The first week of school is a crucial time to get to know your learners and establish a classroom community. Having a clear focus and game plan can set the tone for creating a welcoming and successful learning environment. Here is my three-fold focus for the first week of school with some practical tips to implement with your learners.
1. Focus on Creating an Inviting Classroom
Welcome your students into your class as if you were welcoming them into your home. This will automatically reduce their anxiety and make them feel more at ease. Here are a few tips to do so: Continue reading
There are a number of free generators out there on the web that allow you to place content into different formats that may be more appealing, interesting, or challenging than the usual activity or standard letter-sized handout. The three that I want to share today can be used to generate a newspaper clipping, text message conversation, and Facebook wall.
Fodey.com is a free site where you can generate a number of things, including newspaper clippings. Your text is limited in length, but it is easy to customize the name of the paper, date, headline, and story. Continue reading
Study after study has proven what we teachers know instinctively: Empty chairs can’t learn English. Early findings suggest something to do with neuroplasticity. I kid, but really, before we can even begin to talk about methodology or outcomes or any of the stuff we come to the TESOL Blog to learn more about, we’ve first got to fill those seats and keep them full.
Like health, attendance is all about planning ahead, yet too often do we only think of it looking backward, when problems have already arisen, when it’s often too late to do much about it. Just like our health, we want to adopt a forward-thinking mindset and take preventative measures.
In this post I’ll share six tips to keep attendance high for the duration your course. Continue reading
In a recent post, I shared portions of my video interview with Dr. Tracey Derwing, coauthor of Pronunciation Fundamentals: Evidence-Based Perspectives for L2 Teaching and Research (Derwing & Munro, 2015). Here, I bring you more from that interview, focusing on Derwing & Munro’s early work together and how they went about writing their new book.
I received my copy of Pronunciation Fundamentals just last week, and I can already say this: Derwing and Munro have achieved what seems to elude many. That is, they’ve written a book that communicates their message accessibly and, well, humanly (and therefore humanely, especially if you are a graduate student who will read this book not by choice, but rather by assignment). Indeed, this is a book that should be assigned reading in TESOL education programs. Continue reading
The Republican Presidential campaign has added fire to the discussions about immigration in the United States. In this blog, I would like to review some of the immigration myths that are propagated by politicians and offer resources backing up the facts on immigration. It is my feeling that the anti-immigration rhetoric by candidates for president of the United States will affect the learning environment that ELs encounter in our schools. ELs need a supportive school community in order to succeed in school, and anti-immigration sentiments may affect this. It is our job as ESL teachers to learn the facts about immigration and defuse some of these misconceptions in our schools.
MYTH #1: There is a huge increase of the number of immigrants in the United States.
FACT: The number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States has declined from 12.2 million in 2007 to 11.3 million in 2013. Continue reading
Our world is awash in new technology. New electronic gadgets, new smartphone apps, and new forms of social media abound. But which of these will stand the test of time? And how do these dazzling technology innovations compare in significance to those of the past?
This was the critical thinking and speaking task that I recently asked my advanced adult ELLs to tackle as a prelude to watching a series of TED Talks and YouTube videos about technological innovations ranging from 3D printing to a windmill build from scrap materials by a 14-year old in Malawi .
In groups of three, I asked my students to think about the long sweep of human history and to come up with their own list of 10 technological innovations that they deemed to have had the greatest impact on humanity. Continue reading
In the United States, it’s that time of year again, when students and teachers excitedly (reluctantly?) return to the classroom after summer vacation. First and foremost, you’ll want to get your students talking to you and to each other!
In the language classroom, interaction provides many benefits. First, interaction may give students the chance to provide each other with comprehensible input, or input that is slightly above the learner’s current level of language acquisition. Slower, simplified speech, repeated vocabulary, and a chance to negotiate meaning may help students better understand English in use. Continue reading
The TESOL President’s Blog
In the previous TESOL President’s Blog post, I wrote about leading and managing change and innovation, which was one of the main themes of TESOL International Association’s first symposium in Vietnam last month, which followed the association’s first academy in India, in April. These first-time TESOL International events are clear indicators and concrete examples of how the association is continuing to grow and develop, and to become even more international, in response to the changing needs, wants, and demographics of its members.
The symposium in Vietnam (sometimes written as Viet Nam) took place on 28 and 29 July and was held in Danang (or Da Nang), which is a coastal city in central Vietnam, with an estimated population of around 750,000, making it the country’s third largest city (by population). Continue reading
During the first week of classes, it is important to establish a warm and collaborative atmosphere in the classroom and help students to get to know each other. Surely, there are a lot of “getting-to-know-you” activities and icebreakers that teachers can use to accomplish these goals. Some of them were described in my previous blogs: Writing Activities for ELLS: Getting to Know You, and Getting to Know You Writing Activity: Using Names.
Today, I’d like to share ideas that could help learners to get to know each other by using a single word. These ideas are very simple, and they can be adjusted to various levels of language proficiency. Continue reading