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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Nov. 7, 2012






Obama wins 2nd term as president
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Barack Obama — who pushed through an unprecedented windfall of education funding in his first term and spurred states to make widespread changes to K-12 policy through competitive grants — has been re-elected, the Associated Press reported tonight. Although school issues were a major focus of the president's first four years in office, he did not outline a particularly robust second-term agenda for education during a campaign dominated largely by the economy. As the Democratic standard-bearer, he reiterated a pledge, made earlier this year, to recruit and train 100,000 new math and science teachers, but otherwise steered clear of trumpeting new initiatives. Instead, he focused on the differences between his record and that of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, his Republican rival, on education funding. More



Report: Scrap 1-size-fits-all approach to teaching ELLs
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As more and more school districts around the country put the common standards in English/language arts and mathematics into practice, one refrain is growing louder and louder: Instruction for English learners must change radically. Of course, the instructional shifts required in the common core are significant for all students, but for the nation's large — and growing — population of English learners, traditional approaches of teaching them the language by emphasizing grammar and syntax, for example, have to give way to instruction that allows ELLs to understand content, think critically and communicate ideas — even if imperfectly. More






Plan now to attend TESOL 2013
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Using the Online Itinerary Planner, attendees to the TESOL 2013 International Convention & English Language Expo can plan from more than 800 sessions covering the widest variety of content for English language educators. Not registered yet? Register today to take advantage of Early registration pricing.


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Don't miss the Job MarketPlace at the TESOL convention
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Looking for a job? Have jobs to fill? Curious about trends in employment for English language teaching? Every year, recruiters and job seekers from all over the world meet at Job MarketPlace to fill a variety of English language education jobs available worldwide: long and short term; teaching and administrative; public and private; Pre-K–12, adult and higher education.

Call for 2015 convention program chair
TESOL    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Develop the convention theme and shape the academic program for the 2015 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Please read on to learn about the requirements and how to apply for chair of the 2015 convention program. More



Cutting to the Common Core: Disrupting discourse
Language Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Common Core State Standards rolling out in 46 states aim to graduate all U.S. high school students with 21st century communication and literacy skills, career and college ready. These new national standards signal a pronounced shift in how academic language and literacy instruction must be approached. More

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California board to vote on Common Core for English learners
EdSource Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Up to now, California schools have placed a greater emphasis on teaching the state's 1.5 million English learners the parts of a sentence rather than the meaning of a sentence. That focus on syntax over significance is in for a massive overhaul if, as expected, the State Board of Education votes tomorrow to approve new English Language Development standards aligned to Common Core state standards in reading and writing. More

Taiwan unlikely to list English as official language
CNA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Taiwan: Premier Sean Chen dismissed the possibility broached by an opposition lawmaker that English could be made an official language of Taiwan. He made the remarks following an English skills index unveiled by an international education institute that showed Taiwan lagging behind other Asian countries in English proficiency. In response to a suggestion made by opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Chih-wei that listing English as an official language could improve English proficiency nationwide, Chen said that at the current stage, Taiwan is unlikely to make any such decision. More



China's English ability lagging behind
China Daily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
China: A recent survey shows that China has a low proficiency in English. The finding was in Education First's English Proficiency Index, a ranking of English-language abilities worldwide. Between 2009 and 2011, the survey examined 1.7 million people in 54 countries in which English is not the first language. More



LAUSD parent centers aim to boost involvement at schools
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At Gault Street Elementary in California, waves of parents flow through the campus daily. Sometimes the tide is stronger, said parent center director Rosalva Waterford, but they are always there. Volunteers make copies for the teachers using one of the center's three copy machines — including the one they call la viejita (the old woman) a decades-old, yellowing behemoth that frequently gets passed over for the newer models. Parents sometimes help move classroom furniture for an activity or clean up afterward. Centers like the one at Gault in Lake Balboa offer free classes that focus on parents' needs, from helping their children with their homework to learning English. More

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Mentor program proves it has merit
The San Diego Union-Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A pained expression crossed Elizabeth Covarrubias' face. The 16-year-old junior had just turned to a chapter in her geometry textbook titled "Indirect Proof and Inequality in One Triangle." "I'm having trouble with geometry," Covarrubias said. "My mom said I had to come here." "Here" is the cafeteria, which, for an hour after school every Thursday, is transformed into a giant study hall for the Titan Academic Assistance Program, or TAAP. The peer program pairs underclassmen — specifically, English learners, the socioeconomically disadvantaged and students with disabilities who need coursework help — with other students, typically upperclassmen, who are eager to mentor. More

English second language of selective students at Sydney schools
Herald Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Australia: Sydney's selective schools are writing newsletters in Mandarin following a growing increase of students from non-English-speaking backgrounds. NSW Department of Education figures show 56 percent of students — or 2311 pupils — accepted into public selective schools in 2012 have a language background other than English. More

Be bold as English teachers
New Straits Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Malaysia: Dr. Maimunah Abdul Rahman, a linguist, made this call at the closing of the first Johor English Language Seminar on Writing and Speaking held recently. Maimunah, who is the executive director at the M Suites Hotel, said English language teachers were in the "hot seat," as there was pressure on them to improve the mastery of English among the younger generation. "English language teachers have to be lively." Their classrooms are meant to be noisy, so teachers have to explore and adopt innovative methods to conduct their lessons." She urged the teachers to avoid holding back ideas because of time constraints, or any form of obstacles that might hinder the learning process. More


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Maryland voters approve in-state tuition for undocumented students
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Undocumented immigrant students will be eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Maryland after voters there overwhelmingly ratified a state law at the polls. With 84 percent of precincts reporting just before midnight, 58 percent of voters answered "yes" on Question 4, while 42 percent voted against the measure that grants in-state tuition rates to undocumented students, the Associated Press reported. Maryland voters were the first in the nation to go to the polls to weigh in on a statewide measure that will lower the financial barrier to higher education for undocumented students who came to the United States as children and meet certain conditions. More



International students speak up with language volunteers on campus
The Independent Florida Alligator    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
University of Florida students have the chance to meet, help and often befriend international students without ever leaving Gainesville. About 200 students from all over the world come to UF each semester, according to the UF Language Learning Center website. Students who sign up for conversation partners are matched with English-speaking volunteers. Together, they participate in the English Language Institute's Conversation Partner Program. The partners meet up for about an hour a week, or they can make up their own schedules. They spend at least half the time speaking in English. More



Report: Taiwan lags in English skills in Asia
Taipei Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Taiwan: English skills differ among industries, with workers in the tourism, consultancy and telecom sectors topping the list, while civil servants came in last. Taiwan ranked ninth among 12 Asian countries rated in an English skills index published in Chinese, outperforming only Vietnam, China and Thailand. More


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Creativity contest unveils the joys and struggles of learning English
The Toronto Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Canada: Madlin Eisho speaks little English and sometimes relies on Google's translation function to communicate with her English teacher. When she learned about a creativity contest sponsored by Teachers of English as a Second Language Ontario, she decided to use her hands to do the talking about her experience of learning English in Canada. The 38-year-old Iraqi refugee skipped three days of ESL classes at Caledon Community Services in Bolton this summer and buried herself in building a 3-D photo collage of her new life in Canada. Eisho's entry to the contest shows her new "home" set on a cardboard model of the community agency — complete with paper cars in its parking lot and a red-and-white welcome sign — with cut-out images of her new family in Canada, including her instructors, classmates and their families. More



Rethinking reading instruction
ScienceDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many educators have long believed that when words differ on only one sound, early readers can learn the rules of phonics by focusing on what is different between the words. This is thought to be a critical gateway to reading words and sentences. But scientists at the University of Iowa are turning that thinking on its head. A recent study published in Developmental Psychology shows certain kinds of variation in words may help early readers learn better. When children see the same phonics regularities, embedded in words with more variation, they may learn these crucial early reading skills better. What might appear to make learning a more difficult task — learning about letter-sound relationships from words with more variation — actually leads to better learning. More

Teachers: Technology changing how students learn
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There is a widespread belief among teachers that students' constant use of digital technology is hampering their attention spans and ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks, according to two surveys of teachers. The researchers note that their findings represent the subjective views of teachers and should not be seen as definitive proof that widespread use of computers, phones and video games affects students' capability to focus. Even so, the researchers who performed the studies, as well as scholars who study technology's impact on behavior and the brain, say the studies are significant because of the vantage points of teachers, who spend hours a day observing students. More

Improving Educational Outcomes for English Learners in the Middle Grades

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Teachers concerned about students' online research skills
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Teachers are concerned that students are a little too quick to turn to Google and other internet search engines for answers: That's one finding of a Pew Research Center survey of more than 2,000 teachers nationwide queried about students' digital research habits. On the other hand, Rainie said, it means that students are prioritizing that information in a way that might not give them access to all the high-quality and relevant stuff that would be useful. More

How presidential candidates' actions speak louder than their words
ScienceDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New York University and the University of California, Berkeley have released a comprehensive computerized study of the body language of the major-party U.S. presidential candidates, using expertise of computer scientists and body language experts at both universities. The team, whose work appears on its research site, GestureCloud.Org, matched the words with the gestures of President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney on a word-by-word basis to reveal how much weight or emphasis they put behind specific words. This study highlights what words each presidential candidate emphasized through digital motion-tracking of their body language. More



Teacher absence as a leading indicator of student achievement
Center for American Progress    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On any given school day, up to 40 percent of teachers in New Jersey's Camden City Public Schools are absent from their classrooms. Such a high figure probably would not stand out in parts of the developing world, but it contrasts sharply with the 3 percent national rate of absence for full-time wage and salaried American workers, and the 5.3 percent rate of absence for American teachers overall. Certainly, it isn't unreasonable for Camden residents to expect lower rates of teacher absence, particularly when the district annually spends top dollar — more than $22,000 per pupil — to educate its students. And advocates for students of color, who constitute 99.5 percent of the district's enrollment, could potentially use these new data from the Department of Education to support a civil rights complaint. More

Teaching English through rhythm, rhyme and rap
Times of Oman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Muscat: Rhythm, rhyme and rap. Yes, English language specialist Jason R Levine has been doing precisely that and more. He has developed an approach to English language teaching based on songs that he writes and performs. In Oman for a trip put together by the U.S. Embassy in Muscat, as part of the U.S. Department of State's English Access Microscholarship Program, Jason shared his teaching methods with students and teachers throughout the Sultanate's governorates, using songs and hip hop to promote accurate and fluent use of the English language. More

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How will classrooms change with the use of computers?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By now, most would agree that technology has the potential to be a useful tool for learning. Many schools have invested in some form of technology, whether it's in computer labs, tablets, or a laptop for every student, depending on their budget. But for many schools, finding a way to integrate the use of tech in a traditional setting — teacher-centered classrooms — is proving to be a challenge. What educational software should be used? What criteria should the software be judged against? And what happens to the role of the teacher and classroom activities when students are using software for practice exercises? More

Teaching in multicultural classrooms: tips, challenges and opportunities
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom: What does a range of nationalities in class bring to the teaching and learning experience? A collection of teachers gives us a glimpse into their multicultural classrooms. More



The way teachers are getting school supplies may surprise you
Takepart.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Each year, American teachers pay $3 billion out of their own pockets on classroom supplies. Yes, $3 billion. Teachers in many parts of the country barely make enough to pay bills, much less have extra money to funnel back into the classroom. But fortunately more people — and politicians — are waking up to this critical economic problem in the classroom. More

Off the clock: Giving students more time to demonstrate learning
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Recently, a distressed mom asked for advice about how to help her smart, hard-working daughter who is struggling in school. Her daughter has always been a poor reader and the mother suspects that she is dyslexic. Better than average grades, however, have prevented the daughter from qualifying for school testing to see if she has a disability. As a high school sophomore, some of her struggles are related to staying on top of the volume of work she is assigned, but many of the snags that she is hitting are related to not having enough time to express what she knows during assessments. More



TESOL Core Certificate Program accepting applications
The TESOL Core Certificate Program offers 130 hours of online training in the theory and practice of English language teaching. The program is designed for current or prospective teachers worldwide who have little to no formal training in ELT. If you would like to participate, however, you must act quickly. Applications are due Sunday, 18 November. For more information, please contact corecertificate@tesol.org.

For more TESOL education programs, please visit the TESOL website.




Assistant Professor of English, Valparaiso University, Indiana, USA

Applied Linguist, The American University in Cairo, Egypt

IEP Instructor, Intensive English Program, University of Dayton, Ohio, USA

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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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