House Wheat This Hound!: The Problem of Listening

Karen Taylor de Caballero
Karen Taylor de Caballero

If you’re baffled by the title, don’t fret: “House Wheat This Hound!” means nothing in its printed form. When said out loud, however, a listener can find meaning: How sweet the sound!

Here’s what’s interesting: the listener must be a different person, someone who is not looking at the text. Perhaps that’s why we find “mad gabs” like this one so compelling: Even when we know what we’re supposed to hear, our eyes continue to interfere with our ears, and we are fascinated.

Mad gabs conveniently illustrate how what we see can overshadow—and in some instances, actually determine—what we hear. Continue reading

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3 Ways for Teachers to Use Social Networks for PD

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Social media–facilitated professional development (PD) allows teachers to share ideas and strategies through online personal learning networks (PLNs). Social media bypasses the challenges of traditional PD. It is real-time, cost effective, accessible around the world, and driven by practitioners, not school administrators or consultants.

When talking about using social media for PD, I’m not talking about joining the millions who follow celebrities on Twitter, post selfies on Instagram, or connect with friends on Snapchat,  YouTube  or Facebook. I want to address the professional use of some popular social networking sites. Here are three that I use regularly. Continue reading

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Taking Learning out of the Classroom in EFL Contexts: Part II

Sherry Blok
Sherry Blok

I recently blogged on creating meaningful and authentic opportunities to apply student learning to real-life experiences. Most of the activities I suggested related to an ESL teaching context in which students are living in an English-speaking environment. Finding authentic opportunities for students to connect with English in an EFL context may take a bit more effort, but it is possible with some research and creativity! Continue reading

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Small Is Beautiful: The 7th PELLTA Int’l ELT Conference

Andy Curtis
Andy Curtis

The TESOL President’s Blog

In 1973, the German economist E.F. Schumacher published a book subtitled A Study of Economics as if People Mattered, making its financial focus clear, but it is the main title that he is best known for: Small Is Beautiful. As an indication of the importance of the book, The Times Literary Supplement ranked Small Is Beautiful as one of the top 100 most influential books published since World War II. I referred to Schumacher’s book in my reflections at the closing ceremony of the seventh biennial international conference of the Penang English Language Learning and Teaching Association (PELLTA) last month.

The conference, which took place on 25, 26, and 27 of May, drew approximately 100 participants, mostly from Malaysia, but also from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. Around 30 workshops and 20 papers were presented, as well as an opening keynote from Emeritus Professor Tony Wright, and five plenary speakers, of whom I was one. Continue reading

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ESP Best Practices in View of Leadership Conceptualization

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

Next month (July), we will have another ESP project leader profile to add to those of Kristin Ekkens (May; healthcare industry) and Charles Hall (June; tourism, helping the poorest of the poor). In this TESOL Blog post, I consider “ESP best practices” in view of conceptualizations of leadership. I expect that I will have more to write on this topic by March 2016 as more leaders contribute their profiles.

As many of you may have read, ESP is already conceptualized as “providing leadership.” According to Johns, Paltridge, and Belcher (2011): Continue reading

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Creating Classroom Communities in ESL/EFL

Kristen Lindahl
Kristen Lindahl

What do you think of when you think of your “classroom”?  A place to learn, a place to study, a place to talk, a place to share experiences, a place to grow as a student and as a teacher…

In second language settings, the world outside the classroom serves to supplement English language instruction that goes on inside of the classroom.  In foreign language settings, sometimes the transition between what students learn in the classroom and finding opportunities to use it can be more difficult.  In both cases, most research supports the need for interaction in the language classroom. In this post, though, I’m going to encourage you to go even deeper beyond interactive activities in the classroom and begin to think of your English language classroom as its own discourse community. Continue reading

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Audience Awareness: An Interactive Group Activity

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

This is yet another interactive activity that may help learners better understand the concept of audience (readers), the importance of the writer’s background knowledge about their audience, as well as the importance of writer-reader relationships.

For this activity, you will need to prepare in advance a character description (see an example below). Continue reading

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Adapting Content for ELLs: What Non-ELL Teachers Should Know

Nathan Hall
Nathan Hall

A sad reality of being an ELL specialist in secondary schools is that our hardest working students are usually the ones who leave our program. We do our best to give them the skills they need to learn and demonstrate what they know for other teachers. Our role is often limited to monitoring to find out how well our students can compare to their native-born classmates.

But that’s not to say we have to take a reactive role for our students’ needs. We are still the experts of adapting content so the underlying information comes through without distracting or needlessly complicated language. Newer teachers may receive the benefits of linguistic-specific classes as a part of their education, but they will lack the experience, while more experienced teachers may be reluctant to make huge changes to their tried-and-true materials. And neither group has time to spare when it comes to planning their lessons.

So to make this sort of interdisciplinary collaboration work, we need tips that are both practical and easy to apply. Here are some I found that work: Continue reading

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Haiku Deck: Revolutionize Your Presentations

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Despite drastic changes over the years, many educators still use presentation software, such as PowerPoint, for a variety of reasons. Such presentations in class reinforce content delivered orally, serve as supplemental material, and scaffold learning. Turning these types of presentations into videos serves the same purpose for flipped classrooms. Additionally, whether delivered in class or submitted as videos, presentations are also commonly used as assignments for students. Presentations are great and not going away any time soon; however, it might be time for an update to their format. I previously suggested Prezi as an alternative, and another great option is Haiku Deck, whose tagline is “presentations that inspire.” Continue reading

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Reimagining Résumé Writing in Adult Education

Robert Sheppard
Robert Sheppard

There’s probably a whole slew of reasons that you don’t love résumé writing. As a real-world imperative, it can be stressful, frustrating, tiresome work, and it doesn’t generally coincide with the best times in our lives. Do I want an objective or a profile? Which should I cut, my intermediate proficiency in Esperanto or my passion for ornithoscopy?  Once you’ve worked out the content and sorted out your duties and responsibilities from your accomplishments, then comes the typographic tedium of formatting it all: Do I bold the workplace and italicize the title or bold the title and italicize the workplace? Gah! how do I turn off strikethrough!? Is Times New Roman really the sweatpants of fonts? These bullets are boring; where do I get a webding!? Attached please find my…rèsume? Résumè? Resumé? CV!?

So what sadistic impulse, what pedagogic perversity would possess me to inflict this awful process on my students any more than is necessary, especially when half are housewives whose goals for their English don’t relate to career advancement? Well, if we approach résumé writing not as a mind-numbing process in and of itself, but as a series of distinct, transferable writing exercises, it becomes a whole lot more appealing for teachers and students alike. Continue reading

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