4 Tips for Teaching English Through Science

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes

In this blog, I would like to talk about how English can be taught to elementary age children through science. Many classroom teachers that I have worked with have reported that science was especially hard for their multilingual learners (MLLs). This post shows how these students can succeed in science class—and make great strides in their English language acquisition—if the language and content of science is modified for them and they are provided with the appropriate supports. Here are four ways to do this. Continue reading

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Motivated Literacy: Mrs. O’Donnell’s Magic Pencils

Spencer Salas
Spencer Salas

Greetings from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte! For this month’s post, I’d like to write about a memory of magic pencils and a Latin classroom. It goes like this:

In the 1980s in high schools across the state of Virginia, high school students had the option of taking, along with Spanish and French, Latin — for a  minimum of two years — to fulfill the foreign language degree requirement. My brother did. My sister did. So I did, for four years. The last two culminated in our reading of Virgil’s Aeneid and Catullus’ and Horace’s lyric poetry.

I wasn’t alone. Across the state, there was a renaissance of high school Latin studies, in part driven by our high school teacher, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Yale University and a Fulbright to Rome, Italy. She died at 58, and the entire school turned out to say goodbye at her funeral — even the ones who never took Latin. Continue reading

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New (Critical) Friendships for a New Year of PD

Laura Baecher
Laura Baecher

Welcome Guest Bloggers Wayne Malcolm and Dawn Lucovich! For the next few months, I will be inviting voices from a variety of contexts to share their work and thinking on professional development (PD). As we know, the best PD comes from our colleagues!


There is an adage that says, “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Through our work together on the board of directors for The Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT), and subsequently being invited to coauthor a book chapter, we have gone from being mere professional acquaintances to intentionally building a productive and professionally rewarding critical friendship over the course of two years. Based on our experience, research on critical friendships, and our own forthcoming phenomenological study, we would like to propose a four-step process to find and build your own critical friendships in the new year. Continue reading

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5 Ways to Use Zoom in the Physical Classroom

Brent Warner
Brent Warner

2022 was a year for many of us to try, despite upsets, to settle back into in-person teaching. Most of us struggled just to keep our heads above water, and some of us found that, *gasp!*, we missed some of the technology we had gotten used to when we were teaching from our bedrooms, campus offices, cars, and so on. Online meeting software such as Zoom, like it or not, was the technology that saved us all, and quite a lot of us found some wonderful benefits. Unfortunately, in the rush to get “back to normal,” we jumped over the idea that we could have gone “back and better” and Zoom was unceremoniously dumped as we focused on the smiling faces in front of us.

The truth is, Zoom is still a powerful tool that can be used in the physical classroom to build student learning, collaboration, classroom management, and more. So now in 2023, with just a little effort, you can bring many of the benefits of the Zoom experience inside the four walls of the classroom, and you may find that it helps students close the digital gaps we’ve all been dealing with. Continue reading

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Tackling Native Speakerism: What Can You Do to Address Discriminatory Ideologies?

Naashia Mohamed
Naashia Mohamed
Imagine a school located somewhere in the world where English is the medium of instruction, but is not widely spoken in the society. Two teachers—let’s call them Kate and Kamala—have applied for the position of English teacher in this school. They highlight the following reasons for why they should be hired: Continue reading
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Writing Letters in the English Language Classroom

Betsy Gilliland
Betsy Gilliland

The winter holidays often bring with them greeting cards from friends and relatives living near and far. One of the things I like the most about these cards is the letters some people include, telling about their family activities over the past year. These letters relate stories of travel, major achievements, and anecdotes about children’s favorite pastimes. I think I enjoy receiving these letters because it is often the only time in the year when I actually get written letters from my friends. The rest of the time, we share our news via social media or email, neither of which has the physical presence of a real written letter.

In some sense, letter writing is a “lost art” in the era of email and instant messaging. Not only are these high tech forms much more ephemeral, but they are also usually quite short and serve a primarily functional purpose of conveying one point or asking one question. I feel like longer letters are a way to share experiences and reflect on issues that matter.

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1-Word New Year’s Resolutions for ELT

Tomiko Breland
Tomiko Breland

It’s the new year, and a great time to reflect on the previous year while planning for the next in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Though we don’t need a special occasion to set a goal, the beginning of the year provides us with an easy, measurable timeframe for progress and achievement. The practice of setting of New Year’s resolutions goes back to the 1600s, but the idea of setting—and failing to keep—New Year’s resolutions was already widely satirized at the beginning of the 19th century (Merriam-Webster, 2022).

In the Japanese culture, one way people celebrate the New Year is with Kazikome: This is the “first writing” of the new year, on 2 January, in beautiful calligraphy paintings of an auspicious single word. My own children, this year, chose the words positivity and empathy. The idea of choosing one word to focus on for the new year has recently become increasingly popular in some countries, in part because it’s much easier to adhere to a broad idea than a narrow objective. Help your students cultivate a growth mindset this year by setting a simple goal for 2023: Focus on one word. Continue reading

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Top 8 PD Topics for English Language Teachers in 2022

Laura Baecher
Laura Baecher

In a flash, we come to the end of 2022.  It is a great time to pause and look back to see what some of the trends, key topics, and themes were when it comes to teacher professional development (PD) over this past year. Continue reading

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