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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Jun. 13, 2012

Obama uses aid, executive muscle to drive education agenda
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Back in 2008, it wasn't clear just where candidate Barack Obama's heart lay when it came to the big issues facing schools. Although Obama had been a community organizer, a law professor, and a state legislator, the junior U.S. senator from Illinois didn't have a long record on K-12 issues, and he rarely spoke about them in his presidential campaign. His advisers included voices from all parts of a Democratic Party bitterly divided on such issues as teacher quality and the role of high-stakes tests. More

Romney hones pitch on education policy
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, Mitt Romney championed aggressive education policies later embraced by the Obama administration and by other states. But for most of his second run at the Republican presidential nomination, voters have heard little about his education record in Massachusetts or initiatives that Romney was largely unable to sell to that state's Democratic-controlled legislature. More

Save the date: A TESOL Symposium: Facilitating learning through student empowerment
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
TESOL International Association will host a symposium at the Intercontinental Hotel, Isla Verde in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 15 November 2012. The event will kick off the 39th PRTESOL Convention and the 11th CA & CB Regional Conference, 16-17 November. For more information visit TESOL's website. Hope to see you there.

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Commonly cited as one of the top programs in the country for preparing language educators, the Monterey Institute offers an Advanced Entry MATESOL degree.

Do you feel confident discussing grammar in the classroom?
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If not, you should check out these two online courses: Grammar Course 1: Phrasal Structures and Grammar Course 2: Multiclause Structures will help you develop the confidence you need to discuss grammar with your students and give you the tools you need to prepare grammar lessons. The courses run simultaneously 30 July-26 August. The registration deadline is 18 July. To register, visit TESOL's website. Or send questions to and put "Grammar" in the subject line.

Have you visited the TESOL Blog lately?
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If not, you've missed Kevin Knight's posts on leadership and English for specific purposes, and Sarah Sahr's post on how TESOL members are working in underserved contexts around the world. You'll also find an important summary of results from a TESOL survey on members' professional development needs. Please take moment to visit the TESOL Blog and share your comments.

On Our Way to English K-5

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Obama pushes Congress to help states hire teachers
The Associated Press via Yahoo News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Barack Obama wants Congress to help states rehire teachers and act on a key part of last year's jobs bill. He says the last thing the U.S. needs is to have fewer teachers in our schools. Obama says in his radio and Internet address that many states have been squeezed by the economic recession and have been forced to lay off teachers — about 250,000 across the nation. More

Race to the Top innovates backwards, education venture nonprofit says
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan opened the Race to the Top competition to individual school districts, he said he wanted to spur innovation "at the classroom level and the all-important relationship among teachers and students." Now, a coalition of 16 education startups and policy organizations, herded by the nonprofit NewSchools Venture Fund, are saying the competition gets innovation wrong. More

Puerto Rico schools to expand instruction in English
Fox News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Puerto Rico: English will gradually replace Spanish as the language taught in Puerto Rico's public schools under a 10-year plan due to enter into force later this summer, Education Secretary Edward Moreno Alonso told Efe. The plan will start to be implemented in August at 31 schools, where children aged 5-9 will have all of their subjects in English with the exception of Spanish and History. More

Karnataka government favors English medium schools in rural parts
The Times of India    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
India: In an effort to minimize rural-urban divide, the BJP-ruled government in Karnataka said it would positively consider the demand to open more English medium schools in the rural parts of the state. Considered to be one of the liberal moves by the government, primary and secondary education minister Visveshvara Hegde Kageri said the demand has been pouring from large section of population across the state to open English medium schools in rural areas. "To face the challenges of the present day world and make our rural students competitive, English medium schools are necessary," the minister maintained. More

Master's in Teaching TESOL
The MAT@USC TESOL is a Master’s in Teaching program delivered online by the USC Rossier School of Education. The program is the first of its kind to blend interactive online learning with field-based teaching experiences to prepare students to be English language teaching specialists in a variety of settings and educational levels.

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Needed: More exposure to English language
The Jamaica Gleaner (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jamaica: Every year when I mark English-language scripts for teachers in training, regardless of the year group, I am amazed at the kinds of errors that some students make. This leads me to take a good look at my own learning of English. There was a time when we could say that in Jamaica we use British English, although it may be more accurate to say that Jamaicans were once expected to use British English given our colonial past. More

Norwich language schools warn of 40 percent drop in student numbers in £18 million industry
Norwich Evening News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom: Norfolk language schools warned a government drive to cut immigrants was hurting Norwich's economy. The language industry is estimated to be worth £18 million a year to the city, but one privately-run school said its numbers had dropped by 40 percent since last April when Home Secretary Theresa May introduced stricter rules for foreign students. Director of studies at Flying Classrooms School of English in Tombland, Veronica Snell, said the industry was being strangled by visa regulations. Her warning came after the UEA said government plans to include foreign students in an immigration cap would have a "terrible" effect on the county's economy. More

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Report: More pre-K programs needed for dual language learners
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The population of children who do not come from homes where English is spoken is on the rise, and, to ensure their success in school, publicly-funded early childhood programs need to build their capacity and expertise to meet the needs of young English-language learners. So says a new report from the Center for American Progress that urges policymakers at levels — especially the feds — to maximize on the investments being made in public preschool programs to serve disadvantaged children. More

The coming demand for credentialed ELL teachers in pre-K
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a push to improve early childhood education for English-language learners, Illinois will soon require pre-K teachers who work with ELLs to earn ESL credentials, Maggie Severns writes in The Washington Post. The change in Illinois' policy regarding ELLs may serve as a lesson to other states, according to Severns, a policy analyst for the New America Foundation's Early Education Initiative — especially given the recent news that minority babies now account for a majority of all births in the U.S. More

Raising Latino achievement seen as 'demographic imperative'
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By 2020, 1 in 4 children enrolled in America's K-12 public schools will be Latino. Of those Latino students, more than half will be second-generation Americans, born in the United States to at least one parent who is an immigrant. Another third will be at least third-generation Americans, the children of parents who were also born in this country, according to projections from the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington-based research organization. The remainder will be immigrants themselves, though they will be part of a diminishing stream of young Latinos moving to the United States from Spanish-speaking countries. More
Related story: Diplomas count: 6 of 12.1 million stories (Education Week)

In defense of school testing
TIME (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The school year is winding down, but one faction within the world of education is ratcheting up: the anti-testing movement. More parents are pulling their kids out of end-of-year math and literacy assessments. More teachers and administrators are speaking up against testing — like the group of school district superintendents in Georgia who are calling on the state legislature to reconsider its test-based accountability system. And a national resolution condemning testing has now attracted the endorsements of more than 300 organizations and 8,500 individuals. More
Related story: The pearsonizing of the American mind (Education Week)

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The algorithm didn't like my essay
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As a professor and a parent, I have long dreamed of finding a software program that helps every student learn to write well. It would serve as a kind of tireless instructor, flagging grammatical, punctuation or word-use problems, but also showing the way to greater concision and clarity. Now, unexpectedly, the desire to make the grading of tests less labor-intensive may be moving my dream closer to reality. The standardized tests administered by the states at the end of the school year typically have an essay-writing component, requiring the hiring of humans to grade them one by one. More

$1.1 million-plus Gates grants: 'Galvanic' bracelets that measure student engagement
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the "you-can't-make-up-this-stuff" category, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is spending about $1.1 million to develop a way to physiologically measure how engaged students are by their teachers' lessons. This involves "galvanic skin response" bracelets that kids would wear so their engagement levels could be measured. More

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MLA issues statement on language policy
Inside Higher Ed    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Modern Language Association's Executive Council has approved a statement on the importance of language learning to U.S. policy. The statement calls the learning of foreign languages "vital" and goes on to explain why. "We believe this view should be uncontroversial; anyone interested in the long-term vitality and security of the United States should recognize that it will be detrimental for Americans to remain overwhelmingly monolingual and ill informed about other parts of this increasingly interdependent world," the statement says. More

Kindergarten and 1st Grade Vocabulary
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China warns its students in Canada to take precautions after grisly murder
The Chronicle of Higher Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
China: The Chinese Embassy in Canada has issued a safety warning to the 50,000 students from China studying in Canada, following the grisly murder of a Chinese student at Concordia University, according to The Globe and Mail. The warning, in Chinese only, urges students to "strengthen their personal security." The murder of Lin Jun at the Montreal university and the issue of student safety in Canada have become major topics on the Internet in China, with many commenters remembering the murder last year of a Chinese student in off-campus housing at York University, in Toronto. Canadian education officials are aware that worries about safety could affect students’ decisions to study in Canada. More

Teachers need more training to handle children's emotions
PsychCentral    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Student teachers learn a lot about how to teach in college, but they don't get much training in how to respond to young children's emotions, such as frustration, anger and excitement, according to new research. "When teachers aren't trained to respond to emotional outbursts in supportive ways, they often fall back on responses that reflect the way they were raised and whether they feel comfortable with their own emotions," said Rebecca Swartz, a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois and the study's first author. More

Test scores vs. entrepreneurship: PISA, TIMSS and confidence
Yong Zhao (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education has been given the task to turn our children into globally competitive workforce. It is thus no surprise that results of international assessments such as the PISA and TIMSS are closely watched by policymakers and the media as an indication a nation's education quality and their future competitiveness. While I have serious reservations about making "global competitiveness" as an honorable purpose of education and the reduction of complex phenomenon such as education and human capacity into simplistic numbers, I am unable to resist the seduction of numbers and rankings. In doing research for my new book World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students, I came across a set of data that appear to show something very interesting. More

Educators once opposed raising bilingual children. Experts now say it's beneficial.
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When I was a baby, my mother gazed down at me in her hospital bed and did something that would permanently change the way my brain developed. Something that would make me better at learning, multi-tasking and solving problems. Eventually, it might even protect my brain against the ravages of old age. Her trick? She started speaking to me in French. At the time, my mother had no idea that her actions would give me a cognitive boost. She is French and my father English, and they simply felt it made sense to raise me and my brothers as bilingual. Yet a mass of research has emerged to suggest that speaking two languages while growing up may profoundly affect the way I think. More

Keeping students sharp through summer
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Call it the summer slide, the seasonal slump, the brain drain or the summer slowdown. Just don't call it new: The two-month period when students lose some of their academic edge has been observed for over a century. The good news here is that experts and parents have come up with a number of ways to keep kids sharp through the summer, and we're sharing some of them with you here. More

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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.
Professional Development Opportunities with Fulbright

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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 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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