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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Feb. 8, 2012

TIRF seeks research proposals from doctoral candidates
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
TIRF, the international research foundation for English language education, is seeking applications from qualified doctoral candidates for proposals related to TIRF's research priorities. Awards are funded up to $5,000 and are open to students in doctoral programs around the world. The application deadline is 14 May. For more information, please visit TIRF's website.

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 and put "Training of Trainers" in the subject line. More

Call for abstracts: TQ special topic issue on plurilingualism in TESOL
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TESOL Quarterly is seeking abstracts for a special topic issue on plurilingualism in TESOL, to be edited by Shelley K. Taylor and Christin Snodden. The deadline for abstracts is 1 April. The issue will be published in September 2013. For more information, please visit TESOL's website.

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Call for proposals: TJ special topic issue on engaged teaching and learning
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TESOL Journal seeks proposals for a special issue titled "Engaged Teaching and Learning: Service Learning, Civic Literacy, and TESOL," to be edited by Adrian Wurr. The deadline for proposals is 1 July. For more information, please read the call for proposals.

Free online discussion with TESOL 2012 keynote speaker Kurt Kohn
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
TESOL invites you to a free online discussion with TESOL 2012 keynote speaker Kurt Kohn, who will facilitate a discussion in the TESOL Community on second language acquisition as individual and social construction. The discussion is free and open to everyone, including nonmembers, and all TESOL convention attendees are already registered. Nonmembers who have not registered for the TESOL convention must register for the online discussion.

Education Department releases guide for states on English-language proficiency
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Department of Education released a guidebook to help states set new proficiency standards and academic achievement targets for English-language learners. The report, commissioned by the education department and written by ELL experts at the American Institutes of Research, the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, and WestEd, describes empirical methods state policymakers may use to determine exactly what English proficiency means for students, how long it should take students to reach it, and how to factor in those proficiency levels when measuring progress in the academic content areas. More

On Our Way to English K-5

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Obama to announce $100 million plan to train new educators
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Barack Obama will use the backdrop of a White House science fair to highlight a nationwide shortage of math and science teachers and unveil a plan to invest $100 million to help train 100,000 new educators over the next decade. Under his proposal, Obama will ask Congress for $80 million to support new Department of Education grants for colleges that provide innovative teacher-training programs. The president also is set to announce a $22 million commitment from private companies that will support the effort, according to White House officials. More

Waivers not enough, US states want new schools law
Reuters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Policymakers across the United States are pushing Congress to pass a new education plan, saying current law and recent measures undertaken by President Barack Obama will not work in the long-term. In a letter to members of both chambers, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the National Association of Counties ask for Congress's "leadership and urgency to fix and reform" national education policy. More

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Analysis raises questions about rigor of teacher tests
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The average scores of graduating teacher-candidates on state-required licensing exams are uniformly higher, often significantly, than the passing scores states set for such exams, according to an Education Week analysis of preliminary data from a half-dozen states. The pattern appears across subjects, grade levels, and test instruments supplied by a variety of vendors, the new data show, raising questions about the rigor and utility of current licensing tests. There are, in essence, two main ways to interpret the findings. Some observers say the data suggest most states set low passing marks, screening out only candidates with the very lowest level of content knowledge. More

Standards vs. customization: Finding the balance
ASCD (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Consider the following dilemma, which has troubled educators for more than a century. Many practitioners (and the public) highly value standardizing curriculum and instruction for students. They believe that a uniform curriculum will lead to improved test scores and higher graduation and college admission rates while closing achievement gaps between minorities and whites. Common standards and instruction, they believe, will produce equal opportunity — a value dear to most policymakers and educators, and to Americans in general. More

Does Obama know what Race to the Top is?
Education Week (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, he said that he wanted teachers to "stop teaching to the test." He also said that teachers should teach with "creativity and passion." And he said that schools should reward the best teachers and replace those who weren't doing a good job. To "reward the best" and "fire the worst," states and districts are relying on test scores. The Race to the Top says they must. More

Feds: States should do more to reach students
The Associated Press via The Salt Lake Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In its initial review of No Child Left Behind waiver requests, the U.S. Education Department highlighted a similar weakness in nearly every application: States did not do enough to ensure schools would be held accountable for the performance of all students. The Obama administration praised the states for their high academic standards. But nearly every application was criticized for being loose about setting high goals and, when necessary, interventions for all student groups — including minorities, the disabled and low-income — or for failing to create sufficient incentives to close the achievement gap. More

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New president of ELLAK speaks on English literature and education
The Korea Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Korea: More English literature and language programs in local universities should offer English-immersion courses, and collaboration among scholars with different interests would strengthen the local English-language studies, said the newly appointed president of English Language & Literature Association of Korea. "Our academia is divided into English literature, English language, English education, and English-Korean interpretation and translation," Professor Kim Young-min told The Korea Herald. More

Bilingual classes try to push Latinos toward college
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Four high schools in Southern California are offering math and science courses using online curriculum from Mexico to get more Latino students to meet requirements to go to college. More

English language learner program costs skyrocket in some districts, data show
The Des Moines Register    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The cost of teaching non-English-speaking students is rising dramatically in some Iowa schools, with local property taxpayers paying a bigger share of the expense, state data show. State funding for students who are learning English has increased more than 40 percent — or $4.9 million — in the past five years, while the number of those students has grown almost 20 percent. Despite that, an increasing number of schools spent more state money than they received, prompting them to seek additional funds from property taxpayers. More

Mobile devices address technology equity in Africa
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ghana: In Ghana, elementary-school-age children who have rarely seen more than a handful of books are now using e-readers to access whole libraries. In South Africa, students are text-chatting with math tutors by cellphone for help with their homework. And in Liberia, educators will soon use electronic tablets to collect vital and accurate information about schools, students and resources throughout the country. More

Students: We need to mind our language
The Times of India (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
India: English Literature seems to have become a nightmare for students from University of Mysore. Except a few, almost all students have failed in the subject this term. According to students who passed out from the same university it's not only English Literature but also English Language that giving students sleepless nights. Most of the rural and foreign students find English difficult. This is because the English which is taught in school in rural areas is of bad quality. Hence, when these students go for higher studies they find the language more difficult to handle. More

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US education in Chinese lock step? Bad move
The Chonicle of Higher Education (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The education systems in China and the United States not only are headed in opposite directions, but are aiming at exactly what the other system is trying to give up. In the United States, through programs such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, as well as calls for more standardization and accountability in higher education, we are embracing the sort of regimented, uniform, standards-based and test-driven education that has dominated Asian education systems for thousands of years. More

States shake up adult education to help low-skilled workers
The Bellingham Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Barack Obama's recent proposal to "train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job" barely scratches the surface of one of the nation's most vexing labor problems. The "skills gap" between what employers need and job applicants offer already has become a drag on the economy, with nearly 3 million jobs unfilled even at a time of high unemployment. More

Adult education on Los Angeles Unified's chopping block
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Adult education teacher Planaria Price is used to the ups and downs of budget planning in the giant Los Angeles Unified School District. Price remembers boom times in the late 1980s, when classes at Evans Community Adult School ran 24 hours a day. Money was flowing and immigrants flocked to English lessons, hoping for legalization under federal amnesty programs. More

Science decodes 'internal voices'
BBC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom: Researchers have demonstrated a striking method to reconstruct words, based on the brain waves of patients thinking of those words. The technique reported in PLoS Biology relies on gathering electrical signals directly from patients' brains. Based on signals from listening patients, a computer model was used to reconstruct the sounds of words that patients were thinking of. The method may in future help comatose and locked-in patients communicate. More
Related story: Scientists convert human brainwaves into speech (BBC News)

SCOLA: Developing Today's Language Students

Help your language students excel: use SCOLA’s current, authentic foreign language material to develop language skills, cultural awareness, and a love for languages. MORE

Learning many languages 'no problem for infants'
Channel News Asia    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Singapore: A child's language learning ability is not hindered even if he or she is taught multiple languages, according to a landmark study. The study of 100 infants, aged between 18 and 30 months, found they could coordinate different sets of rules when learning different languages. The infants were taught a new word using a video display, and then an element, for example, the tone, would be changed. Researchers would track the children's eye movements to see if they thought the meaning of the word had changed. More

Research: How humor affects children's brains
HealthDay News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Specific areas of children's brains that are activated by humor have been identified by researchers in a first-of-a-kind study. The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, will provide a base for understanding how humor and other positive emotions can affect a child's well-being, according to the Stanford University School of Medicine team. "Humor is a very important component of emotional health, maintaining relationships, developing cognitive [brain] function and perhaps even medical health," senior study author Dr. Allan Reiss, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford, said in a university news release. More

Scholar: Urban children's literature in short supply
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Does it seem possible that over the last decade, only one book series for early readers — those in the second- and third-grade range — features a main character who is Latino? That rather stunning discovery was made by Jane Fleming, a professor at the Erikson Institute in Chicago, with her colleague Sandy Carillo, a literacy and language specialist who works with English learners in a school district in suburban Chicago. More

Professor dispels myths around teaching English
Gulf News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Arab Emirates: Globalization and the need to interact with various cultures means people have to learn how to communicate in different languages these days. However, becoming proficient in a second language is a challenge that requires commitment and a lot of practice and not everyone learns at the same speed and through the same process. Dr. Jase Mousa Inaty, assistant professor of Educational Psychology at Zayed University, has been studying this problem here in the UAE. More

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How English language learners have an edge
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
James Boutin writes, "During my first year of teaching, Samantha sat in the back of my first-period American government class. Having moved from Mexico, she had only been in the United States for two years. Her oral English comprehension was moderate, but she spoke rarely and was embarrassed to speak in front of native English speakers. Overwhelmed with the task of teaching anyone anything as a first-year teacher, I felt that reaching Samantha was a Herculean task. Describing the challenge in one of my graduate courses, I mentioned that Samantha hardly ever spoke. When she did, it was always in "broken English." I lamented that she seemed to understand next to none of the material, and I received commiserative nods from other new teachers in the room. More

Reading is not a race: The virtues of the 'slow reading' movement
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This was written by Thomas Newkirk, a former high school teacher and currently professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. "Go to just about any elementary school in this country and you will see teachers with stopwatches assessing 'nonsense word fluency.' When I first heard the term, I though someone was pulling my leg. Fluency in reading, I had always thought, was about meaning, about understanding. It had nothing to do with nonsense." More

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Professional Development Opportunities with Fulbright

Teach in another country with the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program. Complete a project, study at a university, and visit local schools with the Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program.
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 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 or contact us at

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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