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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Jul. 11, 2012

NCLB law whittled down by White House
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In just five months, the Obama administration has freed schools in more than half the nation from central provisions of the No Child Left Behind education law, raising the question of whether the decade-old federal program has been essentially nullified. The Department of Education plans to announce that it has granted waivers releasing two more states, Washington and Wisconsin, from some of the most onerous conditions of the signature Bush-era legislation. With this latest round, 26 states are now relieved from meeting the lofty — and controversial — goal of making all students proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014. Additional waivers are pending in 10 states and the District of Columbia. More

Undocumented 'dreamers' in college welcome immigration shift
The Chonicle of Higher Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Anayely Gomez has been in the United States for so long that her only memory of Mexico is of leaving. At 3-years-old, Gomez huddled with her mother in the bed of a pickup truck crossing the border. She kept asking where they were going, though her mother urged her to be quiet. They made part of the journey on foot, periodically ducking into prickly bushes for cover. A thorn pierced her left shoulder and lodged there; the sliver is still visible beneath the skin almost 21 years later. "It doesn't hurt anymore," Gomez says. "It's just a part of me now." Their journey ended in New York City, where her father found work in factories and warehouses. This spring, Gomez also took a job at a factory — though, unlike her father, she has a college diploma. More
Related story: Obama's deferred status order creates new problems for some dream students (Inside Higher Ed)

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. If you have any questions, please contact and put "Grammar" in the subject line.

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Save the date: Facilitating learning through student empowerment
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On 15 November, TESOL International Association will host a symposium at the Intercontinental Hotel, Isla Verde, San Juan, Puerto Rico. The event, titled "Facilitating Learning Through Student Empowerment," 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.

OCR to investigate Wake County, NC, discrimination claim
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights will investigate whether the Wake County public schools in North Carolina are discriminating against English-language learners and their parents by not providing adequate translations of important documents, according to a letter from OCR team leader Olabisi L. Okubadejo dated June 27 and addressed to representatives from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Legal Aid of North Carolina. The investigation is in response to a complaint filed against the district last month by the SPLC and Legal Aid, as we reported. The civil rights groups allege that the school system does not always provide adequate translations of documents such as notices of long-term suspensions or special education materials to Spanish-speaking parents. More

After SB 1070 decision, both sides arm for continued legal battle
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the hours after the Supreme Court struck down portions of Arizona's SB1070 but left the measure's so called "show me your papers provision" standing, Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, made what amounts to a war room shopping list. The ACLU needed 15 new phones and the wiring to make each of them work, tables, chairs and hundreds of copies of its SB 1070 civil rights complaint form. By Tuesday, work crews were inside the ACLU's Phoenix offices setting up a phone bank. The ACLU will have a complaint hotline up and running when law enforcement agencies begin to implement what's left of SB1070, Soler said. More

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Some states tie reading tests to grade promotion
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fourth grade is when young people stop learning to read and start reading to learn, says Marcus Winters, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Even so, because less attention is placed on developing reading skills past the third grade, Winters said, students who have not mastered the skill by then struggle to keep up and fall further behind each year. To address that issue, Ohio and North Carolina passed legislation requiring third-graders to pass a reading test before advancing to fourth grade. They join four other states — Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma and Florida — with similar policies, said Jaryn Emhof of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Emhof said more states, including Mississippi and New Mexico, are considering similar laws. More

Political maneuvering stalls language bill in Ukraine
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament refused to accept the resignation of its leader and instead adjourned for the summer, leaving uncertain the fate of a contentious bill that would allow local and regional governments to grant official status to Russian and other languages, in addition to Ukrainian. Volodymyr M. Lytvyn, the chairman of Parliament, has refused to sign the bill, effectively blocking it from reaching President Viktor F. Yanukovich, who could sign it into law. Instead, Lytvyn submitted his resignation, challenging the Party of Regions, which holds the majority, to choose a new chairman who would let the bill go forward. More

A telling language lesson in Hong Kong
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Hong Kong: A new chief executive took the oath of office in Hong Kong, and then, somewhat astoundingly, he made his inaugural speech in Mandarin. Leung Chun-ying did not speak a single syllable of Cantonese, which the government says is spoken by 89 percent of the people here. Hong Kong's official languages are listed as English and the indeterminate "Chinese." If spurning the local dialect seemed like an odd choice, it was almost certainly prompted by the presence of President Hu Jintao of China. More

More public schools splitting up boys, girls
The Associated Press via USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Robin Gilbert didn't set out to confront gender stereotypes when she split up the boys and girls at her elementary school in rural southwestern Idaho. But that's exactly what happened, with her Middleton Heights Elementary now among dozens of public schools nationwide being targeted by the American Civil Liberties Union in a bitter struggle over whether single-sex learning should be continued. Under pressure, single-sex programs have been dropped at schools from Missouri to Louisiana. More

Shakespeare in 3 languages
San Jose Mercury News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
What's in a name? Shakespeare Iraq is out to prove that the Bard's English will sound just as sweet mixed with a little Arabic and Kurdish. Led by Bay Area, Calif.-educated professor Peter Friedrich, this ambitious band of Iraqi theater students raised more than $30,000 on Kickstarter to fly to the U.S. and fulfill their dream of performing at the fabled Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The troupe of 10 students recently landed in the Bay Area to rehearse at Santa Clara University before making the trek to Ashland for their big debut, with the first performance. More

UK teachers spend time in Chennai school to learn about Indian education system
The Times of India    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom: TI School in Chennai, run by the AMM Foundation, has been selected by the Helga Todd Teachers' Education Foundation of the United Kingdom for hosting two Cambridge-traditionally teachers under a teacher exchange program. Amanda Stec and Victoria Evans will spend around seven weeks in the school, teaching English and other subjects. This is the first time that a school from South India has been selected for this prestigious program. More

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California works on new English language development standards
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
California education officials are moving ahead to revamp the state's English language development standards so that they are aligned with the academic demands of the common-core standards in English/language arts. The state education agency has published the draft ELD standards for each grade level, along with loads of other supporting documents and is asking for feedback before final adoption later this summer. More

Oh say can you say? Books apps and ELL students
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Step inside Julie Kusiak's first-grade class at Ocean Knoll Elementary in Encinitas, Calif., and you'll find her students using iPads in small group rotations. For her English language learner students in particular, it's an enriching time where they get to read books on an iPad. The apps provide tools for them to master words and sentences on their own. "My favorite feature in book apps is the Read to Me option," says Kusiak. "Additionally, kids not quite able to read at their grade level can access the book, tap on a word and have it pronounced and tap on an object and see and hear the word. This is great for second language learners and helps build their vocabulary and reading fluency." More

Study of dual-language immersion launches in Portland, Ore., schools
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
RAND Corporation researchers have kicked off a three-year research project — backed with a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education — to examine the effects of dual language programs on student achievement in English/language arts, math and science in the public schools in Portland. This study's results will be highly anticipated, as the demand for dual language programs increases and more school districts look to them as the future of language instruction for both English language learners and native English speakers. More

The diversity of America's undocumented youth
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Most of the faces of undocumented students who have publicly revealed their immigration status to push for immigration reform and more specifically, passage of the federal DREAM Act, are Latino. And that makes sense given that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico. But DREAMers are a far more diverse group, and that's a message that a fledgling Asian immigrant youth group is intent on spreading in the New York and New Jersey region. More

English spreads as teaching language in universities worldwide
University World News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Politecnico di Milano, one of Italy's most prestigious universities, will teach and assess most of its degree and all of its postgraduate courses in English from 2014. While the move proved controversial in Italy, it is far from unusual — universities worldwide have been switching wholly or partly to teaching in English for a number of reasons. This became clear during interviews with academics and higher education officials in a selection of countries around the world. More

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Cost of using recruiting agents
Inside Higher Ed    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom: British universities recruited more than 50,000 international students through commission payments to overseas agents last year, spending close to £60 million (more than $93 million) on the practice in 2010-2011, a Times Higher Education investigation has found. Using data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Times Higher Education found that 100 universities enrolled 51,027 students in 2011, or the nearest recorded period, via a process involving agents paid on a commission basis. This represents a significant proportion of all international students in Britain. In 2010-2011, 174,225 non-European Union students enrolled on higher education courses in the country, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. More

Study: Children internalize stereotypes about abilities
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Have you ever heard a girl say she hates math because she's "no good" at it? I've heard it plenty of times, even from my own daughter who actually has an aptitude for the subject. Research has shown that children believe their ability to do certain things depends on how much natural ability they have for the task. These so-called "entity theories" can affect their performance. And now a recent study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that involved 4- to 7-year-olds suggests that children can adopt these beliefs from information they hear about their gender or certain social groups. More

Poll: Most teachers, but not the public, are aware of Common Core
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Nearly nine out of ten public school teachers are now aware of the Common Core State Standards, and most of them have a "very" or "somewhat" favorable impression, according to new polling data. Meanwhile, the general public is still mostly out of the loop about the new standards. Sixty percent of U.S. voters say they have seen, read, or heard "nothing at all" about the new standards for English/language arts and mathematics in the past six months, a figure unchanged since an early poll in August of 2011. Another 20 percent replied "not much" to the question. More
Related story: Study: Teacher support for CCSS growing; ongoing professional learning will be key
(School Library Journal)

English proficiency needed in the globalizing world
The Korea Herald (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Korea: In Korea many people tend to mistake English professors for language and grammar instructors. That is why whenever people discover I am an English professor, they begin to ask many questions about what they can do to study and learn English. It never occurs to them that I am a scholar of English literature, not an English teacher. Even if they knew however, they would think, "English literature is written in the English language, so what difference does it make?" More

3 things to unlearn about learning
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"If you're not feeling uncomfortable about the state of education right now, then you're not paying attention to the pressures and challenges of technology," said Will Richardson, a veteran educator author and consultant, at a talk at ISTE 2012. "We need to acknowledge that this is a very interesting moment, and even though in a lot of ways this isn't what we signed up for when we went into teaching ... as educators, it's our job to figure it out." Seeing the balance move from a place of scarcity of information to over-abundance on the Web — and the ability to "carry around the sum of human knowledge on our phones" — Richardson said educators must start thinking of schooling differently. More

What do emotions have to do with learning?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When parents and teachers consider how children learn, it's usually the intellectual aspects of the activity they have in mind. Sidney D'Mello would like to change that. The University of Notre Dame psychologist has been studying the role of feelings in learning for close to a decade, and he has concluded that complex learning is almost inevitably "an emotionally charged experience," as he wrote in a paper published in the journal Learning and Instruction. During the learning experiments described in his paper, he notes, the participating students reported being in a neutral state only about a quarter of the time. The rest of the time, they were were experiencing lots of feelings: surprise, delight, engagement, confusion, boredom, frustration. More
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