The TESOL President’s Blog
Time has flown—it seems like it was only yesterday when I was installed as TESOL president in Dallas in March 2013. It has been an amazing year! I was extremely busy; I learned a lot, did a lot, and loved it all. I reviewed what I wrote in the summer of 2011 on my election ballot and here are the three things I promised to do back then:
- support the development and implementation of powerful professional learning opportunities for all TESOL members in a variety of contexts
- develop relationships and improve communication with all possible partners and organizations in support of TESOL’s efforts
- bridge research and practice to encourage research in TESOL to focus on the kinds of professional knowledge that teachers need
Do your students feel uncomfortable writing in the real world? This is a fair concern, and in fact, I can definitely relate to that—when I started to learn English, I was afraid of making mistakes, which oftentimes made me quite anxious. I eventually overcame this fear with the help of my patient teachers and their authentic assignments that allowed me to practice English beyond the classroom.
There are a whole variety of strategies and activities that could help your students write outside the classroom. I wanted to share some of them, and I’d be happy to learn about your ideas and practices. Whereas you are most likely familiar with all of these types of written communication, you might not have viewed them as an exercise for writing in the real world.
As this is the penultimate TLO blog in this 16-part series, I asked some of the readers and responders what they thought would be the most useful way to wrap things up. Many of the readers said that, as we’ve covered a lot of material over the last 8 months or so, it would be helpful to do a review of some of the main points we’ve considered and discussed.
Have you ever given students a worksheet to guide them through an online assignment? Have students ever lost such a worksheet between the classroom and the computer lab or the classroom and home? Is your computer station or lab lacking appropriate desk space? Have you observed the clutter in a computer lab when students work individually or in groups in front of a computer surrounded by worksheets, notebooks, and textbooks?
Online resources are an important aspect of education today and more and more instructors are using them with students. However, traditional paper-based worksheets are still the norm, even when working online, and this is sometimes less than ideal. SideVibe is a free program designed to help you solve these problems. It enables teachers to design online activities and help students complete those assignments without paper-based materials. According to the site, SideVibe will “change the way you teach with the Web.”
The Game: The object of Proverbial Wisdom is to introduce students to well-known sayings that either refer to common knowledge or give advice. Proverbs contain truth and can be applied to events and activities in our daily lives. The goal of the game is to guess the proverb that is represented in the student’s drawing.
Research Says: This game gives students a chance to “… learn, practice, and review specific language material” (How to Choose Games, Tyson, 2000).
Watching movies is a time-honored way for students to hone their listening skills, improve their pronunciation, and expand their vocabulary. I consistently encourage my students to watch movies in English at home, with and without English subtitles, and ask them to track their movie-watching hours in their Success Book logs.
To prepare students for making movie-watching an integral part of their language learning, I frequently showcase movie trailers or movie scenes in class.
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
I was reading a TESOL Blog post by TESOL President Deena Boraie, who asks two key questions:
- What is the future of English language teaching and learning in specific contexts?
- What kind of English is needed in each of your contexts?
I am glad that she asked these questions because it gives me the opportunity to share another ESP story.
Reflection as a form of learning is a well-researched concept in second language studies. Through reflection on their own learning styles, the use of strategies, and factors influencing their learning progress, language learners are able to gain a better understanding of their language development. There is so much the teacher can do to help students develop their abilities to reflect on their learning processes. I shared one of such pedagogical tools in one of my previous blogs (“Writing-to-learn Activities”) and demonstrated how simple writing activities can help students monitor their learning processes and be better aware of their learning strategies.
Welcome to the 14th in this series of 16 TLO blogs. Last time, in TLO 13, we looked at some of the challenges of assessing online learning, based on a kind of “triangulated model,” with timeframes, quantity, and quality as three aspects of the online learning that can and should be assessed. In response to some of your e-mails asking for more details, I thought it would be helpful to look at the assessment aspect of TLO in more detail, as this does appear to be one of the aspects that is often not given as much thought as it should be given.