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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Hiking is Fun! The National Park Service Website for ESL Writing

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

I have always associated summers with being outside, somewhere in nature, spending time at a lake, going on a hike, and sitting by a campfire.  Since I came to the United States, I have not spent a single summer without going to a national park.  There are just so many of them here, and each of them offers unique opportunities for exploring and enjoying the beauty of the nature.

The good news is that thanks to online resources, we can prepare for a trip to a national park well in advance.  My favorite website to search for these kinds of experiences is “National Park Service” (www.nps.gov).  This website provides a wealth of information not only about activities you can do in the parks, but also a variety of educational materials covering a range of content areas, including history, geology, biology, and culture.

With this rich information, the website can also be an excellent resource for a classroom.  Let me share some ideas how you can use this website in your writing class. Continue reading

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Teaching the News: More Online Sources for News Materials

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Back in February, I wrote a post about using a site called News in Levels to help students improve their listening and, to a lesser extent, their reading. That site is really just one of the many sites out there that uses current news events as a starting point for learning. Today, I want to share two more similar sites with you.

Voice of America: Learning English
Voice of America has a site specifically designed for learning English. Like News in Levels, the site has levels, but not every news story has video or audio. If you want students to practice reading, you can use an article with no audio or video content, or choose an article that has one of those available so that students can focus more on their listening skills.

Continue reading

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ESL Games: Parts of Speech Lingo

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: This classroom game gets your students actively focusing on identifying parts of speech while competing in a fun, interactive environment.

Research Says: Parts of Speech Lingo fits many of the advantages of using games in the ESL classroom:  It is “motivating and challenging; it helps sustain effort of learning; it provides language practice in speaking, listening, and reading; and it encourages students to interact and communicate” (Forum Vol. 33, No. 1, Jan.-Mar. 1995, Lee Su Kim). Continue reading

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