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

SCOTUS decision could help students do better
in school

The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Althea, a student in Mauldin, S.C., started taking Yvonne Mason's senior English class, the pregnant teen only wanted one thing: to graduate. She had an 85 average, and had just transferred to Mauldin High School. "She was lively and she answered questions," Mason recalls. "She didn't always get everything, but she got a lot of it and I was real proud." Then, she began to miss class and didn't make up the work. After a few attempts to help Althea, whose name has been changed for privacy reasons, it became clear that her family had kicked her out. More

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Homeless students top 1 million, US says, leaving advocates 'horrified'
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Back in November of 2005, Diane Nilan had what she now concedes may have struck some people as a "crazy notion." She’d been working as advocate for homeless families in Illinois, getting frustrated by the glacial pace of political and bureaucratic change, when she decided to sell her town house, buy a Gulfstream motor home, and set out on the road to talk to homeless families living around the country. She drove to Pensacola, Fla., and then to Lafayette, La., and then to a tiny town in Texas, where she met a little boy who had been abandoned by his mother. She spoke with homeless children and their families at campsites and motels and shelters, and filmed them in an attempt to share what she learned. More

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 from Monday, 30 July until Sunday, 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 read TESOL's latest white paper yet?
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Titled A Principles-Based Approach for Language Teaching Policies and Practices and written for TESOL by by Ahmar Mahboob and Namala Tilakaratna, this white paper identifies six principles aimed at helping policymakers, researchers, and practitioners build effective and successful practices within varied contexts while engaging with the challenges to implementation that these practices will encounter. Please feel free to download and share this paper with your colleagues.

5 more states get waivers from education law rules
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration granted waivers to five more states seeking relief from key conditions of the No Child Left Behind education law. In exchange, the states agreed to enact new standards and evaluate schools and teachers based on students' academic progress. State officials and critics of the 2001 federal law have long complained that it was unreasonable and unrealistic in requiring every student to demonstrate proficiency in math and English by 2014. Arne Duncan, secretary of education, said the new standards were "ambitious but achievable targets." More

District 'Race to the Top' rules spur mixed reaction
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Proposed guidelines for school districts to vie for $400 million in new federal grants have elicited mixed reaction from education groups — from concern among education-technology groups over how "personalized learning" will be defined, to arguments that the grants will exclude smaller districts from competing. With an eye toward expanding the Obama administration's signature "Race to the Top" competition to the district level, the federal education department recently issued a draft outlining competition guidelines and invited responses from stakeholders. More

Health care ruling has implications for education spending
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The part of the U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision upholding the new federal health care law which also held that its Medicaid expansion was unduly coercive on the states likely has implications for federal education spending programs. In fact, just as they did at oral arguments in March over the Affordable Care Act, the justices in their opinions raised several education laws and cases, making comparisons between the federal health insurance program for the poor and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, for example. Some of the justices most critical of the health law also appeared concerned about an ever-expanding federal role in education. More

Education Trust report emphasizes need for culture, policy changes in High-poverty, low-performing public schools
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new report released by The Education Trust emphasizes the need for policy and culture changes in the public education sector, and not just updated teacher evaluation systems. "Making evaluations more meaningful is a critical step toward improving our schools. But being able to determine who our strongest teachers and principals are doesn’t mean that struggling students will magically get more of them," Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality at The Education Trust and co-author of the report, said in a statement. "We have to be intentional about creating the kinds of supportive working environments in our high-poverty and low-performing schools that will make them more attractive to our strongest teachers." More

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Advocates call for new policies to improve outcomes for ELLs in California
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Advocates for the nation's largest group of English language learners — the 1.4 million such students in California — are urging state policymakers and school district leaders to move away from narrow, generalized instruction for ELLs and provide more tailored training to teachers on how to work effectively with students who are still learning the language, among other recommendations. More

Is bilingualism still relevant in Canada?
The Globe and Mail    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Canada: For three days in April, Chantelle Prentice camped outside in Salmon Arm, B.C., guarding her place in line — not for concert tickets or the latest iPhone, but to snag one of 17 coveted French immersion spots at Bastion Elementary School for her 5-year-old son, Taylor. An anglophone who hated her own high-school French courses, Prentice still feels strongly that bilingualism is central to Canada's identity, as well as a gateway to other languages. More

The education system that pulled China up may now be holding it back
The Atlantic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
China: On the morning of June 7 every year, Beijing's normally chaotic streets fall silent. Police patrol the main roads on motorcycles, as construction workers put down their hammers and power down their cranes, and rowdy taxi drivers finally take their hands off the horn. It is the first day of gaokao, the annual, nationwide college entrance exam, which will decide the college matriculation of the nine million or so students who take it. Sitting for nine hours over two days, students are tested on everything from Chinese and math to geography and government. More

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Children worldwide concerned about cyberbullying, not getting help
ZDNet    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
According to the survey, 54 percent of children were very or somewhat worried about online bullying, and 86 percent admitted being bullied online and offline — athough most of the bullying had taken place offline. The survey was conducted online in 25 countries including China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, polling more than 7,600 children aged 8 to 17. It examined a range of online behavior among youths, from "meanness" to online bullying or cruelty. More

District offers help for students new to US
Las Vegas Review-Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
They were new to the country, with little or no understanding of the English language. The Clark County School District in Nevada met 3,367 kids in that situation last school year. For those students, the district's English Language Learner program provides specialized instruction with a teacher fluent in their native language to get them up to speed with their classmates. The district's program covers nearly 100 languages. More

Finding the write stuff: A science teacher puts on her literacy hat
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
During the first week of May, Portia, a ninth-grade student of mine, stepped on stage to deliver a speech in front of 100 students, teachers and investors from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Portia was one of 12 students selected out of 600 applicants to be a One World Education Student Ambassador for a local, cultural or global issue that was important to her. I listened with pride as she spoke, realizing that most people in attendance were unaware of the journey Portia (and I) took to get to this moment. More

A year without Mexican-American studies in Tucson, Ariz.
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An Arizona law that went into effect last year essentially ruled that the Mexican-American studies program offered in the Tucson public school system was divisive and should be scrapped. At the end of the first semester without the classes, hard feelings still linger. For eight years, until this past January, Lorenzo Lopez taught Mexican-American studies at Cholla High in Tucson, Ariz., the very school from which he graduated in 1992. After high school, Lopez spent a couple years working odd jobs as a miner and a factory worker; anything to pay the bills. But when he enrolled in college to get ahead, it was one class — a course in Chicano literature — that changed everything. More

Health care for young adults: What the Supreme Court decision means
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On Thursday the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the bulk of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as the health care reform law or "Obamacare." The court found a central part of the law, the individual insurance mandate, constitutional, and Chief Justice John Roberts validated the mandate as a tax. With health care reform free to move forward, there is some good news and some bad news for young people. More

Federal agency clarifies mandate on accreditation of English-language programs
The Chronicle of Higher Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Weeks after it caused a furor by suggesting that university-run English-language programs would have to receive separate accreditation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a policy statement clarifying how such programs can demonstrate they are covered by institutional accreditation. More

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Students help English language learners worldwide
Washington State University    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Mohamed Elhess was a youngster in Libya, he couldn't formally study English. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, dictator Moammar Gadhafi had proclaimed that the language not be taught in schools. "So I learned English from pop music, and from books my brother brought from Egypt," said Elhess, a graduate student at Washington State University. "Now, English is back in Libyan schools, but there are no qualified teachers." More

Study: Bilingual education better for non-ELLs
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There's a robust body of research that has examined how the various forms of English-language instruction impact the ability of ELLs to acquire English and achieve academically, but a group of researchers is taking a completely different look at this question. How, they ask, do bilingual education programs — in which some instruction is delivered in an ELL's native language — spill over to impact the performance of students who are not learning English? More

ELL accommodations study gets top rating from federal reviewers
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A 2010 study that concluded that simplifying language on standardized-test items in math made it easier for English language learners to demonstrate their understanding of math concepts has earned the highest stamp of approval from the federal What Works Clearinghouse. More

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Mind reading from brain recordings? 'Neural fingerprints' of memory associations decoded
ScienceDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers have long been interested in discovering the ways that human brains represent thoughts through a complex interplay of electrical signals. Recent improvements in brain recording and statistical methods have given researchers unprecedented insight into the physical processes under-lying thoughts. For example, researchers have begun to show that it is possible to use brain recordings to reconstruct aspects of an image or movie clip someone is viewing, a sound someone is hearing or even the text someone is reading. A new study by University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University scientists brings this work one step closer to actual mind reading by using brain recordings to infer the way people organize associations between words in their memories. More

Duncan declares August 'Connected Educator Month'
THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a video address at the International Society for Technology in Education conference, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that August will be "Connected Educator Month," and called upon teachers and other educational leaders to innovate through online collaboration and learning environments. "Now more than ever we need strong leaders ... to guide the country in transforming education and vastly improving the opportunity to learn for every American," Duncan said. More

How to teach ... students the power of their voice
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom: Michael Gove's new curriculum will see 5-year-olds reciting poems by heart as part of the return to "traditional values". How that will pan out in real terms remains to be seen, but the power of the spoken and sung word is undeniably a fascinating subject. Amnesty International's The Power of Our Voices is a cross-curricular set of resources designed for English, music, citizenship and PSHE lessons targeted at 11- to 16-year-olds. More

Technology won't replace the classroom
Scientific American (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Last year, our principal posed this question to our faculty: "Can we be rendered obsolete by online learning?" The Khan Academy was receiving widespread attention for propagating the idea of an online learning experience for younger students. There was a general fear among school administrators and teachers in the K-12 education community that this could become an exclusively online learning system; that a computer could replace a teacher, and an "online learning environment" could replace a classroom. More
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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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