed out on handouts. All it takes is a little explanation and we can get a snapshot of what’s happening and where it’s headed.

While it’s easy to take for granted that graphic organizers are easy alternatives to large chunks of text, we have to remember that these could be very confusing to ELLs. Other cultures may not use the same layouts we use, different schools the students previously attended may not have incorporated these into the curriculum, or the whole process of how to make sense of weird words and lines may be overwhelming. So, as ELL teachers, we may want to take the time to go over how charts and graphs work as a part of academic language.

Some ways to make this happen are to: Continue reading

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Taking TESOL to the World: Singapore

Andy Curtis
Andy Curtis

The TESOL President’s Blog

In another year of “fifty-firsts,” in other words, a year of first-time events in our 50th year, TESOL International Association held its first regional conference in Asia, on 3–5 December, in Singapore, in partnership with the National Institute of Education there. The title and the main conference theme was “Excellence in Language Instruction: Supporting Classroom Teaching and Learning,” under which there were a number of related subthemes. As with all of these events, the association works closely with a local organizing committee, in this case, the NIE conference organizing committee, supported by our Global Strategic Partner, National Geographic/Cengage Learning, and our Global Event Partners, the British Council, IELTS, and Tutor Group.

The attendance at the conference exceeded all expectations, with more than 350 participants from nearly 40 countries! Continue reading

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Electronic Village Online (EVO) 2016 – Free Professional Development

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

The Electronic Village Online (EVO), a project organized by TESOL’s Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Interest Section, is coming up! Participating in the EVO is an exceptional opportunity for free professional development, and sessions are available to anyone with an Internet connection anywhere in the world.

The EVO is a collection of 5-week sessions that run from 10 January-14 February and are moderated by professionals in the field. Many of the sessions have a tech focus, for example “EVO Minecraft MOOC” and “EVO VILLAGE 2016,” while others, such as “Classroom-Based Research for Professional Development” and “Teaching EFL to Young Learners and Teenagers,” do not. Continue reading

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In Defense of the 5-Paragraph Essay

Robert Sheppard
Robert Sheppard

In a recent post over at Talks With Teachers, Brian Sztabnik puts a price on the head of the 5-paragraph essay. Torch it, bury it, at all costs, make it go away. Why this bounty? Well, the gist of the argument is that, of all the great writing we read, virtually none of it is in the form of a 5-paragraph essay. The primary goal of education, says Sztabnik, is “to cultivate young minds to be thoughtful, versatile, and never satiated.” It’s a good post, and even better is the follow-up, which proposes authentic writing as an alternative. In that second post, nine teachers share what authentic writing means to them, along with a favorite authentic writing assignment. There are some fantastic ideas there, and I highly recommend reading both.

But there’s a but, or, rather, a however. You knew it was coming. And here it is:

However, for all the great ideas in these two posts, and despite the immense value of authentic writing, I still teach—and will still teach—the 5-paragraph essay. In this post, at the risk of seeming quaint and conventional, I will present a defense of the 5-paragraph essay, as part of a broader strategy for writing instruction.

Continue reading

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Best Practices in ELT—in Context: Pakistan

Sherry Blok
Sherry Blok

What are best practices in ELT?  In 2016, my TESOL blog will bring different voices from the ELT world community together to share their individual contexts and experiences as teachers and learners, and demonstrate how all of the above weave together their best practices in ELT.

We start off the New Year with an interview with Zakia Sarwar. Zakia is a renowned educationalist and social activist, and one of the founders of SPELT (Society of Pakistani English Language Teachers). Continue reading

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4 Wishes From an ESL Teacher for 2016

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

There are many issues that are making the rounds in the Pre-K–12 world during 2015. As a former K–6 ESL teacher and professional development provider, I would like to share four wishes that I have for 2016.

1.  I wish to see every state promote bilingualism and recognize the value of learning another language through the adoption of a Seal of Biliteracy program. 

A Seal of Biliteracy is an award that authenticates and encourages students to attain a high level mastery in two or more languages. Once a student meets the criteria, a Seal is affixed to his or her high school diploma. Continue reading

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Teaching Negotiation in Leadership Terms to ELLs

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In Japan, I sometimes have the learners in a class stand and look at the board on which I have written the word “negotiation.” I then say to the students, “You can sit down when you have given me another word for ‘negotiation.’” My aim in doing this activity is to understand my students’ conceptualizations of negotiation before I share with them my own. After all of the students are seated, I tell them the following story about an orange, which I first heard from a friend years ago and have continued to modify (when I tell it). In a recent class of adult learners, I told (slowly, clearly, and with gestures) the following: Continue reading

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Transitioning TESOLers From Student to Teacher

Kristen Lindahl
Kristen Lindahl

I can’t lie.  They make me teary every time—end-of-term programs, graduations, new teacher induction ceremonies, even the last day of class will sometimes render me misty-eyed with pride. The past 2 weeks in the United States has marked the end of our university autumn semester, marking the entrance of hundreds of new educators into public and private schools, and other institutions worldwide.

On the path from teacher training to classroom career (see Farrell, 2003, for scholarly research on this topic), one aspect that I’ve personally found challenging is how to encourage novice teachers to start acting less like students and start thinking more like teachers. One main issue stems from the way future teachers deal with their own academic performance.For example, many of them will ask permission to miss class (or worse, they will miss class without notification), miss assignments, or turn in assignments late.  They might  be tweeting or Facebooking or Snapchatting when they should be paying attention in class.  They might ignore assignment or lesson plan guidelines or rubrics.  What’s worse is the subsequent discussion about why they have the grade they’ve earned, and/or what extra work they can do to possibly make up any points they’ve lost. Continue reading

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