TESOL Pacific

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

TESOL Bulletin - Nov. 21

Massachusetts to offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants
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Some young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children will become eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities and community colleges in Massachusetts as part of a new federal program put in place over the summer by President Barack Obama, according to a senior administration official for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Obama signed an executive order in June and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in August began accepting applications for "deferred action" from young immigrants who met certain criteria, such as being brought to the country before they turned 16. Qualifying immigrants will be protected from deportation for at least two years, and become eligible to apply for a work permit.More

Florida's school grading system called unfair to ESOL students
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Florida schools with a high population of English-language learners could be at risk of earning lower grades this year. That's because the state's new system for grading schools gives students learning to speak English one year to master the language before they're judged for their performance on standardized tests.More

Race and the principal pipeline
Education Week Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The teaching diversity gap — there are proportionately fewer minority teachers than minority students nationwide — has been the target of programs aimed at bringing more minorities into teaching. But there's been less attention to the way race affects potential school leaders' pathways to principalship. Given that most principals have taught at some point, you might expect that the principal force would be just as disproportionately white as the teaching force. But it turns out that's not the case.More

TESOL's Job MarketPlace at the 2013 convention
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Job MarketPlace is your key resource for recruiting at the 2013 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Dallas, Texas USA, 21–23 March 2013. Job Seekers come to interview in-person with recruiters from all over the world. Don't miss this opportunity. More

TESOL participates in ABLA 2012 Conference
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John Segota, Associate Executive Director of TESOL International Association, participated in the recent Association of Binational Centers of Latin America (ABLA) 2012 Conference, held 12-17 November in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The conference was hosted by the Instituto Cultural Dominico Americano, and featured educators from binational centers throughout Latin and South America. John presented on the TESOL International Association's new activities and initiatives, including the new partnership with the U.S. Department of State, and met with several leaders to discuss future cooperative efforts.

CEA needs site reviewers
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Please consider this great opportunity for expanding your professional knowledge and serving the field. The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) is receiving quadruple the number of applications due to federal law mandating accreditation for all postsecondary English language training programs by December 2013. A critical step in the accreditation process is the site visit, during which qualified and trained peer reviewers apply the CEA Standards. See the Reviewer Application Form, and plan to attend a reviewer training workshop 19–20 March 2013 at the International TESOL Convention in Dallas, Texas USA. For more information, contact Rebecca Smith-Murdock, rsmith-murdock@cea-accredit.org, CEA Accreditation Review Manager.More

TESOL Symposium held in Puerto Rico November 15
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On Thursday, 15 November, TESOL held a Symposium in Puerto Rico entitled Facilitating Learning Through Student Empowerment. Attendees came from all over Central and South America, including Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, and Cuba. Look to TESOL's blog in the coming months for a Symposium recap by Dr. Maria Antonia Irizarry and to the TESOL Resource Center for the symposium papers and additional resources presented at the event.More

GOP mulls Achieve Act vote by year's end
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After taking a beating with Hispanic voters in the 2012 election, some Republican lawmakers are floating a conservative alternative to President Barack Obama's Dream Act. Congressional sources say retiring Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., were working on the plan with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, but it was put on hold after Obama suspended deportation for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants brought to this country by their parents. Now with the election over, some Republicans are weighing if the timing is right to attempt to pass their legislation by the end of the year.More

Duncan implies he will remain Obama's education secretary for second term
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After speculation about the composition of President Barack Obama's second-term cabinet, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan implied in a speech that he intends to stay in his position. "Let me, first, sketch the outlines, or provide a mini-preview, of a second-term education agenda," Duncan told state education leaders at the Council of Chief State School Officers conference in Atlanta, according to prepared remarks provided to The Huffington Post. More

Hundreds of school districts apply for $400 million Race to the Top-District competition
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The U.S. Department of Education announced it received 371 applications — representing more than 1,100 school districts — for the Race to the Top-District competition. The 2012 RTT-D program will provide close to $400 million to support locally developed plans that will personalize learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student for success in college and careers. More

In a change, New York City is steering aspiring principals off the fast track
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Realizing that its strategies for stocking New York City's ever-expanding supply of schools with excellent principals have fallen short, the Department of Education is launching new programs aimed at slowing down the transition from teacher to administrator. The largest of the new initiatives is the Teacher Leadership Program, aimed at developing leadership skills in hundreds of teachers who are still working in the classroom. Other initiatives are meant to prepare leaders to handle the special challenges of running middle schools and to capitalize on the leadership skills of principals who are already in the system. More

How education could plunge off the 'fiscal cliff'
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Sequestration: The word strikes fear in the hearts of school boards and administrators nationwide, and with good reason. What does it mean? The term refers to the across-the-board budget cuts that will automatically occur in federal programs in January, unless Congress reaches an agreement by the end of this year on reducing the deficit. What kind of cuts will this mean for education? The American Association of School Administrators estimates the reductions would amount to over $4 billion. That would plunge education funding into pre-2003 levels, according to the National Education Association. More

Schools changing texting policies
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At a time when many school districts are crafting stricter regulations about teachers text messaging with students, the Franklin Local Schools district in Ohio is embracing texting as an effective means of engaging students. District officials sent permission slips home to parents of Franklin students this year asking if they would allow teachers to text message directly with their child on matters pertaining to class assignments, sports, or other extracurricular activities. Franklin High School principal Dave Riegle said the district wanted to give teachers a way to reach their students if they needed to, while allowing for transparency with the students' parents.More

Jury out on language-switch trend
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Rwanda:Gabon says that it is considering following Rwanda's example by dropping French in favour of English, but evidence of the success of the radical education policy is still lacking. Recently, a spokesman for the president of Gabon announced that the west African state, which uses French as its official language, was considering following a lead set by Rwanda by switching to English.More

The state of teacher evaluation reform
Center for American Progress Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration's Race to the Top competitive grant program initiated an unprecedented wave of state teacher-evaluation reform across the country. To date, most of the scholarly analysis of this activity has focused on the design of the evaluation instruments or the implementation of the new evaluations by districts and schools. But little research has explored how states are managing and supporting the implementation of these reforms. MORE

Related: Higher education institutions have a role in teacher evaluation reform (Diverse: Issues in Higher Education)

Kentucky ESL students work to overcome the English language
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About 9 percent of the students in the Warren County School system in Kentucky don't speak English. Warren County has the third largest English as a Second Language program in the state, behind Fayette and Jefferson Counties, providing the school system with more tools to help teach English. One Moss Middle School ESL class is working every day with their teacher to overcome the English Language.More

Suspension rates continue to raise concerns, even as they drop
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The number of suspensions that principals and superintendents handed out to students is down in the second year since the Department of Education was required to report the data publicly, but it's still much higher than it was a decade ago. For the first time this year, officials included information on the numbers of English Language Learners who received suspensions at each school. More

Addressing bullying: Schoolwide solutions
Education Week Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Kids have been bullying each other for generations. But for Generation Z, also known as the iGeneration or the Net Generation, the ability to utilize technology to expand their reach — and the extent of their harm — has increased exponentially. Bullying in all forms, face-to-face or via technology, is of course unacceptable, but today's school leaders need to arm themselves with new rules and strategies to address aggressive behaviors that hurt students' well-being, their academic performance and school climates overall. More

Why teachers take so many sick days
The Baltimore Sun (commentary) Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jill S. McGuirk writes: "As the school nurse at a Baltimore County elementary school, I read Dan Rodricks' recent column on sick days with some agreement and much outrage ("This looks a lot like playing hooky," Nov. 13). Rodricks seems to have forgotten that many educators are women and that at least some of the 35 percent of teachers who took 10 or more sick days during the 2009-2010 school year may have been on maternity leave. There are also many instances of faculty having to have surgery that cannot be delayed, taking sick days to care for elderly relatives or children, and being sick themselves."More

California board adopts new English-language proficiency standards
Education Week Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The state board of education in California recently gave its final stamp of approval to new English-language development standards that directly connect to the language demands in the Common Core State Standards.More

Technology is not used effectively in schools, warns report
The Information Daily Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Kingdom:A report published by NESTA states that much of the technological investment schools make is wasted because of a lack of training provision. According to the report by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts which is the U.K.'s innovation foundation, there is clear evidence that technology can boost learning. This said, NESTA has argued that teachers do not know how to best make use of the technology made available to them. Schools across the country have been spending hundreds of millions of pounds every year on technology, such as tablet computers, voting pods, whiteboards and games. However, it has been said that this technology is not being used effectively.More

US colleges look to foreign students
The Associated Press via The Boston Globe Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Want to see how quickly the look and business model of American public universities are changing? Visit a place like Indiana University. Five years ago, there were 87 undergraduates from China on its idyllic, All-American campus in Bloomington. This year: 2,224. New figures show international enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities grew nearly 6 percent last year, driven by a 23-percent increase from China, even as total enrollment was leveling out. But perhaps more revealing is where much of the growth is concentrated: big, public land-grant colleges, notably in the Midwest.More

Improving Educational Outcomes for English Learners in the Middle Grades

CREATE’s focused program of research is designed to address the critical challenge of improving the educational outcomes of English learners in middle grades content area classes. Visit CREATE’s website to download CREATE briefs and materials from past CREATE conferences. Learn More

New frontier for scaling up online classes: Credit
The Associated Press via Google News Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In 15 years of teaching, University of Pennsylvania classicist Peter Struck has guided perhaps a few hundred students annually in his classes on Greek and Roman mythology through the works of Homer, Sophocles, Aeschylus and others — "the oldest strands of our cultural DNA." But if you gathered all of those tuition-paying, in-person students together, the group would pale in size compared with the 54,000 from around the world who, this fall alone, are taking his class online for free — a "Massive Open Online Course," or MOOC, offered through a company called Coursera.More

Teaching the grown-ups
National Journal Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Almost any policy conversation about job creation and unemployment contains a persistent undercurrent about adult education. It usually surfaces in the context of the "skills gap." People want jobs, but they don't have the skills to get the ones that are available. The problem goes much deeper than that. According to the low-income advocate group CLASP, 93 million adults have basic skills deficiencies that could limit their economic and career potential. Yet only about 2 million of these adults have gotten any basic education from government programs.More

Professional Development:
Prestigious Fellowships Abroad

With teacher and teacher development opportunities in over 80 countries, the EL Fellow Program is currently accepting applications from TESOL professionals for overseas positions worldwide.

Learning foreign languages triggers brain growth
Pravada.Ru Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the Swedish Academy of young translators, new recruits study a crash course in complex languages. It is not only about military discipline: specialists discovered that intensive study of foreign tongues stimulates the growth of the hippocampus and causes changes in other structures of the brain. Learning languages also helps in preventing Alzheimer's disease.More

Sweet dreams can spell out improved language skills for youngsters
HealthCanal Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A good night's sleep can help children to acquire and retain vocabulary, according to new research by psychologists at the University of York and Sheffield Hallam University. The researchers presented compelling evidence that language learning patterns for adults can also be found in children as young as seven, as long as they sleep in the 12 hours after they first encounter new words.More

Struggle means learning: Difference in Eastern and Western cultures
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In 1979, when Jim Stigler was still a graduate student at the University of Michigan, he went to Japan to research teaching methods and found himself sitting in the back row of a crowded fourth-grade math class. "The teacher was trying to teach the class how to draw three-dimensional cubes on paper," Stigler explains, "and one kid was just totally having trouble with it. His cube looked all cockeyed, so the teacher said to him, 'Why don't you go put yours on the board?' So right there I thought, 'That's interesting! He took the one who can't do it and told him to go and put it on the board.'"More

Formative assessment is foundational to blended learning
THE Journal Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Formative assessment began long before blended learning. Teachers have used formative assessment for decades as a method to get feedback about how students are progressing in their learning. But formative assessment is particularly in the spotlight now because it features so prominently in emerging blended learning programs. In fact, it's hard to imagine effective blended learning without strong formative assessment at its foundation. More

Today's tests seen as bar to better assessment
Education Week Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The use of testing in school accountability systems may hamstring the development of tests that can actually transform teaching and learning, experts from a national assessment commission warn. Members of the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education, speaking at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Education, said that technological innovations may soon allow much more in-depth data collection on students, but that current testing policy calls for the same test to fill too many different and often contradictory roles.More

Reynolds' Latino parents join together to improve their children's academic outcomes
The Oregonian Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Academics come naturally to Sandra Villavicencio. She learns easily and takes advanced classes. But she hasn't always enjoyed showing up at school every morning and working on homework each night. It was after her mother got involved in her school day that Villavicencio, 14, went from smart girl to engaged student. Her mother is among a rapidly growing group of Latino parents in Oregon's Reynolds School District who have discovered that by getting more deeply involved in their schools, they can powerfully improve their children's academic success and create leaders. They've learned what researchers have known for decades: When parents get involved in schools, their children take education more seriously.More

State report urges early identification of struggling students
The Des Moines Register Share Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Achievement gaps among Iowa students are largely driven by challenges such as childhood poverty, according to a report released this morning by the state Department of Education. Students with fewer needs tend to perform on par with their non-challenged peers, despite racial differences, the report states. "Students with disabilities, children who do not speak English as their native language and children who come from low-income backgrounds increasingly are falling behind classmates who do not face similar challenges," education director Jason Glass writes in the report. "Our system must adapt to meet the needs of these students, just as it must transform for the sake of all Iowa children and the state's future."More

Source:  TESOL.org