Focus on Cultural Education: A Writing Activity

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

Living in a foreign country can be difficult if one doesn’t understand many of the cultural concepts that “locals” sometimes use on a daily basis.  When I came to the United States a few years ago, I realized how little I knew about the American culture.  I appreciated people who were willing to help me and contribute to my “cultural education.”

Accordingly, I am curious sometimes if our students are aware of the meanings, let alone the history, of the cultural concepts that they encounter during classroom activities or in readings.

I’d like to share an idea that integrates a cultural component into writing.  As examples, I used the concepts of the American culture (although some of them have become international), but this is not to say that this activity cannot be adjusted to local cultures in other teaching contexts. Continue reading

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Socrative: A New Student Response System

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Do you like the idea of exit slips, but don’t have time to grade them all outside of class? Do you find yourself wondering whether or not students caught the main point of your lecture? Do you wish you could go paperless for quizzes and other activities or even just reduce the amount of paper you use? Do you want to engage your students more with your lessons?

Well, if your students have smartphones, tablets, or computers in class, then Socrative can help you out. Socrative is free! I registered from my desktop in 30 seconds by entering my e-mail address and a password and then downloaded both the student and teacher versions of the app onto my iPad to test the system out. I was amazed at how easy everything was, and the possibilities really seem endless. Continue reading

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ESL Games: Word Ditto

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson

The Game: Word Ditto explores multiple meaning words. Multiple meaning words are just that: They have two or more meanings.

There are two main types of multiple meaning words:

  • Those that sound alike (ex. bark as in the bark of a tree and the bark of a dog)
  • Those that sound differently (ex. windy as in a windy day and a windy road)

Within these two main groups of multiple meaning words, there can be differences in:

  • Capitalization (ex. You may see flowers in May.)
  • Punctuation (ex. He prepared a résumé to find a job to resume working.)
  • Parts of speech (ex. I like to fish (verb). The fish (noun) swam in the sea.)
  • Tenses (ex. My aunt read the books that you like to read.)
  • Degrees – literal or figurative (ex. My apartment is below yours. The corporal ranks below the general.)

Continue reading

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Student-Generated Grammar Rules

Alexandra Lowe
Alexandra Lowe

As ESL instructors, we often learn at least as much from our students as they do from us. But that truism was borne out in an unexpected way recently in my beginners’ evening ESL class as we wrestled, in time-honored fashion, with the simple past.

My students had gamely participated in a number of tried-and-true communicative activities designed to help them practice one of the trickiest skills: forming questions in the simple past. Avid futbol fans, they had interviewed each other about the 2014 World Cup results using prompts that I had helped them generate: Did Brazil lose? Did Germany win? Did Argentina beat the Netherlands? What was the score? Continue reading

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Is Education for Pre-K–5 ELs Equitable? (Part 2)

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

In my last blog, I talked about the inequities of the learning environment for English learners. This discussion included class size, grouping, the number of schools serviced by the ESL teacher, and the size and location of teaching space. In this blog, I would like to talk about the inequitable funding and programs for ELs.

Background on federal policies affecting English learners

An important Supreme Court decision, declaring that ELs have the right to the same education as their English-speaking classmates, is the Lau vs. Nichols decision. Continue reading

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TESOL Advocates Are on Capitol Hill

Yilin Sun
Yilin Sun

The TESOL President’s Blog

Last month, I had a great opportunity to be part of TESOL’s 2014 Advocacy & Policy Summit, held on 22–24 June. This is the largest such event yet, with nearly 70 TESOL educators representing 25 affiliates from across the United States (and a few from outside the United States) coming together to learn more about national policy issues affecting the field, and to advocate for the needs and interests of English learners and TESOL educators. This was my first time participating in the TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit, and I was very excited to be part of this important event to learn, share, and shape the future of education together with other advocates.
Continue reading

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Learning from ESPers Around the World

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

One of the things that I value most about being involved in TESOL is the opportunity to connect with ESPers around the world. Accordingly, I have been asking myself the following questions:

  1. In what contexts do we meet other ESPers?
  2. What do we learn from each other?

Let’s start with the first question. Where do we meet other ESPers? In my own case, three places come to mind:

  1. Workplaces
  2. Associations
  3. Publications (including websites)

Continue reading

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Enhancing Language Education: A Conference on Language

Lillian L. C. Wong
Lillian L. C. Wong

I had the great honour and pleasure to represent TESOL and speak at the “International Conference on Language – Enhancing Language Ability and Education for the 21st Century”* held on 5–6 June 2014 in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The Government of China invited 400 government officials, policy-makers, researchers, educators and development partners, and UN agencies from China and around the world to discuss and reflect on challenges and new approaches for effective language education and planning.

The conference focused on the enhancement of language ability and language education for human civilization and social progress. Three themes were addressed:

  1. language ability and sustainable social development,
  2. innovation in language education, and
  3. international exchange and cooperation.

Continue reading

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Effective Peer Feedback Through Modeling: Part 2

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

In my last blog, I shared a modeling activity that writing teachers can do to help students analyze each other’s writing and make more out of peer review activities.  Today, I would like to describe a modeling activity that uses ineffective comments—ineffective feedback—as a pedagogical tool to teach students how to provide effective comments on their peers’ drafts. Continue reading

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Teaching Tip: Cloud Storage & Why You Need It

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Cloud storage is something that I use every day, and the only reason I did not write about it sooner is because I thought I already had. How could I have forgotten to share something so basic? I have no idea, but here it is. Your life will never be the same; it will be easier, much easier.

In case you have not heard, cloud storage is big these days. With cloud storage, you can store all sorts of virtual files in a “cloud” and then access everything from other devices. You may do most of your planning on a computer at school, but many of us probably go home and continue to work on our personal computers or devices. Wouldn’t it be nice if all your materials from your school computer were accessible at home or elsewhere?Cloud storage makes this possible. Continue reading

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