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International students: Can we do more to welcome them?
We know starting university can be a stressful time for many — new surroundings, new peers and a high level of academic expectation make even the most confident student a little anxious. But think how much greater this is for those students whose main concern is not only finding their way around campus, but getting to grips with a different language, culture and set of customs.
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Smarter Balanced approves testing supports for English learners
The Smarter Balanced states that are designing Common Core assessments have agreed to a series of testing supports for students that include native language translations of test directions and test items in mathematics for students who are not yet proficient in English. But not every English learner in the 25 states that make up the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will have access to the range of available language supports. Member states with laws and regulations that restrict or prohibit the use of languages other than English to teach or assess ELLs do not have to offer such translation options for test takers.
What the hell is water? The importance of context
By Andy Curtis
Author David Foster Wallace's story of fish not realizing they are in water illustrates so eloquently — in just 50 words or so — that when we're in something all the time, we don't notice what we're in. Or, if we did notice it at some point in the past, we stopped noticing it some time ago. Wallace went on to explain that "the immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about." Why is that?
TESOL Unplugged: Back to Basics, a TESOL symposium in Cairo, Egypt
TESOL International Association is assembling a community of like-minded ELT professionals to talk about ways we can all unplug from classroom technology. This symposiumon 27 January 2014 discusses the tension between media- and technology-rich classroom environments and building on emergent language in a "natural" environment. Registration is now open!
Toward a Praxis of Recognition for Latina/o ELLs in the U.S. Public School System
This TESOL Virtual Seminar, scheduled for 18 September 2013, is FREE for TESOL members, US$45 for nonmembers. Registration closes 15 September.
TESOL International Symposium in Guangzhou, China
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.
For more TESOL education programs, please visit the TESOL website.
Assistant Professor, Sookmyung Women's University, Korea
Assistant/ Associate Professor in Bilingual Education and Literacy, College of Education–University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
CESL, Adjunct Instructor, University of Arizona, USA
For more jobs, please visit the TESOL Career Center.
Paper: Federal officials should detail their Common Core work
A new paper calls on the federal government to release information about how much time and money it has spent on the initiative. That recommendation, and others, are in a new paper released by the Pioneer Institute, "A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K12 Education." The Boston-based advocacy group has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted by all but four states. The paper is co-sponsored by several organizations that have also been highly critical of the standards: the American Principles Project, the Pacific Research Institute and the Civitas Institute.
Government urged to review English teaching, learning methods at teacher training institutes
The government should review the English language teaching and learning methods at the Malaysia Teacher Training Institutes in view of teachers' prevailing poor proficiency generally to teach the subject. National Parent-Teacher Associations Collaborative Council president, Associate Professor Datuk Mohamad Ali Hasan said the teaching methods of lecturers at the IPGM needed to be monitored to ensure they were teaching the subject according to the syllabus set.
EPI Report: Let's reverse the damage from Race to the Top
A new report by the Economic Policy Institute finds big flaws in the Race to the Top program and questions how much the $4 billion spent to spur education improvements in the states will actually narrow achievement gaps and improve student outcomes. The report was released by the American Association of School Administrators and the Broader Bolder Approach to Education, a national campaign launched by the left-leaning EPI. The Race to the Top is the Obama administration's signature education-improvement tool, funded originally with $4 billion in economic-stimulus money provided by Congress in 2009.
Needy children in Hong Kong benefit from English program
South China Morning Post
An English afterschool program for underprivileged children has produced good results after only eight months. A survey, released yesterday by poverty relief group the Society for Community Organization, found 87 percent of the children they surveyed who were in the program recorded a 10 percent improvement in their English skills. The children took an exam in June and their scores had improved an average of 10 points in a 100-point marking system when compared with an exam taken in December last year.
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5 college admissions mistakes international students can avoid
U.S. News & World Report
Applying for international admission to a U.S. college is daunting. But here's a secret from a longtime admissions director: Many American universities wish they had more international students. They want their classrooms to reflect the interconnected world we live in, because students learn as much from each other as they do from their professors. That's why your unique cultural identity and experiences will set you apart — if you can avoid these five common mistakes that many international students make during the admissions process.
Immigrants and refugees get help
For the past 30 years the Don Bosco Foundation has been helping immigrants and refugees with a variety of services. However, after parting ways with its financial partner last year, those services were threatened. Enter the Independence School District. The district has been educating adults for 20 years and after receiving a grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the two have partnered to create a one-of-a-kind service in the region. Four days a week inside St. Anthony's Parish, immigrants and refugees attend school, learning how to speak, read, write and listen in English. For the past two years, Jenn Graham has been teaching adults how to communicate in their new home.
Natural born linguists: what drives multi-language speakers?
The Guardian (commentary)
Susanna Zaraysky, 36, speaks seven languages and has lived in nine different countries. With Russian as her first language, she now lives in California. "Being multilingual is fundamental to who I am because I think in different languages. My mind starts a thought in one language, then finds a particular word in another language that fits exactly what I am thinking and then may switch to a third language by the end of the paragraph."
Read with your children, not to them
Kansas State University Research and Extension via Science Daily
Research has found that reading with young children and engaging them can make a positive impact on the child's future and their family. Bradford Wiles is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in early childhood development at Kansas State University. For most of his career, Wiles' research has focused around building resilience in vulnerable families. His current research is focused on emergent literacy and the effect of parents reading with their children ages 3 to 5 years old.
Bilingual speakers develop mental flexibility
Researchers are learning that the benefits of being bilingual extend well beyond enhanced communication capabilities. Penn State researchers discovered that as bilingual speakers learn to switch languages seamlessly, they develop a higher level of mental flexibility. "In the past, bilinguals were looked down upon," said Judith F. Kroll, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Linguistics and Women's Studies.
Think twice, speak once: Bilinguals process both languages simultaneously
Penn State via Science Daily
Bilingual speakers can switch languages seamlessly, likely developing a higher level of mental flexibility than monolinguals, according to Penn State linguistic researchers. "In the past, bilinguals were looked down upon," said Judith F. Kroll, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Linguistics and Women's Studies. "Not only is bilingualism not bad for you, it may be really good. When you're switching languages all the time it strengthens your mental muscle and your executive function becomes enhanced."
Preparing for diversity: Resources for teachers
How can teachers effectively engage with students from diverse backgrounds? It's a question many teachers face at the beginning of the school year, and of course there isn't one prescribed solution. If you're looking for answers, start first with How Teachers Can Prepare to Work with Culturally Diverse Students and Their Families, an article from the Family Research Project at Harvard University. Highlighting research from leading diversity education leaders, the article touches on tips and strategies teachers can use in the classroom. Of all the responses, researchers agree that communication plays an integral role, but there's also insight into preparation, connecting with students and building relationships with families.
Why teaching mindfulness benefits students' learning
What do children and adolescents need to be successful in life? When this question arises, a common answer is "a good education." Academic success is the goal that is emphasized in standards-based movements about education reform, and it is currently in the forefront of public consciousness. The most typical benchmarks of academic success include outcomes such as test performance, progress through the educational system, and mastery of content knowledge. However, teachers and therapists who work with youth on a day-to- day basis, and who witness their progress and their struggles, know that there is more to this story. There is little doubt that in addition to academic success, we also want our youth to be happy and well.
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 email@example.com.
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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