Redesigning the Classroom Board Game

Jeff Kuhn
Jeff Kuhn
Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of the TESOL games and learning blog! Over the last month I hope you have found the time to play some games and consider what you found enjoyable about them. Though engaging games can be easy to identify, it can be challenging to pinpoint just what makes them engaging. This month’s post reveals a bit of the mysterious magic of games and how we can funnel it into the games we make for class.

Perhaps every language educator through history has played a board game in the classroom. We have all seen it, and we have all made one: 

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Online Role-Playing Games for Writing

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

Today I want to share a fascinating project being developed by Lin Zhou, a graduate student at University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa, which I think will be interesting for writing teachers and other TESOL professionals. Lin is a PhD candidate in Second Language Studies and holds an MA in TESOL from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She grew up in Anhui, China, and attended secondary school in Singapore. When working on her MA degree, she developed an interest in L2 writing because she saw it as an area that offered her broad opportunities for future teaching and research. Her goal after finishing her PhD is to be a professor of language teacher education or writing.

This blog post is an interview with Lin about her dissertation project. Several years ago, she made connections with a high school in China where the students were preparing for a national English language contest. One of the more challenging tasks for the students was writing an essay that asked them to think critically and respond within a short time limit. Working alongside the schoolʻs English teachers, Lin designed a flipped classroom where the students would learn about writing concepts at home so that during class time they could collaboratively play an interactive role-playing computer game she created to engage them in critical thinking and preparation for academic writing. I asked her to explain her design process and reflect on how L2 writing teachers might draw on the ideas in their own teaching. Continue reading

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On Teaching Speaking: Academic Presentations for ELs

Julie Vorholt
Julie Vorholt

This TESOL Blog series focuses on teaching speaking to English learners.
In this TESOL Blog series, Julie Vorholt, editor of New Ways in Teaching Speaking, Second Edition, interviews contributors to the volume and gets some tips from them on teaching speaking to ELs. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

How well are your students able to state and support an opinion, respectfully disagree, and engage an audience? Making presentations and communicating in an academic setting are necessary skills for students’ success. Thus, presentation and discussion facilitation exercises are popular in advanced and academic English courses because students can practice these skills.

When I was reviewing submissions for the newly released New Ways in Teaching Speaking, Second Edition, I read about an activity developed by contributor Kia Dennis. Her activity has students present to their classmates and lead a discussion that includes a variety of question types. Continue reading

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Prepare for Educational Technology in 2019

Greg Kessler
Greg Kessler

Happy new year! I hope that 2019 is filled with engaging teaching and learning opportunities for everyone. I hope readers try out some of the things suggested in this blog and experiment with different ways of using technology in their teaching. I encourage you all to think of ways that you can utilize technology to address various needs that you have in your individual teaching contexts.

I look forward to sharing some thoughts and suggestions throughout the year to support this endeavor. I anticipate writing about a number of different topics throughout the year. Some of these will focus on specific language teaching goals while others will address certain kinds of technology. I am particularly excited about the current and emerging opportunities around the use of automation, artificial intelligence, and data aggregating to create more meaningful and engaging learning experiences. There will definitely be a number of blog entries constructed around these concepts. I will address topics including: Continue reading

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The Unapologetic Advocate: Know Your Roots

David Cutler
David Cutler

The word grassroots gets thrown around a lot these days. Whether speaking about advocacy or political campaigns, it’s important to know what grassroots means for TESOL advocates and how you can get involved at the local, state, and federal levels.

What Is Grassroots Advocacy?

Now, the last time I grew a plant, it was in a Styrofoam cup and I was in the third grade—but if memory serves, I put seeds in that cup, added some water, put it in the sunlight, and after a few weeks, voila! I was halfway toward a degree in botany at the tender age of 8. When we talk about grassroots advocacy, the idea is the same, just with slightly less Styrofoam. Continue reading

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