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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   August 05, 2014

 





Migrant program helps students catch up, learn English
The Daily Astorian
The halls of John Jacob Astor Elementary School overflow with tiny chairs, desks, tables and other classroom furniture. Maintenance crews install carpet, wash the walls, paint the gym and otherwise spruce up the school. But while most students take a break for the summer, about 85 to 90 migrant and English language learner students spend much of their July in the basement of Astor during the five-week ELL/Migrant Summer School.
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Common Core education standards: Why they're contested left and right
The Christian Science Monitor
When the final Common Core State Standards were released in 2010, they were notable, in part, for how little opposition they generated. After prior attempts to create uniform national standards had failed, that goal seemed to have finally been accomplished, and in a way that was bipartisan. Kentucky was the first state to sign on, and two months after the standards were released, more than two-thirds of states had adopted the standards. With few exceptions, educators hailed them as a big improvement for most states, a chance to give some uniformity to education expectations across the United States and ensure that students graduate from high school with a deeper understanding of subjects, better critical thinking skills and thorough preparation for college courses.
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Library linguistics
Library Journal
More and more, libraries strive not only to be spaces for researching subjects of interest to their patrons but to offer options that let users learn new skills, whether they're physically in the library or not. One area in which mobile learning through the library is making headway is language learning. Many online lesson providers offer programs through libraries that patrons can use in the building, at home, or even while waiting in line for a cup of coffee. In our first language learning survey, which gathered information on language learning programs from 337 public libraries nationwide, LJ asked public librarians around the country what they're doing to help patrons study a foreign tongue.
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TESOL Award for Distinguished Research: Now accepting applications
TESOL
This award recognizes excellence in research on language teaching and learning. Authors who have completed an empirical research project and a subsequent scholarly paper that was published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal during the 2013 calendar year preceding the award year are eligible to apply. Applications must be completed online by 1 November 2014.
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Focus on cultural education: A writing activity
TESOL
Use this easy and fun writing activity to help your English language learners learn about the culture they're studying in while improving their writing skills. Other recent TESOL blogs: Teaching Content-Area Vocabulary to ELs; ESL Games: It's All in the Description — A Speaking and Listening Game; Student-Generated Grammar Rules; and TESOL Advocates Are on Capitol Hill.
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TESOL launches new University of Pittsburgh Travel Award for IEP Instructors
TESOL
Funded by English Language Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, the new US$1,500 grant supports the professional development of ESL teachers and trainers in IEPs by offsetting the costs of the annual TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. Eligible applicants are those who work in intensive English programs in the United States, are members of UCIEP or AAIEP, or are accredited by CEA. Furthermore, eligible persons are active TESOL members.
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Brain imaging proves second language learners can process language to nativelike levels
Medical Xpress
With enough practice, some learners of a second language can process their new language as well as native speakers, research at the University of Kansas shows.

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English language tests inquiry declares thousands of results invalid
The Guardian
United Kingdom: More than 50,000 English language tests taken by overseas students to extend their British visas have been declared invalid or questionable as a result of an official investigation into cheating on a huge scale.

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Flexibility with English language learners
The Denver Post
The question of how to teach immigrant students has provoked perhaps the most bitter, rancorous debates in American education over the past 40 years.

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Select K-12 issues gained state legislative traction
Education Week
In a year when 46 states will hold legislative elections and 36 will select governors, lawmakers in various states pushed ahead on education priorities, including pre-K education, teacher evaluation, and revisions to school funding formulas. Those issues and others managed to break through despite continued ferment around the Common Core State Standards, including passage of a law repealing the standards in Oklahoma and a potential scaling-back of them in such states as Missouri and North Carolina.
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Summer computer academy expands diversity
Charlottesville Tomorrow
In a classroom full of laptops and giggling children, three girls hunch seriously over a computer trading insights in rapid Spanish about a game. They represent a much more diverse group of students who are learning to code and play with computers at the CoderDojo summer academy. CoderDojo, a weeklong camp hosted by Albemarle County Public Schools, allows kids to get hands-on experience with technology. The program has expanded from 600 students in 2012 to almost 1,000 this summer.
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'It would be best to speak English in classrooms'
Houston Chronicle
Amy Lacey, the former principal of Hempstead Middle School in Texas, made national news this year: Amid allegations that she'd instructed students not to speak Spanish on the Hispanic-majority campus, Hempstead ISD's board placed her on administrative leave, then voted not to renew her contract. Lacey became a flashpoint in the debate over Spanish's place in American schools, but the terms of her administrative leave prohibited her from speaking to the media.
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Proficient enough?
Inside Higher Ed
Carnegie Mellon University is partnering with Duolingo, one of its spinoffs, to see if a 20-minute, $20 test is sufficient to prove international students' English proficiency. Duolingo, meanwhile, hopes its test can upend the market. Duolingo, a crowdsourced web translation project created by researchers in Carnegie Mellon's computer science department, spun off from the university in November 2011 to become a venture capital-backed startup. The company now offers language learning Web and smartphone apps.
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  LAS Links Assessments Go Online

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Washington, DC, charter school educates parents alongside children
The Washington Post
The images in the book were bright and the words simple, but many of the women in the classroom hesitated as they sounded out each sentence. "If you can't read the words, can you talk about the pictures?" teacher Elizabeth Bergner coached. The goal for the women enrolled in Bergner's adult-education class in the District is to learn English, but an equally important target is to help their children learn to read. In a preschool classroom down the hall a few minutes later, the mothers had a chance to practice. They pulled their daughters and sons onto their laps and opened the book.
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Brain imaging proves second language learners can process language to nativelike levels
Medical Xpress
With enough practice, some learners of a second language can process their new language as well as native speakers, research at the University of Kansas shows. Using brain imaging, a trio of KU researchers was able to examine to the millisecond how the brain processes a second language. They then compared their findings with their previous results for native speakers and saw both followed similar patterns.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Feds back English learner lawsuit against state (The Hechinger Report)
How we kill languages and fail our cleverest children (The Conversation)
Cutting to the Common Core: The positive side of the digital divide (Language Magazine)
English language tests inquiry declares thousands of results invalid (The Guardian)
Osaka bets big on TOEFL to boost English levels (The Japan Times)

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




Motivation: The overlooked sixth component of reading
Edutopia
Trina is an eighth-grader trapped in her own prison. She has every excuse in the book and is often referred to as just unmotivated. But I don't buy that story. Not at all. To a five-year-old, learning is exciting. While some are academic naturals, others lag. Well-meaning educators intervene, and praise, rewards, and external incentives surface. Thus, we can see the sixth component of reading — motivation. But what of the adolescents who deflect their inability to keep up by throwing a pencil when you aren't looking, or by bullying others? Enter the "unmotivated" adolescent.
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Teaching kids skills for deep reading on digital devices
MindShift
There's no doubt that the experience of reading online is different than reading in print, but does it affect comprehension? While several studies have found student comprehension and retention are lower on digital devices, could it be that students just need to learn the right tools to enhance their digital reading? Maria Konnikova explores the research and theories behind reading in her New Yorker column.
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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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