The TESOL President’s Blog
In this blog, I’d like to share a new way of conducting teacher evaluation. In his book, Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher, Stephen Brookfield (2007) argued that conversations with faculty peers are essential to the development of teachers. However, he emphasized the need for creating a clearly defined reflective culture, so that faculty can shift away from faultfinding and defensiveness toward the possibility of transformation.
How to turn this “utopian” vision of colleagues’ discussion about teaching and learning into reality is a difficult task, but not an impossible one. Continue reading
The Game: Connect Four and More! helps students practice their pronunciation in a fun way. It is modeled after the basic Connect Four math game for younger children, where the goal is to get four in a row and win. This version combines the traditional, simple logic with a focus on ESL skills. Played either with a partner, in small groups, or even in a larger group setting, it is sure to bring excitement to language learning. Continue reading
As many TESOL members head back to the classroom for the fall semester, I wanted to share what I learned from some work I did recently for the Community College Consortium on Immigrant Education (CCCIE), a national network of community colleges focused on improving educational and career opportunities for immigrant students.
Last spring, CCCIE (which is based at SUNY Westchester Community College, in Valhalla NY, where I teach) asked me to research and write an “issue brief” outlining some simple steps that ESL instructors can take to help connect their immigrant students to supportive resources available on the wider community college campus. As those of you who teach in a community college setting already know, many adult immigrant ELLs take their first step toward realizing their American dream by enrolling in ESL classes at their local community college. Continue reading
Today I am writing this blog with my co-author and friend Debbie Zacarian, author and professional development provider. (See her bio at the end of this blog.) In our experience, identifying culture shock at the beginning of the year is crucial to an English learner’s adjustment to school in the United States.
Moving to a new school can be difficult for any student, but for those who have to learn a new culture and language, the change can be devastating. If your English learners are coming to a U.S. school for the first time, they will experience culture shock. In fact, culture shock can dramatically affect a student’s first year in a U.S. school. Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
I was recently inspired by an article by Heather Hiles about the life of John Sperling, the founder of the University of Phoenix. Sperling was focused on meeting the needs of “nontraditional” students. For ESPers, I think that there are lessons here about “building the workforce of tomorrow” (in the words of Hiles). Continue reading
And once again—a scavenger hunt! From my experience—and perhaps I am just lucky—student tend to enjoy activities based on the scavenger hunt idea. It gives them a chance to do something different from mundane classroom activities. While accomplishing a task, they also get to interact with each other. And also, scavenger hunts often require getting up and moving, which brings in a new dynamic to the classroom.
In one of my previous blog posts, I shared a peer review activity based on a scavenger hunt. Today I would like to describe an activity that can help students express their opinions—both in an oral and a written form. Continue reading
Almost a year ago, I blogged about one resource, Project Gutenberg, for finding free books for your classroom online, and now it is time for another one. While Project Gutenberg is great because it has so many classics, the site seems to be more appealing to an older audience and, because the copyright has expired on these texts, the language tends to be fairly archaic, and therefore challenging. Children’s Storybooks Online, on the other hand, appears better suited to young and/or lower level students. Continue reading
The Game: The game True or False? is a fun, interactive game for students to share interesting facts about themselves and to sharpen creative thinking, creative problem solving skills, and listening skills…all while have fun with the English language. What’s more? Your students will learn more about each other by guessing which statements are true or false about others in the class. This inevitably helps build classroom cohesion. Continue reading
This past June, I had the opportunity and honor to represent TESOL at the Yakut TESOL Conference in Yakutsk, in the Siberian region of Russia. The theme of the conference was “Contemporary Issues in EFL Teaching: Teaching Writing by Nonnative English Speaking Teachers for EFL Students.” The conference had around 120 participants, all EFL teachers from around the region. Some had to cross miles and miles to get to Yakutsk, and all seemed to be really happy to be there.
I gave a plenary, titled “Nonnative English-speaking teachers teaching writing at all levels”; two presentations, “A Genre-Based Approach to Writing Instruction” and “About TESOL”; and a workshop, “A Genre-Based Approach to Writing Instruction: Strategies and Tips for Implementation.” Continue reading
For most school districts in the United States, the new school year has begun. Schools are enrolling an increasing population of immigrant and refugee children in their classrooms. Classroom and content-area teachers will need to meet the challenge of communicating with and engaging the families of their English learners (ELs).
One of our roles as ESL teachers is to facilitate the communication between our school and the family members who are responsible for the care and education of the ELs. EL families may not be familiar with the practice of meeting with their child’s teacher and do not know what is expected of them during such a meeting. Many classroom teachers do not know how to communicate with family members who do not speak English and who are not familiar with U.S. school practices. Continue reading