Volume 10 No 1 Fall 2013
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Tips for the ESL Classroom



Rebecca Blum-Martínez Offers a Strategy to Help English Learners Cope with the More Complex Language Requirements of the Common Core


The adoption of the Common Core Standards (CCSS) has brought the issue of complex texts to the forefront. The questions for teachers, administrators, and teacher educators have become "How does one revise the curriculum so that complex texts are included as a part of everyday school life?" and "How does one teach students to interact with complex texts, particularly those who are struggling readers?" These questions are intensified for English learners, who now make up 21% or more of the public school population, depending on the region or school district

Educators have been concerned about the slow progress many English learners have made in their academic careers. While most EL students were able to communicate socially within a few years of attending American schools, many were not able to keep up with their English-speaking companions when it came to more academically complex material. A look at the teaching practices and materials used with EL students may help to explain the reasons for the lengthiness of many ELs' trajectory in the development of more academic registers of language.
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Seeing Pictures of Home Make it Harder to Speak a Foreign Language

New research shows that merely seeing faces and images that you associate with home could make speaking in a foreign tongue more difficult. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Columbia University and Singapore Management University found that for Chinese students who'd recently moved to the U.S., seeing several different types of China-related visual cues measurably reduced their fluency in English.

The researchers explain the results as an example of "frame-switching." In essence, for the native Chinese speakers still learning English as a second language, being exposed to faces or images that they associated with China unconsciously primed them to think in a Chinese frame of reference. As a result, it took more effort to speak English-causing them to speak more slowly-and perhaps made them more likely to "think in" Chinese too, using literal Chinese linguistic structures instead of translating into the correct English words.
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For English Language Learners, a Digital Tool that Tries to Find the Right Turn of Phrase

Yael Karov said she'd often search the web for English phrases to make sure they were correct before including them in emails and other documents. Via the web, for example, she'd learn that "on July" should be "in July" or that "3 millions" should be "3 million." But given her background in statistical models and natural language processing, she knew that there should be a less tedious way to perfect her writing. Now, with her startup Ginger Software, she's putting algorithms to work to help other English language learners correct their writing and try to improve it.

The company says it's mapped one trillion English sentences on the web. Its "Proofreader" and writing "Coach" apps have been downloaded three million times. Its coaching app (Ginger Coach) analyzes a user's written language over time to identify mistakes and diagnose her biggest areas of weakness. From there, it provides her with customized lessons intended to improve those skills.
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Report: The 4 Pillars of the Flipped Classroom

Though all classrooms are different, there are four critical elements that successful flipped classrooms have in common, according to a new report developed by the Flipped Learning Network, George Mason University, and Pearson's Center for Educator Effectiveness.

The report, "A Review of Flipped Learning," is designed to guide teachers and administrators through the concepts of flipped classrooms and provide definitions and examples of flipped learning in action.The guide provides references to research supporting the teaching methods used in flipped classrooms and includes three case studies focusing on flipped classrooms in action at the high school and college level.






Learn about English Language and Culture, Help Fight Hunger


Freerice.com is an easy to use site offering multiple choice questions in the categories of the humanities, math, languague learning, science, English, chemistry, geography, SAT test preparation. There are five levels of diffficulty. The upper levels in English vocabulary and grammar are challenging for advanced students, who can take advantage of this site to learn outside of the classroom. Freerice is part of the United Nations World Food Programme, and for every question answered correctly ten grains of rice are donated to help end world hunger.
Explore Freerice.com



Mastering Pesky Prepositions


Students of all levels tend to be challenged by the correct use of prepositions. This TESOL resource suggests activities for practicing prepositions of location. It include a detailed lesson plan, handouts, classroom extension activities, and homework extension activities.

Link to resource



 

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