ESP Project Leader Profile: Ronna Timpa

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

When you think about the hotel industry, which ESPers come to mind? I immediately think about Ronna Timpa, and in this TESOL Blog post, I am excited to present her ESP project leader profile!

When I think about the hotel industry in Japan, where I live and work, the Tokyo Disney Resort hotels are first in my thoughts because my university is located on the same train line as Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. I imagine that if Ronna were living in Tokyo, she would be active in competing for the Tokyo Disney Resort hotel training business.

Ronna, however, is living and working in Las Vegas, Nevada (in the USA). This blog post is not the first in which I have written about Ronna. Continue reading

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How Aware of Teacher Language Awareness Are You?

Kristen Lindahl
Kristen Lindahl

As language teachers, we think about, talk about, and use language frequently, but we may or may not be aware of the ways in which we do it. This awareness is called teacher language awareness, or TLA, and we access our TLA in many different ways. TLA has three domains, the User, the Analyst, and the Teacher, as described by Edge (1988).

Your User Domain centers on your ability to use the language, or your language proficiency. It also includes all that goes along with being able to use a language proficiently, including knowing the sociocultural norms of the language, the different registers of the language, and how the context of some utterances can change their meaning. Continue reading

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Developing Writing Skills Through Personal Journals

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko

A few years ago, when I was studying English in an intensive English program, I asked my writing instructor what I could do to improve my writing skills. I had a hard time coming up with ideas, so I asked my teacher if he was aware of a writing exercise that would be both helpful and motivating. He suggested that I keep a personal journal. To be quite honest, I was a bit skeptical at first, but I thought I’d try it anyway. It worked! As I was developing a habit of writing my personal journal in English, I noticed that my writing apprehension was slowly disappearing, and most of the time I seemed to find topics to write about.

Sometimes my students experience the same problem, so I share my experience with them and suggest they try writing a personal journal. Continue reading

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How Coquís Were My Key for Cultural Connections

Nathan Hall
Nathan Hall

For the past 2 years I’ve been working primarily with Puerto Rican students. Within a few months, I learned how different students from one island can be: some were raised on farms while others lived in cities; some lived on the mainland United States for years while others arrived recently; and they had many different levels of background knowledge thanks to wide variations in educational systems. Science, in particular, is difficult because there’s no telling what fields my students’ previous classes focused on before the students go into my school’s biology program. Continue reading

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Guest Writer: Vocabulary Through Social Media With SayWhat

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen

Today, it is my great pleasure to introduce our guest writer, Ivy Li. Originally from China, Ivy recently graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in TESOL, speaks three languages, and shares my interest in educational technology. A while back, she brought SayWhat to my attention and, having been involved in its development, she seems uniquely qualified to share it with you as well. I know you will not be disappointed. Take it away, Ivy!

Ivy LiThis era is flooded with social media. Facebook, Instagram, Vine—they are where people spend a good chunk of their leisure time. It might seem unproductive and meaningless at first glance, but what is it all about? Interactions. People from all over the world connect through a little smartphone to read or watch others’ posts and interact with one another. Continue reading

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Reading Texts for Adult ELLs

Robert Sheppard
Robert Sheppard

When it comes time to find a text for your next adult reading lesson, it can seem that everything you pick up is either Finnegan’s Wake or Charlotte’s Web, with none of the in-between that your students need. We need texts—a lot of them—that are accessible in terms of language but which deal with adult content—well, not adult content, but, you know, something more adult than the bedtime travails of anthropomorphic barnyard animals.

In this post, I’ll share some sources of graded and adapted reading material for adult English learners, and also some suggestions for authentic texts. Continue reading

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House Wheat This Hound!: The Problem of Listening

Karen Taylor de Caballero
Karen Taylor de Caballero

If you’re baffled by the title, don’t fret: “House Wheat This Hound!” means nothing in its printed form. When said out loud, however, a listener can find meaning: How sweet the sound!

Here’s what’s interesting: the listener must be a different person, someone who is not looking at the text. Perhaps that’s why we find “mad gabs” like this one so compelling: Even when we know what we’re supposed to hear, our eyes continue to interfere with our ears, and we are fascinated.

Mad gabs conveniently illustrate how what we see can overshadow—and in some instances, actually determine—what we hear. Continue reading

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3 Ways for Teachers to Use Social Networks for PD

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

Social media–facilitated professional development (PD) allows teachers to share ideas and strategies through online personal learning networks (PLNs). Social media bypasses the challenges of traditional PD. It is real-time, cost effective, accessible around the world, and driven by practitioners, not school administrators or consultants.

When talking about using social media for PD, I’m not talking about joining the millions who follow celebrities on Twitter, post selfies on Instagram, or connect with friends on Snapchat,  YouTube  or Facebook. I want to address the professional use of some popular social networking sites. Here are three that I use regularly. Continue reading

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Taking Learning out of the Classroom in EFL Contexts: Part II

Sherry Blok
Sherry Blok

I recently blogged on creating meaningful and authentic opportunities to apply student learning to real-life experiences. Most of the activities I suggested related to an ESL teaching context in which students are living in an English-speaking environment. Finding authentic opportunities for students to connect with English in an EFL context may take a bit more effort, but it is possible with some research and creativity! Continue reading

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Small Is Beautiful: The 7th PELLTA Int’l ELT Conference

Andy Curtis
Andy Curtis

The TESOL President’s Blog

In 1973, the German economist E.F. Schumacher published a book subtitled A Study of Economics as if People Mattered, making its financial focus clear, but it is the main title that he is best known for: Small Is Beautiful. As an indication of the importance of the book, The Times Literary Supplement ranked Small Is Beautiful as one of the top 100 most influential books published since World War II. I referred to Schumacher’s book in my reflections at the closing ceremony of the seventh biennial international conference of the Penang English Language Learning and Teaching Association (PELLTA) last month.

The conference, which took place on 25, 26, and 27 of May, drew approximately 100 participants, mostly from Malaysia, but also from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. Around 30 workshops and 20 papers were presented, as well as an opening keynote from Emeritus Professor Tony Wright, and five plenary speakers, of whom I was one. Continue reading

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