LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
Greetings from Kansas City, where we’ve had an unusually cold and snowy winter! I am sure everyone is as excited as I am about the upcoming 45th Annual TESOL Convention and Exhibit in New Orleans. In addition to providing a respite from the winter weather, the convention promises to be an outstanding opportunity to further your professional knowledge, network with colleagues, and meet new friends! Not to mention the chance to enjoy the fabulous dining and entertainment options New Orleans offers!
This year’s convention program provides many opportunities for elementary ESL teachers to become more knowledgeable about their chosen field of work. The EEIS was allotted 31 sessions, plus five poster sessions, which focus on topics of interest to our members. Several well-known veterans in our profession will be presenting as well as some first-timers. All in all, a wide variety of discussion sessions, practice and research-oriented sessions, workshops, and colloquia are offered in this year’s EEIS program. Be sure to attend the local author book talk by Louisiana native Johnette Dowell. Johnette’s work focuses on teaching language through music and rhythm.
A new development this year is the way that interest section booths are being handled. TESOL listened to our concerns about booth location and staffing and came with an innovative idea for the booths. This year, IS booths will be part of the TESOL Center, which is the organization’s primary outreach to its members at the convention. Two Interest Sections will be represented at the IS booth area at one end of the TESOL Center during the convention. Each IS is allotted three time slots during the convention to staff the booth. In addition to the IS booth in the TESOL Center, TESOL is providing the ISs with a regular-size booth in the Exhibition Hall called the “TESOL Interest Section Networking Booth.” ISs may use this booth during the convention to maintain a presence, but this booth must be shared by all ISs. TESOL is creating flyers for each IS to leave at the TESOL Center booth, so our IS will be represented there at all times. The EEIS signed up for the TESOL Center booth on Thursday, March 17 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 19 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. We need at least two EEIS members to staff the booth during these times, so please e-mail me at email@example.com if you are interested in doing this! Also, let me know if you are interested in representing the EEIS at the TESOL IS Networking Booth during the convention.
If you haven’t signed up yet for the K-12 Dream Day on Wednesday, March 16, please consider doing so. Last year was the first time for this full day of workshops geared toward PreK-12 ESL educators, and I thought TESOL hit the nail on the head with the variety of speakers and topics presented. This year’s Dream Day “promises to provide interactive, practice-oriented sessions that focus on concrete ways to increase student engagement and achievement from preschool to high school.” Carolyn Graham is the morning keynote speaker and Pedro Noguera will give the lunch keynote for the K-12 Dream Day.
The EEIS Academic Session, titled “Leading From the ESL Classroom and Beyond,” will be presented by Christel Broady, EEIS incoming chair; Judie Haynes; Carol Behel; and Deborah Sams. Don’t miss what promises to be an outstanding session on Saturday, March 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
The EEIS is teaming with the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Interest Section to present an InterSection titled “Technology in ESOL Classrooms and Preparing Teachers for Successful Integration.” Presenters are Christel Broady, Karen Kuhel, Ellen Dougherty, Margaret McKenzie, Stacey Abbott, Sandra Rogers, and Ben Fabie; the time is to be determined.
EEIS WEEK AT A GLANCE: ITEMS OF INTEREST TO ELEMENTARY ESL EDUCATORS
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
5:00-5:30 p.m. Carolyn Graham, Jazz Chants Special Performance
5:30 p.m. Dr. Thelma Melendez, Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, Opening Plenary
Thursday, March 17, 2011
7:30-8:15 a.m. First-time convention attendee orientation
3:00-5:00 p.m. EEIS booth time, TESOL Center
5:00-6:00 p.m. EEIS Open Meeting
6:15-7:15 p.m. EEIS Open Meeting continues
7:15 p.m. EEIS Dinner; location TBD (suggestions, anyone?)
Friday, March 18, 2011
9:00-10:00 a.m. K-12 networking at the Networking Mall (this is new this year!)
11:00a.m.-1:00 p.m. EEIS booth time, TESOL Center
5:00-6:30 p.m. TESOL Annual Business Meeting
Saturday, March 19, 2011
9:00-10:00 a.m. EEIS booth time, TESOL Center
10:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m. EEIS Academic Session
2:00-3:00 p.m. Shondel Nero, Closing Plenary
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in New Orleans! In the meantime, go online at www.tesolconvention.org for more details on registration, hotels, program details, and such. Laissez les bons temps roulez!
Laura Lukens, firstname.lastname@example.org
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR-ELECT
Dear Members of the Elementary Education Interest Section:
A Happy New Year 2011 from your Chair-Elect Christel Broady. All of us are very busy at work again after the holidays. Many of you are involved in state testing or preparation of testing procedures. Data needs to be compiled and analyzed. It is often difficult to feel enthusiastic about the procedure. At this time it is not appealing to think about any more things on your plate than you already have. However, it can be argued, it is actually a good time to think about attending a convention that may boost your enthusiasm, renew your professional knowledge, and help you meet others just like yourself! I would therefore invite you to consider attending the TESOL convention in New Orleans. If you decide to attend the convention, please make an effort to connect with your friends in the Elementary Education Interest Section (EEIS). There are several meetings and events that are designed just for you and your peers. Many of us are working hard on creating a program that will make your attendance at the convention worthwhile. The EEIS is the second largest interest section in TESOL. You can be proud of carrying such a strong voice in the TESOL organization. Please try to attend the EEIS business meeting to meet your leaders and other members. If you are interested, there are many ways to get involved in the leadership of your interest section. There are positions on the steering board as well as offices that open up annually. We will have several time slots to staff a table in the TESOL area of the convention hall. We would love to invite you if you are interested in volunteering at the table to represent the EEIS and meet and greet visitors. All that is required of you is a smile on your face and passion for elementary education! Also, if you cannot attend the convention let your leaders know if you would be willing and interested in evaluating professional proposals for the 2012 convention. Your voice counts and you represent the profession. Make it count!
Attendees at the convention will find a special Elementary Education section in the program book listing all sessions that we leaders hope may be especially useful and interesting to you. Two highlights of the presentations are the Academic Sessions and InterSections. First, let me explain what those are. Then, I will share more about them so that you can decide if you would like to attend one or both of them.
An Academic Session is a longer meeting that is the highlight of all sessions in the interest section. The session is presented by a panel addressing topics of current relevance to TESOL communities and enabling respected experts to contribute to the program. Specialists will present the current status of the discipline to practitioners.
An interest section InterSection is a presentation in which one interest section joins one or more interest sections in one topic where both sections intersect. Again, such a presentation is also longer and will be presented by a panel of experts from both InterSections. According to the TESOL rules, InterSections should
Address a topic that cuts across the fields of the interest sections involved and
Feature recognized experts on the topic.
Such joint presentations are usually rejuvenating because they show evidence that many of us in different positions and perspectives ponder the same issues. It holds true that it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel when we begin to learn from each other.
Let me now share with you what IS InterSection you can expect to find in your New Orleans program.
The session is entitled “Technology in ESOL Classrooms and Preparing Teachers for Successful Integration.” There will be 250 seats available to interested attendees. The panel will explore how successful integration of technology can be achieved in ESOL classrooms. Panel members will explore this topic from different perspectives:
- Why is technology important in elementary ESOL? Research findings will be shared.
- How can technology be best used in elementary ESOL? Practical examples and demonstration of technology will be provided.
- How can educators be trained for the ever-changing world of technology? Panel will discuss how teachers can be successfully prepared in teacher education programs.
In this session, participants will have time and opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences. The panel will consist of teachers, school administrators, and teacher educators from different states.
The Academic Session title is “Provide Dynamic Leadership in Your School and Benefit Your ELLs.” In the field of English as a second language, leadership is a vital part of an ESL teacher’s life. Advocacy and training of others is a daily reality. This session will provide insights into the possibilities in which leadership can be asserted in your work life. The panel will include an author, teachers, teacher-trainers, and researchers.
We sincerely hope that you will find the time and resources to be inspired by attending the 2011 TESOL New Orleans Convention and to engage in some contact with your EEIS events and leaders. If you aren’t able to attend the convention, consider joining the electronic discussion list and dialogue with others like you. You will be amazed how many others ponder the same issues you do!
We hope to see you in New Orleans and hear from you online.
Christel Broady, Chair-Elect
My first day of classes in January 2011
FINGERTIP COMMUNICATION ACTIVITY
In an EFL or ESL class with 20 or more students, I teach target sentences and lead students to practice them in “interaction time.” When I set up practice time or interaction time, I ask the students to interact with several other students in pairs. However, because they are classmates, the students start to mix English and Japanese (their native language). Some only partly participate in the process or speak too softly to hear one another. So I created this fingertip communication activity. I use this activity not only for young students but also for college students, adults, and teachers in training classes
What you need: Picture cards from previous lessons for each student.
Target language content: school subjects
Sentence frame 1: Do you like _________? (science, math, social studies, home economics, music, English, Japanese, arts and crafts, PE)
Sentence frame 2: Do you study science on Monday?
Each student gets one picture card for one of the subjects.
With “Go!” sign, students freely walk around the class.
When the teacher rings a bell, the students stop walking and face the nearest student.
The teacher says, “Fingertip time.”
Both students stretch out one arm and touch each other’s fingertips.
Students are now standing at arm’s length from one another.
They put their arms down, keeping the distance.
Each pair starts to interact with “Do you like _______?” showing the card to the partner.
The partner answers.
The opposite partner now asks and shows the card he or she has.
After the process, they exchange their cards and say, “Bye!”
They find another partner and repeat the process.
The results of this activity is that students use less native language, speak louder and more clearly, look in each other’s eyes, and feel good speaking English. Try this activity and let your students experience success in English with fingertip communication.
Keiko Abe-Ford, email@example.com,is an active member of EEIS. She works with all ages of English learners in Japan.
STORYTELLING IN THE ESL CLASSROOM
WHAT IS STORYTELLING?
Storytelling is a skill that can be effectively directed to improve other skills, such as writing, grammar, listening, and speaking. Donald Davis, a noted storyteller, teaches storytelling as a bridge between a child’s “first language” (gestures and speech) and “second language” (writing).
Storytelling is the oldest form of education. Cultures around the world have always told tales as a way of passing down their beliefs, traditions, and history to future generations.
Storytelling in any form is a natural way for students to build literacy skills. Students learn how to tell a story by writing it down, talking about it, and actively listening to someone else’s story. All these activities teach essential language skills in vividly meaningful contexts.
WHY USE STORYTELLING IN THE LANGUAGE-LEARNING CLASSROOM?
Teachers use storytelling in language teaching for several reasons. One of the preliminary reasons is the funny and entertaining atmosphere storytelling creates in the classroom. A teacher of English needs to be imaginative and creative, and telling stories in English language teaching can surely make the process of teaching and learning more motivating, interesting, and interactive. Following are some of the numerous reasons for using storytelling effectively in your classroom:
Promotes a feeling of well-being and relaxation
Increases children’s willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings
Fosters awareness of one’s unique imagination and creativity
Builds verbal self-confidence
Integrates multiple learning contexts (reading, listening, speaking, writing, grammar, vocabulary) into a single instructional input
Builds community chemistry
Enhances reading, listening, and critical thinking skills
Fosters teacher-learner collaboration (Fitzgibbon & Wilhelm, 1998)
IN WHAT WAYS CAN WE USE STORYTELLING?
Storytelling provides a valuable source of authentic language materials and there are hundreds of ways to use it in ELT. Listening to stories can develop important skills such as prediction, guessing, hypothesizing, and message decoding. Lots of different fun activities spin off from stories: story completion, summary writing, discussion, role playing, story experience, the narrative approach, story act-out, spinning stories, group story, story interpretation, story writing, change the story, picture story, jigsaw story, strip story, tell a story, to name several.
PROS AND CONS
There is strong evidence to support the use of storytelling in the ESL/EFL classroom. It provides learners with a comprehensible input that facilitates language acquisition (Hendrickson, 1992) in a fun way. Using storytelling in the classroom has pros and cons. What are they?
Gains the students’ attention
Enables the students to be exposed to a moral dilemma
Enables the students to be exposed to a problem-solving exercise
Enables students to share stories of success
Develops a sense of community
Explores personal roles
Makes sense of learners’ lives
Contains linguistic information including vocabulary, grammar, and language sense
Reduces learners’ intensity of the language-learning phobia
Invokes learners’ curiosity, concentration, imagination, and critical thinking
Develops rapport and respect
Provides moral lessons
Requires a lot of time (Rosen, 1988)
Requires much preparation
Takes up a large proportion of the teaching session
Requires a “safe” environment for students
Topic may be threatening if it challenges personal values (Fairbairn, 2002)
If students are being asked to write, they may need direction
Students may have had previous exposure to the stories
Requires visualisation skills
May not suit the learning style (Davidson, 2003)
Dependent on the enthusiasm of the lecturer (Weimer, 2002)
Storytelling serves many functions; it will always be the cornerstone of teaching. It is the task of a teacher to find out how to use it effectively and skillfully and develop students’ competence. A teacher can excel and train his or her students to be good storytellers using good breath control, careful enunciation, appropriate gestures, effective pauses, and other speech techniques.
Storytelling can be not only increase students’ interest, motivation, creativity, critical thinking skills, imagination, and verbal self-confidence in language learning but also maximize their authentic self-involvement, community interaction, and prolific production. Using storytelling has always been my passion and I have always been happy, as both a learner and a teacher, to take the challenge of using it whenever possible. I would strongly recommend using storytelling in ELT as I know students will also enjoy it a lot! Good luck and have fun!
Davidson, M. R. (2003). A phenomenological evaluation: Using storytelling as a primary teaching method. Nurse Education in Practice, 3, 1-6.
Fairbairn, G. J. (2002). Ethics, empathy and storytelling in professional development. Learning in Health and Social Care, 1, 22-32.
Fitzgibbon, H. B., &Wilhelm, K. H. (1998). Storytelling in ESL/EFL Classrooms. TESL Reporter, 31-32, 21-31.
Hendrickson, J. M. (1992). Storytelling for foreign language learners. (Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED355842).
Rosen, B. (1988). And None of it was Nonsense: The power of storytelling in school. London: Mary Glasgow Publications Ltd.
Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-Centred Teaching: five key changes to practice. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
USEFUL WEB SITES
Faisal Ibrahim Al-Shamali, firstname.lastname@example.org, received an MA in Linguistics from Yarmouk University in Jordan. He is an English Language Instructor at Pioneer Center for Gifted Students in Jordan, a member of TESOL, and has presented at numerous international conferences.
RECIPROCAL TEACHING AND THE USE OF SENTENCE WALLS IN THE ESOL CLASSROOM
Within a balanced literacy model, teachers work with their students in small groups and guide them through the reading process by helping them to develop comprehension routines. These routines are integrated practices that students can use with multiple texts. Comprehension routines also are designed to assist students in gaining a more thorough understanding of what they are reading while providing them with strategies to use as they read independently.
Reciprocal teaching, also known as reciprocal reading, is one such comprehension routine. It has been around since the 1980s when it was developed by reading researchers Ann Brown and Ann-Marie Palincscar. It consists of four strategies―predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing―that students use as they work through a text. I have used this routine in my ESOL classroom for a number of years and was originally interested in what it offered my ESOL students because of its strong emphasis on all four language domains. Because reciprocal teaching has students use the four strategies repeatedly as they work their way through a text, I have made use of an area in the classroom called a “sentence wall” on which I print a variety of sentence starters to help students focus on the language of reciprocal teaching. For example, after students skim a text and read through a variety of text and graphic features for nonfiction or a plot’s exposition for fictional text, they create predictions about what they will read and later return to their predictions to confirm or adjust them. For the English language learner, a sentence wall with the phrases “I predict the text is about _____” and “I confirm/adjust my prediction because _____” helps the student focus on the content of the prediction rather than on the language of making predictions. As students listen to one another make predictions prior to reading the text in a supportive group setting, they hear the repetition of the prediction phrase and rely less on the sentence wall.
Once the students read through the text with partners or through echo or choral reading, the teacher or discussion director designates specific points at which to stop and use the remaining strategies to help the group understand what they are reading. Like the prediction phrases available on a sentence wall, students can also use the phrase “Can you clarifywhat _____ means?” as well as summary phrases such as “This part is about … incorporating the 5Ws for factual text or somebody wanted to ______ so ______ for fictional text to arrive at the gist of what was previously read.
With the current emphasis on state assessments in reading, reciprocal teaching also provides students with the opportunity to create questions about the text they are reading as if they were “test developers.” For example, students can use the sentence wall to ask “How are the characters of _____ and _____ alike?” or “What is the effect of _____ on the _____?” to practice asking and answering each others’ questions about what is being read.
Like other comprehension routines introduced to students, reciprocal teaching provides for a gradual release of responsibility from teacher modeling and leading the groups to the teacher observing the groups as students take turns becoming the discussion directors for the text selected. Once students are at ease in their use of the four strategies, this comprehension routine makes a wonderful literacy rotation for students to work at independently within a balanced rotation instructional model. While students listen, speak, and read about the text, there are also a variety of ways to have them record their reciprocal teaching thoughts as evidence of their learning.
Mitch Bobrick, email@example.com, is a member of the EEIS Steering Board. He teaches English Language Learners in Palm Beach County, Florida. He will present a session on “Enhancing Literacy Engagement Through Guided Comprehension Routines and Responses” at our upcoming TESOL convention in New Orleans.
TEAM TEACHING IN THE UNITED STATES AND ABROAD
Team teaching to students learning English occurs in many different contexts in U.S. elementary classrooms and around the world. The goals of these programs are generally the same: to ensure quality English language models and instruction in the classroom. When we think about team teaching we often think of two instructors in the same classroom but those instructors could be teaching the same students at the same time or they might be teaching different groups of students within the same classroom. Within those two types of interactions six different models or combinations of models are recognizable:
In the Traditional Model both teachers share the instruction of content and skills with all students.
In the Supportive Model one teacher focuses on content instruction while the other teacher conducts follow-up activities, English language instruction, or skill building.
The Collaborative Model is the epitome of team teaching in that both teachers work together to plan and teach collaboratively. Often the teachers include collaborative learning techniques for the learners also.
In the Parallel Instruction Model students are divided into groups and each teacher provides instruction in the same content or skills to his or her group.
The Differentiated Instruction Model, students are divided into groups on the basis of learning needs with each teacher providing instruction based on his or her group’s needs.
The last type is sometimes called a Monitoring Teacher or Mentoring Teacher, where one teacher assumes responsibility for the class while the other teacher monitors student learning. Guidance may be given to a specific student or the teacher responsible for the class to make instruction more effective for students.
Two programs operate in the English as a foreign language context and are designed specifically on the concept of team teaching. In both programs, various combinations of the models described above will be implemented; the context and personalities of the team will dictate what works best in each classroom:
The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program partners a Japanese foreign language teacher and a native English assistant teacher to engage students incommunicative activities in the classroom. Some cultural exchanges occur also. www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/JET/
Fulbright English Teaching Assistants serve as resources in conversation classes or in small-group tutorials. They also may be work in a cross-cultural community project. http://us.fulbrightonline.org/thinking_teaching.html
Team teaching offers many benefits but it is also includes challenges because of the varied school/classroom contexts, time allotted for joint lesson planning, the available instructional materials, facilities, student learning styles, and the personalities of the paired team. Are you up for the challenge?
Goetz, K. (2000). Perspectives on team teaching. E-Gallery, 1(4). http://people.ucalgary.ca/~egallery/goetz.html
Kumagai, M. (2009). Team teaching gap between the East and the West. Unpublished manuscript.
Stewart, T., & Perry, B. (2005). Interdisciplinary team teaching as a model for teacher development. http://writing.berkeley.edu/TESL-EJ/ej34/a7.html
Tonks, B. (2006). ESL team teaching in the Japanese context: Possibilities, pitfalls and strategies for success. The International TEYL Journal. www.teyl.org/article12.html
Janet Orr, firstname.lastname@example.org, is on the TESOL Board of Directors. She is a past EEIS newsletter co-editor and works for TEAL Services.
About this Community
EEIS NEWS CALL FOR ARTICLES
EEIS News is soliciting articles on research and classroom methods, materials, and practices related to English as a second or foreign language in any elementary education classroom setting.
EEIS News welcomes articles that apply to classroom situations and that focus on ESL/EFL classroom practices/instruction, second language acquisition, language assessment, advocacy, administration, parent/public concerns, and other related topics. In light of the newsletter’s electronic format, authors are encouraged to include hyperlinks and digital object identifiers.
- include a title, author, and author’s e-mail address
- be no longer than 1,500 words
- contain no more than five citations
- follow APA style guidelines
- be in MS Word or ASCII format
EEIS NEWS PUBLICATION SCHEDULE
June 30 Submissions due to EEIS News editors
July 31 Compiled EEIS News submitted to TESOL for copyediting
August 30 Newsletter distributed to EEIS members
November 15 Submissions due to EEIS News editors
December 15 Compiled EEIS News submitted to TESOL for copyediting
January 30 Newsletter distributed to EEIS members
EEIS OFFICERS AND LEADERS
Elementary Education Interest Section: Officers and Leaders 2010-11
Steering Board Members
Dino Salin, Chair
Judy O’Loughlin email@example.com