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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Nov. 23, 2011

Have you read the TESOL Blog recently?
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If not, you've missed posts on cellphones in the classroom by Korey Marquez, CALL resources for teacher training by Sandra Rogers, and a celebration of the Peace Corps's 50th anniversary by former Peace Corps volunteers who are also TESOL members. Please take a moment to read and comment on these blog posts by your fellow TESOL professionals.

TESOL member honored as 2011 Florida Professor of the Year
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Dr. James S. May, professor of English as a second language at Valencia College in Orlando, Fla., has been named the 2011 Florida Professor of the Year by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program, administered by and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, honors the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the United States. All undergraduate teachers in the country are eligible, and honorees are chosen by other top educators. For more about James May, please read the Valencia College press release. Congratulations, Dr. May!

Questions arise over grants for ELL tests
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While a group of 28 states forges ahead to develop a new generation of English language proficiency tests, important questions have arisen about how the language needs of millions more English learners living in the rest of the country will be met under the common core academic standards. Earlier this fall, a consortium of 28 states led by the Wisconsin education department was selected as the only winner of a $10.5 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create new assessments of English language proficiency that will measure the language demands of the common standards. More

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Race to the top round 3: 9 states can apply for $200 million with STEM education focus
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Nine states that were the runner-up finalists from last year's Race to the Top competition can apply for a portion of the $200 million Race to the Top round three fund. The Department of Education announced Wednesday that Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina can seek funding for part of their Race to the Top plan, which should include a focus to improve science, technology, engineering and math education. "Race to the Top round three will enable these nine states to further their reform efforts already underway and help them get better faster," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. More

'Value-added' formulas strain collaboration
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than half the states now require districts to take student achievement into account when evaluating a teacher's performance. Value-added, or growth, models track individual students' test scores from year to year, which advocates say can help isolate the effect of the instruction that students receive during one school year from their academic backgrounds and prior education experiences. Critics — including many teachers' unions — argue that annual test scores do not give a full picture of student growth, and that the statistical models used for the measures are not designed to evaluate teachers. More

Teacher evaluations more prevalent in schools across the country
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Teachers and principals are worrying more about their own report cards these days. They're being graded on more than student test scores. The way educators are evaluated is changing across the country, with a switch from routine "satisfactory" ratings to actual proof that students are learning. President Barack Obama's recent use of executive authority to revise the No Child Left Behind education law is one of several factors driving a trend toward using student test scores, classroom observation and potentially even input from students, among other measures, to determine just how effective educators are. A growing number of states are using these evaluations to decide critical issues such as pay, tenure, firings and the awarding of teaching licenses. More

Gov. Branstad: Bilingual education gives students leg up in global economy
DesMoinesRegister    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Iowa's Gov. Terry Branstad touted at an education town hall meeting the advantages bilingual students possess when entering a globally competitive workforce. Speaking to more than 200 people at Marshalltown High School, which has a large Spanish-speaking student body, Branstad touted Singapore as an example of a country with diverse schools that has achieved academic excellence. Several students and community members raised questions about how teachers will be evaluated when teaching students not fluent in English, and whether native English speakers should be required to learn a second language. More

Florida's NCLB waiver request tries new tack with English learners
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Of the 11 states that met the deadline for waivers from the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law, Florida is the one with the most English learners. That's why when reading the waiver proposal and looking for nuggets that shed light on how much English learners would figure directly into the state's strategy for winning a reprieve from NCLB. More

English proficiency test results may be a reality check
New Era    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Namibia: Yes, the results concerning English language proficiency test amongst teachers in Namibia may have been leaked to the media and may not be final. But as much therefore, they may not be a true reflection of the actual situation with regard to the English language proficiency. Can we really dismiss them as preliminary as they may be and that they do not and cannot give us an idea that English proficiency among our teachers is and has been wanting? Can we at this juncture, while awaiting the final results, really say that what is being revealed is far from the truth? More

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Foreign Ministry reviews scrapping own English test grades
The Korea Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Korea: The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, which came under fire in September for its officials' suspected lack of ability to communicate in English, is considering scrapping its in-house English test grades, the ministry said. "Foreign Ministry's assessment on diplomats' English proficiency has had a stricter standard. For example, a person who gets 800 in the (Test of English Proficiency) is rated TEPS 2 in general, but rated at the lowest fifth level at the ministry," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Byung-jae said. More

Immigrant children benefit from Finnish education
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Finland: Finland's education system is already praised worldwide. Now, as its population becomes more diverse, it is setting a great example when it comes to educating its immigrant children, too. In Finland, it is customary for children to line up their shoes outside the classroom and to learn in their stockinged feet. Outside classroom 3C at Laakavuori primary in Helsinki, there are only four pairs of shoes and they include the scuffed trainers of a 12-year-old boy and the sparkly pumps of a seven-year-old girl. More

New immigrants face a language barrier in the US
Latina Lista    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Due to the high level of violence in Cd. Juárez, Mexico, many families are migrating to El Paso, Texas, in search of a better life, but as their children enter school here many of them struggle to learn English. The El Paso Independent School District saw an increase of 8 percent in the number of Limited English Proficiency students between 2007 and 2010. The number of students enrolling in English as a Second Language programs also continues to grow, according to the Texas Education Agency. LEP students are eligible to receive ESL or bilingual instruction. Therefore out of the 8 percent of LEP students, some receive bilingual instruction and some receive ESL instruction. Not all of the students identified as LEP receive ESL or bilingual instruction. More

Arizona educators clash over Mexican American studies
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new Arizona law aims to ban ethnic studies classes deemed to be divisive, and the state's schools superintendent says Tucson's program is in violation. Teachers and students are fighting back. More

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Indomitable spirit of ESL students inspired Burnaby principal to pen book
The Vancouver Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Canada: From the outside, Edmonds community school looks like an ordinary neighbourhood school. But inside, it is a microcosm. Four out of five students were born outside Canada, more than half are learning English as a second language and a third are refugees from countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Congo, Iraq and Eritrea. More

Somerville, Mass., schools beat state to the punch
The Somerville News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled an update to his plan to bridge the achievement gap. Included was a plan to bring Summer England Language Learner camps to cities around the commonwealth. Somerville Public Schools already has a program. While not among the list of INC Mass "Gateway Cities" such as Fall River and Chelsea, the Somerville Program for English Language Learners. Funded by federal Title III funds by the state, SPS uses SPELL to help its large ELL populations. More

Losing language
Impact    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom: The University of Nottingham is described as a "truly global university" and with campuses in both China and Malaysia alongside over 7,500 international students on our own campus, it is easy to feel part of a worldwide community. And with any global community, there is an array of native speakers of a number of foreign languages. There are roughly 6,900 different languages spoken in our world today, and a wealth of different tongues spoken by Nottingham students alone. But how does belonging to this community affect the way we approach the concept of language? That is, when everyone speaks English, does it affect us at all? More

Teaching Thanksgiving, Academic Vocabulary Style

ESL students have trouble advancing from social language to academic language. Here’s how to use academic vocabulary to talk about traditional Thanksgiving activities.

Survey: Many Chinese students could pay US college costs but lack the language skills
The Chronicle of Higher Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Chinese students seeking to study in the United States have the money to do so but may lack the English language skills, a survey of 18,000 prospective students found. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed by Zinch China, a consulting company that advises American colleges and universities about China, said their families can afford to spend $40,000 or more, per year, on an undergraduate education. Another 22 percent reported they could spend between $10,000 and $40,000 a year. More

Literacy class gives foreign domestic workers needed boost
The Vancouver Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Canada: Regine Ganancial has lived in Canada for two years but only recently did she learn the significance of those little red poppies she saw pinned to jacket lapels all over the city every November. "It's beautiful," she thought of the spectacle. "But why are you all wearing flowers? " The 29-year-old Burnaby resident finally understood the message while attending a free literacy class hosted by Frontier College. The class, which runs at the Britannia Community Centre every Sunday afternoon from October to April, is designed to address the specific literacy needs of foreign domestic workers who, like Ganancial, speak English, but lack advanced language and grammar skills needed to build a brighter financial future for themselves in Canada. More

Poor students with poorly educated parents more disadvantaged in US than other countries
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Intuitively, a child's academic performance is likely higher if he or she has highly educated parents, and lower if the child has less educated parents. A new report confirms that's true, but reveals that American children of poorly educated parents do a lot worse than their counterparts in other countries. For the Pew Economic Mobility Project's report, "Does America promote mobility as well as other nations?," researchers in 10 countries analyzed socioeconomic advantage as a function of parental education. They found that a child's economic and educational status is more affected by parental education than in any other country studied. More

Children with high IQ more likely to subsequently use illegal drugs
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
According to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, a high IQ in childhood could be associated to illegal drug use later in life, especially among women. The researchers findings were based on data from just under 8,000 individuals in the 1970 British Cohort Study, a large ongoing population based investigation, which examines educational attainment, lifetime drug use as well as socioeconomic factors. More

Canada's bilingual? Whom are we kidding?
The Montreal Gazette    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Canada: The best thing Stacy Legallee's parents ever did was to send him to French school. Now 47 and fluent not just in French and English, but also in Spanish, the well-traveled musician and studio engineer says knowing both official languages have enriched his life immeasurably. "I think, if anything, it's one of the great assets that Canada has, to declare it as a bilingual country," said Legallee, who is pursuing a degree in English literature at Concordia University after a 30-year music career. "That's why even after years of traveling around and working in different countries, I'm proud to be a Canadian." In the 42 years since the federal government adopted the Official Languages Act, many Canadians have come to see bilingualism as the country's defining trait. More

Bridging cultural divide between teachers, students
The Indianapolis Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Teen slang is one example of the cultural divide common in urban schools, where students increasingly belong to ethnic and racial minority groups and their teachers do not. In the classroom, that divide — which can be exacerbated by income levels and life experiences — is an obstacle to building trust and understanding. But it is an obstacle that some educators think can be overcome — or at least reduced — with specialized training that is being employed more frequently in the nation's schools and here in Indiana. More

Teaching without technology?
KQED (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New technology is a lightning rod and polarizing force because it not only begins to influence what we see and how we see it. It makes sense then, that debate of digital technology's role in society is naturally being played out in microcosmic form within schools. Education is designed to transmit a culture's history, values and theories of knowledge while also preparing students for the world of tomorrow. Yet, in times like ours, when the gulf between the past and future stretches light years, cognitive dissonance ensues when students, teachers and parents try to figure out what technology should be used to bridge this timeline. More

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