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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Mar. 27, 2013

 





Mentors support children with limited English, but 'gaps' in specialist skills remain
The Guardian
United Kingdom: Growing numbers of children in the U.K. are entering schools with limited or no English. For young people at a state primary school in Cambridge, England, who do not speak English as their first language, help to overcome language barriers in class is at hand from sixth-formers from a local private secondary school who are being trained to act as special mentors.
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English learner achievement mixed in big city school systems
Education Week
The experiences of English language learners in some of the nation's largest school systems vary widely when it comes to who teaches them, what types of language instruction programs are available to them, and how well schools do in supporting their progress toward becoming proficient in English. In what may be the most comprehensive data collection to date on ELLs in urban school systems, the Council of the Great City Schools undertook an extensive survey of its member districts to capture a more complete picture of who these students are, how schools support them and how they are performing.
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Teachers and school staff turn to self-defense training
USA Today
As school professionals nationwide re-evaluate plans for keeping schoolchildren safe, more teachers, staff and parents turn to self-defense training, defense instructors across the country say. Pelting rain blurred Celenea Mitchell's windshield as she drove through Battle Ground, Wash. A few weeks had passed since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and Mitchell, a mother of two and a PTA volunteer, was determined to help get Battle Ground teachers trained in self-defense.
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TESOL installs new officers
TESOL
Dr. Deena Boraie was installed as the new President of TESOL International Association for the year 2013–2014. The Egyptian-born Dr. Boraie serves as Associate Dean for Instructional Affairs at the School of Continuing Education for the American University in Cairo. Dr. Boraie and four new Board members were installed during the annual business meeting held in Dallas, Texas USA, during the 2013 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. New Board members serve 3-year terms.
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TESOL welcomes new TESOL Quarterly editors
TESOL
Ahmar Mahboob and Brian Paltridge, both at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia, begin their 5-year term as co-editors of TESOL Quarterly, the association's flagship academic journal, with the March 2014 issue. To ensure a smooth transition, they will serve during 2013 as associate editors with the current co-editors, Diane Belcher and Alan Hirvela.
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TESOL presents awards for excellence
TESOL
Winners of the 2013 awards were selected for their service to the association and scholarship to the field of English language teaching. See the full list of 2013 award recipients.
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6 Steps to Effective Teacher Development and Evaluation
New Republic via TESOL
Six Steps to Effective Teacher Development and Evaluation is a collaboration from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, and Vicki Phillips of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the need for a thoughtful and reliable teacher evaluation system.
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Partnership blends science and English proficiency
Education Week
Dark window coverings block any sunlight from filtering into Gennifer Caven's third grade classroom here in California's Sonoma Valley, but small lights can be seen flickering throughout the room. Groups of two or three students huddle together at their desks, taking turns using miniature flashlights to illuminate tiny figurines and wooden blocks on white paper.

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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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Possible solutions to learners' poor English performance in schools
New Era
Namibia: To attain a good command of a second language, English learners should either be exposed to it in real circumstances and with natural frequency, or painstakingly learn words and sentence structures assuming that learners have some contact with natural input.

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Will funding flexibility for schools come with sequestration cuts?
Education Week
So now that school districts are coping with a 5 percent across-the-board cut to all federal programs, thanks to sequestration, many advocates are asking the department for what they see as the next best thing to more money: Greater flexibility with the funds they actually have. For instance, advocates are wondering how the cuts will affect maintenance of effort, which requires states and districts to keep their own spending up at a certain level in order to tap federal funds. Do they get a break because they're getting less Title I and special education money?
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English language debated, faces uncertain future in Quebec with proposed rules
Yahoo News
Canada: Pauline Marois' proposed Bill 14, the first substantial revision of Bill 101, Quebec's 1977 Charter of the French language, has sparked a language crisis in the province. Bill 14 contains a whopping 155 proposed amendments to the Charter of the French Language, all of which are designed to enable francophones to never have to speak a non-French language as long as they reside within Quebec's borders. Bilingualism will be a thing of the past.
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Report: ESEA reauthorization could be trouble for waiver states
eSchool News
A new report surveying states that have applied for and received No Child Left Behind waivers finds they are worried that reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act could hinder progress painstakingly made in school reform over the past year. The report, released by the Center on Education Policy, notes that last year Education Secretary Arne Duncan began to grant states waivers on key NCLB accountability requirements. The waiver guidelines let states depart from some of NCLB's more strict requirements, such as judging school performance against a goal of 100 percent of students reaching reading and math "proficiency" by 2014, and implementing specific interventions in schools that fall short of performance targets.
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Arizona Senate rejects new plan for English language learners
Verde Independent
Arizona Senators refused to consider the possibility that there may be a better alternative to the current system they have mandated for teaching English. On a voice vote, lawmakers rejected a proposal by Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, to set up a pilot program giving five schools an exemption from existing laws that now require students classified as English language learners to get their training at special and separate four-hour-a-day immersion classes. That leaves the single method in place unless and until lawmakers — or a court — decides otherwise.
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Lawmakers say Nevada governor's program for English language learners inadequate
Las Vegas Sun News
Legislative budget officials attacked Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval's program to set aside $14 million to help students not proficient in English, calling it too little for all of the students who need assistance. Assemblyman Andy Eisen, D-Las Vegas, complained that the proposed formula is unfair to Clark County, which has the majority of students who need the extra help with English. Eisen and others lodged complaints about the program, presented by the state Department of Education.
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More states consider 'parent trigger' laws
Education Week
The push for the "parent trigger" option for turning around struggling schools continues, with new laws under consideration in 12 states' legislative sessions, even as such laws already on the books remain unused in all but one of the seven states that have them. Many education advocates opposed to what they view as efforts to privatize and corporatize public schools are watching with trepidation as lawmakers in Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and elsewhere review parent-trigger bills. Opponents argue that the mechanism ultimately hurts schools and ruptures communities. Meanwhile, as of mid-March, three other states — California, Indiana and Texas — were also considering revisions to their existing parent-trigger laws.
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Call for reform of English language assessments
China Daily
China: The current English testing system puts too much pressure on students, advisers say. Chinese political advisers have called for reforms of the English language testing system to make it more effective in cultivating actual language ability. "Currently, the English testing system in China puts too much pressure on students to get high marks and ignores the development of their comprehensive language capabilities," said Yang Xueyi, a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee member and Party chief of Beijing Foreign Studies University.
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Forced spending cuts slash hope for teachers
CNN
Inside her Oxford, Ohio, kindergarten classroom, Christine Milders has 24 cubbies, 24 tables and 24 seats. It's a perfect fit for her 24 little students, no more. But come next fall, she expects that number will grow to 30. That's when forced federal spending cuts, also known as the sequester, will kick in and start chipping away at education funding.
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WIDA forges ahead with new English language proficiency test
Education Week
The 31 states that have banded together to create a new, computer-based assessment system for English language learners are getting their first glimpses at the new English language proficiency exam being developed to measure the language demands of the Common Core State Standards. Known as ASSETS — Assessment Services Supporting ELs through Technology Systems — the assessment system is being developed on behalf of member states by the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, or WIDA, based at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
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After federal probe, Hartford, Conn., schools agree to improve services for English language learners
Hartford Courant
Facing a federal civil rights complaint, the Hartford school system has agreed to overhaul services for students whose native language is not English. The voluntary agreement with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights outlines the actions that Hartford must take over the next few years to resolve long-standing accusations that the city schools failed to adequately teach English language learners. Hartford must offer more support in core classes for those students, provide at least 45 to 60 minutes of daily bilingual or English as a second language instruction, and consent to federal monitoring, among other steps.
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Preparing for the new grammar, punctuation and spelling test
The Guardian
United Kingdom: Julies Hair Design, Discount Shoe's, Off License and even Toys R us. Sadly, our children are exposed to the incorrect use of grammar and punctuation on a daily basis. Over recent years, understanding of grammar and punctuation has not been helped by texting language and abbreviations used in social media. We have to consider what children are seeing and learning from this. In a bid to address this decline in written English, the new English, grammar, punctuation and spelling test will be sat by all 11-year-olds from May 2013, bringing a major change to schools.
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From New York City to San Diego, RIGOR Intervention Resources have helped older Newcomers develop literacy, language and content understanding. Free sampler.
 


Partnership blends science and English proficiency
Education Week
Dark window coverings block any sunlight from filtering into Gennifer Caven's third grade classroom here in California's Sonoma Valley, but small lights can be seen flickering throughout the room. Groups of two or three students huddle together at their desks, taking turns using miniature flashlights to illuminate tiny figurines and wooden blocks on white paper. When the lights hit the sides of propped-up manila file folders, shadows appear. These pupils at El Verano Elementary School aren't just learning the science behind shadows, they're also improving their English language skills.
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New classes target students who struggle to master English
KPBS
About a quarter of California's public school students are learning English as a second language. But by middle and high school more than half of those students have not mastered English. Like many long-term English learners, Desiree Vauve was born here. But she hasn't spent all of her school years in San Diego.
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What is noncredit?
KQED
Gov. Brown's recent proposal to move adult education into the community college sphere was unanimously rejected on March 19 by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance but the discussion generated is bound to continue. The committee did not disagree with the goal but rather the details of implementation. The Legislative Analysts Office has weighed in on the subject, and practitioners in both arenas — adult education and community college noncredit — are concerned.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    In Hong Kong, few school spots for English speaking children (SmartPlanet)
Stemming the tide of English learner dropouts (Education Week)
Mathematically speaking (Language Magazine)
English language is changing along with society and culture (Beacon News)
10 creative ways to teach English that deliver outstanding results (The Guardian)

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


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American English has become more emotional than British English
Popular Science
If you pick up a British book, a few cultural differences might easily differentiate it from a member of the American canon — a penchant for spelling words with an extra "u," an unfamiliar slang word ... and perhaps the literary equivalent of a stiff upper lip. According to new research, over the last half a century, American writing has shown a significant uptick in emotional words compared with books written by our friends across the pond.
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Teachers should be lifelong learners
Sun Star
Gradutation from a course doesn't necessarily mean you have learned everything about a particular field of study. Teachers, like other professionals, do not emerge from universities and colleges as fully formed professionals — but they do have a foundation of knowledge on which to base their practice. For teachers, continuing education is essential to career success. It benefits teachers in a variety of ways, providing them with the additional information and experience they need to be effective for their students.
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Migrant English — And why it will only get worse
The Guardian
United Kingdom: Anyone who actually wants to learn English and to obtain citizenship will have a much harder time doing so come October when new rules come into operation.
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Language barrier: Oldham revealed among 'top' 20 towns in the UK for non-English-speaking residents
Mancunian Matters
United Kingdom: Oldham is among the country's "top 20" local authorities for the number of their residents who can't speak English, according to the latest statistics. While 89.5 percent stated English as their main language, 0.7 percent of those in Oldham who said English was not their main language cannot speak English at all. While this might seem like a small figure to most, it compares to just 0.1 percent in Stockport and Wigan, and 0.2 percent in Bury and Trafford. Even Manchester, with a population much greater than Oldham and a large international student population, fairs better with 0.6 percent.
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Importance of English learning and adult basic education programs
Sampan
Despite the commonwealth's commitment to investing in English language and adult basic education classes, studies have shown that the programs serve only a small subset of immigrants and newcomers who need the services. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick proposed allocating $1 million, a 321 percent increase, to the state's citizenship programs in his FY2014 budget proposal.
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Facilitating student academic language use in the classroom
By Erick Herrmann
Look around a teacher's desk; what do you see? Often we find pictures of family and friends, evidence of favorite sport teams or hobbies. We display and make public what is important to us. In the classroom, we hold high regard for literacy and the academic language of our subject areas. It is important, therefore, that we display the language of our content areas for students to access while reading, writing, speaking and listening about the content we are teaching. A print-rich environment is one in which the walls in the classroom are "dripping" with language.
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Industry Pulse: Is your classroom a print-rich environment?
ANSWER NOW


The decisive element in the classroom
Psychology Today (Commentary)
Signe Whitson, a licensed social worker and author, writes: "Classroom teachers have everything to do with stopping bullying. There. I said it. I often hesitate to make this assertion so plainly when speaking to educators, fearing my next move will have to be fending off rotten tomatoes lobbed at my head by teachers who won't stand for having yet another responsibility heaped onto their already-overflowing plates."
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5 tools to help students learn how to learn
MindShift
Helping students learn how to learn: That's what most educators strive for, and that's the goal of inquiry learning. That skill transfers to other academic subject areas and even to the workplace where employers have consistently said that they want creative, innovative and adaptive thinkers. Inquiry learning is an integrated approach that includes kinds of learning: content, literacy, information literacy, learning how to learn, and social or collaborative skills. Students think about the choices they make throughout the process and the way they feel as they learn. Those observations are as important as the content they learn or the projects they create.
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Educators share technology struggles: From tablets to Twitter
InformationWeek
Should teachers use social media? What are the best practices for flipped classrooms? How are educators in other countries using computers and networks? These were but a few of the 400 session topics at the 68th annual meeting of the ASCD in Chicago, where technology's impact on teachers, students and institutions dominated much of the discussion. This year, the nonprofit's three-day conference and exhibit drew more than 10,000 educators and administrators, as well as hundreds of vendors.
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Teachers, students, digital games: What's the right mix?
MindShift
When St. Louis fifth-grade teacher Jenny Kavanaugh teaches history, she uses her laptop to look at a map, or to give kids a virtual tour of the historical landmarks they're studying. "Students can interact with history in very cool ways online," she said. But when it's time for math, she puts the computer away. Even though Kavanaugh thinks technology is a great tool to enhance and deepen certain lessons, for drill and practice of key concepts in class, she finds one-on-one practice to be much more effective than its technological equivalent — digital practice games.
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More teachers are grouping kids by ability
USA Today
New findings based on more than 20 years of research suggest that despite decades of controversy, elementary school teachers now feel fine placing students in "ability groups." The research, out Monday from the centrist Brookings Institution's Brown Center on American Education, finds that between 1998 and 2009, the percentage of fourth-grade teachers who said they created ability-based reading groups skyrocketed from 28 percent to 71 percent. In math, between 1996 and 2011, the practice rose from 40 percent to 61 percent. The practice remained fairly constant in eighth-grade math, rising from 71 percent to 76 percent. Data for other eighth-grade subjects was incomplete or inconclusive.
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Teachers facing achievement gap try cross-race connections
Minnesota Public Radio
All the bleak statistics about Minnesota's achievement gap became personal to fifth-grade teacher Jen Engel, when she realized that gap was playing out in her own classroom. "It stares you right in the face. It's real." Engel teaches at Echo Park Elementary School in Burnsville, Minn., where about half of the students are racial minorities, many of them struggling academically. The 43-year-old, who is white, has heard about the factors that can contribute to the racial achievement gap, including poverty, unstable living conditions and troubled families.
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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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