In the previous blog (posted December 18), we looked at establishing a set of standards for behavior and interaction in a teaching and learning environment online, which are different in some important ways from the ground rules in regular, face-to-face classrooms. One important difference is that in TLO courses, most of the interaction is written and posted, via some kind of Learning Management System (LMS), to some form of discussion board or forum.
There are some benefits to this arrangement. For example, course participants (CPs) who may otherwise be relatively quiet in a regular classroom can be more “vocal” through their writing. Continue reading
Common Sense Media is an amazing site that has way too much information on digital literacy and citizenship to fit into just one post. Even the section of the site for educators is massive, so I’m going to narrow it down even more and focus only on Graphite, which is just a small part of what Common Sense Media has to offer.
Graphite, as described on the Common Sense Media website, is the place to “find the best apps, games, and websites, rated for learning, and mapped to the Common Core.” It is free and easy to register. Resources are categorized by type, subject, grade, and price, which makes finding something relevant to your teaching simple. If that weren’t easy enough, you can also search for materials by Common Core Standard. There are so many resources out there and more arriving every day, but Graphite can quickly point you in the right direction. Continue reading
In several blog posts in 2013, I explored the ways I have worked with my students to encourage them to speak, read, and listen to more English outside of class and documented their success in doing so.
But what if some students still struggle to find ways to speak more English? What if students still fear speaking English in public outside the safe confines of the classroom?
Last semester, we tackled this issue in my evening ESL class, which consisted almost entirely of immigrants from Central and South America working in “survival jobs” as cooks, construction workers, bakers and housekeepers. Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
What does teaching ESP mean to you personally? What specific situation comes to mind? In my research of leadership, I am finding that how leaders describe “leading” is often, and not surprisingly perhaps, connected to specific activities in specific situations. (No wonder there are so many different ideas about leadership!) Therefore, I have been wondering how ESPers would answer these questions. Continue reading
As the end of the year is rapidly approaching, a lot of us start thinking about our New Year resolutions: things we want to change, goals we want to reach, personal qualities we want to develop, places we want to visit, books we want to read, etc. This list can go on and on. New Year resolutions can be a great teaching tool in your writing class, too. Whether you are teaching a beginning writing class or an advanced composition course in college, you can create lots of engaging activities incorporating the concept of New Year resolutions to help your students develop their writing skills. In what follows, I share some activities, and I hope they can help you generate further ideas for your own classes. Continue reading
Explaining to someone how to do something is a fundamental communicative skill in any language. If you are looking for ways to teach this skill to your ESL students, my favorite vehicle is the website Howcast.com, a perennially popular source of authentic “how to” listening materials. Want to learn how to decorate Christmas sugar cookies? Do magic tricks? Write an effective résumé and cover letter? Give yourself a spa facial at home? Save money on gas for your car? Howcast is your ticket.
As they watch these short, punchy videos that offer step-by-step instructions (many with a transcript following the video) on topics in categories ranging from “technology” to “relationships and dating,” “money and education,” “fitness,” “food,” and “health,” your students can learn how to do almost anything imaginable—and improve their listening and speaking skills at the same time. Continue reading
In the previous blog (posted December 4), we looked at some of the ways in which course participants, including the teachers, can get to know each other in spite of not being in a physical classroom, and in many cases never having met each other face-to-face. Following-on from that, “ground rules” need to established, which can be thought of as a set of standards for behavior and interaction, in this case, in a teaching and learning environment online.
In physical face-to-face classrooms, these ground rules are sometimes negotiated and agreed on by the teachers and the students, then written-up and put up on a wall in the classroom. However, courses online are not usually conducive to such negotiation, partly because such courses are often relatively short, so as much time as possible needs to be spent on interacting, rather than on agreeing how to interact. Continue reading
Program Development Resources From TESOL ESP-IS Chair-Elect, Kristin Ekkens
Hello ESPers, worldwide!
I really enjoy finding and sharing great resources. In an article that I read in the most recent TESOL ESP-IS Newsletter, I found two more websites to share! In that article, the author, Kristin Ekkens, who is founder and CEO of C3 Consulting LLC and the current chair-elect of the ESP IS, wrote the following:
One project I just completed is helping a large (20,000 employees) healthcare organization develop a course map or a framework for developing essential skills (including language, culture, and workplace skills) for their employees. After researching and exploring various frameworks from across the globe, I decided on using the “Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework.” Continue reading
The TESOL President’s Blog
Last month, I had the good fortune of having been invited as a plenary speaker in MexTESOL’s 40th anniversary convention, held in lovely Querétaro. I had a wonderful time, and I really felt at home—I discovered that Mexicans have a lot in common with my people (Egyptians). During the convention, I was also asked to give a talk about the current trends in English language teaching and learning in an EFL or ESL context. I was very pleased to do so, and here are the key eight trends that I talked about. These are not necessarily an exhaustive list and most likely there are other trends that I have not mentioned.
Trend 1: Change in the Goal of Teaching English
In my opinion, there are two key changes in the purpose of teaching English. Continue reading