NABE Weekly eNews
Oct. 31, 2013

43rd Annual NABE Conference — Feb. 12-15
Sailing into the 21st Century: Multiple Languages. Multiple Paths. Lifelong Advantages.

Click here to view the complete flyer.More

2014 OALA Winter Conference — Call for presenters
The Oregon Association of Latino Administrators is pleased to issue a call for presenters for the 2014 OALA Winter Conference to be held on Feb. 8 at Oregon State University. If you are interested in presenting, please complete the attached form and email to Arturo Lomeli at All proposals must be received no later than Dec. 27. Presenters will be notified of selection by Jan. 6. More

ESL and classroom teachers team up to teach Common Core
Education Week
It started with a simple after-school conversation last spring between two teachers. Barbara Page, a veteran English as a second language teacher, and Meredith Vanden Berg, an eighth grade science teacher, were discussing a student from Somalia who had just arrived from a refugee camp in Yemen and landed at their ethnically diverse middle school in Beaverton, Ore.More

Learning to lead through learning to follow
By Andy Curtis
Leadership in English language teaching appears to have been relatively overlooked, apart from a few helpful and useful books. But when we look at the tens of thousands of books and papers on leadership in other areas, such as business and heath care, we can see that the vast majority of them are about experiences of leading, not experiences of following. In the same way that the voices of the learners are often conspicuous by their absence in many studies that claim to be about teaching and learning, the voices of the "followers" are similarly absent in the leadership literature.More

Finding drive
Language Magazine
There is no question that one's success in any task is closely related to motivation. Learning a language is no exception. But what is motivation? According to behaviorist theory, motivation is quite simply the anticipation of reward driven by previous experiences of reward for behavior. In this view, our acts are likely to be at the mercy of external forces. In cognitive terms, motivation draws much more heavily from the individual's "decisions, the choices people make as to what experiences or goals they will approach or avoid, and the degree of effort they will exert in that respect." Some cognitive psychologists see underlying needs or drives as the compelling force behind our decisions.More

Language teachers use visual cues to engage students
The Columbus Dispatch
The second-graders applauded, cheered and even screamed for Scott Koehler's language-arts lesson. The teacher at Hamilton Elementary in Ohio explained the differences between fiction and nonfiction as he clapped, gestured and pointed to his eyes — all visual cues for key words and concepts. The students mirrored his actions. The techniques are part of a teaching approach known as "whole brain" that suggests that students learn better when they engage their senses. "If they say it, see it, do it and teach it, they'll remember it more," said Koehler, who started using the techniques two years ago.More

Utah's languages of opportunity
District Administration Magazine
When it comes to foreign language study, Utah is emerging as a national trendsetter. The state's five-year-old dual-language immersion program will likely give Utah students a leg up in the future job market and foreign affairs, and could serve as a model for other states, language experts say. The dual-language immersion program was born in 2008 under former Gov. Jon Huntsman with approval from the state legislature. Elementary school students spend half their instructional time in English and the other half in the target language; which language subjects are taught varies by grade level.More

Language teachers use visual cues to engage students
The Columbus Dispatch
The second-graders applauded, cheered and even screamed for Scott Koehler's language-arts lesson. The teacher at Hamilton Elementary in Ohio explained the differences between fiction and nonfiction as he clapped, gestured and pointed to his eyes — all visual cues for key words and concepts. More

Common Core and English learners: Teaching math and language
Education Week
The Understanding Language team at Stanford University has just released its first major collection of common core instructional resources in math meant for teachers who work with English language learners.More

Bilingual speakers develop mental flexibility
Researchers are learning that the benefits of being bilingual extend well beyond enhanced communication capabilities. Penn State researchers discovered that as bilingual speakers learn to switch languages seamlessly, they develop a higher level of mental flexibility.More

Segregating English learners in schools
Los Angeles Times
Segregating young children for whom English is a new language according to their fluency levels produces the best academic results, according to most research. So the Los Angeles Unified School District has little choice in the matter. As a result of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education, which had accused the district of doing poorly by its English learners, the district was required to submit an evidence-based plan for improvement, and that plan calls for sorting the students by English skills.More

Study: Grade placement affects math performance for immigrant ELLs
Education Week
Principals often have little time to decide what grade in which to place older immigrant English language learners entering U.S. schools for the first time, but their choices can have long-term effects on students' academic achievement, according to a new study published in the October issue of the journal Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis.More

Minnesota students learning English face an uphill battle, but innovations are helping
Star Tribune
As the popularity of language immersion schools continues to surge in Minnesota, a bitter irony endures — many of the state’s 65,000 students who are trying to learn English are struggling. Only 17 percent of English language learners were determined to be proficient in reading on this year’s Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment exams, down almost 20 percentage points over the previous year. While most state students saw declines in their reading scores because of tougher new standards, English language learners fell the furthest. And the gap between them and white students is vast — about 40 percentage points in reading and 38 points in math.More

International students enrich classrooms, boost diversity efforts
Rochester Business Journal
Where Oscar Kwon is from in South Korea, high school begins at 9 a.m., shortly after the students arrive on foot or by city bus. The school day officially ends at 3 p.m., but most students stay until 9:30 to do math exercises or pore over other subjects for extra credit. Rice, soup and the cabbage-based side dish kimchee help to keep them on task. Yet instead of following that routine, Kwon chose to come to the Aquinas Institute of Rochester at age 16. Now 18 and on track to graduate next year, he hopes to stay in the United States for college and pursue a sports management career.More

Who is an 'English language learner?'
If a U.S. student learning English were to drive across the country, he would find that in some states he would be classified an "English language learner," eligible to receive extra support. In other states, the same student would not qualify for the special designation — or the additional help. In California, for example, English language learners spend part of the day focused on learning English. The rest of the day, teachers help them learn the same material as native-English speakers, with some modifications. For example, they might be divided into smaller groups with other limited-English speakers, or receive a preview or review of the lesson in their native tongue.More

Why states are creating a common definition for English language learners
The U.S. Department of Education is prodding states to adopt a common definition for who is an English language learner. The federal government is pushing states to consider adopting a common definition for which students qualify as English language learners, Stateline reports. The decision is important because it could affect federal funding for those students. The common definition could also determine which students receive accommodations on standardized tests, such as more time, use of a dictionary or instructions recorded in their native language.More

ELLs and Common Core: Denver students dig into persuasive reading, writing
Education Week (commentary)
A handful of middle school teachers in Denver became among the first to test drive a new, rigorous English/language arts unit designed for English language learners. The five-week unit — a Common Core instructional resource developed by Stanford University's Understanding Language team — focuses on persuasive speeches and texts. More