TESOL English Language Bulletin
Nov. 26, 2013

US experts to train Saudis in English language teaching
Arab News
Saudi Arabia: The Ministry of Education has invited specialists from Colombia University in the United States to train Saudi teachers on methods of teaching the English language. They will also visit public schools to elicit the views and opinions of students and teachers on the curriculum. The specialists will conduct surveys during their visits to schools and interact with staff and students to gather information on the benefits they have derived from the present curriculum and methods of teaching.More

Leadership lessons from the language classroom
By Andy Curtis
Although workplace bullying used to be thought of mainly in terms of bosses bullying employees, or bullying between employees, it is now becoming clear that some staff bully not only their colleagues but also their bosses. I want to focus on the more general disruptive behaviors of some staff in some language teaching organizations that make life difficult for everyone, especially those in leadership and management roles. Much of what we learn as classroom teachers can be applied outside the classroom.More

Oral test in English language by 2016
Jamaica Information Service
Jamaica: The Ministry of Education plans to introduce an oral examination in English Language by 2016, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has announced. It is intended to test the competence of students in speaking the language, starting at the Grade Six Achievement Test level up to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examination.More

2014 Fishman Prize now accepting applications and nominations
The Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice is awarded annually to public school teachers who demonstrate exceptionally effective teaching with students from high-poverty communities. Offered by TNTP, a nonprofit organization working to ensure that all students get excellent teachers, the prize is awarded to up to five teachers each year. Winners receive $25,000 and engage in a 6-week summer residency. Finalists receive $1,000 and national recognition. Applicants who submit by the early deadline of 3 December 2013 will get priority notice if selected for the next round. Apply or nominate a teacher today. The final deadline is 21 January 2014. Read the 2013 winners' paper and learn more about how to apply or nominate your favorite teachers at www.tntp.org/fishmanprize.More

Successful TESOL symposium in China
TESOL International Association, in partnership with Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, welcomed over 500 teachers, teacher trainers, and administrators to the 2013 TESOL symposium Envisioning and Creating the Future for English Language Teaching and Learning. The symposium took place 15–16 November on the beautiful GDUFS campus in Guangzhou, China. Attendees enjoyed three plenary sessions and a series of hands-on workshops focused on the future of English and English language teaching and learning in China and around the world.More

Look into my eyes ... and learn unforgettable vocabulary
This classroom activity, using a New York Times quiz on reading body language, is a wildly popular vocabulary and speaking group activity for ELLs. Other recent TESOL blogs: Best Language Learning Games: Part 2 of 5, ESL Writing: Determine Essay Audience Using a Class, The Importance of Collaborations in ESP, and Teaching &Learning Online 8: The Future Online in China, Africa, and India.More

Recruiters: Don't miss the Job MarketPlace
Do you have an English language teaching job to fill? Consider recruiting at the Job MarketPlace at the 2014 TESOL Convention, 26–29 March 2014, in Portland Oregon. Rates and registration are now available.More

How monolingual teachers can support young dual-language learners
Education Week
There's an accruing pile of evidence that teaching in English and a child's home language in the preschool and early elementary years is best for young dual-language learners, both for academic achievement and for English proficiency later in their school careers. More

What it takes (and means) to learn English as an adult
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.More

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.More

Obama honors teachers who bring technology to classroom
The Association News via The Huffington Post
President Barack Obama is honoring teachers who use technology to help kids learn. Obama says the 10 "Champions of Change" have helped give students what every parent wants: the chance to go as far as hard work and talent can take them. He says the teachers are helping autistic children discover new abilities, preschoolers access digital tools and students in an after-school technology club prepare for a good future. Obama has set a goal of ensuring that 99 percent of American students have access to high-speed broadband or wireless Internet at school within 5 years.More

Maryland test exclusion rate raises questions
The Washington Post
When Maryland officials recently trumpeted the performance of their students on national reading tests, they failed to mention one thing: The state blocked more than half its English language learners and students with learning disabilities from taking the test, students whose scores would have dragged down the results. Maryland excluded 62 percent of students in two categories — learning-disabled and English learners — from the fourth-grade reading test and 60 percent of those students from the eighth-grade reading test.More

More English teachers eyed to study abroad as Tokyo aims to improve language education
Japan Daily Press
Japan: The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education is now requiring public junior and senior high school English teachers in their third year to attend three-month programs abroad to study the English language. This will be implemented starting the next academic year as part of the country's effort to boost its English language abilities in preparation for the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo.More

How monolingual teachers can support young dual-language learners
Education Week
There's an accruing pile of evidence that teaching in English and a child's home language in the preschool and early elementary years is best for young dual-language learners, both for academic achievement and for English proficiency later in their school careers. But consider that dual-language learners now represent nearly one-third of all children under the age of 6 in the United States. And consider that the vast ranks of early-childhood teachers are monolingual English speakers.More

From second language learning to bilingualism in schools
Psychology Today
We are many who feel that education should help children and adolescents acquire a second or third language while retaining their first language. Education should also encourage the active use of those languages, if at all possible. Currently, many educational systems throughout the world follow one of UNESCO's objectives in its 2002 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity which encourages, among things, "the learning of several languages from the earliest age". But there are many different ways of doing so, as we will see below.More

Lack of national uniformity in ELL instruction a challenge
It's time for social studies in a fifth grade classroom in Glendale. Among the students following the lesson about the American colonies is Karen Beltran. She's a 10-year-old with a perpetual smile. When Beltran first entered public education in Arizona about five years ago, she didn't speak much English. "It felt really scary, I was like shocked," Beltran said. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' Yeah, it was really weird learning English because I mostly speak Spanish at home." Things have improved since then.More

Latino students in Arlington, Va., explore careers
The Washington Post
Latino students from across Arlington County, Va., got to glimpse potential future careers at a leadership conference Friday at George Mason University. About 200 students spent the day on the college campus and met with Latino professionals to hear how they pursued their educations and jobs. "Bienvenidos a todos," said George Mason president Angel Carbrera, a native of Spain, in a keynote address. He encouraged the Arlington students to think without limits about their futures and to improve their chances of getting a good job by pursuing higher education. More

In Hong Kong, American accent schools boom
The Huffington Post
Standing at the front of the classroom in Hong Kong, nine-year-old Charlotte Yan recites a 2008 speech by Hillary Clinton — enunciating the words with a perfect American accent. "Make sure we have a president who puts our country back on the path to peace, prosperity, and progress," says Yan, her brow furrowed as she concentrates intensely on her pronunciation. She is one of a growing number of children in the ex-British colony learning to speak English like an American, some parents believing it is more relevant than an accent of the southern Chinese city's former rulers.More

MOOC will teach English
Financial Review
The U.K.-based FutureLearn will partner with the British Council, which already provides English language education, to pioneer MOOCs that teach the English language. It is the first time that a major MOOC provider has announced plans to offer language courses. The two organizations said there would be a portfolio of English language courses ready in 2014 which would be focused on preparing students whose native language is not English for studying higher education courses taught in English.More

More Saudi Arabians studying in the US
Los Angeles Times
At first glance, the Facebook photo doesn't look like a USC alumni gathering: No cardinal and gold in sight, not a single Tommy Trojan to be found. But, on closer inspection, it's apparent that half of the smiling men are flashing the Trojan "victory" sign. "At USC, you quickly develop a sense of pride being a top university," said Bahjat Zayed, the past president of the 120-member USC Alumni Club of Arabia, one of the university's fastest growing graduate groups. The club is one sign of the rapid rise of Saudi Arabians studying in the United States. Those numbers fell dramatically after the Sept. 11 attacks; the number of Saudi students dropped by almost a quarter in 2002 and continued to fall for the next two years.More

Researchers map brain areas vital to understanding language
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Science Daily
When reading text or listening to someone speak, we construct rich mental models that allow us to draw conclusions about other people, objects, actions, events, mental states and contexts. This ability to understand written or spoken language, called "discourse comprehension," is a hallmark of the human mind and central to everyday social life. In a new study, researchers uncovered the brain mechanisms that underlie discourse comprehension.More

7 things I wish I'd known before teaching ESL
The Huffington Post (commentary)
Four years ago today I was walking, half-dead, through Shanghai's Pudong International airport, searching for a woman named "Apple," who was supposed to be holding a sign with my name on it. My name, and that of a certain private English education conglomerate: I'd arrived in China to teach English abroad.More

Is it better to have a great teacher or a small class?
The Atlantic
When it comes to student success, "smaller is better" has been the conventional wisdom on class size, despite a less-than-persuasive body of research. But what if that concept were turned on its head, with more students per classroom — provided they're being taught by the most effective teachers? That's the question a new study out today from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute set out to answer, using data on teachers and students in North Carolina in grades 4 through 8 over four academic years. While the results are based on a theoretical simulation rather than actually reconfiguring classroom assignments in order to measure the academic outcomes, the findings are worth considering.More

3 strategies to promote independent thinking in classrooms
Imagine the intentional focus you would bring to crossing a rushing creek. Each stepping-stone is different in shape, each distance uneven and unpredictable, requiring you to tread with all senses intact. The simple act of traversing water on stones is an extraordinary exercise in concentration. Now think of how, with all the tweeting, texting and messaging that technology has given us, our attention is frittered away by the mundane. The speed of communication undermines the continuum of thought. That rushing creek is much harder to cross.More