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As 2014 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 TESOL's English Language Bulletin, a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Short answers for quick thinking
By: Eva Sullivan
From March 28:
For 15 years, my day job has been teaching ESOL in public schools. Last fall, I began teaching adult literacy at a local community college and immediately noticed a difference. Adult learners often could not respond correctly to simple questions they actually understood. When asked, "Do you need a pencil?" they would answer, "Yes, I need" or they would hesitate too long to answer. Unlike in the classroom where the teacher is a well-trained professional, there is no wait time in the real world. My idea for a simple language lesson came from this experience.
Pay attention! How to actively teach listening skills
By: Erick Herrmann
From June 6:
If you ask teachers what their greatest frustrations are in the classroom, inevitably you will be told that students do not know how to listen. When listening, students need not only to hear the words, but also to distill the most important messages from what is being said and integrate those words into their understanding. For students with processing disorders and for students who are learning English as a new language, this can be especially challenging. Yet many teachers have not been shown how to explicitly teach listening skills in their teacher education programs or through professional development.
ELL student population increases, obstacles and achievement
By: Beth Crumpler
From March 14:
With the increase of English language learner populations in U.S. schools, there has been a continued disparity and increase in the academic performance gaps of ELLs compared to their non-ELL peers. The increase in the academic performance gap has contributed to higher school dropout rates among ELLs. To understand the issues ELLs face and how to help them improve their academic achievement as well as helping prevent them from dropping out of school, it is important to look at research and statistics.
How should we organize a kindergarten classroom of ELLs?
By: Alanna Mazzon
From June 27:
I started teaching kindergarten in Beijing last year, and I've been thinking more about the best approach to teaching young children. Back in Canada, we used the full-day, play-based method for kindergarten. Here in Beijing — specifically at the school at which I work — we do not have a set program for kindergarten; it is up to the teacher to decide what works best. This left me wondering, what is the best way to organize a kindergarten classroom — especially one that is full of English language learners?
Easy listening exercise for ESL students
By: Douglas Magrath
From July 18:
Students need to bridge the gap between short ESL exercises and real lectures. The trend is now toward authentic texts, radio broadcasts and real lectures for college ESL to promote student learning and interest by stressing communication skills and presenting culture in a natural way. Listening is considered an active skill, and is emphasized in today's proficiency-oriented classrooms. Due to poor listening skills, students may not be ready to follow academic lectures and demonstrations when competing with native speakers.
Academic conversation develops deep comprehension: Using the skills
By: David Irwin
From Feb. 28:
Academic conversation is a strategy that increases student engagement and comprehension in content topics. It is ideal for English learners because it gives them a safe environment to practice academic English with a peer who has more mastery. In the first part of this series, we explained the norms for setting up academic conversations and how to organize partnerships in the classroom. Once the content has been delivered, students need skills on how to actually hold the conversation.
Key considerations for mainstream teachers of newcomer ELLs
By: Holly Hansen-Thomas
From Nov. 7:
Content-area specialist teachers new to ELLs might experience something of a shock the first time a student who speaks not a word of English is placed in the class. Mainstream teachers should seek out high-quality professional development opportunities that focus on sheltering and differentiating instruction, understanding sociocultural and linguistic concepts, and learning the theoretical foundations of second language acquisition. They should also understand that the following notions must be at the forefront of planning and teaching newcomers.
Why we need frameworks to evaluate our learners' English
By: Jon Jilani and Christopher Puma
From Aug. 8:
The face of college campuses in the United States is changing. More students from other countries are enrolling in American colleges and universities today than ever before. According to the U.S. News and World Report, 819,644 international students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs during the 2012-2013 academic year. In 2003, that total number was 572,509, which is an increase of over 30 percent. Naturally, this has led to a nationwide spike in demand for more English language education courses for international students. One essential, but challenging, issue that educational institutions serving the TESOL community must face is establishing assessment protocols that will serve academic departments and their students throughout the learning process.
Facilitating an end to the troubling lack of student responsibility
By: Debra Abrams
From Aug. 29:
Another sleepless night. A few days ago, I read my end-of-term student evaluations. As has become all too familiar to me recently, too many were disparaging, hostile and hateful. I haven't slept much since. As education programs move to a business-rooted paradigm that identifies students as customers and teachers as customer service representatives whose job it is to satisfy customers' needs, too many students have increasingly come to feel entitled to good — if not excellent — grades as a matter of course and not as a result of their intrinsic motivation to learn.
Reviewing the failures of the No Child Left Behind program
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
From Nov. 28:
No Child Left Behind is once again in the limelight. The Department of Education has just announced that states can renew their waivers from NCLB for 3-4 years but have to show incredible results in closing student achievement gaps, implementing college and career-ready standards, using effective teacher and principal evaluation systems, and turning around low-performing schools. Despite its lofty ambitions, NCLB has faced more flak than other education reforms since it fell far short of the expectations it set. To see how NCLB has fared, a timeline review is warranted.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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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