Hello from TESOL’s newest blogger—2016 TESOL Teacher of the Year, Shannon Tanghe!
My name is Shannon Tanghe, and I am currently the department chair of the Graduate School of TESOL at Dankook University, a graduate school in a suburb of Seoul, South Korea. My background includes teaching and learning experiences in various locations around the world. My own formal schooling has been in Minnesota and Korea, and I recently completed a PhD in TESOL & Composition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I have short-term teaching experiences in Egypt and Guyana, and for the past 16 years I have been living and teaching in South Korea. Each of these experiences has been powerful in shaping and influencing my philosophy of teaching and my general world view. Continue reading
One of my favorite June lessons is based around Flag Day, which is celebrated in the United States on June 14th. Flag day is an opportunity to teach ELs about the U.S. flag at the end of the school year. The unit is composed of many hands-on, kinesthetic activities with a good measure of music. All of these activities can also be used for summer school lessons to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th. (See my blog, 6 Activities to Teach ELs About U.S. Independence Day, from June 2015). Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
I recently had the opportunity to discuss the contents of a TED Talk (titled “This Is Your Brain On Communication“) with adult learners in a business English class. In the process of explaining the video to the students, I discovered an easy way to explain how leaders use language. In this TESOL Blog post, I will share with you what happened in class.
A description of the TED Talk states:
Neuroscientist Uri Hasson researches the basis of human communication, and experiments from his lab reveal that even across different languages, our brains show similar activity, or become “aligned,” when we hear the same idea or story. This amazing neural mechanism allows us to transmit brain patterns, sharing memories and knowledge. “We can communicate because we have a common code that presents meaning,” Hasson says.
What I took away from this TED Talk was its focus on the sharing of “meaning.” Continue reading
Thinking back to the time when I was studying German as a foreign language in high school and later English as a foreign language in college, both in Russia, I don’t recall writing to be a visible part of these courses, and when writing components were implemented in the lessons/homework assignments, they were limited to simple tasks that were supposed “to reinforce the orthography, grammar, and vocabulary” (Reichelt et al., 2012, p. 35) rather than help us develop critical thinking and the ability to express ourselves in a written form.
The only more or less substantial writing experience that we received was at the end of the 11th grade of high school: as part of the German proficiency final exam, we had to prepare a short presentation on a given topic (the topics were distributed in advance). Because none of us, of course, wanted to take the risk of giving an impromptu speech, we first composed our speeches and then merely memorized them sentence by sentence, prior to taking the exam. As there were about 10 or 15 topics (or more), I remember doing lots of writing preparing for this exam! Continue reading
A bulk of our training to become ELL specialists involves the nuances of linguistics and how to adapt curriculum, but it’s not until we’re in the classroom for a year that we begin to see how the education is only a sliver of our students’ lives. We learn how they may have jobs that leave them with no time for homework, how they move so often they barely know their own addresses, or how hard it can be to get their parents to attend IEP meetings or other school functions. There are two ways we can handle this realization: We can focus on our jobs as teachers and stick to our activities and tests, or we can try to help our students to gain the skills they truly need to succeed in society.
If you read this far, I’ll assume you chose the second option. The first step is to consider what you know about the students so that you can properly assess their needs. Continue reading
I have some good news for people who have been searching for language practice they can do from their smartphones or know students who could use more practice and/or motivation. There is a new app available!
Released in November 2015, Lingogo is an app developed by three women from New Zealand, each currently learning a different language, that encourages and motivates students to practice reading and/or listening on their own. The app provides dual-language stories for adult reading with varying degrees of support/scaffolding. The app is free, and so is the first story. Continue reading
It was Gatlinburg in mid-July…
In the classic country song “A Boy Named Sue,” popularized by Johnny Cash but penned by Shel Silverstein, the titular toughguy roams the west in determined pursuit of his sworn goal: to kill the absentee father who gave him “that awful name.” When he finally finds his father “at an old saloon, on a street of mud,” a brutal fight ensues (en-Sues), and Sue emerges the victor only after losing a piece of his ear. Staring down the barrel of Sue’s gun, the father explains his choice:
Son, this world is rough, and if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough,
And I knew I wouldn’t be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said goodbye,
I knew you’d have to get tough or die,
And it’s that name that helped to make you strong.
Now, this isn’t father-of-the-year material. But in his own ill-advised way, Sue’s father was trying to bestow upon his son an essential quality. And it’s not just the ability to fight. Sue thinks of his father, “Every time I try and every time I win.” The virtue Sue has demonstrated isn’t physical strength, it’s determination, perseverance, goal-orientedness, grit: “You ought to thank me,” says father to son, “for the gravel in your guts.” We intuitively understand the value of conation. We try to instill it in our children. Continue reading
In the classrooms that I’ve visited over the past few years, I found that many ELs, even those ready to exit ESL, were still having difficulties comprehending their science and social studies textbooks. It is important that both ESL and classroom educators teach a unit on the features or conventions of nonfiction text to ELs as early as first grade. I suggest that teachers use multiple copies of paperback theme sets from National Geographic or Millmark Education, because both of these publishers feature social studies and science books that include all of the features that need to be taught.
Here are some of the books that I’ve used to teach the conventions of nonfiction text: Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
Jigang Cai is a full professor at the Foreign Languages and Literature Department of Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Jigang is currently president of the China EAP Association and vice president of the Chinese Association for ESP. In addition, he works for the Shanghai government as chair of the Shanghai Advisory Committee on EFL teaching at Tertiary Level. His research interests include contrastive linguistics to applied linguistics and ESP/EAP studies.
In the last 10 years, he has been promoting the implementation of ESP and EAP at the tertiary level in mainland China. He has published more than 50 research papers on ESP and EAP in many academic journals. He is currently responsible for the paradigm shift from teaching EGP (English for general purposes) to ESP at tertiary institutions in Shanghai and in mainland China. Continue reading
The “summer slide” is an education phenomenon during which students regress in their learning and language development over the summer months when they are not in school. In her 5 May 2016 post, “11 Tips to Help ELs Avoid the Summer Slide,” fellow TESOL blogger Judie Haynes mentioned how the summer slide can particularly impact students from lower income households, wherein caregivers may not be able to pay for expensive summer camps or extended learning programs. She also provided some effective, less expensive ideas for ELs to continue engaging with content and language over the summer.
However, since the focus of this blog is TESOL teacher education, in this post, I’ll highlight some ways for teachers to prevent their own summer slide, and continue their professional development during June, July, and August (summer time in the United States). Continue reading