TESOL Social Justice
ETS - Aug 2011

PISA Menu to Include Global Competency

International education chiefs recommend adding global skills, including languages, to comparative assessments of educational achievement

In Kurashiki, Japan, last month, the G7 Education Ministers Meeting brought together representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, U.S., EU, UNESCO, and the OECD to discuss the future of education in the world’s most powerful and affluent nations. They agreed that an assessment of global competence would provide a metric to measure progress in this area and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is currently working on a new test to be included in the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Students from about 80 countries including the U.S. take the tests to measure the success of national education systems. continue reading

May 30th, 2016 | Leave your comments

Can Resting Brain Predict Language Learning Ability?

 A new study in the journal Brain and Language explores the rate at which adults learn a new language through a novel approach: studying resting-state brain activity of study participants. The study, organized by scientists at the University of Washington (UW), is the first to predict subsequent language-learning rates based on patterns of the brain in its resting-state.

We’ve found that a characteristic of a person’s brain at rest predicted 60% of the variability in their ability to learn a second language in adulthood,” lead author, Chantel Prat, a faculty researcher at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences and a UW associate professor of psychology, told UW Today. continue reading

May 11th, 2016 | 2 Comments

May 2016



English is Great Politics and a new campaign make Britain an exciting choice for English immersion.

Top Tips for Students Going to the U.S. The Institute for International Education’s new book offers insight to students, educators, advisors, and parents.

Reading as Exploration for All Deborah L. Wolter offers ways to identify and address educational gaps in reading among linguistically diverse students.

Touring With Class (In Mind) Kristal Bivona sets her mind on turning tourism into professional development.

Keeping it on the Level Elizabeth Brooke offers advice on best practices for the diverse classroom.

English on the Mark Pamela Sharpe advises on how best to prepare for the TOEFL iBT

Boosting American Exchange Rates 100k Strong in America encourages students to pursue studies in Latin America


May 2nd, 2016 | Leave your comments

April 2016

LangMag April 16 CoverCampaigning for the Right2Read Margery Mayer & Francie Alexander from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt explain to editor Daniel Ward how we might resolve the U.S. literacy crisis

Libraries Transform Lives Rebecca Constantino recounts the story of how funding an inner-city school’s library changed the whole dynamic of a family

A Star Talks Laura Murray explains to Mary Thrond how her fascination with Chinese culture and history led to a lifetime of achievement and adventure, including the creation of the STARTALK program

Breaking Down Silos, Joining Forces  Claudia Rinaldi and Caroline E. Parker call for an end to the compartmentalization of educational approaches

California Gold Kristal Bivona summarizes the English Language Arts programs recently adopted by the state with the largest English learner population

Celebrate French in Canada Learning French in Canada has never been more affordable, and the quality has never been better

April 4th, 2016 | Leave your comments

March 2016

March 2016 Cover

March 2016

Attentive Listening Kate Kinsella offers strategies to support English learners in becoming focused and proactive learners

Redefining Proficiency Sara Davila explains why granular measurement is challenging established ways of thinking

Playing With Content A pan-European team offers the prospect of content-and-language-integrated learning inspired by drama pedagogy

Pushing the Multilingual Envelope Kathy Stein-Smith updates us on the campaign for world language learning in the U.S.

The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Online Language Arts Teacher Kathleen Webber shares the secrets to delivering successful online English programs for high school students

Spanish in Paradise Kristal Bivona gets carried away by the natural beauty and friendliness of Costa Rica

Last Writes Richard Lederer delights in words starting with Z

Reviews Jobshop Source and more.

March 2nd, 2016 | Leave your comments

California’s Revival

Kristal Bivona revels in the Golden State’s return from the wilderness of monolingualism

Nearly two decades after Proposition 227 crippled the state’s efforts to offer inclusive education, the California legislature is now at the forefront of efforts to make biliteracy and dual-language immersion institutionalized part, of its education. Leading the movement, advocating for a bilingual and biliterate California, is State Senator Tony Mendoza, himself a former educator with a multiple-subject bilingual teaching credential. Senator Mendoza chairs the state’s Select Committee on Biliteral Dual-Immersion Programs. The committee held an informational hearing in December about what dual immersion is in the classroom and what it means in a statewide context. The hearing on the Campaign for Biliteracy brought together some of the leading advocates for dual-language education and biliteracy.

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February 29th, 2016 | Leave your comments

Is Spanish Just an Immigrant Language?

Domenico Maceri questions the status of Spanish in the U.S.

“Spanish, obviously, because we have a lot of Spanish-speaking people in our country.” That’s how Hillary Clinton responded to a question by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC about what language she would learn if she had the time.

It’s an easy answer in many ways, because the number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has increased to nearly 41 million. This would make it the fourth-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico (121 million), Colombia (48 million), and Spain (46 million). Yet 22 million of these Spanish speakers are bilingual and can speak English “very well,” while only 16 million stated that they don’t speak English “very well.”

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February 24th, 2016 | 1 Comment

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Steps to a New World Order

Joaquín Fernández-Castro offers structural changes to improve world language programs in public and private schools in the U.S.

World languages, now more than ever, play an important role in our increasingly interconnected economy and global community. It is critical that schools endeavor to have programs able to support our students as successful citizens of the world. The capacity of our students to communicate in other languages, their ability to understand other cultures and to cooperate with other people around the globe in their native tongues, is a crucial component for 21st-century skills. Fluency in world languages enhances creativity, versatility, problem solving, and critical-thinking skills.

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February 22nd, 2016 | 6 Comments

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No Longer the Silent Subgroup

Ayanna Cooper, Kisha C. Bryan, and Babatunji Ifarinu explain how our teaching and attitudes need to adapt to the needs of Black English learners

With recent attention being given to English learners (ELs) who are identified as Black and/or African American it’s important to continue engaging in conversations around this particular subgroup of students. The unique history, needs, identification, and experiences of Black ELs is an important part of supporting them socially, emotionally, and academically. Ibrahim’s ethnography “Becoming Black: Rap and Hip-Hop, Race, Gender, Identity, and the Politics of ESL Learning” showed that ESL is neither neutral nor without its politics and pedagogy of desire and investment (Ibrahim, 1999). The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (WHIEEAA) and the U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) recently partnered to find ways to best support Black ELs. Since October 2015, they have released resources as part of a tool kit geared toward helping educators of ELs, including Black ELs, and their families. The data collected and presented leave a number of thought-provoking questions and aid in further investigation from a nationwide, regional, and schoolhouse perspective.

continue reading

February 19th, 2016 | 3 Comments

February 2016

February 2016 Cover

February 2016

California’s Revival Kristal Bivona revels in the Golden State’s return from the wilderness of monolingualism

No Longer the Silent Subgroup Ayanna Cooper, Kisha C. Bryan, and Babatunji Ifarinu explain how our teaching and attitudes need to adapt to the needs of Black English learners

Creating Classroom Buzz Ivannia Soto, Kent Besocke, and Danny Magaña explain how to use reciprocal teaching to develop academic identities in English language learners

Steps to a New World Order Joaquín Fernández-Castro offers structural changes to improve world language programs in public and private schools in the U.S.

Trading Places Judy Heflin assesses the option of teaching English in China while learning Chinese

Is Spanish Just an Immigrant Language? Domenico Maceri questions the status of Spanish in the U.S.

Last Writes Richard Lederer on sex and the singular pronoun

Reviews Jobshop Source and more.

January 30th, 2016 | 2 Comments

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Quick Links

The World As We Speak

Texas Introduces House Bill to adopt Seal of Bilingualism and Biliteracy
If approved, seal could appear on diplomas as early as the 2013-2014 school year

Brazilian Literature Goes Global
Reading Brazil Digitally and in Translation.

NY Becomes 2nd State to Recognize Biliterate Grads

Feds Face Foreign Language Crisis
Senate hearing discussed how the lack of adequately trained language specialists compromises national security.

State Dept Chooses Kindle for Worldwide English
In an effort to promote English literacy around the world, the U.S. Department of State is planning to purchase up to 35,000 Kindle e-readers as well as selected content. The Kindles would be distributed to U.S.-friendly educational centers around the world so as to be available to those looking to study English and learn about America.

Need for Bilingual Preschools
A new report from the Center for American Progress that urges policymakers to maximize on the investments being made in public preschool programs to serve disadvantaged children. Specifically, the report calls for "more federal, state, and local capacity to meet the increasing demand for culturally and linguistically appropriate services for children who are dual-language learners."

Tensions in Kyrgyzstan over Exams in Uzbek
Nationalists protest the availability of university entrance exams in the Uzbek language.

Linguistic Diversity Linked to Biodiversity
Linguistic and cultural preservation may be the key to protecting biodiversity.

English Proficiency Biggest Hurdle for Brazilian Scholars
At a time when Brazilians have more resources and opportunities to study abroad than ever, lacking language skills a hinderance.

Cajoling All Teachers to Consider ELLs
New report examines how to prepare teachers for the fastest growing student population in the U.S.

Language Education Cuts Compromise National Security
New Council on Foreign Relations report calls education a national security issue

Canada Instates Language Tests for Some Immigrants
Exams on proficiency in either English or French will be stated for certain immigrants in June

San Jose School Hosts Spanish Spelling Bee
First Spanish spelling bee in northern California held at a dual language academy

English is Number One Language Test in Georgia
Students in final year of school aim to take English instead of Russian in foreign language exam

Promotion of French Language is Hot Topic
The separatist opposition party in Quebec rallys for French

U.S. Demand for Portuguese Increasing
Universities scramble to keep up with influx of learners

Urdu Gets Official Status Around India
Urdu to become a language of instruction in Muslim communities

Norwegian Language Camp to be Launched
Camp will focus on Norwegian language and cultural immersion activities

National Center for Family Literacy Ruminates on Education Policy at Conference
Conference of educators, advocates, and policy makers highlights family literacy

New Arabic Center Symbolizes Chinese-Emirati Exchange
Beijing's University of Foreign Studies unveils remodeled center for Arabic language and Islamic studies.

Promoting French in Pakistan
After an exodus of native French teachers, France pushes its language and culture in Pakistan.

Columbia’s Teacher College Addresses International Education with TEDx
Inaugural TEDx conference on international education takes places

Irish Language on the Rise, but not in Ireland
Could heritage learners abroad save Irish?

Santorum: Puerto Ricans Should Learn English
While visiting Puerto Rico, Santorum turns off Boricua voters.

International Summit on Teaching Profession Takes Place in New York
Delegations from 23 countries and regions discuss education issues at the second annual summit

Journey to Find Indigenous Languages in Trip of the Tongue
New book by Elizabeth Little covers indigenous languages throughout the United States

International Portuguese educators come together to teach Timorese teachers

Read Across America Kicks Off March 2
Students all over the U.S. will celebrate literacy on Dr. Seuss's birthday

Equatorial Guinea Strengthens Connection to Portuguese
Portuguese linguists to document archaic dialect from the Annobón province.

To read from The World As We Speak Archive, click here.

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