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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Nov. 12, 2013

 





English proficiency falters among the French
The New York Times
France: Marseille’s new Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations opened in June, part of the city’s celebration of its status as this year’s European Capital of Culture. Though the museum is European in ambition, many of its exhibits are labeled only in French: English, though firmly established as the global language of business, education and culture, is glaringly absent from most of the signage, though an English-language audio tour is available. A study suggests that this absence is symbolic of a significant trend. The study, by Education First, an international education company, found that while English proficiency among European adults is generally increasing, proficiency in France is both low and declining.
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ELLs and nation's report card: No change in reading and math performance
Education Week
The reading and math achievement of the nation's English language learners in fourth and eighth grades shows few signs of budging, according to national test data results. Results from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as NAEP, or the nation's report card, show that 8th grade English language learners posted an average score in math that rose by two points since 2011, the last time the test was given, and one point in reading on the exam's 500-point scale, though neither is a statistically significant gain. For fourth grade ELLs, the average math score was exactly the same as two years ago and for reading, it dropped by one point, which was not a statistically significant change.
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China moves up in English language rankings
Want China Times
China: China ranked 34th among 60 non-English speaking countries for English comprehension levels, according to a report from Education First cited in the Beijing Evening News. English First conducted a series of tests and research on 750,000 volunteers for a year. China's ranking moved up 2 spots from 36th in 2012, putting itself ahead of France. The education firm's report said that the English comprehension of Chinese people has improved during the past six years. The number of Chinese tourists abroad increased substantially between 2005 and 2012 and they topped the charts for money spent, all major reasons for China's boosted ranking in the education firm's report.
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Call for proposals: 2014 Electronic Village
TESOL
The Computer Assisted Language Learning Interest Section invites you to submit a proposal for the Electronic Village at the 2014 TESOL Convention. The Electronic Village is a wonderful place to showcase innovative uses of technology in the classroom, including mobile technology. The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2013. The CALL IS will also be soliciting proposals for the Classroom of the Future sessions sponsored by TESOL and tied to the 50th anniversary in 2016.
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TESOL to help implement CCSS
TESOL
TESOL International Association has received a generous grant from the Braitmayer Foundation to design and pilot a series of professional development workshops. These practical, ready-to-use resources will help schools implement the Common Core State Standards for English learners at the beginning language proficiency level. The workshops will focus on four grade levels: lower elementary, upper elementary, middle grades and high school.
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2014 TESOL Convention — Call for volunteers
TESOL
The TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo needs your help! By donating a few hours of your time during the convention you can help attendees as well as TESOL. Give an hour or two at one of the many help desks, Pre- and Postconvention Institutes, bag and program pickup, or one of the other programs or functions at the convention. TESOL offers a $50 registration fee refund following the convention to confirmed volunteers of at least 4 hours at some stations. The volunteer form is available online.
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ELLs and nation's report card: No change in reading and math performance
Education Week
The reading and math achievement of the nation's English-language learners in fourth and eighth grades shows few signs of budging, according to national test data results.

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What it takes (and means) to learn English as an adult
NPR
Ana Perez never made it to high school. Her education ended after the sixth grade, when war broke out in her native El Salvador. She says she's "desperate" to learn English, but she gets nervous trying to speak it.

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Cutting to the Common Core: Making vocabulary No. 1
Language Magazine
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2010) call upon students to tackle increasingly complex informational and narrative texts and articulate their comprehension using academic register.

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States seek to calm districts' Common Core jitters
Education Week
State education leaders are moving to calm political tempests over the Common Core State Standards by adopting or reaffirming policies aimed at asserting local control over data, curriculum, and materials. But the classroom-level impact of those moves could be negligible as states forge ahead on Common Core implementation. On the one hand, officials' actions in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Michigan highlight anxieties over the privacy of information about individual students and what some see as state and federal intrusion into classrooms. At the same time, the specific steps, all in states run by Republicans, largely emphasize existing policy or practice.
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How Congress can improve teacher education
Roll Call
The nation's teacher education programs are in disarray. Many programs have low admission and graduation standards, weak curricula, inadequate clinical experience, faculty who are out of touch with practice and limited contact with schools. That's the bad news. The good news is that the federal government can change this to match the rhetoric of improving teaching with the resources to do it. In fact, Congress can do it not by enacting yet another new program, but by tweaking two existing programs slated for reauthorization. These are the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, seven years past due, and the Higher Education Act, which expires at the end of 2013.
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US 'report card' for 2013: Student achievement creeps upward
The Christian Science Monitor
America's students continue to make incremental improvements in math in fourth and eighth grades, and in eighth-grade reading. But schools and educators have made little progress on closing gaps in student performance by race — even over a two-decade period — and the gains that have been made are small ones. That's the verdict from the latest data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, otherwise known as the "nation's report card," which regularly measures students' performance on a variety of subjects.
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Learning English, but lost in translation
WBUR-FM
The English language learning population is the fastest-growing demographic in the Massachusetts public school system. But it's also consistently the worst performing, with the lowest MCAS scores and the highest dropout rates. This school year, the Massachusetts Department of Education is rolling out a new program that aims to train thousands of teachers to help non-English-speaking students. The mandated teacher training program has grand ambitions to improve student performance, but the changes come with a long, complicated history. In order to understand why the state is training some 30,000 teachers, you have to look back at 2002.
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Chinese and English: Dual language program grows in Casper, Wyo.
Missoulian
Anastasia Lite Li is a soft-spoken woman until her students enter the Chinese classroom. That's when the 24-year-old Beijing native with a master's degree in teaching Chinese as a second language comes alive. "Ni hao, Mackenzie," Li said, bending to shake the hand of a blond girl walking through her classroom doorway. "Ni hao, Braxton." Students in this kindergarten class at Paradise Valley Elementary in Casper, Wyo., know the drill: When the bell rings, the English ends. Their names are printed in English on strips of masking tape on a carpet near the back of the room, but little else is said or shown in English in Li's classroom, which is the first of its kind in Wyoming.
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The most important lesson schools can teach kids about reading: It's fun
The Atlantic
In a 2005 speech to the American Library Association, then-senator Obama described his view of the importance of literacy: "In this new economy, teaching our kids just enough so that they can get through Dick and Jane isn't going to cut it," he said. "The kind of literacy necessary for 21st century employment requires detailed understanding and complex comprehension."
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Promising practices
Language Magazine
All 19 Indian pueblos of New Mexico have an understanding that we are at a critical point in our long history — that critical point being the difference between language loss and language maintenance and revitalization. Many Pueblos still feel it is the responsibility of the family to give language, and in families where language remains strong, this is still being done. With this understanding and the desire to support families in maintaining their children’s language in the crucial early childhood years, the Keres Children's Learning Center opened at Cochiti Pueblo in September 2012 after six years of preparation: researching related endeavors, developing the model, shoring up financial support and laying the groundwork in the community.
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California school funding formula tied to English learners, needy
The Herald
California schools that serve low-income children and those with limited English language abilities will get more money in the next few years under recently approved changes. But how that money is spent and how schools are accountable for the results are still being debated at the state level. Organizations that lobbied for the changes want to make sure those extra dollars are spent on the children who are generating the added income in the first place.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword ENGLISH.




Sweden tops English language skills ranking
The Swedish Wire
Sweden: The English language skills of Sweden's adult population are the best in the world, among non-native English speakers, according to new rankings of 60 countries. Smaller European countries proved to be the most proficient in English, according to language learning company EF Education First's English Proficiency Index — the world's most comprehensive ranking of English ability. The analysis showed that better English could help smaller countries to improve their international competitiveness.
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December 9-12, 2013

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December 13, 2013

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Contest promotes better English speakers
The Nation
It is being promoted as "NJ Spelling Bee 2013", a contest organized by Nation Multimedia Group Public Company Limited and Total Access Communication Public Company Limited. Suthichai Yoon, chairman of Nation Multimedia Group and Jon Eddy Abdullah, CEO of DTAC, officially opened the "NJ Spelling Bee" at the John XXlll Hall Conference Center, the Suvarnabhumi campus of Assumption University. The two senior executives discussed the importance of learning English and the value of the NJ Spelling Bee. Jon said that understanding the English language deeply could lift individual potential and help in communication with people all over the world. Knowledge of English was also an advantage in boosting competitiveness and leading to success in business.
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Study: Malaysia has best English language speakers in Asia
The Star
Malaysia: Malaysia apparently has the best English language speakers in Asia, beating out Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China and Kazakhstan — according to a Singapore-based English language school.The school, Education First, which released the findings of their English Proficiency Index on their website, ranked Malaysia as having the highest level of English proficiency out of 13 countries in Asia.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    What it takes (and means) to learn English as an adult (NPR)
'We're not this alien group': Chinese students on fitting in at US colleges (The Atlantic)
Scaffolding: Helping all students reach academic excellence (By Erick Herrmann)
Tokyo English teachers to study abroad for Olympics (The Japan News)
What we can learn from teaching English abroad (The Guardian)

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


Universals of conversation: Words like 'huh?'
Science Daily
A word like 'Huh?' — used when one has not caught what someone just said — appears to be universal: it is found to have very similar form and function in languages across the globe. This is one of the findings of a major cross-linguistic study by researchers Mark Dingemanse, Francisco Torreira and Nick Enfield, at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
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Teaching your students how to have a conversation
Edutopia (commentary)
I was recently in a third grade classroom and was struck by the presence of rules that were posted for how to have a conversation. The poster said, "Each person must contribute to the discussion but take turns talking. Ask each other, 'Would you like to add to my idea?' or 'Can you tell us what you are thinking?' Ask questions so that you understand each other's ideas. Say, 'Can you tell me more about that?' or 'Can you say that in another way?'"
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Learning a new language is the newest method for teaching English effectively, eReflect states
PRWeb via NewsDay
The Ultimate Vocabulary blog editor has revealed through an interview with Kirsten Kukulski of the website englishisapieceofcake.com, that learning a new language helps teachers and other educators better understand what approaches and techniques to implement when teaching language skills to ESL learners. Kirsten Kukulski, an ESL teacher who's traveled around the world teaching young students English, told the Ultimate Vocabulary blog editor recently that each teacher can become more sensitive to what kind of approaches, methodologies and tools work with ESL learners by learning new languages themselves.
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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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