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English is a second language to 1 in 13: More than 100 dialects are spoken by large numbers of people in the UK
Daily Mail
United Kingdom: More than four million people in England and Wales — around one in 13 — do not use English as their first language, official statistics show. More than 100 languages are spoken by significant numbers of people in the U.K., according to census results. However, a big majority of the foreign language speakers have mastered English and can use it in their everyday lives. Only 138,000 people say they cannot speak English at all.
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Cuts imminent, Senate rejects stopgap efforts
The Associated Press via Google News
Squabbling away the hours, the Senate swatted aside last-ditch plans to block $85 billion in broad-based federal spending reductions as President Barack Obama and Republicans blamed each other for the latest outbreak of gridlock and the administration readied plans to put the cuts into effect. So entrenched were the two parties that the Senate chaplain, Barry Black, opened the day's session with a prayer that beseeched a higher power to intervene. "Rise up, O God, and save us from ourselves," he said of cuts due to take effect. The immediate impact of the reductions on the public was uncertain, and the administration pulled back on its earlier warnings of long lines developing quickly at airports and teacher layoffs affecting classrooms.
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Defining an English language learner: Can states agree?
Education Week
Who is an English language learner? Across 50 states and tens of thousands of school districts, answers to that fundamental question can be quite different. But with the Common Core State Standards widely adopted, and common assessments under development to test those new standards, states are reaching a point where perhaps they can start to wrestle with the task of reaching consensus around shared definitions of what it means to be an ELL, and when those students no longer need language instruction. The U.S. Department of Education is certainly pushing them to do so.
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Call for contributions: TESOL book on business English
TESOL
Editors Clarice S. C. Chan and Evan Frendo seek contributors for a volume in TESOL's New Ways Series entitled "New Ways in Teaching Business English." Please see the call for more information. Deadline for contributions is 1 April 2013.
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Defining an English language learner: Can states agree?
Education Week
Who is an English language learner? Across 50 states and tens of thousands of school districts, answers to that fundamental question can be quite different. But with the Common Core State Standards widely adopted, and common assessments under development to test those new standards, states are reaching a point where perhaps they can start to wrestle with the task of reaching consensus around shared definitions of what it means to be an ELL, and when those students no longer need language instruction. The U.S. Department of Education is certainly pushing them to do so.

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Why every professor needs linguistics 101
The Chronicle of Higher Education
By now it should be obvious that grammar instruction doesn't benefit anyone. Students hate it; teachers never learned grammar themselves, or if they did, they promptly forgot most of it. And study after study shows that overt grammar lessons don't lead to better writing. Right?

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Study: What makes a good teacher
The Washington Post
Even as most of the nation's 15,000 public school districts roll out new systems to evaluate teachers, many are still struggling with a central question: What's the best way to identify an effective educator? After a three-year, $45 million research project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes it has some answers.

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School leaders brace for cuts as sequestration occurs
eSchool News
School districts around the country are bracing for more than $2 billion in federal spending cuts that kicked in March 1 after lawmakers failed to reach a deficit-reduction deal. School administrators say the cuts will result in fewer staff, larger class sizes and the delay of ed-tech purchases, among other effects. The cuts come as school districts are trying to prepare for more rigorous assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and district leaders say the cuts will hinder these efforts.
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Top K-12 senators ask Arne Duncan for more info on sequestration
Education Week
Two top Republican senators on education issues have some major questions for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan when it comes to the way the Obama administration has been describing the automatic, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. In a letter to sent to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the Senate K-12 policy committee, and Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, the top Republican on the panel that oversees education spending, have questioned the department's estimate that 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs, made on CBS' Face the Nation.
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Teacher-evaluation plans bedevil waiver states
Education Week
Even though 34 states and the District of Columbia have No Child Left Behind Act waivers in hand, many of them are still negotiating with the U.S. Department of Education over their teacher-evaluation systems — a crucial component if they want to keep their newfound flexibility. More than six months after waiver recipients turned in their guidelines to the department, only 12 waiver states have gotten the green light for their evaluation systems. Education Department officials expect to start sending more approval letters soon, along with notices on which plans need more work.
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States struggle to keep online schools accountable
Government Technology
Online classes have exploded in popularity, with more than six times as many students enrolled in electronic K-12 courses now as compared to a decade ago, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Advocates say online classes offer a more flexible and personalized form of education, allowing students to progress at their own pace and on their own time. Supporters also tout online education as a way to dramatically expand course offerings, particularly at rural schools.
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Assessment consortium releases testing time estimates
Education Week
New tests being designed for students in nearly half the states in the country will take eight to 10 hours, depending on grade level, and schools will have a testing window of up to 20 days to administer them, according to guidance released. The new information comes from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, one of the two big groups of states that are building tests in mathematics and English/language arts for the common standards. It answers one of the big, dangling questions that's attended the process of making these new tests: Given their promises to measure students' skills in a deeper, more nuanced way, partly through the use of extended performance tasks, just how long will these tests take?
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Teacher standoff stokes debate over standardized tests
Reuters
A boycott by Seattle teachers of a widely used standardized test has attracted national attention and given new momentum to a growing protest movement that seeks to limit standardized testing in U.S. public schools. The revolt by Seattle public school teachers, joining educators and students elsewhere, comes at a time of bitter political wrangling over how best to reinvigorate a $525 billion public school system that leaves American children lagging their counterparts in countries like Finland and South Korea.
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Good grasp of English needed
The Malay Mail
Malaysia: At last, the education minister has announced that a compulsory pass in English would be necessary for a candidate to pass the SPM. To arrest the decline of English language proficiency among students, both in schools and institutions at tertiary level, this move should have been made a long time ago. Nevertheless, it is better late than never. Having such a policy will spur and motivate students to master the language as their future will be at stake if they fail the English language paper.
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Special program to improve the teaching of English
New Straits Times
Kuantan: Around 120 teachers and principals from 110 schools in Pahang were given the opportunity to witness how the co-teaching method involving teachers who are locals and native speakers of English can help improve the student's grasp of the language. State Education Department English Language principal assistant director R. Chandrakala said the program had not only enhanced the students' English competency, but also increased their world knowledge.
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Nevada continues to shortchange English language learner programs, advocate maintains
Las Vegas Sun
Sylvia Lazos, a UNLV professor of civil rights, argued the debate over the translation services in the Clark County School District is endemic of a larger problem: the underfunding of English language learner students in Nevada. Clark County has the nation's third-highest population of English language learner students as a percentage of total enrollment. About 17 percent of Clark County's 311,000 students — about 54,000 — are classified as English language learner students.
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English language learners' class also learning experience for teacher
The Independent
Adventure doesn’t require a passport. Sometimes, it's as simple as going to work, as routine as going to school. Every morning, Carolyn Stearns embarks on an adventure. She packs her bags and travels the world. Haiti, Ukraine, Mexico, Guatemala. All without leaving the Perry Local School District in Stark County, Ohio.
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Boulder Valley, Colo., seeing success with new literacy direction
Boulder Daily Camera
Colorado's Sanchez Elementary kindergarten teacher Jenny Chamberlain opened the writing notebook of one of her students, flipping through the first pages filled with pictures — but no writing other than some random letters. A non-native English speaker, the student started school knowing how to write his name but didn't yet connect letters to the sounds they make. As he learned the sounds, the notebook pages show a few letters, representing the first words he was sounding out. Then, in December, there's the page where everything clicked and he started writing simple sentences on his own.
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Hayward, Calif., teacher brings English language skills to students from around the world
Contra Costa Times
Children from all over the world walk into Cristina Igoa's classroom at Tyrrell School, where they find a safe, accepting place — and a teacher who believes in them and their ability to learn to read in English. Igoa will share how she brings students up to English language third-grade level at a Commission on the Status of Women symposium at the United Nations in New York City. With her will be two of her former students, Rosario Campos, 12, and Zarmina Kochi, 29, whose travel expenses are being covered by the Hayward Education Foundation.
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300,000 international students connect with studying English abroad via Facebook
WebWire
More than 300,000 fans (growing by 10,000 per week) of ELS Educational Services on Facebook are engaging in a global dialogue about studying English abroad and higher education. ELS provides international students with the opportunity to achieve a college degree while studying English abroad at one of its 70 English Language Centers located in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, China and Malaysia, the majority of which are located on university campuses.
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Thais score lowest in TOEFL
Phuket Gazette
Thailand: With TOEFL scores averaging at 450, Thai students' proficiency in the English language appears to be the lowest in the Asean region. In order to overcome this, academics are urging universities to seriously start strengthening students' English language skills by making it a working language at their campuses.
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Doctors to face English language tests
The Huffington Post
United Kingdom: Foreign doctors will have to prove they can speak English before being allowed to work for the NHS, the government has said. A "loophole" that allowed medics with a poor grasp of the language to treat patients will be closed. The new checks have been announced after cases in which foreign doctors were said to have provided sub-standard care. The General Medical Council welcomed the move, saying it would strengthen patient safety.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Sequestration and aid to ELLs: What happens to Title III? (Education Week)
Teacher survey shows record low job satisfaction in 2012 (The Huffington Post)
Lobbying for English in Indonesia (The Guardian)
Cyberbullying law shields teachers from student tormentors (NPR)
Bilingual children have a better 'working memory' than monolingual children (Science Daily)

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


English classes give rural students an edge
Times of India
India: Naveen C G, who once lacked fluency in English, faced difficulty while interacting with his professors. Most of the time, this PG student could not get subject-related doubts cleared for the same reason. But now, he can easily communicate in English and also give seminars. All thanks to language and spoken English coaching classes conducted by SC/ST and OBC special cell of University of Mysore in association with city-based Agee's English Learning Academy. The six-month course is on at UoM hostels since February.
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Adults are flocking to college that paved way for flexibility
The New York Times
In September, Jennifer Hunt of Brown County, Ind., was awarded a bachelor's degree from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey without ever taking a Thomas Edison course. She was one of about 300 of last year's 3,200 graduates who managed to patch together their degree requirements with a mix of credits — from other institutions, standardized exams, online courses, workplace or military training programs and portfolio assessments.
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English proficiency for career growth
Deccan Herald
India: Globalization has made the world a level playground and the rules are set in English, says Vivek Agarwal. When Lord Macaulay mandated English language learning in India in 1835, he could not have foreseen its rise in a country that prided itself on Sanskrit — the language of the gods. English has indeed come a very long way since the times it was regarded as just the Queen's language.
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73 percent of teachers use cellphones for classroom activities
Mashable
More middle- and secondary-school teachers are using digital tools in their classrooms and professional lives, a new report says. A study by Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project released delves into teachers' increasing technology use, but also expresses educators' concerns about the digital divide. The study surveyed Advance Placement and National Writing Project teachers across the United States, and 92 percent say the Internet has a "major impact" on their ability to access content, resources and materials for teaching. Teachers are becoming advanced tech users, according to Kristen Purcell, Pew's associate director for research.
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Study: Childhood ADHD may lead to troubles later on
Reuters
Nearly a third of people diagnosed as children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder still have the condition in adulthood, according to a large new study that also found they're more likely to develop other mental disorders and to commit suicide. U.S. researchers who published their findings in Pediatrics found that about 29 percent of participants in the study who were diagnosed with ADHD as children ended up carrying that diagnosis into their late twenties.
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Study: More sleep equals smarter children
redOrbit
A new study by researchers from the University of Tübingen's Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology reinforces how necessary sleep is for a child's brain, even more so than adults. Researchers wrote in the journal Nature Neuroscience about how children's brains turn learned material into active knowledge as they sleep and how their brains do it even more effectively than an adult's. Past studies have shown sleeping after learning helps long-term storage of the material learned, because during sleep, memory is turned into a form that makes future learning easier.
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Survey: Teachers don't want to carry guns, do support armed guards
CNN
Nearly three-fourths of the nation's teachers say they personally would not bring a firearm to their school if allowed, but most educators believe armed guards would improve campus safety, a new survey showed. Since the December massacre by a lone gunman in Newtown, Conn., many schools have hastened to add safety measures in an effort to prevent similar violence.
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10 facts about K-12 students' technology use
eSchool News
More than half of students in grades 6-8 now have access to a tablet computer — a percentage that has doubled since last year. And Twitter use has grown three-fold among high school students in the last year, with a third of high schoolers now using the popular micro-blogging service. These are a few of the results that the nonprofit Project Tomorrow has released from its annual Speak Up survey of students' and parents' technology use, as well as their attitudes and opinions about ed tech.
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Can student-driven learning happen under Common Core?
MindShift
Teachers use different strategies to help students learn. With the inevitable arrival of the Common Core State Standards, however, the big unknown is what will happen when the assessments are released and the states and the federal government develop policies to accommodate them. If the assessments fall back on the kinds of narrow questions we saw with No Child Left Behind, and if governments create the same kind of high-stakes accountability, teachers will be herded back towards lower levels of prescriptive learning that leave little room for student voice and ownership.
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When bullying goes high-tech
CNN
As many as 25 percent of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying at some point, said Justin W. Patchin, who studies the phenomenon at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He and colleagues have conducted formal surveys of 15,000 middle and high school students throughout the United States, and found that about 10 percent of teens have been victims of cyberbullying in the last 30 days.
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What to consider when flipping the K-12 classroom
eSchool News
Flipping the classroom is one of the top trends in school reform, with more and more teachers trying the approach in an attempt to boost student engagement and achievement. The concept is simple: Teachers create or find online short videos that explain a lesson or concept, and students watch the videos at home. Students then come to class the next day prepared to complete "homework" during class time.
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Homework or not? That is the (research) question
District Administration Magazine
Woe unto the administrator who ventures forth into the homework wars. Scale it back, and parents will be at your door complaining about a lack of academic rigor. Dial it up, and you'll get an earful from other parents about interference with after-school activities and family time. If you're looking to bolster your particular position with research results, you're in luck, because there are studies that back the more-is-better approach and others that support the less-is-better tack.
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Teaching 2.0: Is tech in the classroom worth the cost?
NPR
The hallways at Westlake High School in Maryland are just like thousands of other school hallways around the country: kids milling around, laughing and chatting on their way to class. On a recent morning, about 30 kids took their seats in a classroom that initially seems like any other. The major difference here is that instead of a chalkboard and a lectern at the head of the class, there are two enormous flat-panel screens and thin, white microphones hanging in four rows across the ceiling.
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Teachers say they are unprepared for Common Core
Education Week
Even as the Common Core State Standards are being put into practice across most of the country, nearly half of teachers feel unprepared to teach them, especially to disadvantaged students, according to a new survey. The study by the EPE Research Center, an arm of Editorial Projects in Education, the publisher of Education Week, found deep wells of concern among teachers about their readiness to meet the challenges posed by the common core in English/language arts and mathematics.
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