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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Feb. 6, 2013

 




Minnesota superintendent pioneered ELL reforms
Education Week
Few top-tier school administrators can claim as high a level of intimacy with the education of English language learners as Valeria Silva, the superintendent of the school system in St. Paul, Minn. A native of Chile, Silva, 51, spoke no English when she first came to Minnesota in the late 1980s to help take care of her sister's children for a few months. More than 25 years later, the woman who still calls herself a second language learner and at times consults the dictionary to look up unfamiliar words has risen to lead the state's second-largest district, where 45 percent of the 39,000 students are English learners.
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States continue progress during 2nd year of Race to the Top
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education released state-specific reports for 12 Race to the Top grantees, detailing their progress on transforming education at the local level. The reports highlight the second-year work and accomplishments of states awarded funding through the first two phases of Race to the Top: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee.
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Union backs 'bar exam' for teachers
NPR
The system for preparing and licensing teachers in the U.S. is in such disarray that the American Federation of Teachers is proposing a "bar exam" similar to the one lawyers have to pass before they can practice. Currently, there's a patchwork of different certification requirements that vary state by state. There's no single standard to determine who's fit and who's not fit to teach. It's an archaic system that Randi Weingarten, president of the teachers union, says must be replaced with one question in mind.
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Need to start or revitalize an English language program?
TESOL
The TESOL: Training of Trainers 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 bring your program into the 21st century. Participants receive several free online resources. Deadline for registration is 7 April. Please visit the link above to register. Questions can be sent to edprograms@tesol.org and put "Training of Trainers" in the subject line.
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Special workshop: Prepare your TESOL program for NCATE/CAEP recognition
TESOL
Is your institution preparing for NCATE/CAEP recognition? Don't miss this specialized training on submitting a TESOL-specific report. The workshop is held 8:30–noon, Wednesday, 20 March, at the 2013 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Dallas, Texas. Add a private, 1-hour consultation with a trained reviewer. See the Special Events section of the 2013 Convention website. Questions to Diane Staehr Fenner, TESOL/NCATE Coordinator.
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Survey of ESL credit policies — pass it on
TESOL
TESOL International Association is researching policies at postsecondary institutions in the United States and Canada regarding academic and degree-granting credit for ESL/ESOL courses. If your college, university, or other type of higher education institution offers credit for ESL/ESOL courses, you are invited to complete a brief survey. Your participation will help inform us about ESL students' experience in higher education. You are encouraged to share this invitation with colleagues at other institutions. Access the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ESLCreditSurvey. Responses are being collected through 15 February. Questions to Michelle Bagwell. Thank you!
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TESOL 2013 keynote speakers posting on TESOL Blog
TESOL
TESOL 2013 in Dallas is just a few weeks away. To help get you ready, all the TESOL 2013 keynote speakers will post on the TESOL Blog before the convention. Dr. Bonny Norton, who will deliver the general session keynote at TESOL 2013 on Saturday, 23 March, at 8:30 am, has just written a post titled "Investment, Identity and Language Learning." To read her post and those by other TESOL 2013 keynote speakers, please visit the TESOL Blog.
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Attention social media mavens
TESOL
Do you use Twitter to engage your followers in useful discussions? Are you an experienced blogger or interested in getting started on writing one? Then TESOL wants you for its convention social media team. Volunteers must have their own smart phone or laptop. For more information, please contact TESOL Digital Content Manager Craig Triplett.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    7 misconceptions about how students learn (The Washington Post)
Why every professor needs linguistics 101 (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Report: Scrap 1-size-fits-all approach to teaching ELLs (Education Week)
The 5 worst things a teacher can say to students (The Huffington Post)
Study: What makes a good teacher (The Washington Post)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


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Top K-12 leader in Congress sets retirement date
Education Week
The retirement in two years of the most powerful lawmaker in Congress when it comes to education policy and funding — U.S. Senator Tom Harkin — will create a major leadership turnover on everything from the future of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to special education issues, which the Iowa Democrat has championed for decades. Harkin sits at the top of both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — which oversees education legislation — and the Senate appropriations subcommittee that deals with K-12 funding.
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Pressure mounts in some states against Common Core
Education Week
Opponents of the Common Core State Standards are ramping up legislative pressure and public relations efforts aimed at getting states to scale back — or even abandon — the high-profile initiative, even as implementation proceeds and tests aligned with the standards loom. Critics of the Common Core have focused recent lobbying and media efforts on Colorado, Idaho and Indiana, all of which have signed on to the standards. Forty-six states have adopted the standards in English/language arts, and 45 have done so in math.
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School considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students' work
The Washington Post
A proposal by Maryland's Prince George's County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual. The measure has some worried that by the system claiming ownership to the work of others, creativity could be stifled and there would be little incentive to come up with innovative ways to educate students. Some have questioned the legality of the proposal as it relates to students.
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Race to the Top: DC, Maryland and Georgia way back in the field
The Washington Post
In the second year of Race to the Top, the Obama administration's signature effort to improve public schools, nine of 12 jurisdictions that received $4 billion in federal grants made good progress. But three — the District, Maryland and Georgia — have stumbled, federal officials said. "We have a lot of good news in this report and also some challenges," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters.
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DOE releases school-level reading and math assessment data
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education announced the release of student performance data in reading and math for all schools in the country for school years 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. This is the first time the Department is releasing school-level state assessment data. The data are being released as part of the department's ongoing transparency efforts.
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Tennessee 'Don't Say Gay' bill now requires teachers to inform parents if their child is gay
ThinkProgress
Tennessee's so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill died with the adjournment of the state assembly last year. But now the measure is back — with new, harsher requirements. The bill, SB 234, still bars Tennessee teachers from discussing any facet of "non-heterosexual" sexuality with children in grades K-8. But the newest iteration also includes a provision requiring teachers or counselors to inform the parents of some students who identify themselves as LGBT.
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Cuomo: New York might impose NYC teacher evaluations
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed to impose a teacher evaluation system on New York City if Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the teachers' union can't agree on one. Conflict between the mayor and the United Federation of Teachers has already cost city schools $250 million in state aid and millions more in federal aid for the past year. The evaluations are required under a federal grant aimed at improving instruction and by a 2010 law pushed by Cuomo, but New York City failed to reach an agreement by the deadline.
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Educators take Common Core workshop
Hispanic Business
New Mexico is among states that have adopted a single set of standards — developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts around the country — designed to emphasize critical thinking skills and ensure students leave high school with the necessary skills for college and/or a career. The initial emphasis is on English language arts and math, though the benchmarks will affect all disciplines, including history, science and visual and performing arts.
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Helpline for Spanish speaking parents bridging barriers
The Tampa Tribune
With Florida's Pinellas County's traditionally small Hispanic population on the rise, the school district needed a better way to connect with Spanish speaking parents. The Pinellas County Schools established a helpline for Hispanic parents who don't speak English. In the past, parents were at the mercy of whoever was available when they called — maybe an English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher juggling other duties or an even a student who spoke Spanish.
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Miami-Dade schoolchildren get iPads for language learning
The Miami Herald
Hundreds of Miami-Dade County public school students now have a new tool for success. Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, at Nova Southeastern University in North Miami Beach, presented 450 students this week with iPads that were purchased with grant dollars from a program designed to help students learn English. "This is 21st century education, leveraging digital content with good minds at work, we are taking advantage of the way kids learn today, exciting them into language acquisitions," Carvalho said.
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How educators are explaining Common Core to students and parents
StateImpact Indiana
Indiana students aren't the only ones adjusting to the Common Core, a set of nationally-crafted academic standards adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. Their teachers have been tasked with explaining key changes of the new standards not just to students but to parents, too. "One of our new standards for teaching is if an administrator or someone walks in, they should be able to ask a child what are you working on this week, they should be able to find it in the room and be able to tell you," says Stacey Falls, a first grade teacher at East Side Elementary in Brazil, Ind.
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District increases bilingual instruction
Chicago Tribune
Arlington Heights School District 25 in Illinois is developing a program that could help — in their native tongue — a growing population of students learning to speak English. State law requires districts to offer some type of bilingual services if a school has 20 or more students who share the same native language.
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Hong Kong trails rival Singapore in students' English skills
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong: Every Saturday afternoon Cindy Tse takes her 8-year-old son to a private class near his school, where he joins other children for two hours under the guidance of an expatriate teacher. "We want to increase his chances of listening and talking in English, as he goes to a Chinese-medium school," says the doting mother. Many others like her spare no efforts in brushing up their children's language skills — and not just in English. Demand for Putonghua teachers is soaring as China's clout in the global economy increases.
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Learning English
Pakistan Observer
Pakistan: There could been many reasons involved in leaving the English language students in Pakistan empty-handed with respect to their efforts to learn a second language. One of the most important factors remains their misconceptions about learning the English language or a second language.
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School district grapples with English language learners
WBFO-FM
The Buffalo Public School District in New York has been grappling with language issues for decades, with difficulties increasing in the era of high-stakes testing and immigration from the far corners of the world. Albany has been tightening the requirements for when an immigrant has to take the mandated tests. But the state does not take into account that the student has not yet mastered English.
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Brazil English teachers program
University of Delaware
What do snow, winter clothes, flash cards and baked potatoes all have in common? They're among the new experiences noted by the 32 English teachers from Brazil who are improving their language and teaching skills in a new six-week professional development program supported by the Brazilian government at the University of Delaware's English Language Institute.
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When English is your second language
South Portland Sentry
Humphrey Lotana arrived in the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo only six months ago. He takes four classes at Southern Maine Community College, two in math and computer science for his desired field of biotechnology, and two in English as a Second Language. In the ESL classes, Lotana said he doesn't think twice about speaking up because he's comfortable in an environment practicing his skills and improving with students who are doing the same. That's not exactly the case in the other courses, when he's surrounded by American students.
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Foreign languages: How to memorize vocabulary
The Telegraph
When trying to learn a foreign language, most of us have the same complaint: "I'm just not good at memorising." Learning new vocabulary can be daunting, especially for busy adults whose minds are already occupied with work, family and other responsibilities. A comfort? Linguists say that to "get by" in a language, such as directing a taxi or asking for a phone number, it takes a vocabulary of about 120 basic words.
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4 steps to flipping the classroom
eSchool News
The flipped classroom, in which students watch a video explaining a particular lesson or topic at home and then come to school prepared to complete assignments related to that lesson or discuss the topic in class, is gaining ground. But how, exactly, can educators go about flipping the classroom?
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20 must-use education technology tools
The Huffington Post (commentary)
Educators may feel sometimes like they're on an island with little help in sight. But as technology teaching resources go, it may encourage you to learn that there are a number of online solutions available to help promote education from teaching reading basics to organizing classroom activities and encouraging civic involvement. Here are 20 of the most promising new apps, websites and online education technology tools or services every teacher should be using to help improve classroom learning.
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Technology in schools: Who does it best, China or the US?
The Huffington Post
More teachers in the U.S. are embracing "flipped classrooms" and are bringing to schools digital tablets and laptop computers to create the 21st century classroom — but how does the U.S. compare in effective use of technology in education to other countries? A new survey from Dell took a look at education technology in the U.S. and in China, and found that the U.S. can learn a thing or two from our foreign educators and students.
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5 hot homework tips for parents
ED.gov Blog
Learning doesn't stop when the last bell rings at school. When students bring work home, it is a great time for parents to play a role in their child's education. Homework has many benefits, such as providing extra time for research or practice, helping students develop study skills and teaching time management skills. Here are five tips to help your child benefit by the time spent on assignments and maximize their learning.
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The Keys to Success in Teaching English to Young Learners
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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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