While I do my best to bring you educational technology highlights, there are some really exceptional sites out there, for example Common Sense, that are completely devoted to this topic and have an absolute wealth of information to explore. Previously, I wrote about a Common Sense resource called Graphite, and today, I want to recommend another such site, EdSurge, which according to the website, is “an independent information resource and community for everyone involved in education technology.” Continue reading
Pardon the clickbait phrasing of the title, but it seems to have gotten you reading, and this post is all about just that: getting students to read. Below, I’ll be talking about extensive reading (ER), a practice that researchers and theorists unanimously endorse, but which too seldom makes its way into the classroom. First, I’ll talk about what ER is and why it’s so important, then we’ll proceed through the remaining wh-s and wrap up with a how.
What is Extensive Reading? So, extensive reading is a technical term, but it’s actually rather descriptive as well: It means reading at great length. We can get a little more specific than that, though. It’s reading a lot of easy texts of one’s own selection, primarily for pleasure. If we want to put some numbers on it, an “easy” text is one in which 98–100% of the vocabulary is known, and “at great length” means at least 20 minutes at a stretch, but really as much as possible. Continue reading
Each year, the annual TESOL Convention provides speaking-pronunciation-listening enthusiasts with dozens of opportunities to dig deeper and learn more about teaching oral/aural skills. Just browse through the Pre- and Postconvention Institutes for TESOL 2016, and you’ll see six sessions that focus on these important skills.
But if you really love pronunciation, you should also know about the annual Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching (PSLLT) conference. Started by Dr. John Levis in 2009, the PSLLT is the world’s largest L2 pronunciation conference and the only conference of its kind in North America. Largely research-focused, the PSLLT is an intimate conference that draws 100–200 participants from around the world. Continue reading
I hope you enjoy this second blog by Early Childhood expert Karen Nemeth. In her first blog on the role of play, Karen reviewed the research included in David Kohn’s New York Times article. In this blog, she is sharing trends in play-based education for young learners in the context of the Common Core.
This is my second post based on the New York Times opinion piece, Let the Kids Learn Through Play. In my last post, I described the advantages of using play-based learning for English learners. In this follow-up, I want to address some of the trends that connect the history of play-based learning to the future of education for ELs in the context of the Common Core. Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
In the first week of September 2015, I had the opportunity to go to Sydney, Australia! At the University of Sydney, I participated in workshops (presented by Patsy Duff and Aek Phakiti) and a TESOL research colloquium. Two days later, I visited Macquarie University, where I attended a presentation (by Patsy Duff) and discussed my future research. (Note: I obtained my PhD in linguistics from Macquarie University under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Christopher Candlin, who passed away this year, and Dr. Alan Jones.) In this TESOL Blog post, I share some of my adventures down under. Continue reading
As an educator and a linguist, I’m no stranger to the power of words and the hidden social and political dynamics encoded in language use. In my recent work with both preservice teachers (at the university level) and in-service teachers (working in public schools), I’ve been doing a lot of listening as they talk to me about their experiences with ELLs, and what can be done to grow more effective in their practices.
While the overwhelming majority of teachers have their multilingual students’ best interests at heart, I still notice many instances of deficit discourse—expressions or terms that focus on the resources or skills that ELLs lack, rather than bring, to school. Phrases such as “language barrier” or “achievement gap” imply physical obstacles between students and teachers or students and their peers that exist because of language. Continue reading
“When I write in English, I can’t express myself as well as I do in Spanish/Korean/Japanese.” Most writing instructors hear this statement at least once during their teaching career. A lack of vocabulary is indeed one of the most challenging aspects of writing that our students encounter. This problem becomes even more perceptible in academic writing, as students try to develop their academic writing style by using a range of academic and descriptive language and making stylistic choices appropriate for various academic genres. I frequently hear students saying: “I want to sound more academic,” “My writing is so primitive,” and “How can I use more academic words?”
Many of the resources that students can use to enrich their academic vocabulary repertoire are freely accessible online. Today I’d like to introduce only a few of those resources. Continue reading
After I earned my MA in TESOL, I took a job teaching American history through a college’s ESL program. I’ve always been interested in history, and I couldn’t understand why all of the other teachers preferred to teach grammar or reading.
A few classes later, I was so frustrated I couldn’t understand why I chose to teach it. The formative assessments showed—to put it professionally—that I wasn’t meeting my objectives. My students couldn’t tell a pilgrim from a patriot, an Aztec from a Tory, or a colony from a frontier.
I took some time to backtrack over the more important parts of America’s early days to see where, exactly, the gaps were. That gave me enough information to figure out how to get through the year with the students learning at least a little more about history while getting more practice in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Despite the rough semester, I signed up to teach the class again, then taught it at another college, then earned my secondary social studies certification. Over the years, here’s what I learned about teaching American history to English language learners: Continue reading
A Guest Post by Sybil Marcus
Sybil Marcus has lived and worked on four continents. She taught ESL at the University of California at Berkeley Extension and at the Summer English Language Studies on the Berkeley campus. She has presented at conferences in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. For 15 years, she ran a PCI workshop for TESOL on integrating literature into language studies. She has also run workshops internationally for the U.S. State Department on Using Literature for Critical Thinking and Using Literature for Conflict Resolution. She is a coauthor with Daniel Berman of the A World of Fiction series, which uses literature to teach integrated language and critical thinking skills to ESL/EFL students at the high-intermediate to advanced levels.
When I first started using literature in my ESL/EFL classes, I thought all I had to do was teach the stories I enjoyed reading. But I soon found that even my favorite stories wouldn’t always work in class. Sometimes, they lacked sufficient depth for a 2-hour lesson, they failed to engage my students, or I couldn’t find a good way to organize the discussion.
So, how do you compile a successful syllabus for a literature-based course? Continue reading
In the past, when I have written about the flipped classroom, I have usually shared individual websites to help with the process or inspire creativity, such as eduCanon, PowToon, and Padlet. I have also mentioned the occasional application, for example Jing. Today, I want to branch off a little to highlight a free screencasting app, ScreenChomp, that makes flipping with an iPad even easier.
ScreenChomp is completely free and available in the iTunes App Store. Now, if you are an iOS user, you are in luck and can start using ScreenChomp today, but, unfortunately, based on my research, Android users might have to wait a while. Continue reading