4 Wishes From an ESL Teacher for 2016

There are many issues that are making the rounds in the Pre-K–12 world during 2015. As a former K–6 ESL teacher and professional development provider, I would like to share four wishes that I have for 2016.

1.  I wish to see every state promote bilingualism and recognize the value of learning another language through the adoption of a Seal of Biliteracy program. 

A Seal of Biliteracy is an award that authenticates and encourages students to attain a high level mastery in two or more languages. Once a student meets the criteria, a Seal is affixed to his or her high school diploma. In some states, this movement has been initiated by state government, and in others it is a grass-roots effort. ESL organizations have joined the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to promote this program because it promotes educational equity for ELLs. Here is more information on this movement from Colorín Colorado. My wish for 2016 is an increase in the number of states that provide the Seal of Biliteracy to high school graduates.

2. In 2016, I want to celebrate the support of English learners under the newly passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

ESSA allows a great deal of flexibility to states to develop their own goals. These goals must include proficiency on tests, English language proficiency, and graduation rates. All of these goals influence the way English learners are taught.  States need to provide professional development for teachers of ELs, deemphasize the importance of high-stakes testing, and not report the test scores of newly-arrived immigrants. I hope we will be able to celebrate the way individual states craft their goals during 2016. TESOL supports ESSA, though in their statement they list several areas that were not adequately addressed. Read TESOL’s statement.

3. I hope that we see an increase in the number of dual language learners (DLLs) enrolled in high-quality preschool programs.

English learners are called dual language learners on the preschool level. I interviewed Karen Nemeth, a nationally recognized expert on DLLs in preschool, for this blog. Karen cited a policy report that came out in 2014 from the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO). According to Nemeth, this report, entitled “Access to High Quality Early Care and Education: Readiness and Opportunity Gaps in America,” summarizes research showing that high quality early education helps young ELLs make significant gains in school readiness, and in ongoing school success.  According to Nemeth, children of ELL families are much less likely to be enrolled in high quality preschool than English-speaking children in most states. For more information, read Nemeth’s blog “How investments in low-quality pre-K affect DLLs.”

4. I wish to see the United States adopt a humane solution to policies regarding Syrian immigration in 2016.

Syrian refugees are not arriving via boat or land to the United States, nor can they fly into the country without being approved for refugee status. Only 1,854 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the United States since 2012 compared to 92,991 that have been admitted to Germany in the same time period. Refugees coming into the United States are subject to the strictest form of security screening of any class of traveler to the United States before they are allowed to enter, with extensive background, security, and health checks. ESL teachers need to be the voice of reasons in their schools and in their communities. The current sentiments on Syrian immigration do not reflect well on us as a humanitarian country. To learn more, check out this article “Paris Attacks Intensify Debate Over How Many Syrian Refugees to Allow Into the U.S.

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/4-wishes-from-an-esl-teacher-for-2016/


Teaching Negotiation in Leadership Terms to ELLs

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In Japan, I sometimes have the learners in a class stand and look at the board on which I have written the word “negotiation.” I then say to the students, “You can sit down when you have given me another word for ‘negotiation.’” My aim in doing this activity is to understand my students’ conceptualizations of negotiation before I share with them my own. After all of the students are seated, I tell them the following story about an orange, which I first heard from a friend years ago and have continued to modify (when I tell it). In a recent class of adult learners, I told (slowly, clearly, and with gestures) the following:

There was an orange. I think the orange was imported from California, my home state. The orange was on a table. The table was in a dining room. The dining room was in a house. In the house, there were a brother and a sister. [Note: I elicit from the students which sibling was older.] The brother and sister entered the dining room at the same time. They both looked at the orange on the table. Then they looked at each other. What do you think happened next? [Note: I elicit responses.] Actually, they raced to the table, but the older sibling, who was faster, reached the orange first. What do you think happened next?

I continue telling the story and involving the students as above. In doing so, I introduce the following points:

  • The orange was “in demand” (i.e., they both wanted the orange).
  • The older sibling was stronger (i.e., the more powerful party in the negotiation).
  • The younger sibling could try to use the power of emotional persuasion or pathos (e.g., crying and displaying tears) to convince the older sibling to share the orange.
  • If emotional persuasion did not work, the younger sibling could cry out for the help of Mom, who would become the mediator in the negotiation.
  • If Mom was not at home, but there was a knife on the table, the younger sibling could grab the knife and… [Note: I stop and tell the students that we are not going to go in that direction. This is a nonviolent story.]
  • If the knife was on the table, and the siblings agreed to share the orange, what would be the fair way to do so? [Note: I describe some options and elicit that one sibling cuts, and the other sibling chooses first.]
  • Finally, I share the following conclusion. As the older sibling starts to walk off with the orange, the younger sibling says, “Wait! Why do you want the orange? I need it to bake a cake. I only want the orange peel.” The older sibling wants to eat the fruit.
  • By asking questions for underlying reasons, they could come to a win-win agreement.

Next, I ask my students how negotiation, as conceptualized in the orange story, and leadership are related. I then explain that I conceptualize leadership as involving communication: 1) to create a vision, and 2) to achieve that vision. I then elicit from the students that negotiating is “communicating to create a vision.” To illustrate this point, I give them an example of going out to dinner.

A: I feel like eating pizza tonight.

B: Really? We had that last week. Let’s get sushi.

A: Again? We always eat sushi.

B: Hmm. Where can we get pizza and sushi in the same place?

A: I guess we could go shopping at the supermarket or eat out at the new food court. We can also have both delivered. Do you want to eat at home or go out somewhere?

In the dialog above, there are two visions. The vision of speaker A, and the vision of speaker B. (This idea of two visions clashing and causing problems appears in some of the business case studies that I teach.) I show students that in a negotiation, we want to communicate with the aim to “create” a win-win vision. It is not about compromise. It is about identifying the reasons underlying different positions in order to create the best way to meet both of our needs.

As I read the ESP project leader profiles, I am now paying more attention to the different visions of the ESP practitioner and the client. How do ESPers communicate effectively to create a shared vision? Read the ESP project leader profiles to learn more.

All the best,


Note: Go here to see the ESP project leader profiles and more.

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/teaching-negotiation-in-leadership-terms-to-ells/

Friday Freebie!

Hello everyone,
It is Friday and time for another freebie!
Today if you click over to our Teachers Pay Teachers Store you can download this great unit:

Polish up your students’ bathroom vocabulary.
This ESL and ELD unit builds upon the ever-popular children’s story – The Lady with the Alligator Purse. Kids love this sing-song rhyme, and we do, too!

The Lady with the Alligator Purse provides the strong foundation from which we build schema and expand students’ knowledge of BATHROOM VOCABULARY. We provide all you need to teach the English your students need to DESCRIBE LOCATION and COMPARE.
This unit includes reproducible black lines for advanced level of language instruction. This unit has approximately 49 pages.

This unit includes:
-Grammatical forms to go with each lesson.
-Word lists for topic vocabulary, nouns, verbs, idioms, and more
-ESL Lesson plans that connect grammatical forms to two language functions
-Songs and Chants
-Say It Quick picture sheets
-Student booklets
-Picture cards
-Picture cards with words
-Game boards and game cards
-Assessment rubric  

Click here to download this unit and don’t forget to follow us and rate this great product!

Happy Teaching,

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language http://esleld.blogspot.com/2015/04/friday-freebie_24.html

Friday Freebie

Hi Everyone,

This Friday we have a great freebie for you!
Benefits of Semantic Gradients:

 •easy to use
•reproducible, make what you need
•use with small groups or whole class

Semantic gradients are powerful tools to teach elementary students the differences between related words and increase their vocabulary.

This method of improving reading comprehension works with both English Language Learners and native English speakers and offers classroom teachers a vehicle to reach the needs of all of students. This type of gradient helps students distinguish between the subtle nuances of meaning of related words and broadens their understanding of connected words. Furthermore, gradients show all students how to use vocabulary precisely when expressing themselves in speaking and writing.
Semantic gradients are lists of related words that have similar meanings placed on a continuum moving from one word to its opposite. It is a continuum that order related words by degree.
These gradients use anchor words (words and their opposites) at each end of the gradient. The words used in between gradually shift in meaning.

For example, freezing and sweltering would be the anchor words for a semantic gradient of temperature words that included the following: freezing, cold, cool, warm, hot, roasting, and sweltering.

How do you use a Semantic Gradient?
Identify your 2 anchor words by choosing a word and finding its opposite.
Find synonyms for each of those words and order them to create your word list.
Students then order the words to create a gradient or continuum.

Click Here for your Semantic Gradient Black Line!

Happy Teaching!

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language http://esleld.blogspot.com/2015/04/friday-freebie.html

Friday Freebie

Hello everyone!
It is Friday and we have a great freebie for you today!


 Tongue Twisters Sample Freebie
Tongue Twisters Pronunciation Made Fun!

This sample freebie from our full Tongue Twister pack 48-page pronunciation unit has everything you need to sample what our full pack offers to teach students the correct pronunciation necessary to be academically successful in English.
The full pack of 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.

Click here for this  great freebie!

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.


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.

If you would like more great Tongue Twisters, download our complete pack!

 Click here for this great freebie!

Happy Teaching! 

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language http://esleld.blogspot.com/2015/03/friday-freebie_13.html