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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Sep. 17, 2013

 





Career dual-language educator named head of Federal ELL office
Education Week
A veteran bilingual and dual-language educator and former district superintendent has been tapped by the U.S. Department of Education to head up its Office of English Language Acquisition. Libia Gil, who currently serves as a vice president for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, or CASEL, in Chicago, has been named as an assistant deputy secretary and director of OELA. The OELA job has been filled on an interim basis for nearly a year since Rosalinda Barrera resigned last October.
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Teacher training is key to improving Hong Kong's English language skills
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong: A new school year is here, and so is an old problem. To put it bluntly, Hong Kong sucks at English. Everyone laments this, but no one is doing anything about it. So, where should we begin? At the source: teacher training. All education reform lives or dies at the point of delivery. Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington school system, is right when she says that at the heart of any quality education is a good teacher.
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Free Online Conference: Technology in Teaching — Principles in Practice
TESOL
This full-day conference runs 12 October 2013 and is hosted jointly by TESOL's Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section and IATEFL's Learning Technologies Special Interest Group. Topics are designed to provide a grounding for classroom practice in principled application of technology. Information on guest speakers, format and registration is available here.
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Call for authors: New TESOL book series
TESOL
The TESOL Book Publications Committee is accepting proposals for a new series on Perspectives on Teaching in Different Contexts. The series consists of 80-page books addressing the challenges specific to certain contexts for teaching English language learners. Please see the call and two helpful articles on context from the 14 August and 13 September issues of this English Language Bulletin. Deadline for proposals is 30 September 2013.
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TOEFL Small Grants for Doctoral Research in Second or Foreign Language Assessment
TESOL
The deadline is 15 October 2013 for applications for the TOEFL Small Grants for Doctoral Research in Second or Foreign Language Assessment. Cash awards up to US $2000 are available to promising students working in the field of foreign or second language assessment that will help them finish their dissertations in a timely manner. Applications received after 15 October will be considered for the next application deadline of 15 February 2014. For more information about the award, please visit www.ets.org/toefl/awards.
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A recipe for ELL student success
Language Magazine
As schools face the reality of the Common Core State Standards, assumptions about the effect they will have on struggling students is a prominent part of the conversation. The standards are meant to be achievement benchmarks that raise the bar for all students and provide guidance through the grade levels for the development of key learning goals.

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States may move closer to uniform way of identifying ELLs
Education Week
The widespread adoption of the Common Core Standards and the imminent rollout of shared content assessments is pushing states to find common ground in yet another dimension of schooling: how best to serve the growing population of English language learners.

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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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State and locals to US Senate: Rewrite No Child Left Behind Act
Education Week
A collection of big-name state and local government groups really, really wants U.S. Senate leaders to bring a bill to the floor to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and soon. "State governments, localities, and schools need a long-term resolution for the issues raised by the current federal education law, the No Child Left Behind Act," write the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National League of Cities, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and four other groups, in a letter sent to Senate leaders.
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Study: Most states' school funding tumbles since recession
Bloomberg News
More than two-thirds of U.S. states are spending less per child on schools than they were five years ago, a study found, showing how slowly governments are replacing funding that was cut because of the recession. At least 34 states will devote less on kindergarten through 12th grade on a per-pupil basis during the current school year than in 2008, once inflation is taken into account, according to a report released today by the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which tracks the impact of government decisions on those with low incomes.
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Poll: Majority of teachers support Common Core
U.S. News & World Report
Although more than three-quarters of teachers support adopting the Common Core State Standards for English and math, many in high-poverty schools doubt that their districts are prepared to implement the standards, according to a new poll from the National Education Association. In a poll, the NEA found that the majority of its members either "wholeheartedly" supported the standards (26 percent) or supported them with "some reservations" (50 percent). The NEA is the nation's largest teachers union, representing roughly 3 million employees working in every education level, from preschool through college.
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'Race to the Top' for education a flop, report finds
Politico
The Obama administration's signature $4 billion Race to the Top initiative, designed to spur far-reaching education reforms across the country and raise student achievement, is largely a failure, an analysis concludes. Most winning states made what the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education labeled "unrealistic and impossible" promises to boost student achievement in exchange for prizes that were ultimately paltry in comparison with their pledges.
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A recipe for ELL student success
Language Magazine
As schools face the reality of the Common Core State Standards, assumptions about the effect they will have on struggling students is a prominent part of the conversation. The standards are meant to be achievement benchmarks that raise the bar for all students and provide guidance through the grade levels for the development of key learning goals.
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Governor checks in on English language learners
Las Vegas Review-Journal
A small group of Hispanic kindergartners huddle around their teacher as she demonstrates how to cut on the dotted line. Entranced, they "Aww" when Kathleen Quigley makes a perfect cut, but they keep glancing at the stranger behind them. At the back of the room stands Gov. Brian Sandoval. He's largely the reason that Quigley won't be teaching more than 21 students this year or next. Before that, kindergartners had long been split into groups of more than 30 students at Cortez Elementary School.
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Phonics improves pupils' English, says educationist
The New Straits Times
Malaysia: Primary school pupils have shown a remarkable improvement in conversational English since lessons on phonics were given emphasis from January 2011. Brighton Education English language professional Maureen Parker said she had seen the improvement among Year One pupils under the new Primary Schools Standard Curriculum syllabus for English language. "It emphasises to the practical use of English. I have also met pupils learning under the previous KBSR syllabus, which was more exam oriented," she said.
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Why can't New York City kids master the English language?
Times Ledger
There has been more and more discussion recently about the sad state of English usage by American students. This apparently is not just a matter of elementary, middle or high schools. Students are entering college without the necessary tools to handle the language. In general, remedial courses have become a large fixture in higher education. Clearly, too many students can’t read, write or speak their own language properly.
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Charter school tackles adult education with online and blended courses
THE Journal
A new charter school for adults will open this week offering technology-driven education to adults who have faced chronic under-education and unemployment in Washington, D.C. The Community College Preparatory Academy, located in a site previously used for a public charter school, plans to serve 150 students in its first year and up to 350 by the third year. An initial charter application submitted in February 2012 said the school would expect to enroll 1,225 students at full capacity in multiple sites.
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Science, brains and learning languages
Getting Smart
We've known for several decades that there is a critical period for learning language: children are more likely to reach native (or native-like) fluency in language(s) that they learn before age 5. (The exact age and importance of this window is not written in stone.) The good news is that the benefits of learning a language do not disappear after age 5. A recent deluge of studies point to interesting and encouraging links between learning languages and the brain.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    States may move closer to uniform way of identifying ELLs (Education Week)
Mexico passes a weakened bill to evaluate teachers (The New York Times)
Bilingual speakers develop mental flexibility (PsychCentral)
International students: Can we do more to welcome them? (The Guardian)
5 college admissions mistakes international students can avoid (U.S. News & World Report)

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


Students' happiness at school goes a long way in learning
News-Leader
Got out an old study of school climate that my good and faithful research team conducted a fistful of years back. Why is a good learning environment so important? When students feel safe, enjoy being where they are and are happy, they tend to return more often, they tend to behave and they tend to learn. The overall climate of a school begins in the classroom. My research team discovered that classrooms could be new, old, high tech, low tech, large, small, near the principal's office or far away. It didn't matter.
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Ideas for implementing literacy Common Core in the non-ELA classroom
Edutopia
For those of us who work in states where the Common Core is already being implemented, we all must address the Common Core Standards, even if we are not English language arts or math teachers. However, this provides a great opportunity to support the literacy work already occurring in the ELA classroom. The Common Core Standards for Literacy in the History/Social Sciences, Science and Technical Subjects are all standards that non-ELA teachers, from art to science, can target.
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Translate this: Google's quest to end the language barrier
Spiegel Online
Can the language barrier be breached? Google certainly thinks so: Under the leadership of a computer scientist from Germany, the company is making progress toward a universal translation tool. But competition is looming from Microsoft and Facebook. When science-fiction writers envision the future of mankind, a number of ideas for improving the world repeatedly pop up. They include free, unlimited energy and spaceships traveling at the speed of light. And they include the creation of miniature computers that serve as universal translators, eliminating all language barriers.
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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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