Learning the Ropes: A Project-Based Speaking Activity

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

Group oral presentations are a staple of many ESL classes. While students get a lot of speaking and listening practice during these projects because they are working in and outside of class with partners to prepare their presentations, it dawned on me last semester that these assignments, paradoxically, do not necessarily require them to speak in order to gather the information they present.  Most of the information my students have presented in the past was something they could find by browsing the Web—data about their country’s economy, current news stories, interesting facts about famous historical figures, etc.  While this may be helpful for their reading skills, I wanted the students in my high-intermediate IEP speaking & listening class to actually use their speaking skills to gather the information they would need for their presentation.

Hence, our “Learning the Ropes” project.  I challenged my students to get out into the surrounding community to find out information that could only be unearthed by having a conversation in English with a local “expert.” Continue reading

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Strategies for Providing a Bully-Free Environment for ELLs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

English language learners (ELLs) are often the targets of bullying. Accented language and cultural customs that are perceived as different frequently cause ELLs to be victimized by bullies. Bullying is evident in the classroom as early as preschool, and there are potentially many long-lasting effects of bullying for the victim.  Children who are bullied have low self-esteem and tend to be anxious and insecure.  They are often lonely and depressed. Because of bullying, their social skills are typically deficient, making it difficult for them to make friends (Nansel et al., 2001).

There are many types of bullying. Physical bullying is composed of actions such as hitting, pushing, and punching; verbal bullying includes name-calling and teasing; and emotional bullying consists of behaviors such as excluding someone from an activity. Continue reading

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One Side of ESP: English for Occupational Purposes

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

One thing that I have really enjoyed about my career in ESP has been the opportunity to work in academic and occupational settings. In other words, I have been able to create and/or teach ESP courses in academic institutions (e.g., universities, vocational schools, language schools, etc.) and in public and private sector organizations (e.g., company headquarters, factories, government offices, etc.).

I have also been able to teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Occupational Purposes (EOP). In this case, I do not necessarily mean academic or occupational settings. Continue reading

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Questioning Techniques to Engage Students in Critical Thinking

Yilin Sun
Yilin Sun

One of the most challenging tasks for language teachers when working with English language learners is to engage students in critical thinking and encourage them to ask questions that go beyond factual information. In this blog, I’d like to share a few simple questioning techniques that I have been using to engage students in the learning process.

Asking the right questions and engaging learners in inquiry-based learning are important steps to help students develop critical thinking skills and metacognitive skills. Continue reading

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4 World Cup Writing Activities

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

As World Cup 2014 is about to start, we, teachers, can create interesting and motivating activities to make this popular event a part of our courses.  Like many people in Russia (and Europe), I enjoy watching soccer games, and in today’s blog, I will share a few World Cup–related activities that you can incorporate in your writing classes. Continue reading

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TESOL’s New Strategic Plan

Andy Curtis
Andy Curtis

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) has more 21,000 members, representing 10,000 organizations. On 2–3 June, the Executive Committee of TESOL International Association (Yilin Sun, Andy Curtis, Deena Boraie, and Rosa Aronson) attended, together with around 100 participants from different associations, two days of ASAE talks and presentations. One of the recurring themes was the tremendous importance of strategic plans and planning. Continue reading

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Google+ Education: Part 4

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

It has been a while since I have shared anything new about using Google+ for education, but I would like to add Flubaroo to the series (which has so far covered Google Hangouts, Sites, and Drive). Flubaroo is this handy little add-on that works with Google Drive, specifically Forms and Sheets, to grade assignments. It is so easy to use and—even better—free! Continue reading

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ESL Games: Fractured Fables

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: Fractured Fables is a game that provides a means to learn English without students being aware they are studying.  The game’s context of putting sentences together helps make the foreign language immediately useful to students by bringing the target language to life.

Research Says: It is easier for EFL students to acquire language when they are without stress (Using Games in an EFL Class for Children, Y. Yong Mei and J. Yu-jig, 2000); Fractured Fables allows exactly for this kind of stress-free learning. Continue reading

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Six Strategies for Teaching ELLs Across the Content Areas

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

The role of the ESL teacher is changing. According to the TESOL’s Implementing the Common Core State Standards for English Learners: The Changing Role of the ESL Teacher, “ESL teachers should be recognized as experts, consultants, and trainers well versed in teaching rigorous academic content to ELs.” What can you do to share your expertise with the classroom teachers in your school?

Here are six strategies that classroom teachers need to learn:

1. Determine content and language objectives for each lesson. Teachers need to learn how to write a content objective for every lesson in language that ELLs can understand. At the end of the lesson, students should be asked if the objective was met. Classroom teachers also need to set language objectives for the ELLs for each lesson. Continue reading

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ESP Interview Training: Identifying Leadership

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In an organizational leadership seminar that I teach at KUIS in Japan, we were looking closely at behavioral-based interview questions in the career guide of a large university in the United States. All of the questions seemed to be asking for examples of “leadership.”

Consider the following nine questions from p. 26 of The Triton Career Guide (2013-2014 Edition) of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

  1. Describe a situation in which you saw a problem and took action to correct it.
  2. Describe a time when you had to organize a project under a tight timeframe.
  3. Tell me about a situation in which you used teamwork to solve a problem.
  4. Give me an example of a time you had to deal with an irate customer/client. Continue reading
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