Greetings from the TESOL Board of Directors. At its October meeting, the Board of Directors spent considerable time discussing the results of the governance review, the recommended options and alternatives from the task force, as well as feedback received from members and leaders. Simultaneously, the board worked on developing a new 3-year strategic plan (2015-2017) for TESOL International Association. The timing of these two issues made for a very rich discussion around the kind of governance best suited to enable the association reach its goals, further its strategic direction, and effectively meet the needs of members and the field.
Because of the complexity of the work involved, additional time is needed to finalize the details on the draft strategic plan, as well as on the options for moving forward with reconfiguring the governance of the association. In both cases, there will again be opportunities for members and leaders to review each and submit their comments before the board makes its final decisions in March 2015. A more detailed timeline of next steps, including the time periods for feedback from members and leaders, will be disseminated in November. The Board is committed to making the whole process transparent. Stay tuned and thank you for your trust and support.
Over a year ago, I wrote about free MOOCs for educators and mentioned Coursera and edX as good sites to find valuable courses for professional development. The importance of professional development can never be underestimated, so today, I want to add Academic Earth to that list and encourage you to get online and learn new things about the field.
According to their homepage, those at Academic Earth believe that “that everyone deserves access to a world-class education,” which is an idea we, as educators, can all support. Academic Earth is striving toward this goal by directing people toward open courseware at various universities around the world. Continue reading
The Game: Name Ten provides student engagement while students review vocabulary learned and acquire new vocabulary in a competitive, fun environment. This is a fast action game with a high level of student engagement. Continue reading
In my last blog, I talked about Reading Workshop and how well comprehension strategies work for English learners (ELs). Books such as Mosaic of Thought (Keene and Zimmerman, 2007), Reading with Meaning (Miller 2012), and Strategies That Work (Harvey and Goudvi 2007) demonstrate the comprehension strategies that good readers use when they interact with text. When I first learned about Reading Workshop, I spent a lot of time with a classroom teacher who used these strategies, and I adapted them for my ELs. By using the same strategies and terminology as my mainstream colleagues, I could better support the reading instruction taking place in the general education classroom where many ELs spend most of their day. Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
Several years ago, I was selected to represent the Kanda Gaigo Career College (KGCC) in the annual staff meeting of the Kanda Gaigo Group in Japan. Actually, you could say that I was competing against the staff of the Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) and the staff of the Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages (KIFL) to make the best presentation at the meeting. My (fortunately successful) presentation began with a man planting a seed. He took care of the seed, and eventually it grew into a tree. In this TESOL Blog post, I would like to focus on how we plant seeds of success in our learners. Continue reading
Many teachers are familiar with a jumble story writing activity. There can be several variations to it depending on what the lesson is focused on. In the past, I used this activity to practice certain grammar principles, the use of transitions, the concept writing coherence, organization, and even genres. This activity also helps students exercise their creativity and analytical thinking.
Because Halloween is coming up, and in many parts of the world this day is somehow acknowledged, I thought, “Why don’t we transform a jumble story into a scary jumble story?” Continue reading
The TESOL President’s Blog
Recently, I have been invited to share my perspectives on major trends in the global ELT field at several international conferences. Here’s a summary of what I shared with the participants—of course this isn’t a comprehensive list. I think that trends in today’s ELT field can be broken down into three major categories: globalization, localization, and interdisciplinary collaboration. I’d love to hear your thoughts on current trends, as well.
Trend 1: Changing perspectives on English teaching and learning
Over the last 50 years, and especially during the last 20 years, the ELT field has seen a dramatic change in our views of the role of English language teaching. English educators have realized that many language learners know more than two languages. English is not simply their second language anymore. Continue reading
The Game: Games encourage authentic learning situations, develop enthusiasm, and allow students to envision mastering the content (Barab, Gresalif & Arici, 2009; Gee, 2005). This game, What Is My Occupation? helps students to learn a variety of skills from questioning and listening skills, to higher level thinking and problem solving skills. Along the way, students learn vocabulary while exploring the concept of occupations. Continue reading
If you are teaching English as a second language (ESL) rather than English as a foreign language (EFL), it’s likely that a significant portion of your adult students are currently experiencing some degree of culture shock as a result of their move to an English-speaking country. As Judie Haynes recommends in her recent blog post on this topic, I like to address this issue up front in the first week of class. Doing so allows my adult students to begin to reflect in a safe environment on some of the challenges they are facing as they confront our language and culture. Here’s an activity that helps normalize their feelings of disorientation and homesickness, and that also gets them up out of their seats and talking to each other. Continue reading