TESOL 2015: Focus on Culture

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TESOL 2015 Convention Blog Post

The theme of the TESOL 2015 convention was “Crossing Borders, Building Bridges.” Here is a summary of the wonderful sessions I attended related to culture and intercultural communication; hopefully you can use some of what I learned in your own teaching.

Student Teachers Learning Together to Enact Culturally Relevant Pedagogy for English Learners

Michelle Benegas enthusiastically shared her dissertation with us Thursday afternoon. She used Gonzalez’s (1993) definition of culture as “lived experience.” In her study, she brought together four student teachers in an urban school through a community of practice to promote cultural consciousness. She explained how the mandated curriculum inhibited the culturally responsive pedagogy she was trying to instill in these young teachers. One of her crucial findings was that the student teachers learned to “weave” together culturally responsive pedagogy and standardized curriculum by selecting literature and topics related to students’ lives. Emily Styles’ (1988) “Windows and Mirrors” analogy helped these student teachers conceptualize curriculum that would help students see themselves reflected in a positive way and help them understand experiences outside their own.

Crossing Borders in Multilingual Classrooms: Using Students’ Funds of Knowledge

Lori Edmonds and Cathy Amanti’s workshop-style presentation engaged us in the idea of using diverse families’ abundance of resources, or funds of knowledge, as a starting point for curriculum development. An excellent example Lori shared was about a middle school math club improving math skills by building bird houses. An immigrant student used his impressive carpentry skills from building large chicken houses in his home country in Africa to lead the class on construction and tool usage. Using funds of knowledge can undo the damage of deficit theories on minority families. Instead of using universal standardized curriculum, research your students’ family and cultural assets (through visits and surveys) and use that as a launching point for your next unit.

Multilingual Language Education: Righting Historic Wrongs, Adapting to Linguistic Realities

Language and culture are deeply connected. Language changes how we see the world and express ourselves. In this panel presentation, Andrea Nicholas called us to action by sharing alarming statistics on the decline in Canada’s Aboriginal languages and stories of “battered” indigenous languages and cultures. Education of indigenous children in the dominant languages of French and English on reserves and in integrated schools led to what is referred to as linguistic genocide. St. Thomas University developed a Native Language Teaching Program, which includes 13 courses in linguistics, theory, and methods. Andrea urged teacher education programs to add programs like this so that immersion programs can revitalize native languages. As English teachers, we have a larger role to play in advocating for maintenance of indigenous languages. Investigate the treatment of native languages in your community and take action.

Evidence-Based TESOL: Teaching Through a Multilingual Lens

Jim Cummins’s work has inspired many of us in the TESOL profession for decades. His powerful presentation on the last day of the conference did not disappoint. He discussed the troubling trend of implementing “evidence-free” instead of “evidence-based” educational policies and practices. He used “multilingualism is a threat to national unity” as an example of a common ideological practice that is unhinged and lacking evidence. Another example he gave was the U.S. standardized testing of ELLs after only a year of English instruction. Substantial evidence-based research studies show that it takes 5 or more years for an ELL to have the same academic language capabilities as a native speaker. Unless research is heard, these unjust views will dominate policy. Devaluation of language and culture in school and greater society will continue. He urged us to reclaim agency at the school level despite larger policy implementation. In terms of classroom advice, he suggested allowing students to use their first language to gather research and take notes before presenting information in English. Additionally, he advises asking students to discuss topics with family members and use resources from their home countries so that they can explore multiple perspectives on current events and social issues.

In their own way, each of these presenters exemplified how educators can enact curriculum that values students’ culture while advocating for more just educational policies for ELLs.

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Flip Your Classroom With EDpuzzle: Video Lessons

As the flipped classroom approach continues to gain popularity, there are more and more sites to help teachers flip their classrooms. Delivering the content of a course to students outside the classroom usually entails the use of videos, and I have already suggested eduCanon and YouTube for that purpose in previous posts. If you have not tried either of those, or if they did not quite work out for you, I have another one today called EDpuzzle.

EDpuzzle is completely free, so just click “Sign up” to register for a teacher account. I registered using my Google+ account, so I have one less password to remember, and it took about 5 seconds. Right away, I received a short tutorial about creating a video lesson using EDpuzzle. Basically, you start with any video by either searching online or uploading one. You can then can crop it, record audio, and add audio notes as well as questions to the video to make your lesson. The questions you add can be open ended, multiple choice, or simple text comments or directions for students. All the videos you create are public, but that also means there is a large bank of video lessons available from other teachers to choose from.

Making video lessons is just one aspect of EDpuzzle. Under the “My Classes” tab, you can create your different classes or sections. A unique class code is generated for each, and students sign up using this code. Once they have done this, you can track whether or not students have watched the videos you have assigned them and see their answers to your embedded questions. The charts and tables with this data are automatically generated and can save you time figuring out who has done their work and where students had difficulty. Students can also use EDpuzzle to create their own video projects, and these are not public, which is likely a concern for many instructors teaching K-12.

EDpuzzle also has a great FAQ page and a blog. Both of these are excellent resources if you have any questions or concerns about your experience on EDpuzzle. The company also provides an easy way to contact them via the website. Just look for “Contact EDpuzzle!” in the lower right-hand corner to send them your question directly. It is that simple.

If you have not tried flipping before, now is your chance. Try out EDpuzzle and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Already flipping? Tell me how in a comment.

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ESP Giants at TESOL 2015 in Toronto!

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TESOL 2015 Convention Blog Post

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

If you were able to attend the conference in Toronto, I would love to hear your voice in the comments to this TESOL Blog post below! Since I was unable to attend the conference this year, I did the next best thing. I stayed in contact with TESOL ESP IS leaders throughout the conference. In what follows in this blog post, I will share with you some of the comments that I received. Enjoy!

ESP Preconvention Institute

Based on feedback from participants, the all-day ESP PCI was a great success! Since it focused on ESP best practices in program design, development, implementation and evaluation, participants came with a focus on English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and/or English for Occupational Purposes (EOP). They ranged from newcomers to the field, looking for guidance in designing new classes/programs, to experienced ESP practitioners, appreciating the chance to reflect on their current program practices and expand their network of colleagues. They represented a range of industries and content disciplines: aviation, business, computer science, economics, engineering, food science/dietetics, health professions, tourism and hospitality, and customized programs in a wide variety of domains. Participants were from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Canada, and the United States.

Kay Westerfield, Cofounder of the ESP IS

ESP Interest Section Open Meeting

ESP IS members were pleased to welcome John Swales and Ann Johns, pioneers in the field of ESP and early strong supporters in the establishment of the ESP Interest Section, to the ESP IS Open Meeting on Wednesday night.

Kay Westerfield, Cofounder of the ESP IS

When Kay brought John Swales, Ann Johns, and Christine Feak to our open meeting, John reflected on when he had been invited years ago, maybe in our 3rd/4th year of the IS and was given Honorary membership in the IS. Ann and John were honored then so those in the ESP IS (young organizationally) realized that in fact ESP already had a history and a solid one.

At that time, Monique Memet, ESPer from France brought a bottle of French wine for John and Ann, and they were given a reproduction of an ancient hieroglyphics of presumably the oldest “language for specific purposes” artifact, an ancient Egyptian medical prescription from the University of Pennsylvania Museum shop!

Margaret van Naerssen, Two-Time Past Chair of the ESP IS

This was my third open meeting. As in the previous two years, I felt the sensation of being in the presence of ESP giants. That feeling was particularly keen this year because John Swales and Ann Johns were with us. It was a very humbling experience, indeed!

It seems many of the practitioners in the room somehow found themselves in the realm of ESP without the firm foundations that these leaders have laid before us. One of our points of discussion was this lack of formal ESP training, and how that leaves many of us feeling overwhelmed. We broke up into smaller groups and discussed ways that our IS can help address this issue both by tying those new to ESP with foundational ESP principles and practices, but also how to continue discussions throughout the year that will build on those skills and help us sharpen one another. These discussions were facilitated greatly by having some of our revered veterans in the room. The group I was in came up with two concrete ideas: 1). Dig out those foundational materials that already exist to make them more accessible to new members. 2). Do regular profiles of ESP practitioners to share what people are up to and compare projects.

I look forward to working with the steering board and TESOL to see these ideas become a reality.

Jackie Gishbaugher, Chair of the ESP IS

Organizational Needs Assessment

Anne Lomperis and John Butcher gave a fascinating presentation Thursday morning, reminding us of the importance of doing an Organizational Needs Assessment before beginning a project–and looking at the importance of starting at the top down, before even beginning to deliver training.

This was done in the context of a project in Saudi Arabia involving a joint project through the University of Akron and center in Saudi for training young men to learn the chemistry and whole process of making rubber tires. Anne, John Butcher, and Rashid (sp.? )–via Skype–were the presenters. John has been doing much of the work on the ground in Saudi Arabia.

John is now also on the ESP IS Steering Board as English for Occupational Purposes Rep.

Margaret van Naerssen, Two-Time Past Chair of the ESPIS

Multilingual Scholars’ Scientific Writing for Publication

Today I attended a very good presentation by James Cororan, OISE/University of Toronto, reporting on his program on supporting multilingual scholars’ scientific writing for publication at Mexico University (UNAM). He refers to the scholars as emerging multilingual scholars and not as nonnative English speakers. He reported on THEIR perspectives as well as that of their established scientist faculty members. A very interesting idea he had was to bring in editors of various professional journals to speak with his students. A description of his presentation is in the program book.

Margaret van Naerssen, Two-Time Past Chair of the ESPIS

Coffee Shop at the Convention Center

The coffee shop in the convention center, The Second Cup, serves a maple sugar infused latte–with maple sugar also sprinkled on top. Ahhh.

Margaret van Naerssen, Two-time past Chair of the ESPIS

Don’t you wish that you had been able to attend? I do! If you were able to attend, please share your comments below for the benefit of all of us!

All the best,

Kevin

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Saying Good-Bye to Toronto 2015

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TESOL 2015 Convention Blog Post

The theme of Toronto 2015 was “Crossing Borders, Building Bridges”; I literally crossed a border coming to Toronto 2015 when I drove over the Blue Water Bridge connecting Michigan to Canada. I have spent the convention figuratively building bridges by reconnecting with teaching colleagues, attending sessions led by new people in the field, and striking up conversations in receptions, coffee lines, and hotel lobbies.

It’s hard to write about a convention because everybody’s conference experience is so different. Plenary sessions, though, serve as a common denominator for all attendees. The session on Saturday morning with Jim Cummins made the biggest impression on me. His message about valuing language diversity and student identity was powerful, encouraging us to spread the informed word back home and to fearlessly advocate for our students’ needs. This fit perfectly with my Toronto 2015 mission to learn more about public policy and how I can use this knowledge to help my students. I was surprised to see that even someone as well known in our field as Dr. Cummins still seemed a bit nervous during his address. That made me feel less foolish for experiencing some stage fright before my own far-less-important presentation on Friday.

The last day of a TESOL convention is bittersweet. I pack my luggage, say good-bye to old teaching friends, and visit the exhibitor’s exposition one last time. I have far fewer handouts to pack than in previous years, thanks to the convention’s go green efforts to reduce paper waste. This was a much smaller convention, too, than many of the TESOL conventions I’ve attended before. I once had a co-teaching partner who always said, “Less is more,” reminding me that when we taught fewer topics in depth, our students learned more. “Less is more,” or to be more grammatically correct, “fewer is more,” might also apply to my Toronto 2015.

There were fewer convention attendees, but I was able to find a seat in more sessions. I attended fewer sessions than I have at previous conventions, but I had more interaction with the speakers. I spent less time at the exhibitor’s exposition, but more time talking with old friends. I had fewer old friends in Toronto to visit after the convention as I usually do (actually none), so I was able to spend more time at the convention.

I’ll leave on Sunday, crossing the border again and beginning the process of building a bridge between what I learned at Toronto 2015 and my own teaching situation in Michigan. How about YOUR Toronto 2015?

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Saying Good-Bye to Toronto 2015

TESOL15_Banner_1000x246

TESOL 2015 Convention Blog Post

The theme of Toronto 2015 was “Crossing Borders, Building Bridges”; I literally crossed a border coming to Toronto 2015 when I drove over the Blue Water Bridge connecting Michigan to Canada. I have spent the convention figuratively building bridges by reconnecting with teaching colleagues, attending sessions led by new people in the field, and striking up conversations in receptions, coffee lines, and hotel lobbies.

It’s hard to write about a convention because everybody’s conference experience is so different. Plenary sessions, though, serve as a common denominator for all attendees. The session on Saturday morning with Jim Cummins made the biggest impression on me. His message about valuing language diversity and student identity was powerful, encouraging us to spread the informed word back home and to fearlessly advocate for our students’ needs. This fit perfectly with my Toronto 2015 mission to learn more about public policy and how I can use this knowledge to help my students. I was surprised to see that even someone as well known in our field as Dr. Cummins still seemed a bit nervous during his address. That made me feel less foolish for experiencing some stage fright before my own far-less-important presentation on Friday.

The last day of a TESOL convention is bittersweet. I pack my luggage, say good-bye to old teaching friends, and visit the exhibitor’s exposition one last time. I have far fewer handouts to pack than in previous years, thanks to the convention’s go green efforts to reduce paper waste. This was a much smaller convention, too, than many of the TESOL conventions I’ve attended before. I once had a co-teaching partner who always said, “Less is more,” reminding me that when we taught fewer topics in depth, our students learned more. “Less is more,” or to be more grammatically correct, “fewer is more,” might also apply to my Toronto 2015.

There were fewer convention attendees, but I was able to find a seat in more sessions. I attended fewer sessions than I have at previous conventions, but I had more interaction with the speakers. I spent less time at the exhibitor’s exposition, but more time talking with old friends. I had fewer old friends in Toronto to visit after the convention as I usually do (actually none), so I was able to spend more time at the convention.

I’ll leave on Sunday, crossing the border again and beginning the process of building a bridge between what I learned at Toronto 2015 and my own teaching situation in Michigan. How about YOUR Toronto 2015?

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Tuesday’s Tongue Twisters!

Hello everyone,

It is time again for Tuesday’s Tongue Twisters!  Pronunciation can be a

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challenge for second language learners.  A fun lesson to increase accuracy is to practice an assortment of tongue twisters.  Tongue Twisters lower the affective filter of English language learners and kids of all ages love to practice the sing-songy fun of a great tongue twisters.

Easy:

  • We surely shall see the sunshine soon.

Medium:

  • Sam’s  shop stocks short  spotted socks.
  • A big black bug bit the big black bear, but the big black bear bit the big black bug back!

Hard:

  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
  • Whether the weather be fine,
    or whether the weather be not.
    Whether the weather be cold,
    or whether the weather be hot.
    We’ll weather the weather whether we like it or not.
http://ift.tt/1CAd3wp

Tongue twisters are fun and engaging for young English learners.  They are also culturally significant and native speakers of English are always willing to join in the fun of this challenging practice.

Click here to download our freebie sample of Tongue Twisters!

If you want the full version of our Tongue Twisters product, Click Here!

Tongue Twisters Pronunciation Made Fun!  This 48-page pronunciation unit has everything you need to teach students the correct pronunciation necessary to be academically successful in English. Tongue Twisters – Pronunciation Made Fun contains 30 traditional tongue twisters to help elementary students master English pronunciation!  Wall posters and game cards are provided for your students to practice the sounds of English with these engaging tongue twisters.   In addition, our activities and ideas provide fun and interest so your students learn through hands-on experiences. This unit is ready to go to work for you! Tongue Twisters – Pronunciation Made Fun has everything you need to teach students the correct pronunciation including black lines for the 30 traditional tongue twisters as wall posters, game/mobile cards and game boards Each of the 30 tongue twisters has its own wall poster and game card.  Practice English pronunciation with fun activities and game boards.  •WORD WALL CARDS •GAME BOARDS •GAME CARDS  Each tongue twister is printed on an individual wall poster (8 x 11 ½) and game/flash card. Simply copy, cut, and use.  Use this great English pronunciation package for kindergarten through 6th graders.  Perfect for second language learners and speech students!  See all our great math and grammar games at www.funtoteach.com.

What are some of your hardest tongue twisters?
 

Happy Teaching!
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Tuesday…Time for Tongue Twisters!

Hello everyone,

It is time again for Tuesday’s Tongue Twisters!  Pronunciation can be a

http://ift.tt/1CAd3wp

challenge for second language learners.  A fun lesson to increase accuracy is to practice an assortment of tongue twisters.  Tongue Twisters lower the affective filter of English language learners and kids of all ages love to practice the sing-songy fun of a great tongue twisters.

Easy: 

  • Inchworms itching
  • Rubber baby buggy bumpers

Medium:

  • Green glass globes glow greenly
  • Toyboat, toyboat, toyboat, toyboat

Hard:

  •  Round and round the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran.
  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
    A woodchuck would chuck  as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood!
http://ift.tt/1CAd3wp

Tongue twisters are fun and engaging for young English learners.  They are also culturally significant and native speakers of English are always willing to join in the fun of this challenging practice.

Click here to download our freebie sample of Tongue Twisters!

If you want the full version of our Tongue Twisters product, Click Here!

Tongue Twisters Pronunciation Made Fun!  This 48-page pronunciation unit has everything you need to teach students the correct pronunciation necessary to be academically successful in English. Tongue Twisters – Pronunciation Made Fun contains 30 traditional tongue twisters to help elementary students master English pronunciation!  Wall posters and game cards are provided for your students to practice the sounds of English with these engaging tongue twisters.   In addition, our activities and ideas provide fun and interest so your students learn through hands-on experiences. This unit is ready to go to work for you! Tongue Twisters – Pronunciation Made Fun has everything you need to teach students the correct pronunciation including black lines for the 30 traditional tongue twisters as wall posters, game/mobile cards and game boards Each of the 30 tongue twisters has its own wall poster and game card.  Practice English pronunciation with fun activities and game boards.  •WORD WALL CARDS •GAME BOARDS •GAME CARDS  Each tongue twister is printed on an individual wall poster (8 x 11 ½) and game/flash card. Simply copy, cut, and use.  Use this great English pronunciation package for kindergarten through 6th graders.  Perfect for second language learners and speech students!  See all our great math and grammar games at www.funtoteach.com.

What are some of your hardest tongue twisters?
 

Happy Teaching!

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language http://ift.tt/19xjvbG