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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Dec. 3, 2013

 





Special report: Learning a language online
eSchool News
In tiny Weybridge, Vt., the most common industry is farming. Yet the fifty or so students in the town's K-6 elementary school are preparing for a much larger world of opportunities by learning a second language. With just four full-time teachers at Weybridge Elementary, that poses a challenge. The school does have a part-time Spanish teacher who comes in three days a week, says Principal Christina Johnston — but it's an online curriculum developed by Middlebury Interactive Languages, in collaboration with faculty from nearby Middlebury College, that is helping to fill the gap.
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Oral English test returns
Global Times
China: The oral English test will be included in Haidian district's primary school graduation exam in January of 2014, constituting 20 percent of the entire English test, the Beijing Youth Daily reported. The test will be administered through an electronic platform. The oral English test had been part of the larger exam for years, but was canceled last year to ease the burden on students; because teachers were administering the test face-to-face, it had extended the duration of the exam.
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Common Core academic standards force teachers to work on critical thinking over memorization
The Associated Press via Fox News
Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in teacher Amy Lawson's fifth-grade classroom. Today's students are being asked to think more critically. For example, what might a character say in an email to a friend? "It's hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in kindergarten through high school.
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The Font — A literary journal for language teachers
TESOL
The new nonprofit online journal, The Font is for teachers who enjoy creative writing or reflecting on their language teaching and learning experiences through writing. The journal encourages submissions of short stories, articles, essays, anecdotes, poems, cartoons and other forms of creative writing which provide insight, reflection, humour and inspiration on the theme of language teaching or learning, at home or abroad. You can find samples of published issues and submission information by visiting www.thefontjournal.com.
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Rethinking English language teaching and learning in China
TESOL
TESOL President Deena Boraie considers the future of ELT in China and the world. What English language teaching policies and approaches will work best in the future? Other recent TESOL blogs: Best Language Learning Games: Part 3 of 5, Using Superstitions for Practicing Cause-Effect Phrases and Tech Training & Tutorials via EdTech.tv.
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Education programs coordinator — TESOL International Association
TESOL
The TESOL Central Office in Alexandria, Virginia USA, has an opening for an Education Programs Coordinator. The deadline for applications is Friday, 13 December 2013. Follow the link for the full job description and how to apply.
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English language can be a barrier for international students
Iowa State Daily
Living in a country far from home, where everyone speaks a language you didn't grow up with, can be a challenge. For some international students, the English language can be a barrier that makes them feel lonely and excluded.

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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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Obama administration backtracks (again) on teacher equity
The Washington Post
President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have talked the talked about the importance of teachers, but when it comes to providing kids with equitable access to great teachers, they haven't exactly walked the walk. Here is a post on the issue by Tara Kini, senior staff attorney at Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy. She is also a member of the Coalition for Teaching Quality, a group of about 90 civil rights, disability, parent, student, community and education organizations dedicated to ensuring that truly highly qualified teachers are in all classrooms.
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How PISA results will impact US schools
eClassroom News
International PISA test results can help guide U.S. schools, experts say. Much debate has focused on the role of international rankings and assessments in U.S. education. Experts say U.S. education leaders can use data about top performing countries to inform U.S. education practice. One such test is the PISA, an international study launched in 1997 that assesses 15-year-olds in reading, math, and science every three years in an effort to evaluate worldwide education systems. PISA results will be made public on International PISA Day, which takes place on Dec. 3.
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Survey: Districts heavily focused on new tests, materials, for Common Core
Education Week
A new survey by an education marketing organization finds that school districts are making a top priority of shifting materials, instruction and assessments to reflect the Common Core State Standards. That's not too surprising, of course, given that all but four states have adopted the standards. But it offers yet another thermometer of sorts to measure the level of attention and activity around the new standards.
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Experienced teachers are vital to success of systems
Contra Costa Times
In an effort to keep educational costs in check, America's cash-strapped states, local school districts and charter schools are hiring less costly novice teachers. Some of the new hires are energetic college graduates supplied for two-year stints by programs such as Teach for America. In the late 1980s, most of the nation's teachers had considerable experience — only 17 percent had taught for five or fewer years. By 2008, however, about 28 percent — or more than one in four of America's teachers — had less than five years of experience. The proportions of novices in the classroom are particularly high in schools in underprivileged areas.
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12 NCLB-waiver states want extra year for full teacher-evaluation rollout
Education Week
A dozen states have applied for extra flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education to give them another year of wiggle room as they roll out new teacher-evaluation systems. And 15 states have asked federal officials for a special waiver so they can give fewer tests to students, the department announced. States including Maryland, Kentucky, and North Carolina want to delay, by one year, tying teacher evaluations to teacher personnel decisions. That's something federal officials offered back in June as states struggled to implement new common standards, new tests, and high-stakes teacher-rating systems that tie personnel decisions to student growth.
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Ontario, Ore., seeing success for English language learners
The Argus Observer
At first glance, Ontario, Ore., high school teacher Jerry Maldonado's classroom looks pretty ordinary. Posters of prefixes and suffixes, Greek and Latin root words adorn the walls. A projector displays grammar exercises on the white board. Students copy vocabulary words into their notebooks — contemplate, designate, implement and procrastinate. But when Maldonado asks her students to define their words and use them in sentences, some of the students struggle and Maldonado prompts them in Spanish, making it apparent that this isn't a typical English class.
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Language teachers from Jamaica making a difference in Japan
Jamaica Observer
Jamaica: Thirty-one-year-old Stacie Miller is among the more than 200 Jamaicans who have made the trek across the Pacific to the eastern nation of Japan over the past 13 years, to serve as assistant language teachers. The young, talented Jamaicans are forging a path for themselves in the Far East, and making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of students, as they participate in various exchange programs, most notably the Japan Exchange and Teaching program and the Interac program. Miller, who migrated to Akita, Japan more than a year ago, is employed by the Daisen City Board of Education, as an assistant language teacher, where she teaches English language at the kindergarten, primary and junior high school levels.
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Straight outta ESL class: Learning English by learning slang
Public Radio International
Donald Chung stood in front of his classmates at the UCLA Extension school and started to throw a fit — well, as much as the mild–mannered student from Taiwan could muster. "I don't know what he's trying to pull," Chung said. "The guy's a total flake!" His friend Jiu Hua Zhang chimed in: "You said it!" The students had spent a good portion of the class practicing these expressions as part of their "street talk" course. In many foreign countries, English classes start as early as preschool. But thousands of students still come to the U.S. to get what they can't get back home: the idioms, the catchphrases — the slang.
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English language can be a barrier for international students
Iowa State Daily
Living in a country far from home, where everyone speaks a language you didn't grow up with, can be a challenge. For some international students, the English language can be a barrier that makes them feel lonely and excluded. Once they get to America, a concern for international students is the "Test of English as a foreign language," also known as the TOEFL test. It evaluates their listening, reading and writing skills and is required for non-native English speakers in order to be allowed to study at Iowa State. However, the mandatory nature of the test lead to an unhealthy obsession among international students with TOEFL, said Joan Chamberlin, director of intensive English and orientation program, IEOP.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    US experts to train Saudis in English language teaching (Arab News)
Leadership lessons from the language classroom (By Andy Curtis)
MOOC will teach English (Financial Review)
7 things I wish I'd known before teaching ESL (The Huffington Post)

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Adult English language learners struggle against program's policy
Minnesota Public Radio
Every year, as many as a half-dozen students at the Ronald M. Hubbs Center in St. Paul have to be asked to leave the center's English language programs. The center has little choice. Minnesota law requires Adult Basic Education English language learner students to progress at least one level every 30 months for their programs to receive funding. The problem, say critics, is they often have no place to go to get the English skills they need.
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How virtual games can help struggling students learn
U.S. News & World Report
It seems like kids do everything online these days — and school is no exception. More and more, educators are taking advantage of digital advances to supplement their teaching in the classroom, and are seeing encouraging results. This is especially the case for certain subgroups of students that typically struggle academically, such as English language learners and special education students.
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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.

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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Craig Triplett, Senior Editor, Web Content and Social Media Manager for TESOL, 703-518-2526
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