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Home   Communities   Publications   Education   Issues   Convention   Join TESOL   Dec. 26, 2012

As 2012 comes to a close, TESOL would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of the English Language Bulletin, a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume next Friday, Jan. 4.

7 misconceptions about how students learn
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Feb. 15, 2012: Many people — educators included — cling to misconceptions about learning because they base what they think on their own experiences in school, ignoring what 21st century science and experience are revealing. Here are seven of the biggest myths about learning that, unfortunately, guide the way that many schools are organized in this era of standardized test-based public school reform. More

Report: Scrap 1-size-fits-all approach to teaching ELLs
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Nov. 7, 2012: 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

World Class: Be the Solution

In our TESOL/TFL programs, you’ll learn the world’s most important skills from our instructors: bringing people together through the power of a new language. MORE

Why every professor needs linguistics 101
The Chronicle of Higher Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
March 7, 2012: By now it should be obvious that grammar instruction doesn't benefit anyone. Students hate it; teachers never learned grammar themselves, or if they did, they promptly forgot most of it. And study after study shows that overt grammar lessons don't lead to better writing. Right? More

Understanding accents: Effective communication is about more than simply pronunciation
ScienceDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Oct. 11, 2012: With immigration on the rise, the use of English as a second language is sweeping the world. People who have grown up speaking French, Italian, Mandarin or any other language are now expected to be able to communicate effectively using this new lingua franca. How understandable are they in this second language? Instead of assuming that someone who sounds different is not communicating effectively, we need to listen beyond the accent, says Concordia University applied linguist Pavel Trofimovich and his colleague, Talia Isaacs. Their work tackles the tricky question of what distinguishes accented speech from speech that is difficult to understand. Their results show that accent and comprehensibility are overlapping yet distinct dimensions. More

Stanford-led Common Core project for ELLs previews new resources
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
June 6, 2012: For those of you hungry for resources, advice, ideas, or guidance on how to prepare educators for teaching th common standards to English learners, the team of prominent experts working on exactly this issue has begun to roll out new draft materials. The group — led by Stanford University education professor Kenji Hakuta and Maria Santos, the former head of programs for ELLs in New York City's public schools — gave a preview of several resources under development at a Seattle meeting of the Council of the Great City Schools. Gabriela Uro, who heads up ELL policy and research for the council, is a member of Hakuta and Santos' "Understanding Language" team. More

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The 5 worst things a teacher can say to students
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
May 2, 2012: It is much easier to destroy than to build. Teachers work with young people, and they are fragile works-in-progress. A rash or unfeeling word can undo so much of the trust and growth that we strive for. As the year winds down and spring fever kicks in, some of us may be feeling weary. Yet no matter what happens, there are some words so destructive that they should never be uttered by a teacher. More

US Department of Education releases literature review on programs for ELLs
edCount LLC    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
May 23, 2012: The U.S. Department of Education officially released a literature review conducted by edCount, LLC titled Language Instruction Educational Programs: A Review of the Foundational Literature. The review, part of a larger project titled Language Instruction Educational Programs: Lessons from the Research and Profiles of Promising Programs, examines the research literature on a range of topics that may factor into LIEP design and function, in order to support school districts in their decisions about how to choose appropriate LIEPs for their students' needs. More

Value-added evaluation hurts teaching
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
March 7, 2012: Here's the hype: New York City's "worst teacher" was recently singled out and so labeled by the New York Post after the city's education department released value-added test-score ratings to the media for thousands of city teachers, identifying each by name. The tabloid treatment didn't stop there. Reporters chased down teacher Pascale Mauclair, the subject of the "worst teacher" slam, bombarding her with questions about her lack of skill and commitment. They even went to her father's home and told him his daughter was among the worst teachers in the city. More

Technology can sometimes be wasted on English language teaching
The Guardian (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Great Britain — May 16, 2012: We are now 12 years into the new millennium and technology has become a prime element of almost all English language teaching conferences and journals around the world. Yet, when we look for real improvements in student performance and effective use of technology by teachers, I think that the results are pretty disappointing. More

Teaching English to Young Learners?

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Everything you thought you knew about learning is wrong
Wired    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Feb. 1, 2012: Taking notes during class? Topic-focused study? A consistent learning environment? All are exactly opposite the best strategies for learning. More

SCOTUS decision could help students do better in school
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
July 4, 2012: When Althea, a student in Mauldin, S.C., started taking Yvonne Mason's senior English class, the pregnant teen only wanted one thing: to graduate. She had an 85 average, and had just transferred to Mauldin High School. "She was lively and she answered questions," Mason recalls. "She didn't always get everything, but she got a lot of it and I was real proud." Then, she began to miss class and didn't make up the work. After a few attempts to help Althea, whose name has been changed for privacy reasons, it became clear that her family had kicked her out. More

Exciting Career Opportunities at ELS

ELS supports its teachers. Learn about the joint ELS/Adelphi University Masters of TESOL program, providing opportunities for teachers to earn advanced teaching degrees. MORE

Using photos with English language learners
Edutopia    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Oct. 17, 2012: Though the origin of the popular adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words." is unclear, one thing is clear: Using photos with English language learners can be enormously effective in helping them learn far more than a thousand words — and how to use them. Usable images for lessons can be found online or teachers and students can take and use their own. More

Students learn differently. So why test them all the same?
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Feb. 22, 2012: We teachers have been hearing for years about "differentiated instruction." It makes sense to treat individuals differently, and to adapt communication toward what works for them. Some kids you can joke with, and some you cannot. Some need more explanation, while others need little or none. If you consider students as individuals (and especially if you have a reasonable class size), you can better meet their needs. Considering that, it's remarkable that the impending Core Curriculum fails to differentiate between native-born American students and English language learners. The fact is, it takes time to learn a language, and while my kids are doing that, they may indeed miss reading Ethan Frome. More

ESL instruction videos teaching more than English on YouTube
GigaOM    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jan. 11, 2012: One of the more overlooked corners of the YouTube community, it turns out, is also one of the more genuinely useful ones. Because if you've forgotten the video giant's international reach, here's a reminder of it: There's a surprisingly large number of people creating videos to tackle the challenge of learning English as a second language. Searching for channels with the keyword "ESL" pulls up over 3,600 results, the vast majority of which are devoted to ESL instruction. Videos on topics ranging from basic pronunciation to vocabulary have accumulated hundreds of thousands of views, with popular channels like Quality English Lessons Online accumulating millions. More

US may require college language programs to get special accreditation
The Chronicle of Higher Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
May 23, 2012: For more information on this important policy change, please visit the TESOL website.
University-run English-language programs fear that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security may require them to apply for separate specialized accreditation or lose their ability to enroll students from abroad. In a bulletin recently sent to colleges and language schools, and in communications with individual institutions, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, or SEVP, has said that both stand-alone and college language programs must produce evidence of their accreditation during certification reviews, or risk being booted from the system.

Improving Educational Outcomes for English Learners in the Middle Grades

CREATE’s focused program of research is designed to address the critical challenge of improving the educational outcomes of English learners in middle grades content area classes. Visit CREATE’s website to download CREATE briefs and materials from past CREATE conferences. Learn More

Why bilinguals are smarter
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
March 21, 2012: Speaking two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age. This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child's academic and intellectual development. More

Obama's English
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sept. 12, 2012: Two aspects of President Barack Obama's acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention were of linguistic interest. The first was "signifying" — the use of indirect humor as critique, and a much discussed feature of black speech. "My opponent and his running mate are ... new ... to foreign policy," he said, adding the two pauses for great comedic effect. The second, and more familiar, was the soaring crescendo, beginning with "in the words of Scripture, ours is a future filled with hope," in which Obama demonstrated his strongest mode of linguistic performance — the black preacher style — to end his remarks ("knowing that providence is with us and that we are surely blessed"). More

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The education system that pulled China up may now be holding it back
The Atlantic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
China — July 4, 2012: On the morning of June 7 every year, Beijing's normally chaotic streets fall silent. Police patrol the main roads on motorcycles, as construction workers put down their hammers and power down their cranes, and rowdy taxi drivers finally take their hands off the horn. It is the first day of gaokao, the annual, nationwide college entrance exam, which will decide the college matriculation of the nine million or so students who take it. Sitting for nine hours over two days, students are tested on everything from Chinese and math to geography and government. More

Obama's new immigration policy: Disappointment is in the details
The Chronicle of Higher Education (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
June 20, 2012: Within the niche where I reside, most of my friends and colleagues are supporters of President Barack Obama. He is one of us: a former law professor, a liberal and — a point of pride for many of us — a person of color who has navigated his way in the whitest of worlds. But among those of us who teach immigration law, the jury is still out. He has not pursued immigration reform as aggressively as he promised, while he has been among the most aggressive enforcers of immigration law in history. More

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Education Department releases guide for states on English-language proficiency
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Feb. 8, 2012: The U.S. Department of Education released a guidebook to help states set new proficiency standards and academic achievement targets for English-language learners. The report, commissioned by the education department and written by ELL experts at the American Institutes of Research, the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, and WestEd, describes empirical methods state policymakers may use to determine exactly what English proficiency means for students, how long it should take students to reach it, and how to factor in those proficiency levels when measuring progress in the academic content areas. More

Teacher evaluation: What it should look like
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
May 16, 2012: A new report from Stanford University researcher Linda Darling-Hammond details what the components of a comprehensive teacher evaluation system should look like at a time when such assessments have become one of the most contentious debates in education today. Much of the controversy swirls around the growing trend of using students' standardized test scores over time to help assess teacher effectiveness. More

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Teacher: I dare you to measure my 'value'
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
March 21, 2012: This was written by Donna McKenna, an elementary ESL teacher who is passionate about language learners and language learning, and a new mom trying to raise her daughter in a bilingual/bicultural home. "Tell me how you determine the value I add to my class. Tell me about the algorithms you applied when you took data from 16 students over a course of nearly five years of teaching and somehow used it to judge me as 'below average' and 'average.' Tell me how you can examine my skills and talents and attribute worth to them without knowing me, my class or my curriculum requirements." More

Republican platform supports English immersion over bilingual education
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sept. 5, 2012: The GOP platform released at the Republican National Convention closely mirrors an officially nominated presidential candidate Mitt Romney's plans for revamping K-12 education. It views expanded school choice as a major factor in fixing K-12 education, and celebrates local and state control while steering clear of getting rid of the U.S. Department of Education. More

Confessions of a 'bad' teacher
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
March 7, 2012: I am a special education teacher. My students have learning disabilities ranging from autism and attention-deficit disorder to cerebral palsy and emotional disturbances. I love these kids, but they can be a handful. Almost without exception, they struggle on standardized tests, frustrate their teachers and find it hard to connect with their peers. What's more, these are high school students, so their disabilities are compounded by raging hormones and social pressure. More

Schools falter at keeping ELL families in the loop
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Oct. 11, 2012: As thousands of communities — especially in the South — became booming gateways for immigrant families during the 1990s and the early years of the new century, public schools struggled with the unfamiliar task of serving the large numbers of English-learners arriving in their classrooms. Instructional programs were built from scratch. Districts had to train their own teachers to teach English to non-native speakers or recruit teachers from elsewhere. School staff members had to figure out how to communicate with parents who spoke no English. More
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.

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
Hailey Sasser, Senior Education Editor, 469.420.2630   Contribute news
Craig Triplett, Senior Editor, Web Content and Social Media Manager for TESOL, 703-518-2526
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