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New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

Vol. 41, No. 3

http://www.nystesol.org

Fall 2011

Collaborative Conversations* by Andrea Honigsfeld

That effective collaboration benefits students (and teachers alike) is affirmed by the well-deserved attention it has received most recently in the professional literature (see, for example, DelliCarpini, 2008, 2009; Honigsfeld & Dove, 2010; NACTAF, 2009; NEA, 2009; Pawan & Ortloff, 2011) and in the TESOL educational community (e.g., themes of 2011 New York State and Kentucky TESOL conferences). Acknowledging the importance of collaborative exchanges among teachers is not a completely novel idea, though. Close to three decades ago, Judith Warren Little (1982) examined the differences between more and less effective schools and found that the more effective ones had a greater degree of collegiality. She noted four unique characteristics of collegiality (or collaboration) in successful schools, where teachers participate in the following activities: • Teachers engage in frequent, continuous, and increasingly concrete and precise talk about teaching practice. • Teachers are frequently observed and provided with useful critiques of their teaching. • Teachers plan, design, evaluate, and prepare teaching materials together. • Teachers teach each other the practice of teaching (pp. 331– 332).

Consider what Warren Little’s (1982) frequently quoted four key ideas could mean for ELLs in today’s schools. What if we translated her seminal fi ndings into a contemporary framework of four Cs, in which “collaborative” serves as a defining adjective, followed by a key activity or desired teacher behavior necessary for improved student learning? • Collaborative Conversations: Through enhanced communication, all teachers have the opportunity to develop ownership and shared responsibility for ELLs’ learning. • Collaborative Coaching: Through an encouraging school climate and supportive framework, teachers offer and receive feedback on their teaching practices. • Collaborative Curriculum Development: Through curriculum mapping and alignment and collaborative materials development, teachers match both their longterm and dayto-day instructional goals and activities.

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NYS TESOL Annual Conference Oct. 28-29 Marriott Hotel Melville www.nystesol.org/annualconf/

Collaborative Converstios.................1 Conversations in Support.................3 Actg......................................................4 Resources for the CommonCore.....6 Talking is learning.............................10 Small Talk..........................................14 Conversation Table..........................24

Regular Features/ Special Announcements

Promising Practices...........................8 Book Review.....................................12 SIGs and Regions............................17 Members Only Website .................18 Editorialtes........................................22 Upcoming Idiom Themes..............22 Calendar and Announcements......22 NEW Membership Form…….....23

Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011) 6/26/12 9:59 AM


New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Officers and Executive Board 2010-2011

President, Nanette Dougherty NYC Public Schools First Vice President, Rebekah Johnson LAGCC, CUNY Second Vice President, Christy Baralis South Huntington School District Second Vice President Elect, Olivia Limbu Pace University Past President/TESOL Liaison, Constance Dziombak Mount Vernon City Schools SIG Coordinator, Laura Van Tassell South Huntington School District SIG Assistant Coordinator, Jennifer Scully Consultant Regions Coordinator, Tina Villalobos Hicksville Public Schools Assistant Regions Coordinator, Lynn Ellingwood Brighton Central School District Membership & Marketing Chair, Patricia Juza Baruch College, CUNY Assistant Membership Chair, Drew Fagan Teachers College, Columbia University Curriculum and Standards Chair, Maria Dove Molloy College Assistant Curriculum and Standards Chair Position Open Professional Concerns Chair Porfirio Rodriguez, East Ramapo CSD Professional Concerns Assistant Chair Position Open Publications/Technology Chair, Fran Olmos Yonkers Public Schools Idiom Editor, Cara Tuzzolino Werben Nassau Community College Dialogue Editor, Sue Peterson St. John’s University Webmaster, David Hirsch New York City Business Manager/Treasurer L. Jeanie Faulkner, Cornell University Certified Public Accountant Jim Stotz

From the President’s Desk

by Nanette Dougherty, NYS TESOL President Dear Colleagues, I hope you have been enjoying a happy, healthy and restorative summer. I would like to update you on some changes and challenges facing educators. On July 13, I attended the Bilingual/ESL COP (Committee of Practitioners) meeting at Teachers College, Columbia University. The most major changes include the New Evaluation Law for K-12 teachers and principals: 1. Annual evaluations for all teachers and principals 2. Clear, rigorous expectations for instructional excellence, prioritizing student learning 3. Multiple measures of performance 4. Multiple ratings: Four performance levels to describe differences in teacher effectiveness 5. The new system should encourage regular, constructive feedback and ongoing development 6. Significance: results are a major factor in employment decisions. You can view all documents discussed at the COP Meeting at the following link: http:// www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/bilinged/BilingualESLCOP.html. For more information about the Common Core Standards, please consult the website at: http://www.corestandards.org/ and see the article in this issue. Though it was not considered at this meeting, the 14 Bilingual/ESL Technical Assistance Centers (BETACs) across New York State closed permanently on June 30, 2011. This puts both our schools and our LEP/ELL populations at risk of not having the appropriate resources to meet their educational and programmatic needs over the next five years. Our new Commissioner of Education, Dr. John B. King, Jr., may not be familiar with the importance of the resources offered by the BETACs. You may e-mail him directly at: jking@mail.nysed.gov. In addition, you may email the NYS Board of Regents on this issue at: RegentsOffi ce@mail.nysed.gov. At the Melville Marriott October 28-29th, I will be passing the gavel to our incoming President, Rebekah Johnson. I would like to thank the many wonderful members of my Executive Board and the many SIG and Region Leaders for their service to the organization. Special thanks to Cornelia Randolph, a constant support and inspiration, and Fran Olmos, for her guidance. You will be receiving ballots for the Executive Board slate in the mail shortly. Thanks to our Nominating Committee, led by Cornelia Randolph and Terri Brady-Mendez, for their time and efforts. Members, please do not forget to vote for your new leadership in our organization by returning your ballots. As always, please continue to keep in touch with issues, concerns, and ideas on how our organization can best serve you. Best wishes for a great school year to all. Peace and blessings to you, Nanette Dougherty, President, NYS TESOL P.S. We’re so very excited to be launching our new Members Only website - please read more about it in this issue and log in soon to check it out. Please contact us with ideas

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Conversations in Support of High School ELLs by Victoria Pilotti

Adolescent ELLs are second language learners who are still developing their profi ciency in academic English. Moreover, they are learning English at the same time they are studying core content areas through English. Thus, English language learners must perform double the work of native English speakers in the country’s middle and high schools. At the same time, they are being held to the same accountability standards as their native English-speaking peers (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007, p. 1). Conversations with ELLs and colleagues are viable ways for ESL teachers to help their students navigate academic challenges. My short time at Jamaica High School has been fi lled with conversations that have driven my instruction to best support the ELLs in my charge.

Curriculum Experiments Based on Conversations with ELLs

At Jamaica High School, an ESL support class is offered zero period, 7:22 to 8:06 a.m., to provide intermediate ELLs with additional targeted interventions. September 2011 will be the third year I am teaching zero period, and each year is an ongoing curriculum development action research experiment. I conduct the course as a combined resource room and advisory class model. Based on daily conversations with my students about their challenges, I provide homework help; teach problematic topics in mathematics, science, and social studies; and assess and teach diverse skills necessary for academic success. The fi rst year of the experiment, my curriculum included mathematics symbols and word problems; the living environment topics of scientifi c method, evolution,

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and organ systems; social studies topics of feudalism, estates, and analysis of political cartoons; English language arts topics of idioms, formal versus informal language, and dictionary/glossary skills; and academic readiness in test-taking strategies, study skills, time management, notebook organization, public speaking skills, and computer skills. I also taught graph skills across the disciplines. This class was one of a select few Jamaica High School English and ESL classes that benefi ted from TeenBiz3000 (Empower3000), a Web-based individualized reading program by Achieve3000. Conversations with ELLs form part of the data collection that drives my curriculum changes. Several first-year students (participants in Experiment I) reported the lessons and activities helped them pass content-area finals and New York State Regents examinations. When asked how the support class could be improved for the following year, ELLs suggested that I allot more time to science, continue teaching math and social studies, and retain computer instruction on TeenBiz3000. One student, who was particularly resistant to my teaching anything but ESL all year, later admitted he benefitted from content-area instruction by his ESL teacher. All students expressed a deep appreciation for the bilingual content area glossaries I provided. In the second year (Experiment II), I spent less time on dictionary/glossary skills; did not teach idioms; and, upon careful review of recent livingenvironment Regents exams, added an ecosystem unit, a lesson on pH, and group activities on bar and line graphs. I replaced the formal versus informal English lesson with daily academic English and everyday English explanations and defi nitions. Students assessed their multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983; Gardner, 1993, 2996; McKenzie, 1999), and learning styles (Dunn & Dunn, 1993; Dunn & Griggs, 2003, 2004, 2007; Missere & Dunn, 2005). I added native-language translations of key content vocabulary to my student notebook grading rubric. Groups researched continents and explorers and presented their PowerPoint slide shows to ELLs in other classes. TeenBiz3000 was replaced by Study Island, Web-based instruction built on New York State standards, that provided all Jamaica High School students practice for English, mathematics,

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science, and social studies Regents exams; and for national Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Based on requests from Experiment I participants for Internet resources for speaking practice, I created lists of Web sites and links with podcasts and speaking exercises. As I gear up for Experiment III in the 2011-2012 school year, I plan to devote more time to dictionary skills, such as alphabetizing, and contentarea textbook structure, with special attention to textbook glossaries and indices; the participants in Experiment II were lacking in dictionary/textbook research skills and did not make optimum use of these resources. I provided a list of Web sites and links for Regents practice and bilingual glossaries, and will again provide copies of bilingual glossaries in Experiment III. I have decided to step up test-taking strategies and content writing practice in the zero period support class beginning in September.

Conversations with Families

Individual writing conferences often involve reinforcing the student’s strengths and discussing specifi c areas in need of improvement (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001). I had conversations with each student about his/her multiple intelligences and learning style profi les generated from the Dunn (continued on page 26)

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All the World’s a Stage: Ways in Which Teaching Is Like Acting by Elizabeth Fonseca

Acting is a sport. On stage you must be ready to move like a tennis player on his toes. Your concentration must be keen, your refl exes sharp; your body and mind are in top gear; the chase is on. Acting is energy. In the theatre people pay to see energy. —Clive Swift

Do you use gestures, winks, and nods to convey information, emotion, even comedy? These are things worth thinking about, because one of the most important ways you are like an actor is in this all-important function. Your energy and presence set the tone. Just as audiences must have faith in actors Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and suspend their disbelief to fully enter and three-fourths theater. into the world the actors are creating, your —Gail Godwin students must agree to the unspoken contract of trust that bonds them to you in a If “acting is energy,” teaching is vulnerable learning situation. Your ability to many things: a combination of knowledge, create that atmosphere of trust is important; experience, awareness, expertise, and care. your dynamism helps your class generate It is also the energy we, as language instruc- energy that in turn feeds you and helps the tors, bring into the classroom that absolutely learning environment be dynamic. affects the order of the day. As a theater This is important for learning as well as lover and past occasional performer, I have for the teacher’s ability to sustain energy often thought about the parallels between and passion both within a class and over her teaching and acting. Here are a few that entire run. come to mind. Actors use their voices as tools, You’re on stage. All eyes are on relying on not just word choice but infl you. You’re the initial focal point of ection, intonation, varying volume, and the attention. Your presence shifts the judicious use of pauses to capture the audienergy in the room. Sometimes, you ence’s attention, rivet them, spellbind them, literally have a podium, with desks arrayed draw them forward in their seats wondering in rows before you like patrons at a theater. “What’s next?” You too can use your voice There is noise, chatter, laughter, shuffl ing itself as a tool that weaves the bewitching in the room until the lights dim. Curtain up! spell of energy, dynamism, and trust that Enter stage left, the professor. Cell phones makes for a lively and effective learning enviget put away, or at least discreetly placed to ronment. the side. Chitchat dies down. The room is The show must go on. There are hushed a moment, the pause of anticipadays when you can’t imagine generating that tion before the first words of dialogue are energy at all. On those days, you have to “act spoken. as if ”: put on your teaching persona as an All eyes are on you. An actor actor dons a mask or stage makeup, preparuses her body to convey information about ing herself to go before the lights. If you her character before she don’t show up, or show up without energy, even speaks. So do you. How are you you might flop. dressed? Does what you wear convey some This leads us to the all-important message about your position in this play, teaching persona. As an actor slips into a your role, your persona as teacher, leader, or role through preparation, curiosity, and the facilitator of the energy in the room? How desire to share emotion and information do you walk in? Are your eyes downcast, with an audience, you can slip into your refl ecting your students’ spent energy at the teaching persona, comprised end of a long week, or do they sparkle? Do of your sincere and genuine self you walk in the room with pizzazz, transwith a soupçon of public-role poise, mitting vital energy to them, to create the strategic sass, and teacher’s tools cycle of give-and-take necessary for effective you’ve learned throughout your teaching language learning? days that help you on the way.

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Is your persona the classic scholar? Do you have a little playful clown thrown in? Are you the compassionate guide, leading students to the knowledge they already possess? Can you switch hats to that of the taskmaster, pushing for and demanding the very best? It can be useful to think of the teacher role as composed of these different personae that serve useful functions in the various processes of learning, including enabling you to reach students of different backgrounds, needs, and learning styles. Even if you are not like that, your alter ego, “Professor Picky”, can be. Although you are more lenient, “Scholar strict” can be called upon as necessary to whip an underachieving class into shape. Being a teacher is a public role that requires daily public speaking; why not train for it and find useful tools and approaches that may aid in maintaining your interest, creating a positive learning environment, and aiding in efficient classroom management? If you think some training might help you focus your body as instrument and help you channel energy more effi ciently and effectively in the classroom, here are some suggestions to get you started: • Take an acting class. Learn how to use body language, breath, and voice to create energy and atmosphere. • Take a public speaking class. Learn relaxation techniques, visualization techniques, and tips for effectively conveying a message. • Join a group such as Toastmasters International, where you’ll learn tips for public speaking. • Listen to and read poetry aloud. Learn about cadence, rhythm, and volume to use your voice more effectively—and to save it from too many of those hoarse, raggedy, “I’ve-spoken-too-much” days! • Similarly, take a vocal or voice training class. Learn specific breathing exercises to strengthen your voice and

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NYS TESOL Remembers Jeanette D. Macero by Vel Chesser

to become expert in effectively and effi ciently using and saving your voice. Here is a website to get you thinking about your own parallels between acting and teaching: http://www/ jbactors.com/actingphilosophy/ actingquotations.html. References Godwin, G. (1974). The Odd Woman. New York: Ballantine Books. http://www/jbactors.com/actingphilosophy/ actingquotations.html Elizabeth Fonseca is an avid traveler who has taught ESL/EFL in such countries as Italy, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Her work has been published in the Arabia Review and the Traveler’s Tales series, among others. Her interest in acting stems from high school and community theater days, as well as more recent poetry readings. She currently teaches at Nassau Community College in New York. <Elizabeth.fonseca@ncc.edu>

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The field of ESOL has lost one of its most revered members, Jeanette D. Macero, who died May 9, 2011. Jeanette was passionate in her dedication to non-native speakers of English as exemplifi ed by her teaching, mentoring and participation in professional organizations. Jeanette, one of the founders of NYS ESOL BEA (now NYS TESOL—see note below), was a leader in that organization nonstop until her retirement from Syracuse University in 1998, as associate professor of English and TESOL coordinator of languages, literatures and linguistics. She moved to Medfi eld, MA to be near her family. Many NYS TESOL members will testify to the mentoring they received from Jeanette, who held leadership positions in the organization for her entire career. Jeanette graduated with a BA in English from Barnard College, an MA in linguistics from Columbia University, and did doctoral study in linguistics at the University of Michigan. She was president, second vice president twice, and chair of various TESOL committees: publications, paper selection, awards and nominations. Twice, she received the NYS TESOL Distinguished Service Award.

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In addition to Jeanette’s full-time teaching at Syracuse University, she published skill books for beginners of English through Laubach Literacy (now known as ProLiteracy), as well as a number of scholarly papers and addresses, edited books of readings, and acted as consultant to many groups. All those who knew Jeanette are aware of her many accomplishments in professional organizations and her skillful teaching, but those closest to her will remember most her kind and compassionate manner to all she metand worked with, her hearty laugh, and her engaging personality. Jeanette’s friends and colleagues have lost a treasure. Vel Chesser, retired from Syracuse University, can be reached at <vfchesse@syr.edu> Editor’s note: With thanks to NYS TESOL historian George Morris: The very fi rst organization was called NY TESOL (No “S” for State), then NYS ESOL BEA. The founding date is 1970 (hence our 40th anniversary in 2010). The split into NYS TESOL and NYSABE was in the early 1980s.

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Resources for Implementing the Common Core for ELLs by Diane Garafalo

The Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) have been adopted by dozens of states. The NYS Board of Regents adopted the new P-12 CCLS for ELA, Literacy, and Mathematics in January 2011; it will be phased in over the next year. Beginning in school year 2012-13, NYS assessments for English Language Arts and Mathematics will measure student achievement of the P-12 CCLS. Find New York State’s complete CCLS timeline at www.usny. nysed.gov/rttt/ docs/ccsstimeline.pdf. The initiative began in the spring of 2009 and was coordinated by the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSO). The advisory group for the initiative comprises Achieve, Inc., ACT, the College Board, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), and the State Higher Education Executive Offi cers (SHEO). The Common Core State Standards Initiative released a draft of the math and language arts content standards for public comment in September 2009, and the individual K-12 grade-level content standards in these subjects were released for public comment in March 2010. Both sets of content standards were finalized in 2010.

• Realistic, for effective use in the classroom; • Informed by other top-performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; • Evidence and research based (Quay, 2010); • Application of the Standards for English Language Learners.

• Speakers of English who know the language well enough to provide ELLs with models and support; • Need for English Language Proficiency Standards.

The Common Core did not spell out how the standards applied to specific levels of English profi ciency. It was left up Common standards can potentially proto states to create English Language Profi vide a greater opportunity for states to share ciency Standards that align with the Core experiences and best practices within and Standards or to explain how specifi c stanacross states that could lead to an improved dards can best be taught to students dependability to serve ELLs. The K-12 Englishing on their level of English profi ciency. language arts In her July 12 blog at Education Week, and mathematics standards do include infor- “Learning the Language,” Mary Ann mation on the Application of the Standards Zehr recognized this need by reporting that Stanford University has received a $1 for English Language Learners, located at million grant from the Carnegie Corporation http://www.corestandards. org/assets/ of New York to create English Language application-forenglish- learners.pdf. Proficiency Standards for the states’ ComOne segment of the Application mon Core Academic Standards. Dr. Kenji of ELA Core Standards recommends that to help ELLs meet high academic standards Hakuta, a professor of education at Stanford University, a member of the Common Core in language arts it is essential that they have Validation Committee, and a long-time exaccess to: pert on ELLs; and Maria Santos, the former • Teachers and personnel at the school and director of programs for ELLs for the New district levels who are well prepared and York City school system, are co-chairs of qualifi ed to support ELLs while taking adthis national effort to write standards for vantage of the many strengths and skills ELLs to parallel the Language Arts and they bring to the classroom; Mathematics Standards of the Common • Literacy-rich school environments where Core, as well as the Science Standards that students are immersed in a variety of lanare expected to be developed. This grant guage experiences; award fi lls the gap in the process of impleCriteria for Development • Instruction that develops foundational This process differed from past standards skills in English and enables ELLs to partici- menting the Common Core for ELLs (Zehr, 2011). The grant, which lasts for two years, initiatives because it was state led and had pate fully in gradelevel coursework; is called “Building on Common-Core the support of educators across the country • Coursework that prepares ELLs for post as well as prominent education, business and secondary education or the workplace, yet is Standards to Improve Learning for EnglishLanguage Learners.” state leaders’ organizations. The standards made comprehensible for students learn“The effort is to think about the content were developed by the following criteria: ing content in a second language (through areas in the common core that offer strategi• Aligned with expectations for college and specifi c pedagogical techniques and addically fertile areas around which language career success; tional resources); • Clear, so that educators and parents know • Opportunities for classroom discourse and instruction can take place,” Dr. Hakuta what they need to do to help students learn; interaction that are designed to enable ELLs explained. “The standards will elaborate on what ELLs should know and be able to do • Consistent across all states, so that stuto develop communicative strengths in the content areas at different Englishprodents are not taught to a lower standard just in language arts; ficiency levels,” he added. (Zehr, • Ongoing assessment and feedback because of where they live; 2011). • Inclusive of both content and the applica- to guide learning; tion of knowledge through high-order skills; • Built upon strengths and lessons of current state standards and standards of topperforming nations;

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Preparing ELLs for the Common Core A Webinar On May 5, 2011, Dr. Hakuta presented a webinar at www.teachscape.com called “Research to Practice: Preparing ELLs for the Common Core.” He offered his thoughts and ideas during the webinar under the topic of planning for the Common Core, including: • Recognize that language is necessary to teach, learn, and demonstrate understanding in school subjects, and that this is true for all students, but especially for ELLs; • Engage in the idea that excellence in instruction and assessment around content revolves around the idea of rich language use; • Build the professional development around the idea that language instruction is the domain of all teachers, not just English Language Arts and ESL teachers; • Identify your objectives, assessments, and best practices in classrooms and ensure that you’re making progress toward those objectives; • Use the Common Core to recognize and amplify the opportunity for rich language development for ELLs and for all students (Hakuta, 2011). According to Dr. Hakuta, there are some key elements for ELLs regarding the Common Core, including: • The Common Core provides a strong incentive to examine the role of language in content instruction and in assessment; there is a role for leadership to take advantage of this opportunity; • Even though the Common Core says nothing about the English Language profi ciency expectations of ELLs, there is a requirement that English language profi ciency be aligned to the Common Core; • There will be more commonality across states in the identifi cation of students because there will be more common profi ciency tests; • The Common Core has the potential to move ELL performance/ profi ciency both across schools and across the country (Hakuta, 2011).

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Criteria for Writing Common Core Curriculum Materials

Last summer, the nonprofi t group Common Core issued a set of free curriculum maps. The maps are designed to give an understandable sequence of thematic curriculum units that connect the skills provided in the ELA

Some Helpful Resources ♦ Common Core Curriculum Maps: www.commoncore.org/free/ ♦ Common Core Standards and English Language Learners: www.colorincolorado.org/ educators/common_core ♦ Common Core State Standards Initiative Web site: www.corestandards.org ♦ Common Core Standards Work for ELLs: The Importance of Linking English Language Proficiency Standards to the Common Core Standards www.colorincolorado.org/ powerpoint/ELLELPStandardsPPT% 20Slide.pdf ♦ K-6 Units in ELA Aligned with Common Core Standards: www.elementarytests.com/ blog/ k-6-ela-common-core/ ♦ P21 Common Core Toolkit www.p21.org/images/p21_ toolkit_final.pdf ♦ www.thejournal.com/articles/2011/08/02/ common-core-toolkitaligns -standards-with-21stcenturyskills-framework.aspx Websites of the members of the advisory board to the Common Core Initiative: Achieve, Inc.: www.achieve.org ACT: www.act.org The College Board: www.collegeboard.com National Association of State Boards of Education: www.nasbe.org State Higher Education Executive Offi cers: www.sheeo.org

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Promising Practices This is an ongoing column, featuring advice for effective teaching. Please send article submissions to the column editor, Ann C. Wintergerst (contact information on page 22 of this

Piece of cake! Idiom activities and the importance of proper intonation

by Andrew Edison Schneider Idioms pop up everywhere in English media, often met with confused looks by our students. Even more advanced students have diffi culty using them with any degree of competence, especially if the idioms are culturally different from their own (Irujo, 1986). Given their importance, more attention should be paid to teaching idioms in ESL settings (Cooper, 1998). It is up to teachers to help students not only learn idioms, but also to encourage their usage in an intelligible manner. How can we incorporate idioms into classroom settings in a relaxed, communicative, and student-centered way? More important, how can we teach the intonation of idioms to achieve students’ maximum intelligibility? I have found the following three activities to be helpful for my students.

BYOI—Bring Your Own Idiom

are totally you). During the students’ explanations, I stay off to the side and will assist only if the situation calls for it; I have even done this activity remotely via Skype when I was home sick in bed. Having the students in charge of this activity made it quite manageable. It can also act as a springboard for all kinds of culturerelated discussions.

Where Is the Change?

A major obstacle facing our students is intelligibility, especially when using idioms. While pronunciation may be a factor, an equally important factor is proper intonation. As the pitch in our voices rises and falls, these changes in intonation are processed by the listener (Cruttenden, 1986). If you have ever studied Chinese, Thai, or Vietnamese, you may be familiar with the inextricable link between the proper tone and communication. In English as well, when language is given the correct intonation, communication can be greatly enhanced. To emphasize this point with my students, I imitate the “wa wa” teacher from Charlie Brown. I walk around the class, lock eyes with a student, raise my hand, and slowly say “Wa, wa wa Wa?” What I am actually saying is “Hi, how are You?” Students inevitably guess correctly and are quite surprised that they can understand what I am saying. Once they have caught on, we can then create contextual situations and apply the proper intonation. A mini-dialogue I might have with a student in front of the class, in which my role would be B, is as follows:

A: What are you doing this weekend? B: This weekend? Nothing special. Each student chooses one idiom to “teach” the class. They may choose from any I’ll probably just hang OUt. source, and learn it well enough to be able to A: OK. Give me a call. explain it in front of their classmates. This B: Alright. is a great warm-up; it’s student-centered and exciting, since they have chosen these idioms themselves based on their own interests. Don’t be surprised if a number of idioms come from Gossip Girl or Glee, American television programs centering around highschool students, so idioms relating to dating and shopping tend to surface quite often (i.e., It’s on me; She’s into him; Those shoes

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After the classmates have heard the dialogue, I will ask them, “Where is the change?” Hopefully, they will hear “OUt” on the fi rst try. I will then mark it on the board. The rise in pitch at the beginning of “OUt” rather than on the word “hang” is essential to the

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intelligibility of the idiom as well as to the rest of the dialogue. Teachers play a vital role here. Once an idiom is presented, either the students or the teacher should provide/ elicit the proper intonation and then mark it. This marking system is especially important for non-native-English-speaking teachers who may be unfamiliar with the proper intonation of idioms. The good news regarding idiomatic phrases is that there are general intonation patterns. In an emphasized two-syllable word, such as “brainer” in the expression “no-brainer,” the word tends to receive a higher tone or pitch on the fi rst syllable. It’s a no- BRAIner. In the case of a one-syllable word, such as “cake” in the expression “piece of cake,” there is a higher tone on the fi rst half of the word: It’s a piece of CAke. In either case, the rising intonation at the beginning is then followed by a falling intonation. Saying the idiom in front of your students in slow motion can really help to clarify this, and it is also good for a laugh. When students know the proper intonation, communication can be achieved even with less-than-perfect pronunciation. This is good news for our students, as it is generally much easier to change the pitch of a word than to pronounce the word properly.

Mini Dialogues

The mini dialogues written by the students, followed by an in-class role play, are not only a lot of fun but practical and effective exercises for ESL students (Nunan, 2003; Scott & Ytreberg, 2000). They could be done as homework or in class individually, in pairs, or in groups. These dialogues supply the context necessary to achieve natural usage and effective communication (Nippold & Martin, 1989). The task is to write mini dialogues, where each dialogue contains at least one idiom from class, either from our text or from one of the students’ BYOI. There should be just enough context (4-6 lines) for the exchange to be meaningful (Nippold & Martin, 1989). Make sure the students understand that even though these dialogues are being written down, they should be striving for spoken and not written English. I also ask them to

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consider the roles of the speakers as in the following student dialogue (the professor is putting on her coat as her student enters the office): A: Excuse me. Professor? Are you busy? B: I’m running LAte, actually. I’ll be here tomorrow. A: Ok, thank you. B: Alright. This exchange meets the criteria in that it is a spoken dialogue, the roles are defi ned, at least one idiom is used, and the idiom is marked with the proper intonation. Once their dialogues are done, I collect, correct, and return them. Afterward, I circulate, taking student questions on my corrections. Then, I have each pair practice and perform at least one of their dialogues in front of the class. Eye contact, body language (students must sit facing each other), and voice management should be emphasized during practice time. Be sure to circulate, as some students will simply read the dialogue together. I walk around with a blank sheet of 8½ x 11 paper, which I use to cover up the dialogue they are working on. This forces them to look up and, hopefully, at each other. The students then perform at the front of the class. I act as the director, yelling “Action!” and opening/closing my cell phone like a director’s slate. The class listens for the idiom used in the dialogue. This is always fun, as students enjoy watching their classmates perform. I like to supply props/ wigs to spice it up. Be prepared for the cameras to come out! I also quiz them on the idiom and the intonation right after each dialogue.

References Cooper, T. C. (1998). Teaching idioms. Foreign Language Annals, 31(2), 255-266. Cruttenden, M. (1986). Intonation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Irujo, S. (1986). Don’t put your leg in your mouth: Transfer in the acquisition of idioms in a second language. TESOL Quarterly, 20, 287-304. Nippold, M. A., & Martin, S. T. (1989). Idiom interpretation in isolation versus context: A developmental study with adolescents. Journal Speech & Hearing Research, 32, 59-66. Nunan, D. (2003). Practical English teaching. New York: McGraw Hill. Scott, W. A., & Ytreberg, L. H. (2000). Teaching English to children. New York: Longman. Andrew Schneider has been teaching ESL/EFL for 20 years, having taught in Japan, Spain, and the United States. He currently teaches medical students in Kanazawa, Japan. <Andrew@med.kanazawa-u.ac.jp>

Conclusion

English continues to be a global language. Proper knowledge and usage of idioms are powerful tools for anyone requiring English in daily communication. By focusing on the proper intonation for our students to achieve maximum intelligibility, we are better equipping them for the English-speaking world. It is important for us as teachers to go the extra mile.

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Introduction from the new Idiom Editor, Cara Tuzzolino Werben

Greetings Idiom readers, I am delighted to combine my background in publishing with my love of TESOL as the new editor of Idiom. Thank you to my predecessor, Julie Dziewisz, for her great work and help with a smooth transition. I also thank the column editors, copy editor, NYS TESOL leadership and members for the warm welcome. My career began with a B.A. in journalism from NYU. After I switched to marketing, and later fundraising, I volunteered in an ESOL classroom and loved it. I enrolled in Teachers College, Columbia University, graduated with an Ed.M. in TESOL, and began working as an adjunct at Pace, CUNY, and Columbia. Presently, I work in an intensive English program at Nassau Community College. We focus on improving students’ skills through an integrated, holistic approach, so that they can exit our program and be prepared for college-level work. I also instruct and mentor aspiring TESOL teachers at the Literacy Assistance Center. I welcome the chance to meet with interested writers during the Annual conference in October. See you there! --Cara <idiom@nystesol.org>

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For ELLs, Talking Is Learning by Elaine Caputo Ferrara

ESL teachers employ a variety of instructional tools in the classroom. Conversation can be used to help students practice pronunciation, to prepare and develop a well-thought-out paragraph, and to enhance listening skills. Most important, conversational activities tap into students’ schema to help them fully develop critical thinking skills in English. Below are several activities I have used with my students. To introduce the concept of students’ origins, I show students how to use the Reporter’s Questions (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How) to gather information. Students partner with one another to ask these questions and record the answers. When the class comes together again, I ask the group, “Who has a partner coming from a country whose name begins with the letter A?” Students might answer Argentina. The class then identifi es which continent Argentina is on. Students check the map in the classroom to know more about their partner’s home country. This is repeated until the end of the alphabet. Students work with their partners to see what they already know about these countries. This prior knowledge helps students realize that they know more than they think about geography and other topics. Next, the class discusses the variety of languages spoken by the students. After obtaining this information, students put the names of these languages on the board. This fi rst conversation in class provides information needed for the fi rst writing assignment, which is the biography of a class member. The fi rst draft begins in class and is peer reviewed for content by the student’s conversation partners. Their homework is to review the draft and to rewrite it at home on the computer. The next day, I review the homework with students and focus my comments on a grammatical topic, such as verb tense usage. I choose to focus my feedback on one or two aspects of the writing assignment so that a completely marked-up paper does not increase students’ writing anxiety. The next assignment involves reading a biography about a famous American. It might be a commonly known American like George Washington or someone from a particular fi eld. After forming groups and

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prior to reading, students discuss what they already know about the person and what they expect to see in the article. I introduce the concepts of topic and main idea as well as vocabulary specifi c to the story. After reading the biography, students individually answer the Reporter’s Questions from the article, and then share their answers with their conversation group. In groups, students generate their own questions using the Reporter’s Questions. When the class comes together, one student from each conversation group writes one question on the board—the questions should not be duplicates of other groups’ questions. Students read each question aloud. I ask the whole class for grammatical corrections to the questions. After completing the exercise, students write a summary of the biography—they can use these questions or the ones from the conversation group—and show this to their conversation partner for feedback. Their homework is to create a revised version of the in-class written summary that incorporates their partners’ feedback. They staple the draft to the top of the rewrite. Using conversation sheets, such as those available at www.bogglesworldesl. com, also provides opportunities for interaction. Each conversation sheet centers on a theme such as seasons, media, habits, and customs. These can be used to talk about the topic in conversation groups, to learn vocabulary specifi c to a topic, and to practice pronunciation. I ask students to look up defi nitions of highlighted words on the sheets. As an instructor, using these sheets is a way to determine students’ familiarity with American culture and to plan class trips. Students can also conduct research to enhance their knowledge about media. I used these conversation activities with levels 3 to 7 students (as measured by the Best Plus) enrolled in non-credit ESL CUNY courses for a semester or more. Students ranged from 18 to 60 years, were from all over the world, and spoke a wide variety of languages. Some were recently arrived professionals who had university degrees; others had a basic education in their native country.

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Come to the

Annual Conference October 28-29, 2011 New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages 41st Annual Conference “Enhancing English Learning: Connecting Communities Through Collaboration” Marriott Hotel Melville, NY For further information, go to www.nystesol.org and check your e-mail on the NYS TESOL Listserv If you are interested in volunteering or have questions, contact Conference Chair Christy Baralis at vp2@nystesol.org

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Students developed a sense of community because of the shared conversation exercises. Many good friendships began in class and continued after graduation. These friendships made it more enjoyable for many to attend class on a regular basis and did lead to fewer absences. By the end, students learned how to express their ideas more clearly in English and how to formulate questions for future educational use. Their critical thinking skills were used to evaluate the new information and to compare it to what they already knew. Elaine Caputo Ferrara received a Master’s degree from N.Y.U. in educational psychology, with a specialty in reading and special education. At the College of Staten Island, she teaches reading and writing to college students in ESL classes. Recently, she developed a citizenship class for students. <elaine.caputoferrara@csi.cuny.edu>

CALL FOR AWARDS Exceptional Professionals To honor contributions made within our fi eld, NYS TESOL presents several awards annually, including: James A. Lydon Distinguished Service Award Outstanding Teacher Award Recognition Award Lifetime Achievement Award James E. Weaver Memorial Award Special Award Year Award Honoree 2010 Recognition Award Dr. Anita Batisti Outstanding Teacher Dr. Maria Dove 2009

Lifetime Achievement Award Recognition Award Outstanding Teacher

2008 2007

2006

James E. Weaver Memorial Award Recognition Award Outstanding Teacher James A. Lydon Distinguished Servicee Recognition Award Outstanding Teacher James A. Lydon Distinguished Service Outstanding Teacher

2005

James A. Lydon Distinguished Service

Estee Lopez Dr. Walter Sullivan & Saul Cohen Barbara Suter Alison O’Neil Sam Hoyt Donna Bove Maria Neira Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld & Caryn Bachar Dr. Frank Tang Patricia C. La Rose Diana Segovia Praus

2011 Award Winners will be presented at the 41st Annual Conference October 28th & 29th, 2011 Please review our available awards and criteria for submission at www.nystesol.org. Submit all nominations and supporting documentation as attachments via e-mail to: Meredith Van Schuyler, awards@nystesol.org All submissions due September 23, 2011.

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Book Review This is an ongoing column, featuring reviews of books and other materials for ESOL teachers and students. Please send article submissions to the column editor, Nanette Dougherty (contact information is on page 22).

Each game begins with the title of the game and a box restating the details from the map of the book. If the game can be adapted for other structures and levels, a sub-box states this. To start the main portion of the mini-lesson, the authors note any preparation required before class. This is followed by a breakdown of the in-class More Grammar Games: Cognitive, procedures of the game. The authors also Affective and Movement Activities for include examples, variations, a rationale EFL Students. By Mario Rinvolucri overview, and notes or acknowledgements and Paul Davis. Cambridge University when necessary. Lastly, any required handPress. Cambridge. UK. (2010). outs are provided. On a minor note, the 176 pp. ISBN: 978-0-521-46630-1 examples and handouts are written using British English vocabulary. In the case of Reviewed by Kathryn North classes in the United States, instructors will need to rewrite these in Standard American Mario Rinvolucri and Paul Davis’ More English. Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective and The first section includes competitive Movement Activities for EFL Students games, which are designed to increase otivaprovides a revamping of their earlier work tion by fostering collaboration within groups Grammar Games, which was originally pub- while creating a safe, spirited environment. lished in 1984. The authors designed the text Many of the games in this section focus to provide EFL/ESL teachers with a frame- on the correction of material provided by work for games that can be modified to be the teacher. This, of course, means that the appropriate for different age groups and instructor must devote time to the preparavaried English profi ciency levels. Therefore, tion of the game. For some this could be while the usefulness of the book as a supple- less than ideal. mental text in the adult ESL classroom The cognitive games in section two are is the main purpose of this review, its unique in their structure as, according to the utility can be applied to various teaching authors, the exercises are mostly open-ended scenarios. ones: this differs from many grammar exerThe text is divided into nine sections cises that require one correct response. The including “Competitive Games,” “Cognitive fl exibility of the activities allows students Games,” “Feelings and Grammar,” “Listen- to discover various aspects of the language ing to People,” “Movement and Grammar,” without the direct infl uence of the instruc“Meaning and Translation,” “Problem Solv- tor. While these types of activities can be ing,” “Correction” and “Presentation,” for very creative and have their place in certain a total of 81 games, or mini-lessons. As the contexts, giving students unlimited control titles suggest, many lessons are rooted in the over the types of sentences produced can principles of well-known English language cause the direction of the lesson to be dilearning methodologies including the Silent verted. For this reason, although this section Way, as well as Counseling-Learning/Comfollows the Silent Way method in its purest munity Language Learning (CLL). The book form (Larsen-Freeman, 2000), the lack of fi begins with a table of contents noting the nal language destination does not follow the games and page numbers. This is followed integrated and pragmatic way that the Silent by a detailed map of the book with the game Way is often practiced in the classroom. titles, grammar topics covered, and levels Sections three and four, which deal with and time needed. The introduction also feelings and listening to others, respectively, includes commentary from the authors on are arguably the strongest chapters. Here, how the book can be used and their ratiogames are designed to promote healthy nale for the methodologies utilized by interpersonal discussions, which require section. speakers to make use of a specifi c grammar

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structure. Many teachers can attest to the positive infl uence that mutual understanding, respect and personal investment in the classroom can have on productivity (e.g., Counseling Learning and Community Language Learning—see Larsen-Freeman, 2000). Section fi ve is made up of games that incorporate grammar and movement. While there is a modicum of Desuggestopedia inherent in games throughout the text, this section explicitly focuses on the usage of movement to instill language concepts. The rationale seems to be that students are more open to language learning when the preconceived mental and emotional barriers to learning are “desuggested” through lighthearted activity (Larsen- Freeman, 2000). In the meaning and translation games found in section six, the minilessons focus on having students develop a deeper grasp of the nuances and root meaning of language by linking English with their mother tongue. While the debate over the use of translation in the ESL classroom continues, using native languages as a resource in the foreign/second language classroom can help to build linguistic abilities in both languages, bridge existing knowledge to the acquisition of the new language, and give validity to the fi rst language (Baker, 2006; Gibbons, 2009). Therefore, if instructors use these minilessons, they may find that when properly administered, deep learning can take place during games that use translation. The last three sections are less substantial. Section seven deals with problem solving. Section eight offers techniques for self, peer and teacher corrections. Finally, section nine recommends alternatives for the presentation of new grammar topics to a class. Both students and teacher have much to gain from More Grammar Games. The authors offer ideas for games that appeal to many different learning styles. With the exception of musical and natural intelligences, this book contains games that promote all the multiple intelligences (Gardner, 2006). The book also lists games specifi cally designed to strengthen receptive skills to help students become more active listeners and readers. Furthermore, utilizing grammar games, an instructor can adeptly introduce

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grammar topics without the use of overt grammatical language. Although the discussion of teaching grammatical form vs. focusing on communicative interactions is still very predominant in the ESL teaching fi eld, research has shown that the integration of grammar with contextualized language creates the most effi cient mode of learning (Larsen-Freeman 2001). To offer some criticism, the organizational structure of the text can be challenging. For those who normally organize lessons in a progression of scaffolded topics, the division by underlying pedagogical approaches may be less intuitive. In addition, the organization within the sections is unclear and fi nding a game for a specific grammar topic or level requires some hunting within the map of the text. Further, many of the games, especially in sections one and two, require a fair amount of setup. While an instructor may hope to use a book of games as a quick reference for lesson ideas, the time required for fi nding an appropriate lesson and setup prevent the book from being used in that manner. Finally, while one would assume that all of the games are related explicitly to grammar, some have a more semantic focus. This does not deter the student from gaining knowledge but should be noted. References Baker, C. (2006). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (4th ed.). Toronto: Multilingual Matters. Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New Horizons. New York: Basic Books. Gibbons, P. (2009). English Learners Academic Literacy and Thinking: Learning in the Challenge Zone. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000). Teaching and Principles in Language Teaching (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

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Larsen-Freeman, D. (2001). Teaching grammar. In M. Celce-Murcia (Ed.), Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (3rd ed.) (pp. 251-266). Boston: Heinkle & Heinkle Thomson Learning. Rinvolucri, M., & Davis, P. (1995). More Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective and Movement Activities for EFL Students. New York: Cambridge University Press. Kathryn N. North is a recent graduate of New York University’s Master’s Program in TESOL. An ESOL instructor with the New York Public Library, Kathryn also tutors riting and developmental reading at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. <knnorth@gmail.com>

2011 NYS TESOL Student Essay Contest by Laura Van Tassell NYS TESOL SIG Coordinator

In coordination with the 2011 NYS TESOL annual conference, “Enhancing english Learning: Connecting Communities through Collaboration,” the topic for this year’s student essay contest, “How has your community helped you learn English?,” revolved around communities and the role that living, working, and interacting in them plays in the English language learners’ (ELLs) acquisition of English. The essay contest was held for students who are current or former ELLs within three categories: students in grades four through eight; students in grades nine through twelve; and students enrolled in a university or an adult education program, including students enrolled in Intensive English programs, community colleges, degreebased programs, and ESOL programs.

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The student essay contest was very successful, with 113 essays received from throughout New York State. A winner and an honorary mention were chosen from each of the three categories. The names of the winners and honorary mentions will be announced during the Friday luncheon at the annual conference and their essays will be printed in the conference booklet. The winning essays will also be included in the winter edition of Idiom as well as be posted on the NYS TESOL Special Interest Group (SIG) Student Essay Contest page. Please join me in thanking all of the students who submitted essays to the sixth annual student essay contest! Watch for news about the 2012 contest in an upcoming issue of Idiom, as well as on our website

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Small Talk: A Meaningful Conversation Tool by Joy Scantlebury Engaging English Language Learners(ELLs) in a few minutes of small talk prior to the start of ESL class can be a very useful strategy. The purpose of small talk is not about gauging how grammatically correct my students can speak in English -- although I do make mental notes of students’ grammatical diffi culties for subsequent lessons. It provides the opportunity for my students to be heard in a very relaxed setting, while allowing their English to emerge. It certainly can be a challenge to insert those few minutes during the fastpaced schedule of a typical school day, but I have found it to be a source of valuable information. I often begin the small talk session with an informational “wh” question such as “How was your appointment at the dentist?” or “What did you do after school yesterday?” The responses are quite revealing. Some students, especially those in middle school, are initially guarded, while others seem surprised that I want to know more about them. Gradually as they learn to trust me as well as their classmates, the students slowly open up. It is gratifying to see a once painfully shy kindergarten student now coming to class with daily announcements such as, “You know what? Yesterday, I lose (sic) a tooth.” There are other times when students express more sensitive issues, which we discuss further in private. One example of this occurred when an ELL in third grade told me during our small talk session that one of the other students in the mainstream class made fun of his speech and called him “stupid.” Neither his classroom teacher nor I had noticed any tension between these two students. The fact that the ELL who mentioned this incident had always felt selfconscious about his ability to speak English prompted my immediate arrangement of a meeting with his teacher and the other student. Fortunately, we were able to resolve the situation, but it taught me to become more vigilant when working with ELLs in the mainstream classroom.

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It is impressive to listen to a student retell a story or incident, but the most gratifying part is when he or she is able to connect it to a new concept. When studying the concept of cause and effect during a reading lesson, I sensed that only a few students understood this concept, while many did not. Suddenly, one student announced, “Do you remember when I told you the story about how I accidentally spilled water on the kitchen fl oor?” He proudly continued, “That was an example of cause and effect. The cause was when I spilled water on the floor. The effect was when my mom became angry.” His classmates nodded their heads in agreement. It was as if a light bulb had been turned on! I could not have provided a better example of cause and effect! As ELLs become more confi dent in speaking English, more of their personalities emerge. During one of our small talk sessions, I asked a beginning ELL in the fi rst grade, “Where does your brother go to school?” Without hesitation, she stated, “My brother go (sic) to Sleepy Hollow School. Zzzzzzzz. Sleepy School. I am soooo sleepy!” as she put her head on the desk and pretended to sleep. Prior to that comment, I had not seen that humorous side of her. I noticed how thrilled she was that she had made me laugh. I then decided to follow her quip with another “wh” question. I tapped her on the shoulder as her eyes snapped open and her head bobbed up from the table. “What does your brother like to do at school?” I asked. She smiled and impishly replied, “He like (sic) to sleep.” How clever this little girl was! I realized several things during our small talk exchange. This student demonstrated that she understood the word “sleepy”, she connected that understanding to a different context, and she found a way to make it humorous. None of these is easy to do, especially at the beginning of the language acquisition process. Later in the day, I had this student retell the joke to her teacher and some of her classmates. This small talk session was a pivotal moment for this student because she was clearly pleased to see that she could be funny in English.

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I have noticed that ELLs have the capacity to dissect words in interesting ways, especially when these words are spoken. When native English speakers think about words, we tend to focus on the sum and not the parts. When a student was beginning ELL in second grade, I recall his reading a passage out loud. After encountering the two-syllable word, “awesome”, he pronounced it as if were a threesyllable words, “a – we—some”. Prior to that day, I had never realized that the word “awesome” is comprised of three smaller words: “a”, “we” and “some”. That was a revelation for me. How awesome! I am sure that many ESL teachers utilize small talk or some variant of it in their classrooms. It is not a novel concept, but I fi nd that it is valuable during a limited amount of time. Conversations, which on the surface may appear superfl uous, are in actuality a gold mine of enriching and relevant information. Joy Scantlebury is a graduate of Smith College. She received her M.A. in TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia University. Joy currently teaches ESL at Pocantico Hills Central School in Sleepy Hollow, NY. <conset@aol.com>

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Above: Everyone listens as Ufualè Afola Amey talks about learning English from her teacher Dave, a Peace Corps volunteer. Left: Sonia Portugal, Peru, performs Floating Words, a dance she choreographed to portray the spirit of English language learning. below: Ahmed El-Habashi, Egypt; Tomoko Kihira, Japan; Ufualè Afola Amey, Togo; Osiris Romero, Dominican Republic and Elena Lyumanova, Russia, come together in anticipation of their panel presentation.

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Resources for Implementing... (continued from page 7) standards with recommended student objectives, texts, and activities.

Working under a contract with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a strong supporter of the standards, David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, co-authors of the Common Examples of these thematic curriculum Core Standards for ELA/Literacy, wrote units include: Grade 1: The Amazing Animal two documents highlighting the key ideas of World; Grade 3: The People, the Preamble, the standards and describing the qualities of and the Presidents; Grade 6: Folklore: instructional materials they consider an acA Blast from the Past; Grade 9: Literary curate refl ection of them (Gewertz, 2011). Elements of a Short Story; and Grade 12: European Literature: Renaissance and Reformation. Common Core is working with Common Core schools and districts in different states to Assessments and PARCC implement the maps. Arizona and North Carolina are using them statewide to help According to the National Governor’s districts put the standards in place (Gewitz Association/CCSSO, the Common Core & Robelen, 2011). State Standards will also ultimately be the Two writers have recently crafted docubasis for a system of high-quality assessments outlining Common Core curriculum ments. New York State is a governing memcriteria. ber of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which was awarded Race to the Top Assessment funds in 2010.

The PARCC Web site can be viewed at http://parcconline.org/. Over the next few years, New York and 25 other states will develop a set of English Language Arts and Mathematics assessments, which will be fi nalized in 2014-15 (NYSED, 2011). Common Core Standards Assessment Resources are located at http://education northwest.org/resource/1331. Idiom will work to keep readers aware of all the upcoming changes.

References August, D., Cortese, A., La Fonde, S., Leos, K. (2010). Making Common Core Standards work for ELLs: The importance of linking English Language Profi ciency Standards to the Common Core Standards. October 21, 2010. AFT Educational Policy Forum. http://www.colorincolorado.org/ powerpoint/ELL-ELPStandardsPPT%20 Slide.pdf.

NYS TESOL Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Regions Leadership Directory 2010-2011 SIG Leaders SIG Coordinator Laura Van Tassell <sigs@nystesol.org> Assistant SIG Coordinator Jennifer Scully <sigs@nystesol.org> Applied Linguistics Andrew Miller Lindsay Wells <appliedlinguistics@nystesol.org> ESL in Adult Education Tamara Kirson <esladult@nystesol.org> ESL in Bilingual Education Co-Chair Lydia Gutierrez <bilingual@nystesol.org> ESL in Elementary Education Co-Chairs Susan Goldstein Diane Howitt <elementary@nystesol.org> ESL in Higher Education Co-Chairs Dafna Ben Anath Lisa Kraft <highered@nystesol.org>

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ESL in Secondary Education Lan Ngo <secondary@nystesol.org> ESL in Special Education Co-Chair Patty Barry <specialeducation@nystesol.org> Teacher Education Co-Chairs Soonhyang Kim Joanna Labov <teachereducation@nystesol.org> Teaching English Internationally Co-Chairs Claudette Oliveras Melissa Duquette <tesl_abroad@nystesol.org>

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Regions Leaders Regions Coordinator Tina Villalobos <regions@nystesol.org> Assistant Regions Coordinator Lynn Ellingwood <regions@nystesol.org> Buffalo Elena Dokshansky-Zelfond <buffalo@nystesol.org> Capital Region Co-Chairs Liz Allen Roma Kumar <capital@nystesol.org> Hudson Valley Co-Chairs Katie Werner Rebecca Horwitz <hudsonvalley@nystesol.org Long Island Vicky Giouroukakis <longisland@nystesol. org> New York City Co-Chairs Joe Tillman Elaine Roberts <nyc@ nystesol.org> Rochester/Syracuse Co-Chairs Gloria Dancause Elaine Ferlicca <rochester@nystesol.org>

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Colorin Colorado (2011). Common Core Standards and English Language Learners. Reading Rockets. WETA Learning Media. http:// www.colorincolorado.org/ educators/common_core/ Gewertz, C. (2011). Common Core Writers Craft curriculum criteria, July 22, 2011. Education Weekly. http://www.edweek.org/ew/article s/2011/07/21/37curriculum.h30.ht ml?tkn=UPSFLpcFv4ebJmsg2qZx 2C7B8rKm7AL%2FiacG&cmp=c lp-sb-ascd Gewertz, C., & Robelen, E. (2011). Curriculum maps aim to bring ELA Standards to life. July 25, 2011. http://blogs.edweek.org/ edweek/curriculum/2011/07/the_ nonprofi t_group_common _cor. html Hakuta, K. (2011). Webinar: Research to practice: Preparing ELLs for the Common Core, Teachscape, May 5, 2011. http://marketing. teachscape.com/K12Kenji ELLMay2011WebinarAccess.html Lopez, E. (2010). ELA Standards: Shifting the focus to the Common Core comments, standards and curriculum, NYS TESOL, October 2010. http://www.nystesol.org/ curriculum-standards/standards. html Nagel, D. (2010). Feds award $330 million to fund alternatives to high-stake bubble tests. The Journal, September 2, 2010. http:// thejournal.com/articles/ 2010/09/02/feds-award-330million-to-fi nd-alternatives-tohighstakes-bubble-tests.aspx?sc_ lang-en NYSED (2011). FAQs—Common Core learning standards. http:// www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/common_ core_standards/faq.html NYSUT (2011). Educational Resources for English Language Learners. http://www.nysut.org/cps/rde/ xchg/nysut/hs.xsl/k12_13765.htm

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Quay, L. (2010). Higher standards for all: Implications of the Common Core for equity in education. Civil Rights Research Roundtable on Education, Berkeley Law, April 2010. http://www.law.berkeley. edu/fi les/Education_Roundable_ Standards_Brief_ 4_10.pdf Washington State School Board (2010). Common Core Standards— Process FAQs. http:// www.sbe.wa.gov/documents/ FAQ%20Common%20 Core%Standards%20Process.pdf Zehr, M. A. (2011). Conference: Implementing Common Core Standards for ELLs, Learning the Language Blog, August 11, 2010. Education Weekly. http://blogs. edweek.org/edweek/learning-thelanguage/ 2010/08/conference_ implementing_common.html Zehr, M. A. (2011). Stanford to lead creation of ELL standards for “Common Core” Learning the Language Blog, July 12, 2011, Education Weekly. http://blogs. edweek.org/edweek/learning-thelanguage/ 2011/07/stanford_to_ lead_creation_of_e.html Diane Garafalo is a former ESL teacher at Oswego City School District. She was also a secondary English teacher, with a total of fi fteen years of public school teaching experience. Diane’s previous positions include working as an adjunct professor of written communications for ITT Technical Institute and a human resources and training manager for a variety of Fortune 500 companies. Currently, Diane is an HR and workforce literacy consultant for DRG Associates. <dgarafalo@earthlink.net>

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Check out the new MembersOnly website! We’re very excited to announce the launch of the new Members Only website for NYS TESOL. We are just gearing up, but hope this will become a major resource and networking site for our members. Current members were sent an email alert in early September containing their username and password. Of course, your email system may have filtered our message into a spam folder if you are a current member and did not receive a notice with your login information, please contact us at businessmanager@nystesol.org. With annual conference registration aready under way, please act quickly to login and verify your profi le data and networking preferences. What’s There Your profile page Membership renewal Discounted event registration Members Only online publication, Dialogue Discussion boards Coming Soon Networking options SIG/Region E-lists Job Coach/Career Mentoring Service opportunities and awards

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Your Privacy This site is viewable only by active members. And, because this is new, we have also blocked your contact information from members. So, unlike Facebook, where you decide what to set as ‘private,’ we’ve already done this. The only information visible to other members is: your Name, Member Type, Region and SIG preferences. You can privatize these, too, if you wish, by updating your profile. However, for those of you who want to network with other members, there are 2 optional fields – an “email to share” and a “website/blog address” both set up as viewable by all members. And you can upload a photo. You control the privacy settings for these fields and can edit them at any time. What’s Next? We’d like you to tell us! Please look around the site, update your profi le, join a discussion board, and send us ideas for additions and improvements.

Discounted Membership Update NYS TESOL is committed to providing members with the most up-to-date resources, news and educational tools. To enable access by all members of our fi eld, NYS TESOL offers discounted memberships. Recently, we revised the documentation policy for discounts to align with other non-profi t organizations as well as to create greater consistency and transparency. Please check the new requirements when you prepare to renew. For questionsegarding membership status and discounts, please contact us at membership@ nystesol.org

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Collaborative Conversations* (continued from page 1) Collaborative Craftsmanship: Through conscious efforts for continuous improvement of the craft of teaching, teachers explore ways to enhance instructional time, language development, and content area resources, and offer support for each other. Table 1 shows how the concept of collegiality and collaboration may offer a system of support in a linguistically and culturally diverse school context by including the four Cs with ample examples.

Collaborative Conversations Talk about Students’ needs Students’ lives Students in and out of school work Curriculum and instruction Teachers’ own struggles Teachers’ own successes What matters to you, the teacher

Collaborative Curriculum Development

Align Lesson objectives (language objectives and content objectives) Unit goals Curriculum maps Primary and supplementary instructional materials Adapted texts and materials Resources

Collaborative Coaching Use peer coaching to improve Lesson planning Lesson delivery Unit design Use of supplementary materials Adapted content Modified instruction Assessment practices

Collaborative Craftsmanship Explore ELLs’ background knowledge ELLs’ prior learning Peer coaching Planning instruction collaboratively or in the context of co-teaching Effective methods for aligning curriculum and objectives Using time more effectively Making the most of collaborative efforts Table 1: The Four Cs of Collaboration

Collaboration may start out as a small, grassroots effort, involving only two or three teachers who share the responsibility for some of the same ELLs and are concerned about their students’ progress. It may involve an entire grade level. Some examples include grade clusters working together to develop or enhance curricula in elementary schools; an interdisciplinary team of math, science, social studies, English, and ESL teachers (sharing responsibility for a cluster of classes in middle schools); or a discipline-specifi c department (focusing on preparing all students to meet graduation requirements of high schools). Regardless of the local context, all these collaborative efforts start with professional conversations, through which teachers collaboratively explore their students’ needs and responsive practices. References DelliCarpini, M. (2008). Teacher collaboration for ESL/EFL academic success. The Internet TESL Journal, 14(8). Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/DelliCarpini-TeacherCollaboration.html

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Editorial Notes

Editor: Cara Tuzzolino Werben LINCC-Nassau Community College One Education Dr. Garden City, NY 11530 (516) 573-0165 E-mail: idiom@nystesol.org

Editorial Consultant: Ceil Goldman Idiom is a quarterly publication for members of NYS TESOL. The editors welcome articles as well as reactions to articles. All copy (maximum 1000 words, typed, doublespaced, with word count provided ) should follow APA guidelines and be submitted via e-mail (MS Word). Please include your name and address (including telephone number and e-mail address), as well as a brief (3-4 sentences) biographical statement. Please visit idiom.nystesol.org for links regarding APA guidelines and to view a sample article. Idiom’s editorial goals are to be accurate, to maintain the writer’s message, content, and style, and to fi t the work in the space allotted. Idiom reserves the right to edit all manuscripts for clarity, brevity, and style; the editors will consult with contributors on substantive revisions. Articles from Idiom may be reprinted with proper acknowledgment of the source.

Printing and Mailing: The Coughlin Printing Group, Watertown Column Editors: Book Review Nanette Dougherty Email: idiom@nystesol.org Culture Notes Elisabeth Gareis 257 Crest Drive Tarrytown, NY 10591 Tel.: (914) 524-7915 E-mail: egareis@baruch.cuny.edu

Upcoming Idiom Themes Annual Conference

Please submit articles based on presentations at the NYS TESOL conference (Oct. 28-29, 2011) “Enhancing English Learning: Connecting Communities Through Collaboration” at Melville Marriott Submission Deadline: December 1

TBD

Deadlines and themes for 2012 will be published in the Winter 2011 issue of Idiom.

Promising Practices Ann C. Wintergerst Dept. of Languages and Literatures St. John’s University Queens, NY 11439 E-mail: winterga@stjohns.edu

Calendar and Announcements October 28-29, 2011 NYS TESOL 41st Annual Conference “Enhancing English Learning: Connecting Communities Through Collaboration” Melville Marriott in Melville, Long Island. See http://www.nystesol.org February 11, 2012

33rd Annual Applied Linguistics Winter Conference “Connections: TESOL and Applied Linguistics in a Global Context” We’ll continue to keep you posted! Questions? Contact us at: appliedlinguistics@nystesol.org

March 28-31, 2012

TESOL International Convention and English Language Expo “A Declaration of Excellance” Philadelphia For more information: www.tesol.org/s_tesol/convention2012/index.html

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New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Membership Form (effective 9/1/2011) Renewal:____ New Member:____ First Name: ___________________________________ Last Name: ___________________________________ Street Address: ________________________________ Apt No.: _____________________________________ City/State: ____________________________________ Zip Code: _____________________________________ Email: _______________________________________ (required to receive online newsletter) Preferred Telephone: (______) ____________________ ____ Home ____ Work ____ Cell

Special Interest Groups (SIGs): Please select your top 2 priorities from the interest groups listed below by marking a “1” and a “2” next to your top choices. _____ A ESL in Adult Education _____ B ESL in Bilingual Education _____ E ESL in Elementary Education _____ S ESL in Secondary Education _____ H ESL in Higher Education _____ SE ESL in Special Education _____ TE ESL Teacher Education _____ L Applied Linguistics _____ T Teaching English Internationally 1st SIG. This is your primary interest group with NYS TESOL. You may hold office and vote in this SIG.

Position: ________________________________________

2nd SIG. You may receive information from this SIG. Region (check one) ____Buffalo ____Long Island

Organization: ____________________________________

____Capital District

Membership Category (select one) NOTE two-year savings! Individual Member: $40.00/yr. ___ $70.00/2 yrs. __ Discounted Memberships: Proof of Eligibility Reqd. Documentation requires completion of the Eligibility Webform and written confirmation as described below. Part-time / Adjunct: $35.00/yr. ___ $60.00/2 yrs. ___ Documentation: A letter on your employer's letterhead confirming that you do not have full-time employment. Aide/TA/Para (Please circle your category): $20/year ___ Documentation: A letter on your employer's letterhead confirming your position in the organization. Retiree: $20/year ___ (Documentation may vary. Please access Eligibility Webform to begin process.) Full-time Student (3-year limit): $20/year ___ Documentation: Proof of full-time status in a degree-granting program (transcript w/ min. 12 credits per semester or letter of confirmation from Registrar). Please submit your documentation within 30 days. Access Eligibility Webform at: http://www.nystesol.org/membership/applicationform.html If you are unable to provide the required documents, you have the option to pay the balance to subscribe as an Individual Member.

____Hudson Valley

Office Use Only: Check Number: ________ Date: ___________ New Expiration Date: ___________

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____New York City ____Rochester/Syracuse

_____ Please omit my name from mailing lists provided to other organizations. ___ Please sign me up for the NYS TESOL E-list. Payment Information: ____ Check payable to NYS TESOL enclosed Please charge my: ___ VISA ___ MasterCard ___ Discover Please write numbers clearly and sign: Card #:_________________________________________ Exp. date:___________ Signature: ______________________________

Send to:

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NYS TESOL Teacher’s College, Box 185 525 W. 120th Street, Z-316 New York, NY 10027 Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011) 6/26/12 9:59 AM


Conversation Table by Sarah Elia

A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month’s study of books. —Chinese proverb Once a month, the Haggerty English Language Program at SUNY New Paltz hosts an informal learning luncheon known as Conversation Table to encourage casual conversation on a range of topics in an inviting environment. The program was established to help promote interaction and dialogue between international students (particularly ESL), faculty, and staff and American students interested in international studies. Occasionally, community volunteers attend as well. Conversation Table is held at the Center for International Programs on a different weekday each month to ensure that students have the opportunity to attend at least once a semester. At the catered lunch, 20-25 guests meet for 45 minutes. Attendees are seated at a large rectangular table conducive to interaction. Faculty, staff, and volunteers may lead discussions with students on topics such as food, cultural similarities and differences, religion and government. If a student seems lonely, the faculty is there to make introductions and initiate dialogue. The program promotes Conversation Table in a variety of ways. At the beginning of each semester, all new students receive an event handout. ESL teachers review it in class, answer questions, and promote attendance. One week prior to the luncheon, fl iers are posted and e-mails sent out. Students can RSVP and comment on the event’s Facebook page. The day before the event, we remind students to attend. On the day of the luncheon, the event coordinator arrives early at the venue to set up and greet guests. At the end of the meal, students are asked to help with cleanup. After the gathering, photographs of the event are uploaded onto the ESL department Facebook page. Students post photos and comments. A student survey on Face

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book following the luncheon helps with preparation for future events. A student journalist writes an article about Conversation Table for the ESL department newsletter, which is distributed to all ESL students as well as other departments on campus. Conversation Table has become increasingly popular because of the opportunity it offers for socialization and discussion. Attendees leave having shared dialogue, laughter, smiles, and good food. ESL students also have a valuable language experience and new connections with native speakers. Sarah Elia is a lecturer in ESL at the Haggerty English Language Program at SUNY New Paltz. As the program’s event coordinator, she works to actively promote positive interactions between international students and American students. Elia has a B.A. from Bard College and an M.A. in TESOL from SUNY New Paltz. <elias@newpaltz.edu>

Timed Conversations By Phillipa Arthur

Introduction During Timed Conversations, learners primarily practice listening/ speaking skills and a host of other conversational skills, including but not limited to: turn taking; the language of encouragement and praise; the language of expressing unfamiliarity with topics; comprehension checking; and agreeing and disagreeing. Although generally referred to as Timed Conversations, some specify the time limit in the title, for example: Four Minute Conversations. Timed Conversations are typically fluency-based and opportunities for learners to personalize and converse about a topic, for a specified period of time. For the instructor, Timed Conversations can function as: a warm-up activity to activate learners’ schemata, to focus learners on the lesson topic or to connect the previous and current lessons; a follow-up activity to allow learners to expand on and personalize lesson content; a filler activity to

24

purposefully utilize ‘extra time’ at the end of a lesson; a stress-reliever activity to infuse a sense of fun into a lesson; a review activity for content courses; and a speech-sampling activity to gauge learners’ conversational skills.

Materials In order to conduct Timed Conversations you essentially need two things- a timer and topic cards. Conveniently, wrist watches, cell phones, iPads, computers, stop-watches, kitchen timers and classroom clocks can all function as timers. Ideally, the topics refl ected on the cards should complement your lesson topic. For example, if you were planning a lesson on ‘classic baked goods,’ each topic card could refl ect the name of a classic baked good. Format topic cards on a computer, print in color and laminate them (if these are resources available to you and if you will add this activity to your repertoire). Of course, you can also prepare a slide show of ‘topic cards’ to display on a computer or iPad. Topic cards can be word-based (pie, quiche, tart); question- based (“How would you prepare icing?”); statement-based (“Tell me about your favorite baked childhood dessert.”); and picture-based (image of a sixtiered wedding cake).

Preparation

Consider your learners’ profile, lesson topic and objectives when deciding if this is an appropriate activity to do with your learners. 1. Consider how much time you want to allot to the activity. Multiply the number of topic cards by the duration of each conversation- 10 topic cards X 2 minutes per conversation = 20 minutes total. 2. Decide which version of the activity you are going to do. You can choose to keep: a. Conversation pairs static and

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have learners switch topic cards. With static pairs, learners get to ‘bond’ with one conversational partner over various topics while focusing on sharing their ideas and personalizing the topic. b. Topic cards static and have learners switch partners. With dynamic pairs, learners get to interact with diverse speakers while refi ning their ideas about one topic and polishing their delivery. c. Both topic cards and conversation pairs static while reducing the duration of the conversations in set increments. This version lends itself to learners who are preparing for timed oral presentations and assessments, by allowing learners to refi ne their ideas about one topic and polish their timed delivery. d. Decide how you will pair off your learners and if pairs are going to sit in two rows or stand in two concentric circles facing their partners. 3. Decide what an odd-numbered learner would be responsible for- time keeper or ‘English only’ enforcer. If you choose to have all learners participate (and have them change partners instead of topic cards), an extra chair can allow the odd-numbered learner to ‘rest’ for one turn. Of course, you can always choose to participate in the activity with your learners. 4. Plan to model activity and deliver clear instructions specifi c to the version of Timed Conversations you are going to do. 5. Plan what you will observe while monitoring learners during the activity. This will consequently direct the feedback you will give learners. 6. Plan the questions you will use to elicit feedback from learners after the activity about their performance during activity.

Procedure

Use teacher talk appropriate to the profi ciency level of your learners to deliver clear instructions and to confirm your learners’ comprehension of your instructions.

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1. Deliver global instructions to your learners which include: the activity title, sequencing/format, purpose and duration, and, if necessary, responsibility of odd-numbered learner or use of ‘rest’ chair. 2. Pair off learners and arrange pairs so that they are either seated in two rows or standing in two concentric circles facing their partners. 3. Model activity for class and demonstrate how: a. you will start the activity by saying “begin” b. pairs will take turns to converse about the topic indicated on the topic card for X minutes c. pairs will converse only in English d. every X minutes, a time keeper will say “switch” indicating that pairs need to switch topic cards by passing them to the pair to the right (or to the left) e. you will end activity by saying “the end.” 4. Model that learners can remind their partner to stay on-task by simply pointing to the topic card 5. Model some of the conversational language you expect learners to usethe language of urging and praise; of agreeing and disagreeing and so on. 6. Begin activity and cycle through the number of topics you have planned. Circulate and monitor learners throughout activity.

1. Elicit specifi c feedback from learners about how they felt about having to: a. sustain a conversation in English for X minutes at a time b. switch topics every X minutes c. include conversational language d. have a classmate time them or sit in the ‘rest’ chair e. Stand or sit during activity; pass along topic cards; change partners 2. Give learners specifi c feedback about: a. how well they sustained their conversations in English for X minutes at a time b. how well they stayed on task c. their use of conversational language d. how effi ciently they followed instructions 3. Promise to do variations of activity throughout the semester. These fluency-based activities may generate future conversations in your classroom, providing rich opportunities for students to interact and practice English-speaking skills. Phillipa Arthur has taught ESL/EFL in the United States, China and Korea. She is currently a Language Lecturer at Yeungnam University in South Korea. <Parthur31@hotmail.com>

Follow-up Elicit feedback from learners about their performance. Give learners feedback based on how successfully they completed the activity. Remember, this is a fl uency-based activity. However, if you modify it to include specifi c verbal strategies or a focus on form, you could document the inaccuracies of your learners’ English as you circulate, and do a whole-class correction on the whiteboard following the activity

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Let’s Talk about It! Let’s Talk about It! by Yanick Chery-Frederic

ELLs respond well to lessons in the form of conversations as another way to incorporate some of the same strategies and scaffolds used for writing. As an example, I often give students a prompt of 5-10 words. For all grades I have used “My greatest surprise.” Fourth graders write about justice. The students use the prompt as a starter and begin writing, eventually producing a well-developed paragraph. These same prompts can be used to maintain intelligent discourse among students. The difference with making conversations the major goal in a lesson is that the discussion will not be based on previous reading and/or writing, but strictly on the present conversation. Self-expression, thoughts, ideas, and opinions will begin and end with clarifi cation through conversation only. Making this an integral part of lessons will address the challenges faced by our ELL population in verbal communication, and can enhance the student’s listening and speaking skills. Another value with conversations as a major focus is that the vocabulary challenges faced by many of our ELLs will be considered. Our students may have divided language skills. They are comfortable with a specifi c lexicon from the home language, but use a different second language lexicon. A stronger emphasis on classroom conversations will allow for a balance and exchange of word comprehension of similar vocabulary in both languages. Conversations will be a major theme in my ESL classrooms this school year in support of enhancing my students’ oral language skills.

Further Reading Beck, I., McKeown, M., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford. Gordon, T. (2007). Teaching young children a second language. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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Yanick Chery-Frederic is an elementary school ESL teacher for grades 2-4 in Central Islip, as well as an adjunct professor of ESL at Suffolk County Community College. She has also taught a Methods undergraduate course in TESOL at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. <yanick1530@yahoo.com>

Explicit Communication

by Ellen Terry Vandrew-Wald The manner in which language and writing are understood and misunderstood promotes success or failure. Understanding what is said is the key to communicative competence. Explicit communication is dialogue that is clear, sure, and restated when necessary. Crawford (1993) states that the processes of literacy and language learning require learners to be immersed in meaningful, relevant, and functional situations. In this way, students can learn to handle themselves in various situations. Let’s begin with a kindergartener meeting an instructor for the fi rst time. If the child is asked to describe something, perhaps drawing it is a much better way of communicating what happened. Description may not simply be done by talking. The explicit communication would require that the teacher talk and demonstrate so that this student knows what to do. Middle school students who do not speak English can benefi t from explicit communication as well. Classmates might offer to translate for this student, but that means that every utterance requires assistance. When I write the aim and other particulars on the board (I verbally explain to the rest of the class), I open a newcomer’s notebook and write a few of the words from the board in his or her notebook, giving the student explicit communication for instruction by demonstration. The student copies what is on the board. Then I say “Copy.” From that time on, this student knows what the word “copy” means and can copy.

26

Explicit communication with parents is one of the most important types of communication. After all, the parent(s) or caretaker is the first teacher and the one who can do the most to facilitate a student’s academic success. In parent meetings, I combine simple words with academic language and have the requisite bilingual dictionaries. By explaining and demonstrating slowly and carefully, explicit communication and a good dialogue can be created. When one speaks with humility and caring, the communication is explicit. Explicit communication is the key to all forms of dialogue; if one method does not work, just keep on trying.

References Crawford, L. W. (1993). Language and literacy learning in multicultural classrooms. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Ellen Terry Vandrew-Wald was born in the Bronx into a multicultural, religious background. Barry Wald, her husband, encouraged her to become a teacher. She got her B.A. from Marymount Manhattan College in 1999 and M.A. in TESOL from Hunter College in 2004. She is a NYC public school K-12 teacher, and also an adjunct. <ilanawald@yahoo.com>

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Timed Conversations Preparation

Consider your learners’ profi le, lesson topic and objectives when deciding if this is an appropriate activity to do with your learners.

Consider how much time you want to allot to the activity. Multiply the number of topic cards by the duration of each conversation- 10 topic cards X 2 minutes per conversation = 20 minutes total.

1.

2. Decide which version of the activity you are going to do. You can choose to keep: a. Conversation pairs static and have learners switch topic cards. With static pairs, learners get to ‘bond’ with one conversational partner over various topics while focusing on sharing their ideas and personalizing the topic. b. Topic cards static and have learners switch partners. With dynamic pairs, learners get to interact with diverse speakers while refi ning their ideas about one topic and polishing their delivery. c. Both topic cards and conversation pairs static while reducing the duration of the conversations in set increments. This version lends itself to learners who are preparing for timed oral presentations and assessments, by allowing learners to refi ne their ideas about one topic and polish their timed delivery. d. Decide how you will pair off your learners and if pairs are going to sit in two rows or stand in two concentric circles facing their partners. 3. Decide what an odd-numbered learner would be responsible for- time keeper or ‘English only’ enforcer. If you choose to have all learners participate (and have them change partners instead of topic cards), an extra chair can allow the odd-numbered learner to ‘rest’ for one turn. Of course, you can always choose to participate in the activity with your learners.

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4. Plan to model activity and deliver clear instructions specifi c to the version of Timed Conversations you are going to do. 5. Plan what you will observe while monitoring learners during the activity. This will consequently direct the feedback you will give learners. 6. Plan the questions you will use to elicit feedback from learners after the activity about their performance during activity.

Procedure

Use teacher talk appropriate to the profi ciency level of your learners to deliver clear instructions and to confi rm your learners’ comprehension of your instructions. 1. Deliver global instructions to your learners which include: the activity title, sequencing/format, purpose and duration, and, if necessary, responsibility of odd-numbered learner or use of ‘rest’ chair. 2. Pair off learners and arrange pairs so that they are either seated in two rows or standing in two concentric circles facing their partners. 3. Model activity for class and demonstrate how: a. you will start the activity by saying “begin” b. pairs will take turns to converse about the topic indicated on the topic card for X minutes c. pairs will converse only in English d. every X minutes, a time keeper will say “switch” indicating that pairs need to switch topic cards by passing them to the pair to the right (or to the left) e. you will end activity by saying “the end.” 4. Model that learners can remind their partner to stay on-task by simply pointing to the topic card 5. Model some of the conversational language you expect learners to usethe language of urging and praise; of agreeing and disagreeing and so on.

27

6. Begin activity and cycle through the number of topics you have planned. Circulate and monitor learners throughout activity.

Follow-up

Elicit feedback from learners about their performance. Give learners feedback based on how successfully they completed the activity. Remember, this is a fluency-based activity. However, if you modify it to include specifi c verbal strategies or a focus on form, you could document the inaccuracies of your learners’ English as you circulate, and do a whole-class correction on the whiteboard following the activity. 1. Elicit specifi c feedback from learners about how they felt about having to: a. sustain a conversation in English for X minutes at a time b. switch topics every X minutes c. include conversational language d. have a classmate time them or sit in the ‘rest’ chair e. Stand or sit during activity; pass along topic cards; change partners 2. Give learners specifi c feedback about: a. how well they sustained their conversations in English for X minutes at a time b. how well they stayed on task c. their use of conversational language d. how effi ciently they followed instructions 3. Promise to do variations of activity throughout the semester. These fl uency-based activities may generate future conversations in your classroom, providing rich opportunities for students to interact and practice English-speaking skills. Phillipa Arthur has taught ESL/EFL in the United States, China and Korea. She is currently a Language Lecturer at Yeungnam University in South Korea. <Parthur31@hotmail.com>

Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 2011) 6/26/12 9:59 AM


NYS TESOL Box 185 Teachers College Columbia University 525 W. 120th Street New York, NY 10027

Nonprofi t Organization U.S. Postage PAID Watertown, NY 13601 Permit #108

RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED Upcoming Idiom Themes The theme of the Winter 2011-12 issue of Idiom is “Annual Conference.” The deadline is December 1. Interested in writing for Idiom? Review article submission guidelines at http://idiom.nystesol.org/guidelines.html

NYS TESOL The 33rd Annual

Applied Linguistics Winter Conference

Connections: TESOL and applied Linguistics in a Global Context Saturday, February 11,2012 Teachers College, Columbia University 525 W. 120th Street, New York, NY Presentations throughout the day Poster Sessions Publisher Exhibitions

Call For Proposals Information Coming Soon! Organized by NYS TESOL Applied Linguistics SIG & Teachers College, College University contact us at appliedlinguistics@nystesol.org NYS TESOL Idiom Bastien_NYSTESOL_newsletter.indt 28

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Newsletter Final