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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Feb. 1, 2012







Free online discussion with TESOL 2012 keynote speaker Heidi Byrnes
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TESOL invites you to a free online discussion with TESOL 2012 keynote speaker Heidi Byrnes, who will facilitate a discussion in the TESOL Community on the bilingual turn and language teaching. The discussion is free and open to everyone, including nonmembers, and all TESOL convention attendees are already registered. If you are a nonmember and you have not registered for the TESOL convention, then you must register for the online discussion.



TOEFL Grants and Awards deadline: 15 February
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The deadline for applications for the TOEFL Grants and Awards is 15 February. Awards are available in a variety of categories and provide funding for activities, projects, and research in the field of international education and foreign or second language assessment. One of the grants provides funding for students completing their dissertation research. For more information, please visit the awards Web page.

Do you feel confident discussing grammar in the classroom?
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If not, you should check out these two online courses: Grammar Course 1: Phrasal Structures and Grammar Course 2: Multiclause Structures will help you develop the confidence you need to discuss grammar with your students and give you the tools you need to prepare grammar lessons. The courses run simultaneously from 13 February to 11 March. The registration deadline is 6 February. For more information, visit TESOL's website.

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TESOL and IATEFL offer online discussion on English for specific purposes
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The TESOL English for Specific Purposes Interest Section and the and IATEFL ESP Special Interest Group invite you to join an online discussion titled English for Specific Purposes around the world in academic and occupational contexts, 1-29 February, in the TESOL Community. The purpose of the discussion is to look at ESP from a variety of perspectives, personal as well as professional. For more information, please visit the TESOL Community.

Need to start or revitalize an English language program?
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Then the TESOL: Training of Trainers, Strengthening English Language Programs online course can help. This course allows you to reflect on your current (or would-be) program, learn how to boost your program's capacity, and, most importantly, bring your program into the 21st century. Participants will receive several free online resources. The registration deadline is Saturday, 31 March. To register, please visit the TESOL website. Please send questions to edprograms@tesol.org and put "Training of Trainers" in the subject line.







Study: As Obama touts Common Core, the state standards spread slowly across US
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Amy Bednarz, an English as a second language teacher in a Massachusetts elementary school, is confused. She doesn't know exactly what to teach. For years, she'd been told that the state standardized tests were a make-or-break aspect of her teaching and should drive her instruction. Then came the professional development meetings this summer where she was told to teach the Common Core State Standards, a new set of academic benchmarks now being adopted by the majority of U.S. states. She got a worksheet, a binder and little guidance. More

Arne Duncan: Pay great teachers $150,000
Politico    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the starting salaries of teachers should double, up to $65,000 a year, and that excellent teachers should be able to make up to $150,000. "I've been very radical on this. I think that young teachers, we should double their salaries [to] $60,000, $65,000. I think that great teachers should be able to make $130,000, $140,000, $150,000 — pick a number," said Duncan on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." More

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States weaken tenure rights for teachers
The Associated Press via USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
America's public school teachers are seeing their generations-old tenure protections weakened as states seek flexibility to fire teachers who aren't performing. A few states have essentially nullified tenure protections altogether, according to an analysis being released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality. The changes are occurring as states replace virtually automatic "satisfactory" teacher evaluations with those linked to teacher performance and base teacher layoffs on performance instead of seniority. Politically powerful teachers' unions are fighting back, arguing the changes lower morale, deny teachers due process and unfairly target older teachers. More

Coalition: John Kline's No Child Left Behind bills strike at values of Brown v. Board
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A broad coalition of 38 civil rights, education reform and business groups sent House education chairman John Kline a scathing letter, describing his No Child Left Behind legislation as potentially racist. "It undermines the core American value of equal opportunity in education embodied in Brown v. Board of Education," the groups wrote. Their letter calls Kline's bills a rollback of federal accountability, a return to an era that ignored achievement gaps. More

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Arizona candidate challenged over English skills
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Alejandrina Cabrera speaks English, her face takes on an expression somewhere between deep discomfort and outright despair. Her tongue, which darts around her mouth in her native Spanish, slows to a crawl. "I speak little English," she said in a hesitant and heavily accented interview in her lawyer's office. "But my English is fine for San Luis." Cabrera may be able to get her point across in English, but whether she is proficient enough in the language to serve on the governing board of this bilingual border city has deeply divided the 25,000 residents. More
Related story: Judge orders Arizona candidate struck from ballot (The New York Times)


Duncan: It's time to create Race to Top for districts
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Flush with $550 million in new Race to the Top money, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he intends to use the vast majority of it to design a new competition just for school districts. In an interview with Education Week, Duncan for the first time foreshadowed what the department's next Race to the Top competition will look like. More



Arizona unbound: National actions on Mexican American Studies banishment
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
What happens in Arizona doesn't stay in Arizona. As Tea Party state education chief John Huppenthal retreats into his office after an embarrassing national media tour on Arizona's extremist Ethnic Studies crackdown, and Tucson Unified School District administrators continue their slide into a public relations disaster over banishing Mexican American Studies curricula and books, a remarkably diverse array of librarians, educators, writers, civil rights activists and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is mounting a series of national actions to call attention to educational and civil rights violations and to support local Tucson efforts.

Editor's note: TESOL International Association has signed a joint statement in opposition to book censorship in the Tuscon Unified School District. You can read the letter here.
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Colleges set higher English entry standards
The China Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
China: More higher learning institutions in Taiwan have decided to include senior high school graduates' grades in English listening comprehension tests and General English Proficiency Test when reviewing their applications for admissions. The National Taiwan University has the largest number of 25 departments asking for the English test results from students seeking to enter the university, accounting for 43 percent of total departments at the school. NTU officials explained that such English proficiency test grades are not mandatory requirements but they will improve the chance of admissions to the designated departments. More



US schools forge foreign connections via Web
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ninth-graders at the 2,300-student South Plantation High School in Plantation, Fla., were in a videoconference with Egyptian students and journalists last year when President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. Both the Americans and the Egyptians were in awe, clapping and laughing and sharing in a moment of global importance. "All of a sudden, our students understood what freedom is, what a democracy means, how fortunate they are to be where they are, and how people have to struggle to get to that level," said Donna Rose, the director of the school's VALOR Freshman Academy, the academic program for the school's 500 ninth-graders. "In a heartbeat, they changed their view of humanity. How could I have done that on my own?" More

Master's in Teaching TESOL
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Modesto, Calif., schools try new ideas to boost English learners
The Modesto Bee    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
English learners face a double hurdle on standardized tests: they need to understand what the question asks as well as answer it. Too many miss on both counts, year after year. California gives kids five years to master the language. Gauged by yearly markers, however, only about half the students in Stanislaus County are on track to hit that target — a percentage that bounces up only to fall back down, year after year. More

Teachers in Berlin at 'End of Tether' over German-illiterate Roma kids
Novinite    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Germany: Teachers in Berlin are at the end of their tether, according to a German daily. Since Romania and Bulgaria's accession to the EU, more and more Roma have flocked to Germany, many of whom send their children to school without any knowledge of the language, the Berliner Umschau states. The teachers at the Hermann Schulz primary school in Berlin-Reinickendorf have sent a letter to the authorities to complain about the matter. More



Pavan K Varma: English stifling Indian languages
The Times of India (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
India: India is fast turning into a nation of linguistic half-castes with English-speaking youths unsure of their own mother tongue, warned diplomat, writer and translator Pavan K Varma. "We have a linguistic pool so large and diverse that despite attempts to colonize the language, it survived. However, over the past three or four decades, this rich linguistic heritage has been disproportionately overshadowed by a pan-Indian preponderance of English. This is not accidental. It is very much by design. The general attitude is, if you know English, you can be less sure of your mother tongue," said Varma, who is currently India's ambassador in Bhutan. More



A West Coast university targets Spanish speakers struggling with English
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The pathway to higher education can be blocked for some would-be students because they are not proficient enough in English to succeed in a traditional college. And as they grow older, they may find their opportunities further constrained by their lack of a degree. Brandman University, a nonprofit institution that serves about 11,000 students on 26 campuses in California and Washington, announced that it would introduce a new program on some of its campuses aimed specifically at Hispanic students who have not mastered English. More

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For many, it's a matter of degrees
The Phnom Penh Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Cambodia: Corruption, funding shortages and an obsession with profit are plaguing the quality of university education in Cambodia, students say, driving them overseas in search of master's and Ph.D. programs. If the government hopes to keep its best and brightest at home, it must resolve these issues and build a world-class university system from within, said Sim Socheata, one of three Cambodians on scholarship at the University of Melbourne, Australia, who spoke to the Post about their frustrations with Cambodian education. More

What you (really) need to know
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Paradox of American higher education is this: The expectations of leading universities do much to define what secondary schools teach, and much to establish a template for what it means to be an educated man or woman. College campuses are seen as the source for the newest thinking and for the generation of new ideas, as society's cutting edge. More

SCOLA: Developing Today's Language Students

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Teaching English at universities: lecturers talk, students keep quiet
VietNamNet Bridge    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Vietnam: Foreign language is a compulsory subject at universities. However, this is not the major of students; therefore, they do not spend much time on learning foreign languages. As a result, a lot of students have to go to foreign language centers to repeat learning hours, or buy foreign language certificates to satisfy the requirements set by employers. More



Helping unlicensed Chinese contractors by bridging the language gap
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If New York City's licensing test for home improvement contractors were given in Chinese and included the finer points of bamboo scaffolding, contractors like Gary Lin, 42, of Queens, N.Y., would breathe much easier taking it. Lin worked on bamboo platforms while working in construction in Changle, his home city in the Chinese province of Fujian. Now, despite speaking very limited English, he is trying to start a legitimate home improvement company in Flushing, which is rife with unlicensed contractors. More



Language Buddies bridges language gap between students, Latino families
The Free Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Angelique Dwyer thought the Language Buddies program she started last semester at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., would be fairly cut and dried. Pairs of students in Dwyer's Spanish class would go to the homes of Latino families in St. Peter, and half the time they would all speak in English, and the other half they would speak Spanish. That way both the students and the families would learn and work on conversational skills in a language both groups were still learning. More



Study: Why words with many meanings make language more efficient
Time    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ever wonder why we have so many words with multiple meanings? Consider the word "mean," which can convey hurtful behavior (as in "mean girls"), signify a mathematical middle or indicate intent — as in, what does this word mean? This verbal mystery has probably not kept you up at night. But linguists have devoted significant brain cells to figuring out why there are so many words that mean more than one thing. Why develop a language, whose main goal should be to promote clear communication, in which confusion is inevitable? Why not just designate one meaning for each word and be done? More

Everything you thought you knew about learning is wrong
Wired    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Taking notes during class? Topic-focused study? A consistent learning environment? All are exactly opposite the best strategies for learning. More

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Study: Prenatal testosterone linked to increased risk of language delay for male infants
Science Daily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New research by Australian scientists reveals that males who are exposed to high levels of testosterone before birth are twice as likely to experience delays in language development compared to females. The research, published in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, focused on umbilical cord blood to explore the presence of testosterone when the language-related regions of a fetus' brain are undergoing a critical period of growth. More

Teachers: Budgets block classroom technology access
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite advances in digital learning tools and efforts to close the education-technology access gap, school budgets remain one of the biggest barriers to classroom technology access, according to a national PBS LearningMedia survey of pre-K-12 teachers. Although ed-tech advocates campaign for technology's seamless integration into instruction, only 22 percent of teachers surveyed said they have the "right" level of technology in their classrooms. More




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English Faculty - United Arab Emirates
The Higher Colleges of Technology will be conducting interviews at TESOL Philadelphia and TESOL Arabia. As the largest Higher Education institution in the UAE, HCT is actively recruiting for English Faculty for our 17 campuses. Book your interview by emailing teachenglish@hct.ac.ae or visit our website to apply online.
The TESOL English Language Bulletin is presented as a service to members of TESOL International Association and other English language teaching professionals. For information about TESOL member benefits, visit www.tesol.org or contact us at membership@tesol.org.

TESOL English Language Bulletin is a digest of the most important news selected for TESOL International Association from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. TESOL International Association does not endorse any of the advertised products and services. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and not of TESOL.

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