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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Jul. 10, 2013

 





Storytelling: A good way to learn English
The Star Online
Malaysia: Every effort by the Education Ministry to improve the English proficiency of our students and teachers alike, must be lauded. Storytelling is a common activity used in teaching English to primary as well as secondary students. Storytelling competitions with attractive prizes are held to encourage students to develop their oratory skills in the language. But then again, let us ask who are those telling the stories? More often than not, they are the average or above average students who get to participate.
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Reports: ELLs need more attention in common assessment groups
Education Week
The two groups of states working to design new common assessments need to devote more time and attention to English language learners and students with disabilities, conclude new reviews from the U.S. Department of Education. In its first-ever technical reviews of the test-development efforts underway by two state consortia — the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and Smarter Balanced — the federal education department is calling for both groups to focus more sharply on developing test items that all students, including those who are still learning English, can fully access regardless of their level of language proficiency.
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Improving ELL struggles — verbal acquisition of the past tense -ed following diphthongs in verbs: Part II
By Beth Crumpler
We are continuing the discussion from the article published two weeks ago, “Struggling with the past tense: Verbal acquisition of -ed forms of verbs.” In this second part of the three-part series, we are addressing verbal fluency of past tense –ed following the combined vowel sounds of diphthongs. Use of –ed after vowels requires a separate more lengthy discussion because there are many vowel sounds in the English Language. The important thing to teach students to remember is that diphthongs are vowel sounds in one syllable. If students can remember that diphthongs at the end of verbs are vowel sounds, then they can easily remember to add the –ed.
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Related resources: New Ways in Teaching Connected Speech (TESOL Press)


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College students lent helping hand to improve English
The Times of India
India: Higher Education Department has launched 'Aao Angreji Seekhen' for students, who take admission in colleges after finishing school, but are poor in English.

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Does geography influence how a language sounds?
National Geographic
Languages spoken at high altitudes are more likely to contain a certain kind of sound made using short bursts of air, according to a new study. The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, is the first to show that geography can influence how a language sounds.

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Native-speaking English teachers in decline
The Prague Post
Czech Republic: Kirsty Mooney, 40, was fresh out of university when she decided to leave her hometown of Rochdale, in north England, and move to the Czech Republic. Mooney quickly found work teaching English to Czech students.

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House readying K-12 bill for floor
National Journal
Legislation that would fundamentally rework the K-12 education system is headed for the House floor, according to Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn. The bill passed out of his committee last month. Now its members are promoting it with videos emphasizing different aspects of the legislation. The most recent video deals with one of the more emotional elements of the law — how to hire and evaluate teachers. The Republicans on the committee are touting the bill's removal of federal qualification requirements that they say get in the way of hiring the best teachers.
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Education reform movement learns lesson from old standards
NPR
Common Core — the new set of national education standards in math and English language arts — will take effect in most states next year. This move toward a single set of standards has been embraced by a bipartisan crowd of politicians and educators largely because of what the Common Core standards are replacing: a mess. In years past, the education landscape was a discord of state standards. A fourth grader in Arkansas could have appeared proficient in reading by his state's standards — but, by the standards of another state, say Massachusetts, not even close.
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English matters
The Star Online
Malaysia: There has been an increased interest from certain quarters to allow the use of English as a medium of instruction in schools again. Presently, English as a medium of instruction is already available but only in private and international schools. Only a small percentage of Malaysians can afford to go to such schools. As there are Chinese and Tamil vernacular primary schools alongside national schools, some say that Malaysians should have the freedom for another option.
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NCLB waiver states split on new flexibility offer
Education Week
States with waivers from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act are almost evenly divided on whether they will take U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan up on his offer of extra time to begin using new teacher-evaluation systems to decide which educators to hire, fire, or promote. The federal Department of Education has decided to allow states that received waivers by the summer of 2012 to push back the deadline for using their new evaluation systems. Initially, schools were supposed to have those systems fully in place by 2015-2016.
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New English language learning money, not much change
Las Vegas Review-Journal
English language learning, long the heaviest anchor on achievement and graduation rates in Nevada's public schools, has a higher political profile and higher funding levels than ever before. But will more attention and more money make a difference if schools don't change the way they teach kids who speak another language at home?
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New California school funding formula gives more money to help low-income, ESL students
The Huffington Post
After several decades without any major changes, the way California funds its schools is being completely revamped. Gov. Jerry Brown signed several new bills into law that will allocate more money to help disadvantaged students and give districts more control over how their money is distributed, according to the Associated Press. The bills replace California's previous school-funding system, which California Newswire describes as "overly complex, inefficient and inequitable."
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School touts progress among English language learners
Daily Herald
Illinois' Palatine Township Elementary District 15 officials have reason to believe their approach to English language learners is working. A recent report shows more students are eligible to "exit" their second-language program in 2013 compared to the previous two years. The exit criteria are set by the Illinois State Board of Education, which requires certain composite and literacy scores on the ACCESS test, which measures English language proficiency.
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FATA Secretariat changes medium of instruction to English
The Express Tribune
Pakistan: Talking to The Express Tribune, FATA Secretariat Education Secretary Muhammad Abid Majeed said a total of 69 schools in Fata have so far been converted into English-medium institutions. "From grade six onwards Mathematics, Social Studies and General Science will now be taught in English," Majeed said, adding that subject specialist teachers in these schools possess a master's degree and are well-versed in the English language.
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Parents give kids early start in English
The Japan Times
Japan: More and more parents are interested in having their children start studying English even before they turn 1, with an eye on giving them an advantage in their future careers. At S&S International School, an English school for infants in Yokohama, 2-year-olds were fluently pronouncing the English word "carbon" as a native English instructor showed them chemical symbols. In the education program targeting children aged up to about 5, teachers get the young children to read English words repeatedly and help them strengthen their writing skills and acquire the ability to think in English.
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Do international students need better English skills?
Maclean's
Canada: Professors at the University of Regina, which has doubled its international student population from 730 in 2009 to 1,448 in 2013, say students are being admitted without good enough English. English professor Susan Johnston told CBC that some don't have the listening skills to understand what's going on in classes and they also appear to be crafting papers in one language and converting them to English, "through some kind of Google Translator or BabelFish program." The discussion isn't limited to Saskatchewan. The international student population grew by 60 percent nationwide between 2004 and 2012. While universities are happy to have the extra tuition, funding and diversity that foreign students bring, schools face pressure to make sure these new recruits can read, write and speak well enough to succeed.
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College students lent helping hand to improve English
The Times of India
India: Higher Education Department has launched 'Aao Angreji Seekhen' for students, who take admission in colleges after finishing school, but are poor in English. Objective of the scheme is to help students learn basics of writing and spoken English. According a BU Professor H S Yadav, HoD, department of planning, most of students studying in under-graduates are poor in both writing and spoken English. "Books are in English, they have to answer in English but they want lectures in Hindi. Students focus on higher studies but not on the language," he said.
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The power of language
The Sun Daily
Malaysia: Current engagements with English language students and teachers in an international university reaffirm my view that regular use of the language — any language — is necessary to reinforce one's proficiency. Continuous reinforcement through reading and listening, speaking and writing is the key to raising one's level of proficiency. Even at the highest levels of competency, consistent use of the language increases one's communicative resources viz vocabulary, expression and discourse skills.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    PARCC approves testing policies for English language learners (Education Week)
Response to intervention and instruction for ELLs (By Erick Herrmann)
More pupils speaking English as a second language (The Telegraph)
Study: US education spending tops global list (CBS News)

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




Need grows for adult ESL classes
WCSH-TV
The news that Portland Adult Ed has to move out of the crumbling West School has revealed a big need in Maine's largest city: Adult classes for those learning English as a second language. Portland Adult Ed has seen the number of students in its program grow 42 percent over the past 5 years, and it has a 6 month wait list. And Learning Works, which created a grant-funded ESL program in 2003 partially to meet the demand, also has a 6 month waiting list for its classes.
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Study: Kids learn vocabulary from parents' actions, not words
Psychology Today
How do you make sure your child learns the vocabulary that's such an astoundingly good predictor of later success? As a parent, you talk to you child, right? A study from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that it's quality and not quantity of speech that counts. If your speech matches your actions and the surrounding context, kids learn your words — if not, it's just talk. And this study shows that empty talk is cheap.
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Your primary school language reveals if you move away or stay behind
University of Copenhagen via Science Daily
The way you speak in primary school reveals if you will stay behind in your native part of the country or head for the big city to get an education. This is one of the conclusions in University of Copenhagen linguist Malene Monka's new PhD thesis. "My research shows that young people, who end up moving away from their native area to seek an education and career elsewhere, change the way they speak already in their early youth. They speak less dialect than comparable peers at the same age," Malene Monka from LANCHART at University of Copenhagen explains.
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Study: Todays' schools lack creative teaching and learning
eSchool News
A new survey reveals that creative teaching and innovative learning are stifled by an over-reliance on testing and assessment, forcing teachers to stay inside a restrictive curriculum that will limit students' ability to excel in the future workforce. The study, sponsored by Adobe, states that "transformative change" is needed to inject a creative boost into the current education system, and that despite a worldwide demand for creativity and creative thinking, today's students are not prepared to enter a workplace that requires inventive thinking.
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Ways to boost teaching of English — Part 2
The Star Online
Malaysia: With the Education Blueprint currently being finalized, there remains an excellent window of opportunity to re-chart our course for the future. At the primary school level where parental choice is significant, it appears that the dream of a national school where students of different races come together at age seven is more unattainable than it was in 1970.
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Teaching to the letter of the law
Language Magazine
Ms. Johnson, a well-regarded and experienced fifth-grade teacher at Central Elementary School, has two new students with very limited English language skills. Despite Johnson's experience teaching children with various abilities, this is her first year teaching Spanish children. The school does not have a permanent English as a second language teacher, so Johnson decides to consult with her colleague. "I really want to help these children and they seem so eager to learn, but they don't speak enough English to participate in the class activities."
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Related resources: Helping English Language Learners Succeed in Pre-K Elementary Schools (TESOL Press)


The cost of poor English
AllAfrica
Namibia: How did we all learn the English vocabulary at school? What has been your main source of new English words that you use in daily communication? Answers to such questions vary, with every individual claiming to have come through a different stream.
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Everything you need to know about Common Core testing
THE Journal
These words, uttered by teachers, parents and students, have been part of standardized testing folklore for many years. As many current state-level accountability measures are dominated by multiple-choice questions with only four options, guessing has seemed almost strategic. Well, things are about to change.
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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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