For one reason or another, I sometimes stop using a resource for a period of time and then get to experience the joy of discovering it all over again. This happened to me recently with Socrative, my student response system of choice, which got me thinking about what other options are out there.
Previously, I wrote a post about Kahoot! which would be a great alternative for me since my students all have smartphones. Like Socrative, Kahoot! requires each student to be on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, but I realized that there had to be a lower tech option out there—and there is. It is called Plickers. Plickers comes recommended by Sergio Lorca, who left a comment on the TESOL Blog saying “it’s free and students don’t need to have any mobile devices.” In fact, only one device is required for an entire classroom. Continue reading
Most of us can give students accurate and functional definitions of, say, verb, semicolon, and syllable, yet we may feel out of our depth when it comes to describing the workings of pronunciation. But pronunciation need not be so daunting and mysterious; it’s entirely mechanical, and if we understand and communicate those mechanics to our students, we’ll start to see some serious progress in their pronunciation. Continue reading
It’s been sent to you dozens of times by well-meaning friends and family. Perhaps you’ve forwarded it to folks in your own address book, or perhaps you’ve even developed a pronunciation lesson around it, as I did several years ago.
It’s a meme, really, one that simultaneously bemoans and celebrates the idiosyncrasies of spoken vs. written English. It might go like this:
Crazy English (anonymous)
We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese… Continue reading
Every fall, general education teachers in schools across the United States have questions about the parent conferences that they are getting ready to hold with the families of their EL students. One of the roles of ESL teachers should be to provide support to their colleagues so that this very important meeting with parents can be productive and help schools build a relationship with parents.
Many classroom teachers and administrators do not know how to communicate with parents who do not speak English and who are not familiar with U.S. school practices. Most families of ELs have not had much interaction with school personnel, and they may not even know their child’s classroom teacher. They do not understand what the purpose of a parent-teacher conference is. Continue reading
A Guest Post by Sybil Marcus
Sybil Marcus has lived and worked on four continents. She taught ESL at the University of California at Berkeley Extension and at the Summer English Language Studies on the Berkeley campus. She has presented at conferences in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. For 15 years, she ran a PCI workshop for TESOL on integrating literature into language studies. She has also run workshops internationally for the U.S. State Department on Using Literature for Critical Thinking and Using Literature for Conflict Resolution. She is a coauthor with Daniel Berman of the A World of Fiction series, which uses literature to teach integrated language and critical thinking skills to ESL/EFL students at the high-intermediate to advanced levels.
We’re all wired to enjoy a good story with intriguing plotlines and an individual prose style. So, it’s a pity that many teachers either ignore or are unaware of the creative possibilities that literature offers for language learning.
In this post, I’ll talk about some of the ways I use stories to teach critical thinking; encourage animated discussion; and hone vocabulary, grammar, and writing practice. Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
In this TESOL Blog post, you will read the ESP project leader profile of Ethel Swartley. In each of the (six in total) ESP project leader profiles that have been posted previously, the focus has been on English for occupational purposes (EOP). The focus of Ethel’s profile, however, is on English for academic business purposes (i.e., in connection with an MBA program in the USA) as she explains below. Continue reading
In teacher education and development, much of the focus is on classroom practices, toolkits, strategies, curriculum mapping, and so on. Less of the focus shines light on teachers themselves as communicators, even though they communicate daily with their students, administrators, colleagues, parents, and community members. (See Wong-Fillmore and Snow, 2000, for a discussion of the many roles of teachers). As a teacher educator, one skill that I feel we assume future and current teachers have is the ability to effectively collaborate.
Along these lines, a current trend in many schools is the creation of Professional Learning Communities (PLC). Continue reading
And yet another blog on vocabulary resources. Today’s theme is high frequency vocabulary. Below is a list of resources for beginning and low-intermediate level students that can provide teachers with vocabulary worksheets, games, activities, and quizzes.
1. Innovati Vocab
This great website has a lot of resources for teaching. It is based on Building Academic Vocabulary by Marzano. Provides a number of instructive techniques for students and teachers.
2. Super Kids Scramble
Teacher can create scramble worksheet for various words. Continue reading
I like to use current events in my ELL classes, but I hate seeing immigration in the news. This politically touchy subject comes up everywhere from the presidential candidate debates to my own state’s legislature, where politicians want to make English the official language to save on translation fees (exactly how much they’ll save is never specified). One of the bill’s defenders said denying these services will “help immigrants to assimilate.”
Without going into my political problems with this legislation, the part that struck me was the idea of promoting assimilation. It made me think of an excellent book I read in graduate school, The Inner World of the Immigrant Child by Christina Igoa. The author grew up in many different countries and later became sympathetic to the plight of her English-language-learning students. She describes how damaging the pressure is for children to give up their native culture to fit into a new one that often seems unwelcoming. Some children may give up and surrender their identities to be assimilated; some may retreat into the safety of their culture’s community; and some may see themselves as a part of neither world.
But there is a fourth option. Instead of being assimilated, some students become “accultured.” Continue reading
A Guest Post by Gabriela Kleckova
Gabriela Kleckova, chair of the Department of English at the Faculty of Education, University of West Bohemia in Plzen, the Czech Republic, is a university professor, language teacher, teacher trainer, researcher, consultant, and materials developer. She is interested in the effectiveness and utility of visual design of ELT materials, materials development, content and language integrated learning (CLIL), and teacher education. She is a past member of the TESOL Board of Directors (2012–2015).
Like everybody who plans for an engaging lesson, I always look for various types of materials to bring to my classes. About 2 years ago, I discovered infographics as a new resource that could enrich my teaching and tap into the students’ needs as well as experiences with visuals. You may not be familiar with the term infographics, but I am sure you have seen infographics everywhere. Continue reading