Hello, ESPers worldwide!
It is my privilege to be able to introduce to you Dr. Prithvi Shrestha, who has worked closely with the TESOL ESPIS over the years in his role as a leader of the IATEFL ESP Special Interest Group. In his profile, he shares information about a project in Bangladesh involving training for 80,000 English language teachers that has become a model for projects in Pakistan and India. Continue reading
Students and teachers in the United States are packing up their summer gear in favor of backpacks and briefcases to get ready to go back to school. Although calendars around the world differ, the first days of a new school year or instructional cycle are crucial to setting the tone and pace for the teaching and learning that follow.
With that in mind, I offer a list of 10 items that teachers of English learners should have ready for the first days of class, regardless of context, age, or proficiency level. Continue reading
Last month, on 4–6 July, the 7th International English Teachers’ Association of Israel (ETAI) Conference took place in Ashkelon, Israel, which is on the Mediterranean coast, about 50 km south of the capital, Tel Aviv. Ashkelon describes itself as “one of the world’s oldest cities…steeped in history,” which has “absorbed more than 40,000 new residents, some of whom include immigrants and young families.” And according to ETAI’s website, the association was founded in 1979 “as a grass-roots non-profit teachers’ association run on a voluntary basis, by teachers for teachers.”
ETAI’s aim is “to provide professional support, advice, teaching ideas and background knowledge to teachers of English in Israel.” The site also notes that ETAI has around 800 members “from Jewish, Arab, Druze and Circassian schools all over Israel.” Although ETAI has been an association for more than 35 years, its international conference is only held every 5 to 6 years, on average, which is why this event was only the seventh in its history, with the previous one held in 2010. Continue reading
An impressive amount of research has been done on teacher response to L2 student writing. It seems like feedback scholars have taken nearly all possible directions trying to understand this “controversial yet ubiquitous pedagogical issue” (Ferris, 2004, p. 49). However, a deeper look at the literature on response to student writing reveals that despite the “rapid growth in interest in different areas of research into feedback on writing” (Hyland, 2010, p. 172), the understanding of how writing teachers develop their feedback practices in a particular teaching environment over time is fundamentally lacking.
In other words, previous research seems to overlook the issue of feedback as a developmental pedagogical phenomenon. How do novice composition instructors develop their expertise in feedback practices? How do their beliefs and practices change over time and what influences this change? Does their feedback to student writing become more sophisticated over time and does it reflect teachers’ growing understanding of the pedagogical and social value of feedback? Surprisingly, the answers to these questions are fundamentally missing in the existing literature. Continue reading
Another school year is about to begin, but even though it’s still summer your classroom may be a cold place. Your new students won’t know who you are or how the school works, and the returning students may not know what to make of the change. Add the tension to this mix that can come from a multicultural classroom or a monolingual classroom where students can easily revert to their native language, and you’ve got a situation that will set the tone for your class for a long time. Picking the right icebreaker can make everything much easier.
The classic game for teachers is “Two Truths and a Lie”: It’s easy to implement and can yield some fun answers. In practice, though, I find it less effective for English language learners. Some may misunderstand the activity, some who are less willing to talk may steal someone else’s lie, and lower-level students may struggle with the vocabulary. The end result is that you rarely get the quick assessment and introduction you could get with something more targeted. Continue reading
There are so many websites out there with great materials, and many of them, including News in Levels, Breaking News English, and others, use current events as the basis of their articles or videos. Today, I want to share with you five reasons to use Newsela with your students.
1. It’s Easy to Get Started
Newsela makes it easy to get started for both educators and learners. Educators simply answer a couple of questions and can even use their Google account information to sign up and log in, which is always my preference because that means one less password to forget—I mean, remember. Learners can sign up by entering the class code you provide, which adds them directly to your Newsela class, or they can create accounts on their own separate from any specific class. Continue reading
English and Healthy Communities
What makes a “healthy community”? When I first heard the phrase, I pictured UnderArmour-clad model-bodied suburbanites jogging to Equinox past Trader Joe’s, Sweetgreen, and BeGood, scarcely breaking a sweat. But perhaps that says more about unhealthy consumerism than about healthy communities. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a healthy community is “one that continuously creates and improves both its physical and social environments, helping people to support one another in aspects of daily life and to develop to their fullest potential” (2010).
Where ESOL Fits In
So why are we talking about community health on an ESOL blog? Well, notice some of the components of community health: social connections, support systems, access, achieving potential. Compare these with the experience of many newcomers to an English-speaking country: Without English, social connections can be severely limited, accessing support systems can be daunting, potential too often goes unrealized. In order for our immigrant communities to be “healthy,” English is crucial. Continue reading
How long does it take learners to form a first impression of a new class? One study found that students rated professors after attending just two weeks of class roughly the same as their final course evaluations (Buchert, Laws, Apperson, & Bregman, 2008). The research of Laws, Apperson, Buchert, and Bregman in 2010 tightens this timeframe, showing impressions developed during the first class persist until the end of the semester. Others, including social psychologist Nalini Ambady (Ambady & Rosenthal, 1993), have narrowed this window to even shorter time periods, showing lasting impressions are formed in mere seconds. Clearly, the first day of class has a long-lasting influence on the rest of the semester/year.
As summer is winding down, many teachers are busily preparing to return to classrooms this fall. How can a teacher make a great, lasting first impression on students? What messages do you want to convey or what tone do you want to set for the rest of your class? The first day of class can be a great time to begin to develop the classroom community, allowing opportunities for learners and teachers to get to know one another and become comfortable in their new classes. Continue reading
Last Spring, I saw an article about the success of the Tulsa Public Schools Dual Language Academy for elementary-age children. I invited Laura Grisso, whom I met on Twitter, to write a guest blog about her district’s dual language program. Laura is the Director of English Language Development at the Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma. Here is her blog:
Oklahoma has long been a leader in early childhood education, so when Tulsa Public Schools designed a plan to launch the Dual Language Academy as a new elementary magnet school in 2011, we started with classes in prekindergarten and kindergarten. In school year 2016-2017, we will be at grade level capacity in offering instruction in English and Spanish to students in prekindergarten through fifth grade. The instructional framework follows a two-way dual language model in which half of the students are English-dominant and half of the students are Spanish-dominant. Our goal is to provide an enriched learning experience in which both English- and Spanish-speaking students develop bilingualism, biliteracy, and biculturalism as a highly valued asset for an increasingly diverse world. Continue reading
A guest post by Kathleen Berger
In this blog, Kathleen Berger shares a long list of free online resources to help you motivate and engage your ELLs. These web tools will have your students working collaboratively to use language meaningfully.
We as educators love to use technology in our classes, but it’s hard to think of new ways to use it. Out of lack of imagination, students are forced to participate in PowerPoint presentation after PowerPoint presentation. I have found that web tools are the perfect answer for this. This post provides links to web tools to incorporate into your classes to motivate and engage your students. I highly recommend using these tools in groups rather than having your students work alone. In this way, students get the chance to interact with others, make decisions collaboratively, and use the language in a meaningful way. What makes web tools great is that you don’t need to save your work on a flash drive; it’s stored online, accessible from anywhere with Internet.
Oh, did I mention that all of these are free? Continue reading