TESOL English Language Bulletin
Oct. 7, 2014

Alberta principals fear system missing mark for English language learners
MetroNews Canada
Canada: More than half of Alberta's principals are worried they're falling short when it comes to supporting non-English speaking students in getting the proper education, finds a newly-released study. The Future of Principalship in Canada study found 58 percent of Alberta principals are worried about their ability to support English language learners and their families, which is more than double the national average of 23 percent. More

As easy as ABC? English education in Japan
The Diplomat
Japan: To stay competitive in a global economy, countries often look to education. In Northeast Asia, an intense pursuit of education has made the region renowned for its numerous entrance-exams at every level of schooling and flourishing cram-school cultures. In recent years, Japan has planned to take it up a notch. In October 2013, the Japanese government attempted to introduce compulsory English language education at the third grade in the elementary school — two years earlier than the current fifth grade. The aim is to tackle its longstanding concern that, despite being one of the world’s most developed nations, Japan lacks English fluency.More

Shakespeare at age 4 helps immigrant kids learn in London
Bloomberg
United Kingdom: The 450 children enrolled in Britannia Village Primary School in east London, one of the poorest places in the U.K., speak 56 different languages at home. At their school, ranked among the best in Britain, they study Shakespeare beginning at age 4. Many show up on their first day of school barely able to speak a word of English. Their families have often recently arrived from India, Pakistan, Ghana, Bulgaria and elsewhere. By mid-year, the children are studying and reciting the Bard’s great works. During their first year, these little students begin performing short plays, adapted from his most famous — "A Midsummer Night's Dream," then "The Tempest" and "Romeo and Juliet." More

Cat Got Your Tongue? New book on English Idioms
TESOL
Explore recent research and learn effective methods for teaching idioms to English learners around the world. Available now in the TESOL Bookstore.More

In-service professional development training
The ELT Files: Common Core Workshops for Content-Area Teachers

TESOL
On-demand professional development workshops that address the needs of beginning English learners and how those needs are affected by the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. Workshops available for early elementary, upper elementary, middle school and high school levels. Each workshop includes a presenter training guide, ready-to-use PowerPoint presentation and handouts.More

TESOL announces 2015 convention keynotes
TESOL
TESOL announces the featured keynote speakers for the annual 2015 International Convention & English Language Expo scheduled for 25–28 March. Featured speakers include TESOL President Yilin Sun, Sonia Nieto, and Jim Cummings, among others. View the full press release here.More

Free professional development workshop on the Common Core and ELLs
TESOL
11 October, 9 a.m. –12 p.m.
Join the American Federation of Teachers for a workshop in San Francisco, California, that offers an introduction to the supports that ELLs will need to meet the CCSS, strategies and resources to include ELLs in the standards, and information about online resources on ELLs and the CCSS. More

Kids' oral language skills can predict future writing difficulties
University of Montreal via Science Daily
Children's future writing difficulties can be identified before they even learn how to begin writing, according to a new study. More

English language tests inquiry declares thousands of results invalid
The Guardian
United Kingdom: More than 50,000 English language tests taken by overseas students to extend their British visas have been declared invalid or questionable as a result of an official investigation into cheating on a huge scale.More

Flexibility with English language learners
The Denver Post
The question of how to teach immigrant students has provoked perhaps the most bitter, rancorous debates in American education over the past 40 years. More

Are teachers ready for the Common Core?
The Boston Globe
The sprawling second floor of the Sheraton Boston Hotel is swarming with teachers. They've traveled from 17 states for the Common Core Now Institute, a two-day conference held by Solution Tree, a for-profit company that specializes in training teachers. The institute is designed to get educators ready to teach the new and contentious Common Core State Standards, which will be tested in dozens of states, including Massachusetts, for the first time this school year.More

Foreign language speakers at all-time high among US residents
Washington Examiner
The percentage of people speaking a language other than English at home in America has reached an all-time high of 61.8 million, according to a group that advocates for low immigration levels. The Center for Immigration Studies compiled data from the a 2013 U.S. Census survey and came to the conclusion that one in five U.S. residents over the age of 4 does not speak English at home. The CIS analysis found the bulk of the increase in foreign language was among Spanish speakers, followed by Chinese and Arabic. The report pointed to "past policy decisions" that permitted an increase in legal immigration and a tolerance of illegal immigration.More

Number of non-native English speakers growing in Casper, Wyo., schools
Casper Star-Tribune
Sheila Villanueva held a book open to the fourth-graders — all native Spanish speakers — crowded around a low table in her small room at Evansville Elementary. "What word do you see in 'earth'?" Villanueva asked, pointing to the text. "Do you see 'ear'?" Her students nodded. "But do we say, 'ear'-th?" she said. Danny Henriquez-Vasquez laughed. "No!" he said. "Good. Silly English, right?" Villanueva said, turning a page in the book. The number of English language learners in the Natrona County School District has grown by more than 30 percent over the past five years, from 262 non-native English speakers in 2009 to 358 last year.More

Reclassification rules for dual language learners matter
EdCentral (commentary)
My elementary school had a separate classroom for students who were non-native speakers of English. As far as my friends and I were concerned, it was another planet. Though it was located immediately next door to my third grade classroom, we knew almost nothing about the students or their teachers. Even at the tiny school (approximately eight classrooms across K–3), the room's inhabitants were somehow invisible to us. Insofar as we acknowledged the arrangement at all, it was in the racist jokes of children just old enough to recognize the existence of ethnic differences but not yet old enough to know their actual, appropriate meaning.More

North Carolina district pursues more volunteer opportunities for undocumented parents
Education Week
School district officials in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C. are proposing a change to their current volunteer policy that would permit undocumented parents to participate in some school activities. According to the Charlotte-Observer, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district would accept passports and consulate identification documents from parents who want to volunteer. After undergoing a criminal background check, those parents would be allowed to volunteer under the supervision of a district employee. More

Teachers grade Common Core: C+ and room for improvement
The Christian Science Monitor
Teachers feel more prepared to teach the Common Core State Standards and are already starting to see students improve their critical thinking skills. But the enthusiasm has dipped since last year, and only half say the new standards will be positive for most students. Those are some key findings in a survey of 1,676 K-12 teachers in the 43 states that have adopted Common Core, released Friday by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Common Core continues to generate political controversy. Some states have backed away from the math and English standards designed to promote college- and career-readiness. And Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has sued the Obama administration, saying it coerced states into adopting them.More

Kids' oral language skills can predict future writing difficulties
University of Montreal via Science Daily
Children's future writing difficulties can be identified before they even learn how to begin writing, according to a new study. The research data also contradicts the popular belief that bilingualism at an early age can be detrimental to oral and written language learning.More