ESL Games: ESL – Tic Tac Toe

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: ESL – Tic Tac Toe is a quick, fun way to review any number of grammar forms or vocabulary words. It builds on higher level thinking skills and provides language practice in various skills—primarily listening, speaking, and reading.
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Living VenTESOL’s Spirit!

Yilin Sun
Yilin Sun

The TESOL President’s Blog

Last month, I had the honor to represent TESOL International Association by delivering an opening plenary talk at VenTESOL’s 32nd convention in Caracas, Venezuela.
The theme of VenTESOL’s event was “Examine, Support and Renew ELT for the Next Generation.” The conference attracted more than 500 participants from different parts of Venezuela and neighboring countries.

Everyone I met was so excited to engage in conversations about English teaching and learning, passionate to learn more about TESOL International Association, and eager to share stories about their work and how much they value the opportunity to be part of the conference. The 3-day event was a perfect illustration of VenTESOL’s motto, “Live Ven-TESOL’s Spirit: Teachers helping teachers from the heart.”
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A Great Grammar Resource: Learn American English Online

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

Last year, one of my students introduced our class to Learn American English Online, a website that he liked to use on his smartphone to practice his grammar during breaks at work and at home. As I explained in an earlier blog post, this website includes seven color-coded levels of instruction, ranging from beginner to advanced. Each lesson is introduced by a folksy video that explains the relevant grammar point and includes a series of grammar quizzes and dictation exercises (with answers) that students can use at home for additional controlled practice.

The website is a great resource in a “flipped classroom,” because it allows students to preview a grammar point at home before coming to class to practice the use of the grammar in communicative activities.

This semester, I have also started to use another feature of the website for my beginning students. Continue reading

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Creating a Welcoming Classroom Environment for Pre-K–5 ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

At the start of the new school year, classroom and ESL teachers will be meeting English learners (ELs) who are attending school in the United States for the first time.  Teachers can alleviate many fears experienced by beginning ELs by creating a welcoming environment in their classes. A nurturing teacher and welcoming classmates can greatly help beginning ELs cope with the challenges they face. The more comfortable new arrivals feel in your classroom, the more quickly they will be able to learn. The more anxiety students experience, the less language they will comprehend.

Help ELs develop pride in their language and culture

Tie the cultures of your ELs to your curriculum whenever possible. ELs will bring a wealth of experiences from their families, homes, neighborhoods, and communities to school. Children with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds have stories and experiences that are unique. Continue reading

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Business Discourse (2nd edition): Relevant for ESPers Worldwide!

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

As ESPers, we have the responsibility to learn as much as we can about how people communicate. By researching and learning about professional communication and reflecting on our teaching practices, we empower ourselves to create learning experiences for our students. Through such learning experiences, we empower our students to communicate for the purpose of achieving their specific goals. In sum, we promote leadership communication worldwide (when leadership is conceptualized as influencing others to achieve a vision/goal).

Accordingly, when I come across a resource that can empower ESPers worldwide, I want to share it with ESPers worldwide! Check out the following:

Bargiela-Chiappini, F., Nickerson, C., & Planken, B. (2013). Business discourse (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
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A Writing Activity: Describing a Fruit

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

When I was a student in an intensive English program, one of my teachers used this activity to help us be more specific and precise in our descriptions.  And as easy as this activity looks, it required reaching beyond our regular everyday vocabulary.

Later, when I became a teacher, I used this activity with my students and found it really helpful.

As a “warm-up”, I showed my students a clip from the movie “City of Angels,” when the character Seth asked the character Maggie to describe a pear.  Continue reading

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Randomizing Order in Class

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard to get students to volunteer, so educators all have their own methods for randomizing the order in which students present or perform other tasks. Do you have students draw numbers from a hat or popsicle sticks from a jar?

I have a fantastic little line method I can do on the board that has both students and other teachers just scratching their heads, but despite how wonderful many of these low tech solutions are, they usually take up more precious class time than some other options out there.

Enter Random.org. Continue reading

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ESL Games: It’s All in the Description—A Speaking and Listening Game

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: It’s All in the Description is a great way to strengthen speaking and listening skills. In addition, it focuses on the present continuous verb tense and essential vocabulary to expand ESL fluency and overall language learning. It also builds questioning skills.

Research Says: Research supports the use of a language game like this to bring real world context into the classroom and enhance students’ use of English in a flexible, communicative way (Asian EFL Journal, December 2003).
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Teaching Content-Area Vocabulary to ELs

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

If ESL teachers want to help their students understand content-area texts, they need to aid classroom teachers in learning  teaching strategies  that help English learners (ELs) gain new content area vocabulary. In a recent TESOL blog,  I discussed modifying teaching methods and materials. In this blog, I will talk about strategies for teaching vocabulary to ELs that can be used by ESL and content-area teachers alike.
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A Conference Call Simulation for Advanced Learners

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

Sometimes, you get lucky! Or maybe I should say, sometimes things come together in just the right way. In this TESOL Blog post, I am going to focus on how such things came together to produce a successful teleconferencing activity.

I was teaching what I would call a Business English class for high-level learners. The class participants were Japanese professionals of different ages. One student was the head administrator of a university hospital. Another student had completed her undergraduate degree at UC San Diego. (That was 7 years earlier.) One of the students was the brand manager in an international (and non-Japanese) company, etc. All of the students worked for different organizations in the Tokyo area. They were all highly motivated.
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