As a TESOL teacher educator, I often consider how effectively we are preparing future teachers for the important job of teaching ELLs. At the university level, we do not always hear from principals or teachers once they’ve left our setting and entered the “real” world—we send our graduates out with the best training we can possibly offer and the hope that they fulfill their professional goals.
Recently, I had the chance to ask a panel of U.S. public school administrators working in schools with very high numbers of ELLs what they wished their teachers knew before arriving at their campus. They shared several insights not only about the knowledge base of the teachers, but placed equal importance on the values and ideologies they hoped the teachers would bring with them. The principals said that teachers they would hire should ideally have: Continue reading
The TESOL President’s Blog
According to its website, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) “represents more than 21,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 9,300 organizations.” Their members “manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world.”
One of the activities of the ASAE is to organize training and development events for people who have taken on leadership roles in their own associations, and each year, in June, the four Executive Committee members of TESOL International Association’s Board of Directors attends 2 days of intensive leadership development organized by the ASAE. Continue reading
As previously discussed in one of my blogs, many ELL students find it challenging to compose an appropriate (i.e., well organized and developed, coherent, polite) email. Below are some simple activities that you can implement in your writing classes to help students develop the skill of email writing.
- Students are given several emails. They analyze the ways of closing emails depending on the email addressees.
- Students analyze how requests are made in emails of various levels of formality.
- Students compare and contrast two emails with the same communicative purpose (e.g., accepting or refusing an invitation) written in a formal and an informal style. Continue reading
I worked in adult ESL education before earning my secondary school teacher certification, and one student I’ll always remember was a woman who was a math teacher in her former country. She could handle problems and equations so easily, I had her help other students who asked for help. However, when it came to word problems, she was the one asking for help—which was my first exposure to how hard these problems must be for our students who don’t have the specific math skills she had.
Later, after I passed my PRAXIS II tests in nonmath subjects, I found my students were struggling in their math classes. This made me appreciate what specific reading skills students need to handle word problems. They need to understand a specific situation well enough to exclude what isn’t important, interpret technical terms to understand what is being asked of them, and sort out what to do with the numbers.
Here are some techniques I found that effectively supported my students’ math needs: Continue reading
When it comes to preparing courses and lessons, we all know we need to provide learners with a healthy diet of nutritious classroom activities that promote practice, improvement, and achievement.
In this sense, Readers Theater (RT) is a superfood, an activity chock full of nutrients that every learner needs, including Vitamin R (which supports reading fluency) and Vitamin V (for a healthy vocabulary), while providing differentiated learning opportunities for students of varying abilities.
But RT is also a great source of P-Complex vitamins that support improvement in pronunciation, and in the video excerpts I present below, we’ll see how RT supports those oh-so-important suprasegmental skills: stress, vowel reduction, rhythm, linking, and intonation. Continue reading
Although I cannot remember how or when I originally heard about NoRedInk, I finally got around to checking it out just the other day and want to encourage you to do the same. NoRedInk is a website designed for teachers that helps students improve their grammar and writing skills. Even if you do not teach a grammar or writing class, NoRedInk is worth looking at because it has the potential to really help students improve their language abilities.
The 90-second video on the homepage clearly lays out why NoRedInk was created, and basically it is because teaching writing is hard. The actual teaching of concepts and assigning of work might not be much different than in other classes, but the grading and feedback is time consuming and tedious. Continue reading
Guest speakers can make a powerful, lasting impression on students. They share their wisdom and experience, lead by example, and give students a clear, realistic picture of success. I mean, who could forget that time Mr. T came to motivationally speak to our 5th grade class, and for years to come we aspired to be vigilante soldiers of fortune cruising the streets of L.A. in a GMC Vandura trying to clear our names of a crime we didn’t commit?
Okay, so maybe we don’t all remember that. And maybe some dreams are best abandoned. And maybe some speakers are more effective than others. In this post—the first of two on the topic of guest speakers in adult ed—I’m going to cover some types of guest speakers you may want to consider inviting to your class. Next time, I’ll provide a step-by-step process for prepping inexperienced guest speakers, to make sure that the visit is positive for everyone involved. Continue reading
Immigrant students in the United States have already suffered the trauma of leaving behind their extended family, friends, teachers, and schools. They enter a U.S. school and can also lose their name. Their name may be deliberately changed by parents or school staff, or an error may be made in the order of the name or its spelling. These mistakes can have lasting effects on students.
A person’s name is part of his or her cultural identity, and it is up to schools to get it right. In order for teachers, administrators, or office staff in your school to enroll students with the correct the name, they need to understand the naming conventions of different cultures. Here are seven naming customs from different cultures. Continue reading
Hello, ESPers worldwide!
As we move forward with the ESP project leader profiles, I have become increasingly interested in how ESP project leaders get the “buy in” (i.e., support) of stakeholders for ESP projects. In this connection, I have found the TV program Shark Tank to be relevant. In this TESOL Blog post, I share how I have used specific episodes of Shark Tank to teach my students how to more effectively promote their business ideas in English. Continue reading