Issues in ESL
Teaching is Changing
New Realities Every Educator Faces
Author Terry Heick maintains
that there are certain areas where significant change is
more probable than in others. He lists fifteen tasks that
are less skill-based. and a bit more conceptual, collectively
representing how teaching is changing and goes on to compare
the old and the new in these areas.
Teachers Need Electracy Skills
Electracy is a theory by Gregory
Ulmer describing the kind of skills and facility necessary
to exploit the full communicative potential of new electronic
media such as multimedia, hypermedia, social software, and
virtual worlds. According to Ulmer, electracy is to
digital media what literacy is to print.
ESL teachers need electracy skills because
learning through digital technology engages students in
active discussions, collaboration, presentation and learning.
New formats of electracy are providing more opportunities
for students to engage in synchronous learning (collaborative,
communicative and in real-time). Additionally,
a requirement under the Common Core State Standards for
all students, including ESL, is that they must have proficiency
in digital literacy. Not only that, but students may receive
testing using digital assessments.
It is critical that ESL teachers be digitally literate as
essential learning skills shift from the 3 R's to the 4
In Common-Core Era ESL
Different Prep, Paper Argues
As public schools move headlong into teaching new, more
rigorous standards in reading, math, and science, English-as-a-second-language
teachers must become more involved in the central enterprise
of teaching and supporting academic content for ELL students
than has traditionally been the case, a
new paper argues.
that work for ESL professionals will require some major shifts
in how these teachers are prepared. For example, ESL teachers
need to understand the language and language practices that
are specific to different subject areas and disciplines. For
example, ESL teachers need to understand the language and
language practices that are specific to different subject
areas and disciplines.
Engaged Are Teachers in American Schools?
by Anya Kamenetz, Hechinger Report
recently released a major report on the State of American
Schools. Their data paint a picture of schools performing
as a complex ecosystem, with the wellbeing, engagement, and
performance of teachers, students, and principals all intertwined.
The report combines decades of surveys of 5 million American
teachers and principals with the results of the Gallup Student
Poll, now billed as the largest survey of American students
with 600,000 5th through 12 grade participants. According
to the survey, 55% of American students scored high on engagement,
70% of teachers are classified as disengaged, which puts them
on par with the workforce as a whole. This is surprising in
some ways, because teachers score close to the top on measures
that indicate that they find meaning in their lives and see
work as a calling. Unfortunately, the structures that teachers
are working within, which may include high-stakes standardized
testing and value-added formulas that evaluate their performance
based on outside factors, seem to tug against their happiness.
The real bummer is they dont feel their opinions
matter, says Brandon Busteed, the executive director
of Gallup Education.
Your Students Engaged? Dont Be So Sure.
have found that the more children felt connected to their
school community and felt engaged (rather than bored), the
greater their likelihood of achieving a higher educational
qualification and going on to a professional or managerial
career, over and above their academic attainment or socio-economic
background. In other words, an engaged child from a low socio-economic
background will have better opportunities in life than a disengaged
child from a more privileged background. But for these findings
to translate into actions, we have to re-think what we mean
by engagement. For too long we have confused engagement with
compliance or, worse still, fun. This confusion
has led to a number of myths distorting how we act, and what
we look for, in the classroom.
New Normal Life of a Teacher"
the age of accountability, college readiness and the Common
Core, the role of PK-20 teachers is changing dramatically
in schools and communities across the country. We used to
think of teachers as masters of their domain and rulers of
their classroom. They took the standards and the curriculum
frameworks that their school or district gave them and provided
students with instruction and assessment to help their students
master the content.
Since then, accountability has come knocking on the doorsteps
of schools and classrooms everywhere. Teachers are no longer
the masters of their own domains, but rather an integral part
in an educational system designed to provide students with
a more rigorous, integrated and personalized learning experience
with support structures and interventions designed to help
them succeed on their learning journey.
Chances are, the author says, those who have not completed
a teacher preparation program in the last couple of years
must seek "new normal" skillsl through on-going
professional development activities.
Why Teachers Understandably
Question "New" Education Trends
Everyone from politicians, to non-profits to parents tell
teachers how to do their jobs better. So its no surprise
that when the federal state education officials or school
superintendents announce a new initiative that not all teachers
are ready to jump on the new trend. Education has a long history
of reform, each succeeded by another, and teachers have learned
to pick and choose carefully where to put their energies.
is not surprising that teachers are reticent to immediately
accept new trends in learning, especially if that trend is
coming around for the second or third time. Project-based
learning, for example. has become the catch phrase du jour,
especially with the arrival of Common Core State Standards.
But the concept isnt new and many schools have been
quietly practicing project-based learning since the time of
John Dewey and Maria Montessori.
Technology is another hot button. Teachers are expected to
embrace every new software gadget that comes along, often
without adequate training.
Learning is Changing
too, may be facing some "new normal" realities at
school. They are learning in new ways as teachers use techology
tools more extensively, emphasize new learning modalities
like collaboration and personalized instruction, and implement
more rigorous standards, along with more robust testing. In
addition to adapting to a more demanding academic landscape,
students are increasingly experiencing pressures generated
by social media, a desire to conform to peer group expectations,
and even bullying. These new realities can result in their
simply giving up or retreating into "learned helplessness."
can be an easy target for school bullies. As we know from
recent reports and studies bullying, including cyber-bullying,
has become a serious issue in schools around the country.
ELLs are often easy targets for bullies in the school setting.
Foreign accents and different cultural mannerisms are often
mimicked and made fun of in school, which can cause ELLs to
question their most basic identity and heritage. Helping to
prevent the bullying of ELLs can be a little more tricky than
protecting again general bullying, primarily because attempts
to be helpful can end up causing even more discomfort to ELLs.
This article offers tips for addressing bullying problems
that may affect ELLs.
to help students overcome this behavior
a classroom, much like the many classrooms across the country.
Students are in their seats, and the teacher is at the front
of the room delivering instruction. As the teacher instructs,
she stops on occasion to check for understanding and ask questions.
Several students raise their hands, and the teacher calls
on a few students to share. She notices a pattern, though:
the same students keep raising their hands when she asks a
question or asks for volunteers.
teacher decides to call on some of the students who haven't
been raising their hands. When she does, another pattern emerges;
these students often respond with "I don't know"
or remain quiet. Other students, losing patience, jump in
and answer the question. The teacher, feeling the pressure
of time and material to cover, continues with the lesson.
students in this scenario may be demonstrating learned helplessness:
a disruption in motivation, effect and learning when students
feel they do not have any control of the outcome.