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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Feb. 22, 2012

Advance registration for TESOL 2012 ends 1 March
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If you haven't registered yet for the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Philadelphia, you have until 1 March to take advantage of the advance registration rate. Register today and save up to $50 off the onsite rate.

IATEFL ESP SIG offers pre-conference event at IATEFL 2012
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The IATEFL English for Specific Purposes Special Interest Group will host a pre-conference event titled "Cutting-Edge Developments in Teacher Education, Materials Design, and Assessment and Testing in ESP and EAP" on 29 March, 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in Glasgow, Scotland. The session will provide a topical overview of cutting-edge developments in the above-mentioned three areas of ESP and EAP across the continents. For more information, please read the press release.

Call for book proposals: English language teacher development
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TESOL International Association is accepting proposals for a new series short booklets (10,000 words) on topics in English language teacher development. Authors should be language educators who are emerging or experienced in their topic areas. The series editor is Thomas S. C. Farrell. The deadline for proposals is 1 May. For more information, please read the call for proposals.

Details of Obama's proposed $70 billion for education
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Editor's note: TESOL's response to the president's FY 2013 budget proposal is available on TESOL's website.

The U.S. Department of Education would receive nearly $70 billion under President Barack Obama's FY2013 budget, which he presented to Congress. The $69.8 billion budget request represents a 2.5 percent increase — up $1.7 billion — from the 2012 budget. Notable funding areas include a $14 billion one-time investment in key reform areas: aligning education programs with workforce demands, supporting high-quality teachers, and increasing college quality and affordability.

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Federal K-12 footprint at core of ESEA hearing
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Congressional lawmakers in charge of overseeing the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act are deeply divided on the right role for the federal government in K-12 education. The measures, introduced Feb. 9 by the committee's chairman, U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., would significantly scale back the federal role in overseeing K-12 policy, leaving nearly all accountability decisions up to the states. They have yet to garner Democrat support. More

Obama proposes NAEP cut; seeks state pilot for global testing
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
One item tucked into President Barack Obama's new budget request that you might have missed is a proposed cut to the esteemed "nation's report card." The administration wants to trim $6 million from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a key measure of U.S. student achievement across disciplines relied upon by educators, policymakers, researchers and journalists. The proposal comes as part of a $70 billion budget request for the U.S. Department of Education that, overall, would increase the agency's discretionary coffers by 2.5 percent. More

Latvians reject Russian as 2nd language
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Latvia: Voters in Latvia overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to adopt Russian as a second official language, defeating a constitutional referendum measure that underscored the ethnic and political tensions that remain more than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. "The vote on a second state language endangered one of the most sacred foundations of the Constitution — the state language," the Latvian president, Andris Berzins, said in a statement after the vote. More

Students learn differently. So why test them all the same?
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
We teachers have been hearing for years about "differentiated instruction." It makes sense to treat individuals differently, and to adapt communication toward what works for them. Some kids you can joke with, and some you cannot. Some need more explanation, while others need little or none. If you consider students as individuals (and especially if you have a reasonable class size), you can better meet their needs. Considering that, it's remarkable that the impending Core Curriculum fails to differentiate between native-born American students and English language learners. The fact is, it takes time to learn a language, and while my kids are doing that, they may indeed miss reading Ethan Frome. More

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Robert Glaser, who shaped the science of student testing, dies at 91
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Robert Glaser, a cognitive psychologist who helped define the terms of the national debate over student testing, and who pioneered ways of measuring not only how students learn but how teachers teach, died on Feb. 4 in Pittsburgh. He was 91. The cause was complications of Alzheimer's disease, said a spokesman for the University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center, which Dr. Glaser helped found in 1963. More

School budget cuts: How students say slashes are affecting them
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As school districts are facing massive budget cuts across the country, school programs, teachers and students are taking the hit. Across the country, 120 school districts had, as of October, moved to four-day school weeks while others are canceling field trips, shuttering after-school programs and charging students to play sports. The cuts are seen in Keller, Texas, where the district opted for a pay-for-ride transportation system versus cutting busing as a whole; In Georgia, where 20 days were slashed from the pre-kindergarten academic year; In California, where nearly half the districts axed or whittled away at art, drama and music programs. More

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Study shows English-language proficiency low in state schools
Today's Zaman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Turkey: According to a report by the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, English-language proficiency in Turkish state schools is extremely low, despite the fact that the subject is compulsory. While Turkish society has debated the teaching of the Kurdish language in schools in the last decade, English-language teaching has always been seen as a problematic area of the Turkish education system. More

Pupils banned from using slang in school
The Telegraph    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom: Teachers introduced the policy to encourage their pupils, aged from 11 to 18, to use only standard English inside the school gates. The trust that runs the academy said it wanted children to cut out slang words and phrases such as "hiya" and "cheers" in favor of the more correct "good morning", "goodbye" or "thank you". Abbreviated forms of words have become popular with the rise of text messages and the social networking website Twitter in which the length of a message is restricted. More
Related story: Teenagers' argot (The Economist)

Foreign students given unearned degrees at North Dakota college
Reuters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Hundreds of foreign students in a joint degree program at a North Dakota state university were admitted despite lacking credentials and awarded degrees without completing coursework, an audit of the program has showed. According to a review of the procedures in place for certain international programs at Dickinson State University, just 10 of the 410 foreign students awarded joint degrees since 2003 actually fulfilled all required course work. More

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Agatha Christie cut down for language students
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
From queen of crime to queen of the classroom: a new series of simplified, abridged Agatha Christie novels are set to introduce non-native English speakers to the glory of the British murder mystery. Publisher Collins has cut down 20 of Christie's detective novels — including Poirot's first case, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," and Miss Marple's debut outing "The Murder at the Vicarage" — by 60 percent, simplifying the language and adding character notes and glossaries. The books are aimed at "upper intermediate" English language learners, and are intended to ensure that "studying English is as captivating as it is educational." More

The key for researching professionals
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The difference between a Ph.D. and Doctor of Education qualification can be a subtle one, but a growing number of ELT practitioners are opting to undertake EdDs because of the opportunity they offer to apply postgraduate level research to their own teaching experience. Exeter University's graduate school of education, which was one of the first U.K. departments to offer an EdD specifically for ELT practitioners, provides a useful guide on its website: "It has become a cliche to suggest that undertaking a PhD provides a good grounding for those who wish to become professional researchers while an EdD does the same for those who wish to become researching professionals — but it remains a useful distinction." More

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Strengthening English language proficiency in Pakistan
Pakistan Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Pakistan: A team comprising representatives of the Higher Education Commission and the British Council Pakistan visited the University of Karachi a few days ago in connection with their project of transforming the teaching of the English language in Pakistan at the tertiary level so that the teachers and students of other disciplines could also improve their linguistic proficiency. The HEC and BCP have selected 12 universities across the country for running a pilot study that would include English language proficiency courses and preparing master trainers at the university level. More

Classes help North Carolina Hispanics teach math to their kids
The News & Observer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Karen Lara showed up for Math Night at Christ Episcopal Church one Thursday night in January for some tips on how to help her three kids with their math homework. She left with some skills that she says not only will help her children; they'll be invaluable to her as well as she completes her General Educational Development classes at College of The Albemarle. Lara, 36, was one of nearly 50 Hispanic adults who attended the math tutorial at Christ Episcopal, held completely in Spanish. More

Mississippi should invest more in adult education
Sun Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The national job report revealed the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in January. However, Mississippi's rate registers above 10 percent and another lean budget year leaves many of the state's public structures vulnerable to underfunding. Mississippi's community colleges and universities have presented their Fiscal Year 2013 budget requests with concerns that funding for post-secondary institutions has reached a tipping point where educational quality could be affected. More

Study: Common standards will not affect student achievement
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Will the Common Core State Standards improve student achievement? Not according to a new study. The crux of the argument in the Brookings Institution report is that there is not much of a connection between standards — even rigorous ones — and student achievement. If there was a connection, we would have seen signs of improvement from states' own individual standards — all states have had standards since 2003 — but NAEP scores don't bear that out, author Tom Loveless argues. More

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Vocabulary tests on 2-year-olds can identify those who will be late talkers
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Simple vocabulary tests on children as young as two can identify those who will find it difficult to learn language and lag behind their peers in becoming fluent. The doctors who developed the tests said they provided a crucial means of spotting children who could benefit from early language therapy to help them reach their full potential. Though most children who are late talkers catch up by the age of five, a significant number have specific language impairments that can affect their ability to read and learn at school and in later life. More

Study to examine relationship between oral and silent reading in children
News-Medical.Net    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Study at Florida State uses eye-tracking to chart oral-to-silent reading transition. When a beginning reader reads aloud, her progress is apparent: Hunched over a book, little index finger blazing the way, she moves intently from sound to sound, word to word. I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-am! But when that same child reads silently, it's much harder to measure how much she is reading — or understanding. Yet as she advances through school, teachers will expect her to learn increasingly through silent rather than oral reading. More

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Can robots grade essays as well as humans?
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Essays have long been considered the gold standard for measuring students' understanding of a subject. But because multiple-choice tests have been graded by machines, making them easy and relatively inexpensive to administer, these sub-standard assessments are primarily what schools use for standardized tests. More

Teachers: Blocking tech in classrooms impedes learning
The Toronto Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Canada: Blocking social networks and banning cellphones in schools makes it difficult for teachers to do their jobs effectively in a digital world, a new report says. "School policies around technology are very frustrating to me," an elementary school teacher from Atlantic Canada says in the report from the Media Awareness Network, a Canadian nonprofit that promotes digital literacy. "I think it's one of the biggest benefits of having the Internet in our classrooms or on our projectors, is being able to connect with others on in a real-time situation but, in fact, we can't use Skype." More
Related story: Report: Using technology in the classroom requires experience and guidance (The Globe and Mail)

$5 billion program would focus on teacher quality
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration is hoping that competition combined with cash will encourage states and school districts to improve the nation's teaching corps. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced details of the administration's proposed $5 billion program for a new Race to the Top-style competition, with states and districts competing for grant dollars to improve teacher quality, during a town hall meeting with teachers. Among the changes the administration is seeking: higher teaching salaries, compensation tied to performance, and more selective and improved teaching colleges. More

'Value added' concept proves beneficial to teacher colleges
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The use of "value added" information appears poised to expand into the nation's teacher colleges, with more than a dozen states planning to use the technique to analyze how graduates of training programs fare in classrooms. Supporters say the data could help determine which teacher education pathways produce teachers who are at least as good as — or even better than — other novice teachers, spurring other providers to emulate their practices. More

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7 misconceptions about how students learn
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Will Rogers once said, "It isn't what people don't know that hurts them. It's what they do know that just ain't so." That's the introduction to a list of seven myths about learning on the website of the Independent Curriculum Group, which is part of a movement of leading private college preparatory schools with teacher-generated curriculum. Many people — educators included — still cling to some of these misconceptions about learning because they base what they think on their own experiences in school, ignoring what 21st century science and experience are revealing. More

7 standards for effective professional development
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Terms like "work collaboratively," "share what you know" and "problem-solve as a team" are commonly associated with the kinds of 21st-century skills that most people agree today's students should learn — but according to a professional development expert with decades of experience in the field, those terms should apply to teachers, too. During the American Association of School Administrators' National Conference on Education, Stephanie Hirsch, executive director of Learning Forward, discussed how her organization has redefined its standards for teacher professional development to keep up with what is being expected of today's students. More
Related story: Mentoring pays off for some teachers (Statesman-Journal)

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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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