Category Archives: Weekly Feature

Summer School Connects to Students’ Backgrounds

by Jamie Cardwell During the summer of 2016, the students at the Ritenour International Welcome Center (IWC) in Ritenour, Missouri, read Sonia Nazario’s novel, Enrique’s Journey, in both English and Spanish. Through the use of Google classroom, the students met four days a week for three hours a day to read, write, listen, and speak about their experiences. Being newcomers ... Read More »

Advocacy for English Learners

by Adrienne Johnson While in the classroom, I remember many conversations with colleagues about how politicians seem not to understand what it is like to teach and work with high-need students. We discussed how frustrated we were, but we never felt as if we could create change at the state and national levels – we thought that was beyond our ... Read More »

MIDTESOL Member Mark Algren: TESOL 50 at 50 Award Recipient

by Liza Armstrong “Ching-Ching-CHING!” Instructor Jenifah Abu-Hassan reminisced that Mark Algren, a MIDTESOL member, used to start his faculty meetings with this sound of Tibetan double bells when he served as her boss at American University of Sharjah in the UAE. As he undoubtedly started meetings as director of language programs at two Saudi universities and the University of Kansas ... Read More »

Encountering U.S. Culture in the ESL Classroom

by Ziyun Chen While many international students go abroad to study English or study a profession in English, the majority of students are not sufficiently equipped in the domain of cultural competence to feel at ease in the classrooms of English-speaking countries. I believe that ESL teachers have a significant role in assisting ESL students with acquiring cultural competence. It ... Read More »

Scaffolding in a Blended Learning Classroom

by Arla Jones As I am coming to the end of my second year of teaching in a blended classroom, I can honestly say that it has been a completely refreshing experience. Nobody is more surprised than me–it’s been 27 years since I first started teaching! Our English Learners (ELs) are in grades six to nine, ranging from newcomers to ... Read More »

Every Student Succeeds Act

by Lindsey Jackson In December 2015, President Obama signed into law an act that replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB). That law was the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which is not only a replacement of NCLB but a continuation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act put into place by President Lyndon B. Johnson back in the 1960s as ... Read More »

Blended Learning in a Middle School ESOL Program

By Arla Jones and Kimberley Kreicker, Ph.D. South Middle School in Lawrence, Kansas has a diverse ESOL population comprising approximately 12% of the student body. South has both long-term ELs and relative newcomers, mostly of Spanish, Laotian, and Arabic language backgrounds. We are the two full-time ESOL professionals on staff. With the middle school model, ESOL is an ungraded subject, ... Read More »

DACA and DAPA: An Update on the DREAM Act

by Lindsey Jackson The topic of immigration is particularly important for educators, especially in regards to undocumented minors. These children and teenagers, brought to the States at a young age, have no paperwork and no legal status. Although all children in the United States have a legal right to a free, appropriate, public education up through high school, undocumented students ... Read More »

Encouraging Social English

by Lindsey Jackson I recently read (and highly recommend) Shapiro, Farrelly, and Tomaš’ (2014) book, Fostering International Student Success in Higher Education, which is filled with invaluable advice for helping language learners assimilate into their new university environment. Though nearly every page ended up tagged with a Post-it note reaction to something I’d read, one concept that really stood out ... Read More »

TED Talks: Using Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story” in the ELL Classroom

by Lindsey Jackson It’s not uncommon nowadays to hear of instructors incorporating TED Talks into their lesson plans. TED Talks present interesting topics for discussion, and they also have subtitles and transcripts available for listeners who may require a little more scaffolding. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” (2009), has become one of the most ... Read More »