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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Aug. 7, 2013

 





English language still challenge to universities
AllAfrica
Rwanda: Both students and professors in universities are still struggling with their English language skills, which are a constant challenge. Winnie Mukandayisenga, a level-2 student in Foundation Education at KIE, describes her challenges as a non-native English speaker: "With a francophone background I had to create ways to develop my English skills besides the consistent English course at college. I attend several special trainings and read enough material on my own to overcome language difficulties."
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ELL advocates call for PARCC tests in Spanish
Education Week
A tricky issue facing both groups of states designing common tests for English/language arts and mathematics is whether to make native-language assessments available for students who are still learning English. Neither the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers nor the Smarter Balanced consortia has publicly announced what it will do about native-language translations of the new tests. Both groups have member states with vastly different approaches to testing English language learners. Arizona, for example, is an "English-only" member state in PARCC, while a fellow member, New York, requires that assessments be made available in multiple languages for students still learning English.
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Apps for English language learning: Intro to photo editors
By Beth Crumpler
ESL instructors can use photo-editing apps for unconventional purposes, such as for instructional support, for learning outcomes or to bridge the gap between the classroom and home studies. Photo-editing apps can tremendously change how students see information and how they study. This is a quick introduction to basic photo-editing app features and how those features can be used by ESL instructors.
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Industry Pulse: Do you use photo-editing apps for ESL instruction?
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TESOL announces 2014 Board slate
TESOL
The list of candidates for the 2014 Board and Nominating Committee is now available. Voting will take place October 2013. Members will receive more information via email in August.
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Become a member of the NBPTS Standards Committee
TESOL
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is accepting applications for the committee responsible for reviewing and revising Career and Technical Education Standards. The online application is available through 9 August 2013. Please visit the National Board website for information about the duties and responsibilities of standards committee members. For assistance or additional information, contact nominations@nbpts.org.
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Call for contributions: 'New Ways in Teaching Vocabulary,' revised
TESOL
One of TESOL's bestselling books, "New Ways in Teaching Vocabulary," is undergoing revision for a second edition under the editorship of Dr. Averil Coxhead. Classroom ideas are needed in the areas of Learning New Words and Phrases, Consolidating Vocabulary Learning, Vocabulary and the Four Strands, and more. See the full call for contributions. Deadline is 15 October 2013.
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Child's play
Language Magazine (commentary)
The field of computer-assisted language learning has been blossoming in recent decades. As a college language professor, I diligently attend conference presentations on the use of tech tools to enhance language learning.

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Supporting English learners in the primary classroom
2013 Teaching Channel
Common Core Standards ask students to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others in math; ask and answer questions about key details in a text; and participate in collaborative conversations about topics and texts.

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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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Tests linked to Common Core in critics' cross hairs
Education Week
Having failed to persuade lawmakers in any state to repeal the Common Core State Standards outright, opponents are training their fire on the assessments being developed to go with the standards and due to be rolled out for the 2014-2015 school year. They're using as ammunition concerns about costs and the technology required for those tests, in addition to general political opposition to the common core. A few states — including Georgia, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania — have already chosen to limit or end their participation in the assessments under development by two federally funded consortia, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
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Colorado begins controversial teacher-grading system
The Associated Press via The Denver Post
The video shows a fourth grade music teacher leading her pupils through four-beat patterns with a rest. Two dozen judges are watching, grading how well she's engaging students and leading the lesson. None of the judges is a music teacher. They're school administrators learning how to evaluate educators in a discipline not their own. It's no easy task, and as Colorado prepares for statewide implementation of standardized educator effectiveness ratings, it's the kind of thing many schools are going to be doing in every classroom.
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English language learners getting summer support
The Bulletin
Nashaly Diaz Silva knows what plants and animals are part of a desert ecosystem. She just doesn't know how to say it in English. Silva is one of a small group of Windham, Conn., students who arrived later in the year with little or no knowledge of English but would not have gotten the extra English language learner support over the summer because of her age. As a priority school district, Windham must provide summer school to all kindergarten through third-grade students who are not meeting grade-level requirements in reading. Silva and nine other fourth- and fifth-graders would have been left out of the mix in recent years.
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Changing the agenda
EastGreenwich Patch
The school reform movement has placed a great deal of emphasis on accountability. Using standardized tests and the common core, reformers have put students, teachers and schools on warning that they had better improve (or keep up). In doing this they have ignored one key component of accountability. What has been overlooked is leadership accountability. Did education reformers really believe that standardized tests as graduation requirements, closing schools and blaming teachers were viable means of creating student success? Didn't they recognize that English language learners, kids with special needs and those with socio-economic disadvantages would be negatively impacted?
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English mentors improve language in public schools
AllAfrica
Rwanda: In order to improve English proficiency among teachers in Rwanda, the Rwanda Education Board is seeking to recruit 1,000 mentors from the East African region to work primarily with primary and secondary level teachers. The deputy director general in charge of teacher development and management at REB, Damian Ntaganzwa explains, "We are still looking for qualified mentors to gradually increase model lessons and we hope to hit the target in this financial year. We have dispatched 930 mentors to primary and secondary schools in various parts of the country."
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New Orleans schools face complaint about treatment of ELL families
Education Week
A new complaint alleging that some charter schools in New Orleans are discriminating against the non-English-speaking parents of Vietnamese and Latino students has been filed with federal civil rights officials. The complaint — brought by two Asian-American civil rights organizations — says that a handful of charter schools on the city's east side are failing to provide translated documents to non-English-speaking parents regarding enrollment, report cards, parent-teacher conferences and major school events, suspensions and other disciplinary actions, and the availability of services for students who need English-language-acquisition support and/or special education.
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Test scores plummet for New York's students
Times Union
New York now considers less than a third of the students in third through eighth grade proficient in math and English, according to standardized test results released Wednesday. Just 31 percent of students statewide passed the math and English tests. Last year, the number was 55 percent in reading and 65 percent in math. Among black students, 16 percent are considered proficient, and for Hispanic students, 18 percent. Among those for whom English is not their first language, called English language learners, the numbers are even worse, just 3.2 percent proficient in English and 9.8 percent in math.
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The rise of English in academe — A cautionary tale
University World News
Europe: The rise of English as the global academic language is picking up legal steam in Europe. In late May, amid much controversy, the French National Assembly approved changes to the 1994 Toubon law. Those changes would ease restrictions on courses taught in English at French universities. The following day, a regional court in Italy went in the opposite direction, striking down plans at the elite Polytechnic University of Milan to offer all masters- and doctoral-level courses in English beginning with the 2014 academic year.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Arming Arkansas teachers with guns in school (USA Today)
Learning objectives, targets and goals (By Erick Herrmann)
Struggling with the past tense: Verbal acquisition of -ed forms following monophthongs in verbs (By Beth Crumpler)
Are texting and tweeting making our students bad writers? (Common Sense Media)
How early should kids learn English? (The Korea Herald)

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


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Adult education in Arizona gets $4.5 million
The Arizona Republic
The state of Arizona is spending money on adult education this year for the first time in three years — a funding gap that squeezed the local groups that help people get their high-school equivalency diplomas. The state budgeted $4.5 million for the state's adult-education program — one of the most effective in the nation — for the current fiscal year, after not funding it since 2010.
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Nepalis stress importance of English in their new country
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ganesh Pokhrel's smile is full and proud as he listens to his oldest daughter, Yadhavi, talk about her three siblings, the Nepali refugee camp where the family lived for 18 years and her education in Pittsburgh. He can't understand what she's saying, but the sounds of her English words are enough to bring a glow to his face. Pokhrel, 19, passed the English as a Second Language program in Pittsburgh Public Schools when she graduated from Brashear High School in 2012. Among the 710 students in the district's ESL program, Nepali is the most common primary language.
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Centers throughout the brain work together to make reading possible
University of Southern California via Science Daily
A combination of brain scans and reading tests has revealed that several regions in the brain are responsible for allowing humans to read. The findings open up the possibility that individuals who have difficulty reading may only need additional training for specific parts of the brain — targeted therapies that could more directly address their individual weaknesses.
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How many hours does it take to be fluent in English?
BBC News
United Kingdom: There are plenty of people in the U.K. for whom even basic English is a problem. According to the Census, 726,000 people in England and Wales said they could not speak English well, and another 138,000 said they did not speak it at all. Ling, 40, who arrived five years ago from China, found it difficult to learn English. "When I came here I was pregnant and so I was at home for the next three years. It took me longer to learn as I was very busy with the children." Eventually she was able to begin taking classes and now speaks good conversational English.
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Newer teachers most likely to be engaged at work
Gallup
U.S. teachers for grades K-12 with less than one year of experience are the most engaged at work, at 35.1 percent. Engagement drops to 30.9 percent for teachers who have been on the job for one to three years and falls further to 27.9 percent for educators with three to five years of experience. Engagement picks back up slightly for those who have been teaching for more than five years.
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Social status and power of action of speakers determine the way their statements are perceived
Universität Mainz via Science Daily
The actual standing of speakers within a society's power structure determines how their statements are perceived. This is the conclusion reached in a joint study undertaken by neurolinguist Professor Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky of the University of Marburg and linguist Professor Matthias Schlesewsky of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz with the support of Sylvia Krauspsenhaar, who participated in the study as a member of the Neurotypology research group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig.
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How are classrooms implementing mobile technology?
eSchool News
Advocates of mobile technology in the classroom say that devices such as tablets and smartphones boost student engagement and offer a way to personalize learning for each student. Now, a new survey takes a look at the extent to which mobile technology has penetrated classrooms and reveals what's keeping some districts from forging ahead with mobile technology deployments.
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Missed summer learning spells out long-term struggles
NPR
At first glance, Horizons looks like an ordinary summer getaway for kids: There are games, bonding time and lots of bagged snacks. But along with the songs and the pool, there are fractions to memorize and online grammar quizzes to take. An affiliate of a national network, the program in Washington, D.C., is a six-week, free summer service for children from low-income families. Its purpose is simple: to make sure they don't fall behind in school by the time September rolls around. The program runs from kindergarten through ninth grade, bringing the children back every year.
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The teacher's guide to social media
Mashable
Education is a two-way street — oftentimes, those who teach could stand to learn a few things as well. Social media, for one, is largely dominated by Generation Y. We invented it, we grew up with it and we know it like the back of our keyboard-ready hands.
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Child's play
Language Magazine (commentary)
The field of computer-assisted language learning has been blossoming in recent decades. As a college language professor, I diligently attend conference presentations on the use of tech tools to enhance language learning. In fact, in the 2012 convention program for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 207 sessions were identified as relating to technology, representing about one quarter of the 788 sessions available. The bulk of these sessions tend to focus on tech use within the secondary or post-secondary language classroom; however, tech tools are increasingly being used in early language programs as well. Ideas and suggestions abound, but what is happening in the trenches of elementary school language programs? What considerations are made by teachers when choosing to integrate — or avoid — technology in their language-learning classroom?
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TESOL International Symposium in Guangzhou, China

Registration is now open: Join TESOL in Guangzhou, China, 15–16 November 2013 for the international symposium Envisioning and Creating the Future for English Language Teaching and Learning. Come together with ELT teachers, teacher trainers, and administrators to discuss practical, research-based ideas, strategies, and tools to facilitate on-going improvement in the ELT field.

Separating Difference From Disability With Students Learning English as an Additional Language

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English Faculty, Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates

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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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