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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   November 11, 2014

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Elementary practicals
Language Magazine
United Kingdom: The British government, in recognition of the value of language learning in early childhood, took a bold step this year and mandated compulsory teaching of a second language for children ages seven to eleven in English primary [elementary] schools. As of this September, all primary school students are required to study one of seven languages, and though the most popular choice is French, followed by Spanish, some schools offer Mandarin and Arabic. Many believe that this move is essential for the U.K. to remain competitive with its European counterparts. This is clearly a commendable move, but is it an incredible advance or a wildly optimistic plan? How will the schools actually implement this, and is there support in place to see this plan comes to successful fruition?
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Common Core math standards put new focus on English learners
Education Week
When he began working the Common Core State Standards into his instruction three years ago, New York City middle school mathematics teacher Silvestre Arcos noticed that his English language learner students were showing less progress on unit assessments than his other students. "It wasn't necessarily because they didn't have the numeracy skills," recalled Mr. Arcos, who is now a math instructional coach and the seventh grade lead teacher at KIPP Washington Heights Middle School, a charter school in New York.
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ESL students learn English, keep pride in their culture
The Marion Star
Their words slipping in front of and behind each other's, the trio of third-grade students excitedly told the story of John Merrick, the English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity in the late 1800s before he died as a result of his condition. "It's very sad," Francisco Flores said somberly, after joining Noelia Morales and Ashley Martinez in sharing facts about Merrick, whose real name, historians say, was Joseph Merrick. The 8-year-old classmates said reading stories that they're interested in helps them learn how to read, speak and understand English.
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Smartphone addicts: A project-based learning activity
Use this group activity with your adult English language learners to get them to hone their presentation skills as well as interact meaningfully with the English-speaking world. Other recent TESOL Blogs: Helping ELs to Learn to Ask Questions During Reading; ESL Games: Same o' Same o'; Business English and an American Football Star: Focus on Improvement; and English as a Global Language: 4 Academic Journals.
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Call for submissions: TESOL Connections feature articles and Quick Tips
TESOL Connections is seeking previously unpublished articles about English language teaching and learning that cover innovative, unusual, or interesting things you have found in your years of experience in ELT; trends in ELT and how they might influence teaching; and useful, tested classroom practice tips or strategies. Feature articles and lesson plans are 900–1,200 words; Quick Tips are 375–575 words. Read full submission guidelines and submit today!
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Saint Michael's College

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New from TESOL Press: Fostering International Student Success in Higher Education
Gain a better understanding of international students' needs through quotes, anecdotes, and reflection questions, and learn specific strategies, resources, and activities that serve as tools for responding to common instructional challenges.
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GOP leaders in Congress outline education priorities
Education Week
After easily capturing the number of seats they needed take control of the U.S. Senate — and padding their majority in the House of Representatives — congressional Republicans have laid out an aggressive education policy agenda that includes overhauling the long-stalled No Child Left Behind law and the mammoth Higher Education Act. While divided government will remain, as the White House is in Democratic hands at least until President Barack Obama finishes his second term, the new political calculation in Congress will likely spur movement on education bills.
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Reports: District leaders are hedging their bets on Common Core assessments
THE Journal
According to two new reports by the Center on Education Policy at George Washington University, district leaders in states belonging to one of the Common Core assessment consortia appear to be hedging their bets on the impact of the consortia-developed assessments. Both reports are based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of school districts in states that had adopted the CCSS in the spring of 2014. The first report focuses on district preparations for the CCSS-aligned assessments being developed by Smarter Balanced and PARCC. The second report examines districts' efforts to obtain CCSS-aligned curriculum materials and provide professional development services for teachers and principals.
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Professional Development Opportunities in Washington DC

CAL Institutes provide research-based strategies and practical, hands-on tools to help educators develop effective classroom activities on a variety of key topics, including meeting the demands of the Common Core State Standards.

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Earn Your MA in TESOL at SPU

Seattle Pacific University’s MA in TESOL program prepares you to cross cultural borders and engage students from around the world. Whether you intend to teach in colleges, universities, or one of the various language institutes throughout the United States and abroad, SPU’s program gives you the preparation you need. MORE.

States listen as parents give rampant testing an F
The New York Times
Florida embraced the school accountability movement early and enthusiastically, but that was hard to remember at a parent meeting in a high school auditorium here not long ago. Parents railed at a system that they said was overrun by new tests coming from all levels — district, state and federal. Some wept as they described teenagers who take Xanax to cope with test stress, children who refuse to go to school and teachers who retire rather than promote a culture that seems to value testing over learning.
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Jefferson Parish, La., public schools spending $5.6 million on English language learners
The Times-Picayune
The Jefferson Parish public school system is spending about $5.6 million this year on new programs and support for English language learners, officials announced. The increased spending comes as the schools face an unprecedented spike in immigrant student enrollment and work to comply with a federal agreement to end discriminatory practices against Latino students. In September, officials estimated they'd spend about $4.6 million to educate immigrant children. Recently, they announced an additional $1 million for other initiatives for those who struggle with English, regardless whether these students are immigrants.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords LANGUAGE.

Cleveland schools propose changes to ESL program
A school system is changing the way it runs a language program to meet a growing demand. More immigrant families are sending their children to classrooms in Bradley County, and they need to learn English. Cleveland City Schools administrators said Thursday that they have 100 more English-language learners this year than in the last couple of years. It's enough for school officials to stop band-aiding their current English as a Second Language program with a more structured approach by proposing a more structured program with a supervisor, according to Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Martin Ringstaff.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    How to better serve English language learners (TribTalk)
Children should start learning languages at age three (The Telegraph)
Family night for English language learners (Chicago Tribune)
Key considerations for mainstream teachers of newcomer ELLs (By: Holly Hansen-Thomas)
Changing lives by promoting literacy (Times Union)

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

Thammasat English test to be available via computer tests
The Nation
Thailand: The Thammasat University General English Test — widely used to test English knowledge of not just students but also people from various career backgrounds — will be available via computer-based testing services from February 2015. "Up until now, all tests had been conducted on paper," Associate Professor Dr. Supong Tangkiengsirisin said in his capacity as director of the Language Institute at Thammasat. The institute has long conducted the TU-GET on a monthly basis. It has described the transition to computer-based tests as a move needed to fulfil its vision that its services conform to international standards.
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Report: Hispanic students' math performance on steady uptick
Education Week
Hispanic students' performance on 4th and 8th grade national math exams improved significantly between 2003 and 2013, with an increase in some cases that amounted to the equivalent of one grade level, according to a new report released Monday by The Child Trends Hispanic Institute, a Bethesda, Md.-based education research firm. Charlotte, Boston and Houston were among the "notable" big-city school districts in which Hispanic students showed significant long-term (10-year) gains on 4th grade math assessments.
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How to change the world: Service PBL in the Common Core literacy classroom
The Common Core literacy standards ask educators to do something exciting. At the same time, Common Core asks us to coach students to write something real. As adults, we know that writing is more exciting, meaningful, scary, and engaging when we write to achieve our own goals. Real writing mashes genres together to captivate readers and ensnare specific audiences. Common Core necessitates educators to create reading and writing tasks that require mixed, complex reading for student-generated, real-world writing tasks.
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How digital games help teachers make connections to lessons and students
It's not unusual for educators to use analog games in the classroom, but as more classrooms gain access to technology, digital games are also making a strong showing. A recent Joan Ganz Cooney Center survey of 694 K-8 teachers found that 74 percent of those surveyed use digital games in the classroom, up from 50 percent two years ago. Many of the teachers finding the most success are good at creatively connecting the game back to the curriculum, while allowing it to maintain the qualities of a good game. These teachers are often more comfortable with games themselves, playing for fun in their spare time, and are thus more likely to see valuable classroom connections.
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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 or contact us at

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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