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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Apr. 4, 2012







TESOL 2012 draws 7,000 attendees
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Though the final numbers are not yet available, early estimates suggest that more than 7,000 TESOL professionals from around the world attended the 2012 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Philadelphia. TESOL thanks all convention attendees and the good people of Philadelphia who welcomed them. TESOL also thanks its Strategic Partners National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning and Franklin Electronic Publishers, and its Event Partners ETS, College Board and the Rose Foundation. TESOL's members and partners help make the convention possible. See you all in Dallas, 20–23 March, for TESOL 2013. More




TESOL and US Department of State host roundtable at TESOL 2012
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
TESOL and the U.S. Department of State officially launched the TESOL-State Public-Private Partnership Consortium at a roundtable discussion during the TESOL International Convention in Philadelphia. Participants included 25 representatives from select commercial, nongovernmental, academic and governmental organizations. For more about the event, please read Ambassador J. Adam Ereli's blog post. Ambassador Ereli serves as as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. More



Federal dysfunction sets stiff challenge for state K-12 chiefs
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With Congress seemingly deadlocked on reauthorizing the main federal K-12 education law, state school leaders feel they are being asked by the federal government to blaze a trail on school improvement and innovation while looking over their shoulders. For the most part, those gathered at the Council of Chief State School Officers' legislative conference have gladly stepped into what they see as the power vacuum left by Washington, with praise from federal officials. But the consistent drumbeat that Congress is too paralyzed to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this year — five years after reauthorization was due — seemed to embody the school chiefs' consternation with federal lawmakers, even as they came to town in part to lobby their elected leaders. More

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Education secretary defends Obama administration's use of school waivers
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Republicans on Capitol Hill criticized Education Secretary Arne Duncan's use of waivers for schools that haven't met the benchmarks for the No Child Left Behind law. "I don't believe that the language of the law allows the secretary to provide conditional waivers," said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. When No Child Left Behind originated over 10 years ago, it set standards that students had to meet by certain dates or the schools would face sanctions. As the standards have gotten progressively higher, schools have had difficulty reaching the goals. More

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Access to teacher evaluations divides advocates
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the movement to overhaul teacher evaluation marches onward, an emerging question is splitting the swath of advocates who support the new tools used to gauge teacher performance: Who should get access to the resulting information? As evidenced in recently published opinion pieces, the contours of the debate are rapidly being drawn. Some proponents of using student-achievement data as a component of teacher evaluations, including the philanthropist Bill Gates and Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp, nevertheless believe that such information should not be made widely public. Other figures, like New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, champion the broad dissemination of such data. More

Duncan: 'We have to get better faster than we ever have'
The Atlantic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Arne Duncan says his fourth year as secretary of education is marked by a "huge sense of urgency." During a town hall meeting, he stressed the role of quality teachers in improving student outcomes, and expressed his belief in incentive measures to better performance. "Great teachers, regardless of socioeconomic challenges — which are very real, we need to address them holistically — great teachers make a huge difference in students' lives," he said. More




English becomes No.1 foreign language test in Georgia
Georgian Daily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Georgia: The Georgian Education Ministry on Wednesday announced that English has become the main foreign language for examination with a choice rate of 73 percent of test takers. Officials of the ministry told local media that 73 percent of the country's school leavers had chosen English as their foreign language test for the 2012 national examinations. Those who chose Russian as their foreign language test accounted for 17 percent, followed by German with 7 percent and French with 3 percent. More



English language learners on rise in Appalachia
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Enrollment of English language learners has steadily grown in three of four Appalachian region states — Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia — over the past four years, according to a new brief out today from the Institute of Education Sciences. A fourth Appalachian state — West Virginia — had a decline in its ELL population during that same period. Kentucky by far saw the fastest rate of growth, with its ELL population rising nearly 45 percent in the period between 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, according to the report put together by the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia Region on behalf of IES. Kentucky saw the number of districts enrolling ELLs rise from 97 to 140 during that period. As a percentage of overall statewide enrollment, however, ELLs account for just about 2.3 percent of the K-12 population in the Bluegrass State. More

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Facing challenges as dual-language programs grow
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School, students are taught lessons every week in a combination of Spanish, English and Mandarin. The public school, which has more than 400 students on its wait list, is hoping to eventually add a fourth language, the principal says, to better prepare pupils for the global economy. "I think as we become more and more globally aware, we're realizing that kids need to be prepared to be competitive in world markets," said Principal Jorge Ramirez. More

A look inside dual-language classrooms
Education Week (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This video published on edweek.org is a companion to my story on the rise in dual-language programs. The piece was shot by Manny Crisostomo, a great photographer and former colleague whom I worked with years ago at The Sacramento Bee. Manny's video takes you inside the lively, language-filled classrooms at Gardner Academy in downtown San Jose, Calif., where you can see native Spanish speakers and native English speakers learning together through music, visuals and lots of conversation. More

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Vietnam wants India to train English teachers
The Indian Express    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Vietnam: Vietnam has sought India's assistance in training its teachers in the English language and for curriculum development. Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Thien Nhan has expressed keenness to source around 20,000 English teachers from India over the next few years to teach English and train Vietnamese teachers. The HRD ministry has suggested that the CBSE is well equipped to train English teachers and it will work out the modalities with Vietnam. More

Uganda: English language no longer an issue, teachers say
AllAfrica    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Uganda: Rwanda teachers in high schools have said that the issue of communication in English is fading off with time. This was disclosed in a one day work shop for teachers in high schools organized by Ministry of East African Community. Ever since English was declared as the only language of instruction in schools, teachers and learners with a strong background of French language had been struggling to come to terms with the change. More

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Tanzania: English medium schools hailed for standards
AllAfrica    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Tanzania: The number of parents sending their children outside the country has decreased as the local quality of education has improved. Parents used to send their children outside for English language excellence, but with establishment of international and English medium schools, the problem has been solved. The Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Philip Mulugo, said that the government would make sure eligible pupils who complete primary school education proceed to secondary schools. More



Classes help foreigners learn English language
The Daily Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ekaterina Saduyan spoke hardly a word of English when she traveled in 2006 to St. Petersburg, Russia, from her native Uzbekistan to visit with an Ocean City man she'd met on the Internet. "I would be talking to her, telling her stories and asking questions, but all she would do is nod," C. Newton Weaver Jr. recalls. "I realized she really couldn't understand me too well." Before his visit, Weaver and Saduyan had corresponded mostly by email, with Saduyan using a language translator so the correspondence could be understood by both parties. Weaver had flown to meet Saduyan and her family in Europe, and things went well. The next June, Saduyan arrived in New York, where Weaver picked her up and brought her to Delmarva. More




Library strike: ESL students explore city after being forced out of classroom
The Toronto Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Canada: When the library strike began, this class of 30 adult ESL students was left with nowhere to meet. So their teacher turned the city into their classroom, planning outings so they could keep learning English after the North York Central branch — where they gather three mornings a week — was shut down as workers walked off the job. Barbara Rosen decided to make the best of a bad situation. The library doors may have closed, but new doors opened, says Rosen, who told her students: "Just bring TTC fare and for homework write a story about the library strike." More



New research on impact of schools and teachers on English language learners
New America Foundation    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Research on English language learners often focuses on whether children learn more when they are taught only in English or more when they are taught partly in the language they speak at home. A new paper by Wen-Jui Han, a professor at the New York University Silver School of Social Work, sheds light on a different question: how the characteristics of an ELL student's school affects his or her ability to catch up academically with native English-speaking peers. Han's analysis, published in Child Development, demonstrated that although most ELL students with a Spanish-speaking background score lower than their English-speaking peers on kindergarten reading and math assessments, ELL students improved their academic performance faster than their native-English speaking peers. More

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English makes adolescents less motivated to learn a new language
EurekAlert    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Swedish adolescents' desire to learn a foreign language besides English, which they start learning relatively early, has been declining for a long time. A new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that one factor behind this trend may be that English is used as a resource when students learn French, Spanish and German. Fewer and fewer adolescents study foreign languages in English-speaking countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. They simply do not want to, since as a world language English can be used just about everywhere. In Sweden, the government has introduced incentives to learn foreign languages in addition to English in the school system. More

Being bilingual wards off symptoms of dementia
ScienceDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New research explains how speaking more than one language may translate to better mental health. A paper published by Cell Press in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences examines how being bilingual can offer protection from the symptoms of dementia, and also suggests that the increasing diversity in our world populations may have an unexpected positive impact on the resiliency of the adult brain. More

Bilingual children switch tasks faster than speakers of a single language
Medical Xpress    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Children who grow up learning to speak two languages are better at switching between tasks than are children who learn to speak only one language, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. However, the study also found that bilinguals are slower to acquire vocabulary than are monolinguals, because bilinguals must divide their time between two languages while monolinguals focus on only one. More

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Researchers: Too much homework can lower test scores
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Piling on the homework doesn't help kids do better in school. In fact, it can lower their test scores. That's the conclusion of a group of Australian researchers, who have taken the aggregate results of several recent studies investigating the relationship between time spent on homework and students' academic performance. More

In immersion foreign language learning, adults attain, retain native speaker Brain Pattern
ScienceDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A first-of-its kind series of brain studies shows how an adult learning a foreign language can come to use the same brain mechanisms as a native speaker. The research also demonstrates that the kind of exposure you have to the language can determine whether you achieve native-language brain processing, and that learning under immersion conditions may be more effective in reaching this goal than typical classroom training. The research also suggests that the brain consolidates knowledge of the foreign language as time goes on, much like it does when a person learns to ride a bike or play a musical instrument. More



Amidst a mobile revolution in schools, will old teaching tactics work?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Just a few years ago, the idea of using a mobile phone as a legitimate learning tool in school seemed far-fetched, if not downright blasphemous. Kids were either prohibited from bringing their phones to school, or at the very least told to shut it off during school hours. But these days, it's not unusual to hear a teacher say, "Class, turn on your cell. It's time to work." Harvard professor Chris Dede has been working in the field of education technology for decades, and is astonished at how quickly mobile devices are penetrating in schools. More



How do you measure learning?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's not a new question, but it's certainly a divisive one — how to best measure student learning. As the Department of Education works toward finding a way to assess student learning beyond what most agree are sub-par standardized tests, and movement for opting out of assessments grows, educators and those who work in the education system are attempting to define the criteria for themselves. More

Crossing the cultural divide
Language Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Abdelilah Salim Sehlaoui argues that language educators must develop cross-cultural communicative competence. There is an increasing demand for effective critical cross-cultural communicative competence in language professionals in general and TESOL professionals, in particular, who also possess a critical pedagogical and technological competence. The reason behind this is the increasing number of culturally and linguistically diverse students, as well as the global socio-economic and political technological developments of our times. To develop critical cross-cultural communicative and critical pedagogical competence with a technological element, Sehlaoui proposes a unique theoretical and practical model that is based on a critical conceptualization of culture. Culture is defined in this model as a dynamic process within a given social context in which individuals are in a constant struggle for representation and the need to have an authentic voice. The language classroom, like any other social situation, is an example of such a context. Each individual in the classroom must be considered to be culturally unique. More




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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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