The TESOL Blog can now be found at www.tesol.org/blog.
This blog is part of the TESOL Research Professional Council (RPC) Blog series.
I have been teaching EFL at higher education institutions in Turkey for more than a decade. One thing that became apparent to me over the years was that it can be very stressful to be a young adult language learner. The year 2019 was a particularly challenging one for those working and studying at Turkish universities. In Turkey, there was a sudden rise in the suicide rate, particularly among young people, according to news reports. This phenomenon did not leave the university unscarred. A conversation that I had with a colleague was particularly thought-provoking for me. She told me how powerless she felt and she had had no idea what her students had been going through. Continue reading
What are your most beloved memories of elementary school? One of my most poignant recollections of my early school years is that of my teachers reading books aloud to the class after recess. My parents didn’t read to me as a child, so the fact that nearly all my teachers in K–8 did so was crucial to my development as a reader and led to my lifelong love of reading.
When I became a teacher, I believed that reading aloud to multilingual learners (MLLs), and encouraging parents to do the same, has multiple benefits for their academic learning, and I’ve since found that this belief is supported by research—in addition to my own experiences over time. In this blog, I discuss seven benefits of reading aloud to MLLs in school. Continue reading
An incredible amount interest in artificial intelligence (AI) launched late last year and has gone through the stratosphere since I wrote about ChatGPT in December. Since then, a so-called arms race of AI has begun to flood the market, from lesser known options like Lexii.ai to the expected big hitters like Microsoft and Google. And that’s not even to speak of the image, voice, music, and video generation tools that are showing up.
While educators are spending a lot of time figuring out how their students might be using AI, many haven’t stepped back yet to take a breath and think about how teachers themselves can use these text generators to lighten their load and better engage students. One promising solution is the use of AI to create customized content for English language learners. Continue reading
Happy February from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte! For this post, to celebrate Black History Month, I’d like to write about the power of public libraries and how I came to read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.
In 1991, I graduated from the University of Virginia and began teaching at the American Language Center in Casablanca, Morocco. I stayed for three years. Every day, I’d walk to the school on Boulevard Moulay Youssef — passing by a restored villa, “Dar America/The American House.” It was an extension of the Cultural Affairs section of the U.S. Consulate and, among other things, a library. I filled out a card and became a member. Continue reading
In conversations with preservice teachers, a question that inevitably arises is this: Why did you choose to become a teacher? Among the varied answers, there is always one common theme. This relates to wanting to make a difference in people’s lives by influencing the next generation, and, potentially, changing the world.
But do we actually do this? As individuals, do we even have the capacity to change the world? We live in a time where poverty, war, oppression, injustice, and uncertainty are predominant issues in every part of the globe. Many of us, as teachers, may feel overwhelmed, and unsure of where to even begin.
February 20 is World Day of Social Justice. The day is celebrated to raise awareness of social justice issues worldwide, highlight the power of global solidarity, and advance opportunities to promote social development and human dignity. As educators, this may be a useful opportunity to enable conversations about inequities and injustices, so that we can help students to develop the critical thinking, collaboration, and self-reflection skills necessary to foster a better society. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Continue reading