AZTESOL NEWS - January 2017


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President’s Message

AZTESOL President’s Message

Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick

AZTESOL held its 2016 conference on October 22nd and October 23rd at NAU Yuma Branch Campus. Our theme for the conference this year was “Literacy Across Ages and Cultures”. It was extremely exciting to receive many creative proposals about innovative approaches to teaching the many facets of literacy to all of our students. Ultimately, as teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, our goal is that our diverse students will utilize those literacy skills and strategies in order to become engaged and contributing members of their communities. To help us all achieve that goal, I was especially pleased to welcome Dr. Okhee Lee from New York University who enlightened us all about Connections of NGSS to CCSS for All Students, including English Learners. Additionally, I know that the breakout session presentations wre informative, insightful and useful. I feel confident that the presenters provided us with a variety of innovative ideas and practices for working with our students.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the conference planning committee (Vicki Ardisana, Nancy Blitz, Alma Sandigo, and Aybuke Keehn as well as our registrar, Paul Meloccaro) for their tireless efforts in organizing that conference.

Wishing you all a very happy 2017.

 Marjaneh Gilpatrick, Ed.D.

President, AZTESOL


Letter from the Editor

2016 was a year filled with opportunities for change and growth. New legislation, teaching applications and methodologies, and many of our student populations changed, boosting our imaginations and energizing our craft. This issue reflects that experience. You’ll find legislative updates, reflections on conference and personal experiences, upcoming professional development opportunities, useful ideas for the classroom, and lots of links for further information.

If this issue inspires nostalgia for your past AZTESOL Conference experiences, be sure to go to the AZTESOL Facebook page because there are loads of great pictures. While you're there why not Like us or post an interesting link or article on the page to share with our community.

Featured Articles

Claire McLaughlin provides useful tips for creating an inviting environment for engaging English language learners and their families.

Meghan Kerry Moran’s article, “Natural Connections” reflects on Jon Noble’s thought provoking AZTESOL Conference presentation which promoted ecocentrism and a global mindset. In her article “Accents Affect How Parents, Students, and Others are Perceived” she shares her research findings, which has current implications for the classroom and for further research.

Brandon Juarez and Meridith Critchfield teach us how to use Kahoot as a formative assessment tool. They clearly explain the tool’s value as an assessment tool as well as provide step-by-step instructions. Even if you attended their AZTESOL conference workshop, you’ll benefit from the article’s clarity.

Nicholas Rhea shares his process for tutoring students through a reflection of his personal successes and challenges.

Luke Slisz shares his past TESOL presentation on using Twitter for teaching inferences. This article was adapted from his handout and might inspire you lesson-planning imagination.

Upcoming issues

Listed below are important deadlines for AZTESOL News. If you have an idea for an article or want to write an article but don't know how to begin, email Wanda Huber at Wanda.Huber@asu.edu or send a text 937-344-3338. Include "Article Submission" in the subject line.

 Winter Edition February 28 Deadline
 Spring/Summer Edition  May 1 Deadline
 Fall Edition  September 1 Deadline


AZTESOL News is currently accepting submissions for the next issue. In addition to the Unsolicited article categories listed below, of interest are articles that interpret the Department of Education's expectations for learners as outlined in the strategic plan:

  • Demonstrate strong literacy, numeracy, communication and technology skills
  • Demonstrate cultural competency
  • Demonstrate strong critical thinking and reasoning skills
  • Become artistically and physically literate
  • Be able to articulate goals
  • Be civic-minded

Unsolicited Article Categories

  • Theory to Practice
  • Classroom Experiences with Web 2.0
  • Teacher/Teacher, Student/Teacher Collaboration
  • Reviews (Book, Web, Article)

Thanks for all your valuable contributions to the profession and here's to a fulfilling 2017!

Wanda Huber, AZTESOL Editor


Legislative Updates

Seal of Biliteracy Passed

from Nora Amavisca Reyes

The Arizona State Board of Education passed the Arizona Seal of Biliteracy at their October 24th meeting!  The recording for the Board Meeting Board Meeting beginning at 3:02:50 addresses the Seal of Biliteracy agenda item, and their approval is documented under K and L on page 15 in the Summary of Board Action.  


2016 Highlights

from Jenny Slinkard

Some of the biggest highlights of 2016 at the federal level was immigration reform, DACA, and DAPA  and funding requests for ESSA and WIOA (Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act). Both ESSA and WIOA have increased their FY2017 Budget requests. WIOA plans and accountability provisions took effect in July.

In Arizona in particular, the U.S. Department of Justice  found that the state has failed to identify English learners and prematurely labeled others as fluent in English, cutting off access to ESL programs. This settlement means that the state must now provide language-support services to thousands of students who were prematurely moved out of their programs.


Summit on the Future of the TESOL Profession

By Colette Matola


On June 19-21, 2016, Jennifer Slinkard (Socio-political Chair) and Colette Matola (Northern Area Rep) joined approximately 75 other TESOL educators and members of TESOL International Association in Washington, DC for the 2016 TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit. The program featured a full a day of issue briefings and activities around education legislation and advocacy, followed by a day of visits to Congressional offices on Capitol Hill. With representatives from approximately 30 US affiliates in attendance, the goals of the Summit were not only to learn more about federal policy issues impacting TESOL educators and English learners, such as ESSA and WIOA, but also to provide an interactive learning experience for participants on elements of advocacy. By the end of the event, TESOL members had visited the offices of over 100 Representatives and Senators.

To fully prepare for the Summit, participants needed to complete several important tasks before arriving in Washington, DC. For example, participants needed to schedule meetings with their Congressional representatives. For many, this was a first. To assist with this, TESOL International Association provided directions, guidance, and a list of specific representatives and senators to contact. Additionally, TESOL International Association connected attendees with other participants from the same state to encourage collective advocacy. Jennifer and Colette managed to meet successfully with educational staff and senior legislative assistants for Senator John McCain, Senator Jeff Flake, Representative Dr. Paul Gosar and the Honorable Raul Grijalva of District 3 in Arizona.

Participants also received background information on key policy issues so that they could begin to familiarize themselves in advance. To help make their Congressional meetings more effective, participants were encouraged to find examples from their own programs to illustrate the talking points they would use in their meetings. Colette provided pictures and short bio’s of her students to help clarify AZTESOL’s goal to be a key resource for EL’s and TESOL professionals.

The Summit featured a keynote from Dr. Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education (CTE) at the U.S. Department of Education. He gave insights to WIOA Final Rules. In addition, representatives from the Office for Civil Rights and the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) at the U.S. Department of Education, as well as the Student & Exchange Visitor Program at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, each presented updates from their offices concerning Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and WIOA. The Summit also included presentations from the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and author Dr. Diane Staehr Fenner presented information from her book Advocating for English Learners: A Guide for Educators. Margie McHugh, of the Migration Policy Institute, revealed key data and constraints concerning immigrants and EL’s, including Arizona.

Following these briefings, the Summit shifted its focus to advocacy with preparations for meetings with members of Congress. Jennifer and Colette prepared specific materials and outlined agenda items to discuss. They were aware to keep the conversation concise and specific.

To maximize the impact of the Summit, key members of Congress serving on the education and appropriations committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were identified for meetings. Jennifer and Colette were thrilled to schedule a meeting with Rep. Grijalva and his supportive senior staff member, Norma Salazar, to further discuss his bill, H.R. 4643 - Families Learning and Understanding English Together (FLUENT) Act of 2016.

On June 21, participants went to Capitol Hill to have meetings with members of Congress and staff. Jennifer and Colette had a very successful day with four productive meetings.  They followed up with thank you’s and received encouraging responses. AZTESOL is continuing a solid partnership with government representatives, serving as a premier resource for EL challenges in Arizona.

At the end of the Summit, the participants shared their experiences and what they learned over dinner. It was interesting to hear what other people experienced on their visits. Overall, Jennifer and Colette agreed this event was a positive experience for them and for TESOL International Association.

They encourage all AZTESOL members to consider attending this valuable experience.


Colette Matola (left) Jennifer Slinkard (right)


Why Not Participate in the Conversation?


If you feel inspired by Colette Matola and Jennifer Slikard's experience and would like to interact with policy makers then why not attend the Summit on the Future of the TESOL Profession, February 9-10, in Greece.

If Greece isn't in your future, you can still participate in the conversation via live-streamed discussions. 

If you are able to participate, be sure to contact the AZTESOL News editor to share your insights and update the membership.


Lessons from the Field

Image by Arina Shabinova posted at httpswww.behance.netgallery46719507Friend-Questionnaire-Rocket-bank

Tips for Creating a Welcoming ELL Environment

By Claire McLaughlin

Have you had a difficult time engaging your ELL students and their families in your classroom and school? There are several valid reasons for parents of ELLs not to attend such activities: language barrier, transportation, work schedule, child care, etc.  However, we know that research says parental involvement in their child’s education greatly benefits their child’s learning and overall school experience.  How can teachers and administrators encourage parents of ELLs to attend school activities? 

The first step is making them feel welcome in the school.  According to Henderson and Mapp (2002), “When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.” (p. 7-8) Many parents of ELLs do not speak English and are completely inhibited by the idea of walking into their child’s school.  They may feel embarrassed because before coming to the United States, they may have had an important or contributing role in their community.  Or they may simply lack clarity about the American school system and importance of engagement.

To make families feel welcome, incorporate the cultures of the ELL students into the school by:

Posting “Welcome” signs written in multiple languages at the school’s entrance

Creating a section in the school library that has bilingual books in languages represented in the school ELL population so ELLs can read at home with their parents

Hosting a “Culture Day” or “Culture Evening” where all students share information about their cultures through dance, music, art, food, language, etc.

To help break down the language barrier, have key information about classroom and school-wide expectations and events translated into languages of ELL students. Look into your community’s resources such as literacy centers and bilingual churches to see if people working there can lead you to translation services.

If you would like more ideas on involving the parents of your ELLs in your school and community, check out the Coursera online course Engaging ELLs and their Families in the School and Community written by former K-12 ELL teachers Ellen Manos and Claire McLaughlin of ASU’s Global Launch.

Henderson, A. T., & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement (pp. 7-8, Publication). Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.


Claire McLaughlin

Claire McLaughlin is a Lecturer at GlobalLaunch’s Intensive English Program. Her role includes program development ofcustom group programs for English for specific purposes, specifically forstudents from Japan and Mexico.  She hasdeveloped ESL curriculum for both face-to-face and online English coursesincluding the CourseraMOOC, ELL Success in the Content Classroom: Teacher Toolbox Series.  She has also taught in several teachertraining programs with teachers from Vietnam, Peru and China.



Natural Connections

by Meghan Kerry Moran, PhD



Instilling a strong code of ethics is an important aspect of teaching.

This claim is often controversial in the the US, as many teachers feel pressured to remain “neutral” in the classroom. However, in Jon Noble’s presentation “Ecological Ethics:  The Challenge of Teaching about Nature,” he reminded us that this has been the history of education, and he challenged us to revive this tradition.

Mr. Noble’s particular aim is to foster a responsible attitude toward nature.  He claimed that this goes beyond merely telling students to shut off the lights when they’re not in the room or turn off the faucet while they’re brushing their teeth.  Getting students to live sustainable, earth-aware lives instead comes from having an emotional, visceral connection with nature.

In his presentation, Mr. Noble discussed two competing paradigms:  anthropocentrism and ecocentrism.  Anthropocentrism espouses the view that nature and its resources exist for human use and consumption.  Ecocentrism, on the other hand, denotes a nature-centered, rather than human-centered, system of values.  Certain people, and indeed, certain cultures, lean more to one side or the other of this spectrum. 

Mr. Noble argued that telling people how to protect the earth will have little, if any, impact if they maintain a strict anthropomorphic viewpoint. However, how do we cultivate more environmentally conscious students?  He mentioned that there are many cultural and situational barriers to doing so.  For example, some ESL students hail from extremely urban areas and are unused to (and perhaps even fearful of) forests and wide-open areas.  Others may have been in situations in which they had no choice but to take from the environment in order to survive.  One example of this is from a friend of mine who was hired to conduct bushmeat awareness activities in refugee camps in Africa.  After some time, she realized it was morally difficult to discourage people from killing and eating monkeys when they had little else to eat.     

Recognizing our students’ barriers to connecting with nature is the first step to helping overcome them.  One organization that has worked hard to recognize and overcome barriers in the Latino community is Latino Outdoors, whose mission is to “…connect familias and youth with nature, engage and inspire Latino leadership, empower communities to explore and share their stories in defining the Latino Outdoors identity.”  This is a great organization, and I encourage you to check out the website (latinooutdoors.org) and spread the word.

At the end of the presentation, the audience members were invited to share their experiences. One told of his time teaching English in Lesotho. He noted that in his teaching environment, students were taught content (such as math and engineering) through the installation of solar panels.  Applied activities such as this make learning relevant, authentic, and practical.

What can you do as a teacher to foster a connection with the outside world and promote responsible global citizens?  Take your students for a hike.  Point out trees in bloom, cacti, natural springs, snakes, hummingbirds, etc.  Give them outdoor scavenger hunt assignments.  Go camping as a class.  Encourage activism.  Even go for a stroll around campus to appreciate a beautiful day.  Read some of the abundant recent research regarding how nature is beneficial to our physical and emotional health (for example, see this media article on “The Health Benefits of Trees”:  http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/trees-good/375129/).  Your students will love it—it will be a much-needed break from the rigors of the classroom, and they will gain language in a content-rich, stress-free environment.  And then, hopefully, they will turn off the lights and the faucet not simply because they were told to do so, but because they understand the impact these small actions have on the earth’s future…

Note:  This presentation was originally scheduled with co-presenter Jenny Merritt; unfortunately, Ms. Merritt was not able to attend.

Dr. Meghan Kerry Moran is a Research Coordinator with the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University


Using Videos in Kahoot as Formative Assessments for EL Students

by Brandon Juarez, M.Ed. and Meridith Critchfield, Ph.D, Assistant Professors, College of Education, Grand Canyon University




In our AZTESOL conference workshop “Kahoot in the Classroom, we tried to illuminate the functionality of using Kahoot in the classroom and suggested how and when to leverage Kahoot to formatively assess students. As an extension to our conference material, we are excited to highlight how videos can be connected to Kahoot assessments to best support EL students.

Kahoot is an instructional technology tool designed to formatively assess students. The competitive nature of Kahoot underpins the excitement of the game. Kahoot is quick to set up and easy to manage. An added benefit of using Kahoot in the classroom is the ability to tether YouTube videos to the platform. There is a plethora of language content available on YouTube and Kahoot makes the material easy to use as an instructional extension.  

Benefits

Watch and learn. When using a video embedded in a Kahoot assessment, EL students watch the English language content, then complete the multiple choice question(s) that follow. This process simulates live interaction by promoting student comprehension and fostering student engage with respect to immediately responding to the content.

Connecting current best practices. As educators, we know checking for understanding is a best practice. Formative assessments allow educators a pathway into students’ thinking and processing. Additionally, many educators of EL students use videos to enhance instruction. Thus, it is only natural to blend the two practices. Kahoot can be used to assess the video content EL students watch to provide rich and immediate feedback on their learning.

Here’s How it Works

New users will first build a free account on getkahoot.com. Next, when building individual questions, users will click the video icon in the top right corner (see image).

 

Users will build a formative assessment question using the text box (see image above). Once a video has been identified, users will copy the video link to paste into the Kahoot platform. A neat feature within Kahoot is the ability to edit the start and stop times of the video. Thus, if the video to be used is five minutes in length, but only the first 25 seconds is desired for the formative assessment, users can assign the start and end times of the short clip to be used.

After the video is played, multiple choice options appear for EL students to select the correct choice. Users can create a Kahoot assessment with multiple videos and questions, or one video with multiple questions. The options to assess EL students using videos and Kahoot are endless.

Common Questions

How do students take the assessment? EL students can either partner with peers or complete the Kahoot assessment individually. Students use either a computer, tablet, or smartphone to respond to the Kahoot questions.

Do Kahoot assessments have to be timed? The competitive nature of using Kahoot is part of the excitement and engagement. However, users can turn off the timer (count down) component in an effort to lower anxiety and to give EL students more time to select the correct answer after watching the video or even time to pair-share before answering.

How long is the setup? In many cases, educators already have videos in mind to use for the formative assessment. Thus, the setup is building formative assessment questions and connecting the video to Kahoot. Depending on the number questions to be used for the assessment, setup typically takes less than 20 minutes (this depends on many factors).

An example of the setup and implementation of videos in Kahoot!

 

Conclusion

Kahoot is a versatile formative assessment tool that is a great resource for EL students. The video feature lends to dynamic assessment of vocabulary, syntax, and other language components. We hope you will explore Kahoot to learn how you can leverage this tech tool for your EL students. Not only will the competitive nature of Kahoot engage your EL students, the incorporation of videos is a way to differentiate instruction. Try it!


Brandon Juarez, M.Ed., is a former middle school teacher and administrator. He is currently a faculty member, researcher, and site supervisor at Grand Canyon University.His work focuses on curriculum and instruction, assessment, and instructional technology. Brandon is an Ed.D. candidate in the college of doctoral studies at GCU. His research interest include online andragogy, teacher preparation programs, and formative assessments through the use of instructional technologies. He has written and presented at the state, national, and international level on the topic of instructional technologies in the online modality and is a regular AZTESOL News contributor.


Meredith Critchfield, PhD, is an assistant professor, researcher, and writer at GrandCanyon University. Her work focuses on English language arts and literacy education, teaching English as a second language, and educational equity in urban, multicultural contexts. She has written over 15 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has a co-authored book with Columbia University's Teachers College Press titled Real World Writing for Secondary Students.





The Spontaneity of Teaching:

Lessons Learned from Working One-on-One with Students

by Nicholas Rhea

Working one-on-one with students is something educators engage in frequently. These teacher-student encounters can occur while circulating around the classroom to offer assistance, during tutoring sessions, during office hours, or when talking with students outside of class, to name a few such encounters. No matter the reason, teachers frequently take the time to meet with students individually. And while individual attention is important for student success, it presents certain challenges. My recent experience working with international students at Northern Arizona University (NAU) introduced me to the challenges of working with students one-on-one.

At NAU, I tutored international students at the Student Learning Center. I tutored for two hours per week, with each tutoring session being one hour in length. During these sessions, students asked for assistance with writing essays for their classes, practicing conversation, developing study skills, reading textbooks, and improving pronunciation among other requests. Each session was filled with unknowns, and I had to learn multiple strategies to be successful as a tutor. In the sections that follow, I explain the strategies that I developed  throughout the semester in assessing student needs, creating meaningful lessons on the fly, having materials ready as a backup and, maybe most importantly, being empathetic to the needs of each student.

Assess Student Needs

The first step for each tutorial involved conducting a needs assessment, even if I had worked with the student before. Ongoing assessment of students’ needs is something that all teachers should do. In my case, this was necessary each session, as I had either a new student, or a returning student who possibly had a new assignment or language need. Therefore, the first five minutes of each meeting was generally spent assessing the overall needs of the student, followed by learning what the student wanted to accomplish during the session. For me, this included assessing the student’s language level while simultaneously considering what he/she wanted to accomplish in the hour that we had together.

I found that students generally had high expectations for the session, which was encouraging, but sometimes unrealistic. More than once I had to explain to students what could be accomplished in the hour. I did this as a part of the needs assessment by asking students to prioritize what they wanted to work on, and encouraging them to think about quality not quantity. For students who came to see me weekly, this process got easier, as they understood not only what we could accomplish in the hour, but also the importance of focusing on the most pressing need rather than trying to address all of their needs in a short time period. By taking five minutes to talk with students at the beginning of each session, I was better able to assess what I thought their needs were, learn what they thought their own needs were, and create a more thorough and comprehensive plan. This collaborative (tutor-tutee) approach to needs assessment was useful for setting a baseline for current and future lessons.

Develop a Plan

The next step, and the harder part of this process, was taking what I had discerned from my needs assessment and developing a plan (for immediate use). Normally this plan was not created ahead of the tutorial, but rather was formed during the start of the session. On-the-fly planning, in response to real and immediate classroom needs, is a challenge all teachers face, and was a challenging aspect of tutoring. While I generally had an idea of what would happen during the session, there were times when I would work with a student I had not previously met, or a regular tutee would bring in something different than we had previously discussed. During these situations, I found myself creating a plan on the spot.

Just as I included my students in completing the needs assessment, I also involved students in the planning process, which made my job easier and made the lessons flow more smoothly. This is a strategy that can be employed in many different settings (including the more traditional classroom). For my purposes, I involved students in the planning from the beginning, which allowed me to gain a better understanding of what was needed.

Including students in the on-the-spot planning process seems daunting, but the results are worth the extra time and effort. For example, one of my students only returned because he knew that he could guide the tutoring to fit what he thought he needed. Of course, there will be times when students’ suggestions do not complement the needs assessment nor pertain to the current lesson, but more often than not students offer good suggestions that help the teacher continue with and modify the lesson.

Have Pre-made Materials on Hand

An important part of planning meaningful lessons on the fly is having materials ready. The very first tutorial that I had with a student was, to be frank, a flop because I did not have any materials on hand. My tutee and I struggled through the tutorial and I never saw that student again. As effective as I thought I was as a teacher, I was not nor am I currently so skilled as to improvise a one-hour tutoring session. The next week I brought some materials with me, just in case. Such materials do not have to be anything elegant or grandiose, for me some conversation cards were enough. Tablets and computers can be helpful if materials have been preloaded (it is not a good use of time to search for lesson ideas during the lesson). Sometimes lessons will not go as planned and sometimes the lesson planning is spontaneous, this is the nature of teaching. This is why, in all settings, it is important to have lesson options ready to use in case there are changes.

Remember to Be a Student

Finally, the more sessions I had with my students, the more I was able to empathize with them. Throughout the semester, I had to constantly remind myself that these students cared enough (about their English and their studies) to find time in their busy schedules to seek tutoring. It is difficult for students to take the time to show up to the lesson and to be brave enough to ask for help. I owed it to these students to show up each week with a positive attitude. By putting myself in my students’ shoes, I was better able to connect with them. This is, of course, easier said than done, but it is important for teachers (even in those long 100--minute classes) to empathize with students.

Building a connection with students and empathizing with them is important in all instructional settings. As teachers, we care about our students but sometimes we do not show it, which is unfortunate. Students should know that their teacher or tutor is invested in their success. For me, it involved communicating openly about the struggles of language learning and living in a foreign country. For other teachers, it might be a simple hello in the hallway or asking about something the student is passionate about. No matter how it is done, establishing a connection and being empathetic are absolutely key to having successful teacher-student (and teacher class) interactions.

Conclusion 

Throughout the semester, I learned from each of my tutor-tutee interaction and what might be called my “missteps;” I fine-tuned my strategies so that I could improve as a teacher. I involved students in the needs assessment and planning, I learned to always be prepared with pre-made materials, and I gained an understanding of the importance of empathy. Learning, using, and improving these strategies took an entire semester, during which I built upon what I had learned in my past teaching. I know now that I will have to continue to refine these strategies as I continue my career. My hope in writing this article is that other teachers will learn from my experience and adapt the teaching strategies outlined for their own settings.


Nicholas Rhea is a second year MA: TESOL student at Northern Arizona University. His areas of interest are corpus research and the pedagogical application of corpus, as well as teaching English for Academic Purposes. [He will be presenting a corpus basedapproach to composition teaching at SLAT in Tucson in February of 2017]. After graduation Nicholas hopes to use his degree to teach English abroad.



iTeam Kids:

Recommending Teaching Applications then Training their Teachers 

This image was taken of the iTeam Kids during the 2016 AZTESOL Conference Poster Session, in Yuma. iTeam Kids from left to right Isis Alcala, Madeline Brooks, Briyanna Pisano, Kaitlyn Espinoza, Trenton Isley, and Nathan Stewart


Through their iTeam Kids efforts, these future educators are developing extraordinary leadership and communication skills, evident to anyone who came in contact with them at the AZTESOL conference. There they displayed such an exuberance for technology and helping their teachers understand new teaching applications that all who were exposed to their energy felt a sense of excitement. They weren't just cute kids but very serious teacher trainers. AZTESOL News will be harnessing this energy as iTeam Kids will be contributing reviews of teaching applications in upcoming issues.

Here is a description of iTeam Kids, submitted by Madeline Brooks, a 4th grade student at Palmcroft Elementary School and iTeam Kids member:

ITeam kids are a group of kids who learn about technology and then teach it to teachers.  They help with all kinds of things, like troubleshooting.  Iteam kids research new apps then present them to teachers. They also help teachers with iPads and Promethean board. They earn things called Taps when they help teachers.  They put their Taps in an app called GenYes. GenYes is an app that can store apps for the iTeam kids and they put what they did, time, and what teacher they helped.



 Image created by Andrew Fairclough Sydney, Australia

Microblogging and Cell Phones in the Classroom: #dontworrytweethappy

How comfortable do you feel during those rare moments without your cell phone? How distracted? The truth is that cell phones distract us, whether they're in our hands or not.

Many teachers are taking up the old adage if you can’t fight‘em, join‘em by incorporating cell phones into their language instruction. Since the majority of microblogging, or tweeting, is done on cellphones, Twitter offers teachers and students a logical tool to meet both their cell phone and language learning needs in one swoop. 

Luke surveyed the current research of Twitter usage in the classroom and found that it has been used to develop a variety of activities from pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing skills, but notes that more controlled studies are needed. For more information see “Twitter” in TESOL-EJ, 2009.

In this article, "Using Twitter for Teaching Inferences,"  Luke Slisz describes a Twitter activity that demonstrates how Twitter in the classroom can be a "fun and communicative" way to teach inferences authentically.

He presented this activity (below) more thoroughly at the TESOL 2015 Convention. However, below is a modified version of his handout that might inspire you to pick up the phone and tweet with your students.


Using Twitter for Teaching Inferences

By Luke Slisz

Rationale for using Twitter to teach inferences

Students need to make inferences to fully engage and make meaning with a text. However, English learners, especially those at the beginning and intermediate levels, have difficulty with inferences, opting instead to only look for answers directly stated in a text. 

Because tweets de-emphasize grammar and vocabulary while emphasizing brevity, learners focus on the ideas behind the tweets rather than the words themselves, drawing logical conclusions based on textual evidence, background knowledge, and critical thinking.

Twitter is well-known as a communicative tool (not as a storytelling tool) so this activity is a perfect opportunity to help students recognize reading as an interactive conversation instead of a one-sided activity. By using Twitter as a storytelling tool, teachers facilitate an understanding of inferences, affording students opportunities to practice the skill on a scale that is less daunting and more communicative. 


Twitter Basics (http://www.twitter.com)


Email addresses are used to register and create a username, and if you like, to create a profile picture and find contacts to follow to instantly view their tweets. 


Twitter messages are called “tweets.” One tweet is 140 characters (or less).

Hashtags (#) can be used to creatively communicate, alter tone of voice, and follow topics. 

@ is used for sending messages to each other. Images and video can be inserted into tweets (via Vine) *More features can be found in this pre-made Twitter glossary.

Since its creation, Twitter has become a popular storytelling tool that offers many opportunities for students to participate in storytelling communities such as @veryshortstory, @arjunbasu, and for extended fictional stories there’s murder mystery story by Elliott Holt and .#TwitterFiction

The Lesson: Ordeal by Tweet inspired by Walter Crue’s Ordeal by Cheque

Pre-Reading

Students read and discuss stories that are told in selectedtweets and/or from Google’s Twitter contests as this one or this one, curated by Mashable.com). Such variety allows teachers tofind texts that are appropriate for almost any skill and maturity level.

Students read these tweets together, with the aid of a graphic organizer, to infer the greatermeaning behind them. One-tweet stories can be especially effective atdemonstrating the role that readers have in co-constructing meaning with atext, and why it is important to infer meaning beyond what is directly statedin a text.  At the same time, theseone-tweet stories show how writers effectively communicate with only a handfulof words. 

The Activity

Students tweet the story: the Steps 

  1.  Create Twitter accounts.
  2.  Create short-short stories in tweets: one-tweet stories; fictional, semi-fictionalized, or non-fictional accounts of students’ activities in multiple tweets, and fictionalized narratives of a character created by the students in multiple tweets. An example of a fictional story told through multiple tweets can be found here .
  3. Exchange stories with a partner, read, and infer the unsaid events. Note: it’s important students understand the difference between inferences and guesses. Take special care at this stage to ensure that all inferences made by the students were based on textual evidence found in the story.
  4. Partners write a paragraph that includes the inferred events. A copy of the worksheet used to facilitate this process can be found here.
  5. Return a copy of the original tweet and the full story in a paragraph to original author for comparison.
  6. Discuss how the interpretation compared with the intent.Reflect on why the inferences were accurate or not. Reflection questions can be found on the above worksheet.

Final Thoughts

Completing this activity introduces the skill of making inferences, demonstrates why this skill is important and useful, and provides students with an engaging opportunity to make inferences in a creative, communicative way. 

In addition, they experience first hand the collaborative roles that both readers and writers play in constructing meaning, developing an awareness of author intent and reader interpretation.

This activity can be easily adapted to other social media applications such as

Facebook (longer messages, more picture and video integration, more collaborative)

Vine (which allows short videos to be embedded intoTwitter)

Storify (an online tool that tells storiesthrough the incorporation of different social media)

*Editor’s note: Since this lesson plan was created, Twitter has created Twitter

Moments https://support.twitter.com/articles/20174961# for curating stories





Luke Slisz has taught English in both Japan and the United States for the past eight years. He is currently working in the field of language assessment as a Second Language Acquisition Specialist at the National Foreign Language Center in Maryland.




Accents Affect How Parents, Students, and Others are Perceived

by Meghan Kerry Moran, PhD 

www.behance.net


Have you ever felt that you were being judged because of your accent or way of speaking?  Has it affected your job? 

According to Hanna (2012), complaints of wrongful discharge in violation of national origin involving language ability have doubled in the United States since 1997.  In one such case, a FedEx driver was let go allegedly due to his Russian accent, even though his lawyer claimed he was “very understandable.”  The majority of courts have found such cases to be not inherently discriminatory, and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) has upheld employers’ creation of English-only policies (in which accent seems to be confused with or subsumed under language proficiency), so long as they are “out of business necessity” (Hanna, 2012, p. 23).   

In 2010, the Arizona Board of Education received criticism from TESOL, AZ-TESOL, and others when it discussed enacting an administrative practice that would have prohibited “heavily accented or ungrammatical” teachers from fulfilling their full pedagogical responsibilities.  However, “[heavily] accented” was not defined nor operationalized.  This issue was the motivation for my dissertation, “Arizona Teachers’ Speech:  Phonological Features and Listener Perceptions,” completed in May.  I would like to thank AZ-TESOL for providing me with a grant that compensated the teacher speaker participants in my study.  Here is a brief overview of the study and its findings.  Please feel free to contact with me if you have any questions (mkm338@nau.edu).

Methods

Ten currently certified AZ teachers sent me brief (1.5-2 minute) speech files in which they explained a concept (based on the Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards) to an imaginary ninth grade class.  Five of these teachers were native English speakers and five were native Spanish speakers.  I conducted an extensive pronunciation analysis of these speech files.  I then embedded them in a survey with subsequent questions about the speakers’ comprehensibility (that is, relative ease of listener understanding), accentedness, and perceived teaching suitability.  Four groups of educational stakeholders took this survey:  teachers (n = 32), teacher candidates (n = 46), parents of middle and/or high school students (n = 30), and high school students (n = 33).

Results

The 27-feature pronunciation analysis revealed that the only statistically significant difference in the NES teachers’ speech samples and the NNES teachers’ speech samples was in tone choices.  Specifically, NES teachers used more rising tones at the end of their phrases and sentences than NNES teachers did; NNES teachers often ended their phrases and sentences with falling tones.  In fact, the teacher who was rated as the most comprehensible, the least accented, and the most suitable to teach had the lowest percentage of falling tones and the highest percentage of rising tones of all ten speakers.  Conversely, the NNES teacher who was rated least comprehensible, most accented, and least suitable to teach produced speech with the highest percentage of falling tones.  This echoed Pickering (2001, p. 251), in which the use of rising tones by a NES TA “promoted a…kind of social convergence” between instructor and students.  Unfortunately, with NNES teachers, the “consistent use of abruptly falling tones…is more likely to lead to negative judgments about the teacher’s personality than to a recognition of limited language proficiency” (Pickering, 2001, p. 252).  Although Pickering advocated adding intonation awareness and instruction into international teaching assistant instructional programs, this should be carefully interpreted.  The aim should be to assist NNES teachers in the manipulation of intonation for increased pedagogical efficacy, not require they produce more native-like speech.

Despite having only one of 27 features that was significantly different between NES teachers and NNES teachers, the NNES teachers were rated significantly more accented, less comprehensible, and less suitable to teach.  Thus, it appears as though extrinsic factors, such as listeners’ expectations and biased perceptions, factor into their ratings.  This corresponds to previous research on linguistic stereotyping that has shown that listeners make judgments about people based on only short samples of speech (Bradac, Cargile, & Hallett, 2001; Lambert, Hodgson, Gardner, & Fillenbaum; Rubin, 1992).  Also, the fact that the listeners scored the speakers differently corroborates this idea. 

Because evaluations are based on the perceptions of the listener as well as the phonological characteristics of the speaker, listeners had different evaluations of the speakers depending on their role (i.e., teacher, teacher candidate, parent, student).  The reasons for those different group ratings are still unclear; possibilities include age, ideology, familiarity with accented speakers, experience with NNESs, and expectations of a teacher, among others.  For example, parents are often highly invested in their children’s education and may have high expectations of their teachers.  This may explain why, even though parents did not rate the speakers as least comprehensible or more accented, they did rate them as least suitable to teach (note that they rated all teachers this way, not just the NNES teachers).  Familiarity with accented speech (Gass & Varonis, 1984) does not seem to fully explain the ratings, as the high school students, despite being a somewhat diverse group and being enrolled in a school with a high percentage of Latino students, rated the speakers as least comprehensible of the four listener groups.  Qualitative comments shed little light on the reasons for these ratings; this would be a worthy area of future research.

Practical Implications

Although it may seem contradictory that listener perceptions of NES teachers and NNES teachers were significantly different even though the majority of phonological features were not, this finding falls in line with other speech perception and linguistic stereotyping research.  However, although the stereotyping of speech is common, it is not unproblematic. In Arizona alone, 30% of the population is Hispanic; Arizona is 4th in the nation for its percentage of Hispanic students, with 43% (Pew Research Center, 2011).  Students will continue to be interacting with people of different speech varieties and accents regularly, whether in person or through the ever globally-connecting internet.  Thus, it is clear that additional efforts are needed to mitigate this perceptual difference.  Not only is it important to increase ease of communication within K-12 classrooms, we also need to prepare Arizona students to be international citizens in a world in which there are significantly more non-native English speakers than native English speakers.  Listeners need to be educated with regard to non-native speech.

A first step to this student education is determining whether students have access to diversity education at school, and if so, whether it is effective.  A number of studies have shown that even brief exposure to people with other L1s, if done under the right conditions, can improve listeners’ evaluations of non-native English speech (Kang & Rubin, 2012; Kang, Rubin, & Lindemann, 2014; Kang & Moran, 2014; Staples, Kang, & Wittner, 2014; Smith, Strom, & Muthuswamy, 2005).  The conditions reflect those in the Contact Hypothesis, developed by Allport in 1954:  contact must be voluntary, groups must be of equal status and composition, contact should extend beyond an immediate task, contact must be non-superficial (i.e., have acquaintance potential), contact should have mutually beneficial outcomes, the intervention task cannot be accomplished without mutual input, and there must be clear institutional support.

A Reluctance to Rate

Several participants, however, explicitly stated reluctance to undertake this impressionistic linguistic rating.  From their comments, it was clear that they felt uncomfortable evaluating a teacher (especially his or her teaching suitability) from such a short sample of speech.  They cited pedagogical and personal traits as being equally or more important that linguistic characteristics.  Whereas the proposed Arizona practice made the assumption that a teacher’s effectiveness was based on their phonological and grammatical “correctness,” many listeners in the current study refused to accept this premise.  In general, it was the teachers and teacher candidates who stated the most reluctance to rate, likely because they understood the potential consequences on their professions of evaluating a teacher based largely on the way in which he or she talks.  However, some parents also showed an awareness of this, displaying concern and a lack of willingness to rate.

Aspects of Typical Intervention Studies

A typical intervention study includes a survey in which American listeners hear a number of speech samples and rate them on constructs such as accentedness, comprehensibility, oral proficiency and/or a measure of perceived or actual teaching competence.  Then, structured interactions are set up between the American listeners and international university students, which are often social in nature and may involve completing a light task that is designed to be fun.  After several interactions, the original listeners are given the same survey and are again asked to evaluate the non-native speech samples.  In study after study, it has been shown that listeners’ evaluations improve; that is, they rate the speech in the post-test as significantly less accented, more comprehensible, more orally proficient, and more instructionally competent.  Even short interventions have had a consistent and replicable effect (Kang et al., 2014).  Yet, all of these studies have been conducted in university contexts, not K-12 contexts. 

Opportunities For Teachers

Interventions such as these have the potential to benefit K-12 students exposing them to different speech varieties at a younger age.  In this changing dynamic of increasingly international education, there is a need for successful interactions regardless of native speaker status.

Teachers could create an opportunity to increase communication as well as teach children how to navigate miscommunication in a pro-social way, should it arise.

However, strategic interventions would only have the potential to benefit the students involved. To address this, research must expand to better understand how teachers and students negotiate different speech patterns over time within the classroom and whether teacher-student rapport and other dimensions of teaching surmount any immediate judgments made based on speech style alone. 

Opportunities for Parents

For parents, we must first determine whether schools communicate with parents sufficiently.  Are parents aware of the amount of diversity in their child’s school (including other students, faculty, and staff) and the benefits that diversity can have within the classroom?  Do they discuss, with school personnel, the need to prepare their children for an increasingly globalized society, and do they lend input on the best ways in which to do so?  If this is not already a part of the dialogue between the school district and the parents, it should at least be considered.

As the population demographics change to become more international, schools will comprise more non-native English speaking teachers.  However, this study shows that teachers, teacher candidates, parents, and students have not yet fully accepted accented teachers, showing some of their own biases.  One optimistic finding, however, was that teacher candidates were the most lenient in their evaluations of NNESTs.  This could indicate a changing perception.  That is, the younger generation of teachers may be more inclusive than the teachers who came before them.  Also, it is encouraging that many listeners showed reluctance to rate.  This confirms that at least some of the population understands that there is more to teacher performance than their speech characteristics, and that there is much that we do not yet know about classroom dynamics.  


AZTESOL Interest Sections

by Lutfi Hussein




In early 2015, the AZTESOL Board approved the formation of Interest Sections (ISs) whose purpose would be to offer AZTESOL members a supportive community of practice. ISs connect professors, teachers and advocates, among others, to discuss and collaborate on issues important to the field of TESOL. This initiative has come as a result of the Board’s realization of the significance of networking, professional development, continued growth, and advocacy for the community of teachers and students it serves.

In the ensuing months, a committee comprising Board members and other interested AZTESOL members worked on developing a framework that would help establish and sustain ISs. The committee worked diligently on drafting a handbook, supplemented with appendixes, that it submitted to the Board for discussion and a decision. The Board offered feedback on the draft, and the committee revised the handbook accordingly. Finally, the Board approved the AZTESOL Interest Section Handbook in March 2016. The Handbook describes the history and purpose of these interest sections and outlines the procedures for their successful operation.

To support this initiative, the Board has created a new Board position to encourage the formation of interest sections, guide their chairs and members, and facilitate communication between them and the Board. So far three Interest Sections have been formally approved. Below is a brief description of each, provided by their respective chairs. For more information, please contact the Interest Section Coordinator, Lutfi Hussein at lutfi.hussein@yahoo.com.

The Community College Interest Section (CCIS) provides a platform for its members to discuss issues relevant to and important in ESL teaching and program administration; explore ways to connect with ESL programs in both K-12 and universities to better serve ESL students in Arizona; promote best practices for ESL programs through research-based feedback and collaboration; and provide professional development opportunities for ESL educators interested in community colleges. In its first year, the CCIS, in addition to writing up its bylaws, will be researching the current status of CC ESL programs across AZ and developing a survey to distribute to CC stakeholders. It is planning to organize a roundtable or offer a workshop at the AZTESOL 2017 State Conference. For more information, please contact the CCIS Chair, Colette Matola at colettejacksonmatola@yahoo.com.

The K-12 Interest Section (K12IS) seeks to provide professional support for current and future Arizona K-12 educators who wish to learn more about teaching students who speak languages other than English.  One major focus is the ways in which teachers negotiate and work within the boundaries of AZ education policy in order to provide the best learning opportunities for their ESL students. This IS represents anyone who has an interest in second language learning and teaching in K-12 classrooms in Arizona (you do NOT need to be currently teaching at this level!). As a young IS, we are working on developing how we can best serve our members.  Ideas proposed thus far have been professional development (which will manifest itself through online discussion forums and conference presentations) and advocacy.  This group is intended to be very open, flexible, and inclusive; members can commit any amount of time that works for them.  For more information, please contact the K12IS Chair, Meghan Moran at mkm338@nau.edu.

The Teachers of Refugees Interest Section (TRIS) exists to connect educators across Arizona who work with refugee adults and children. The TRIS regularly shares educational resources and policy updates through an e-mail list-serv. We also meet quarterly to discuss curriculum, network, and dialogue about the most important issues facing refugee education. This year, the TRIS will be drafting its bylaws and planning to hold a workshop or roundtable at the AZTESOL 2017 State Conference. For more information, please contact the TRIS Co-chairs, Jenna Altherr Flores and Amanda Snell at aztesolrefugeesig@gmail.com.

In early 2015, the AZTESOL Board approved the formation of Interest Sections (ISs) whose purpose would be to offer AZTESOL members a supportive community of practice. ISs connect professors, teachers and advocates, among others, to discuss and collaborate on issues important to the field of TESOL. This initiative has come as a result of the Board’s realization of the significance of networking, professional development, continued growth, and advocacy for the community of teachers and students it serves. 

In the ensuing months, a committee comprising Board members and other interested AZTESOL members worked on developing a framework that would help establish and sustain ISs. The committee worked diligently on drafting a handbook, supplemented with appendixes, that it submitted to the Board for discussion and a decision. The Board offered feedback on the draft, and the committee revised the handbook accordingly. Finally, the Board approved the AZTESOL Interest Section Handbook in March 2016. The Handbook describes the history and purpose of these interest sections and outlines the procedures for their successful operation.

To support this initiative, the Board has created a new Board position to encourage the formation of interest sections, guide their chairs and members, and facilitate communication between them and the Board. So far three Interest Sections have been formally approved. Below is a brief description of each, provided by their respective chairs. For more information, please contact the Interest Section Coordinator, Lutfi Hussein at lutfi.hussein@yahoo.com.

The Community College Interest Section (CCIS) provides a platform for its members to discuss issues relevant to and important in ESL teaching and program administration; explore ways to connect with ESL programs in both K-12 and universities to better serve ESL students in Arizona; promote best practices for ESL programs through research-based feedback and collaboration; and provide professional development opportunities for ESL educators interested in community colleges. In its first year, the CCIS, in addition to writing up its bylaws, will be researching the current status of CC ESL programs across AZ and developing a survey to distribute to CC stakeholders. It is planning to organize a roundtable or offer a workshop at the AZTESOL 2017 State Conference. For more information, please contact the CCIS Chair, Colette Matola at colettejacksonmatola@yahoo.com.

The K-12 Interest Section (K12IS) seeks to provide professional support for current and future Arizona K-12 educators who wish to learn more about teaching students who speak languages other than English.  One major focus is the ways in which teachers negotiate and work within the boundaries of AZ education policy in order to provide the best learning opportunities for their ESL students. This IS represents anyone who has an interest in second language learning and teaching in K-12 classrooms in Arizona (you do NOT need to be currently teaching at this level!). As a young IS, we are working on developing how we can best serve our members.  Ideas proposed thus far have been professional development (which will manifest itself through online discussion forums and conference presentations) and advocacy.  This group is intended to be very open, flexible, and inclusive; members can commit any amount of time that works for them.  For more information, please contact the K12IS Chair, Meghan Moran at mkm338@nau.edu.

The Teachers of Refugees Interest Section (TRIS) exists to connect educators across Arizona who work with refugee adults and children. The TRIS regularly shares educational resources and policy updates through an e-mail list-serv. We also meet quarterly to discuss curriculum, network, and dialogue about the most important issues facing refugee education. This year, the TRIS will be drafting its bylaws and planning to hold a workshop or roundtable at the AZTESOL 2017 State Conference. For more information, please contact the TRIS Co-chairs, Jenna Altherr Flores and Amanda Snell at aztesolrefugeesig@gmail.com.


Interest Section Updates

Teachers of Refugees

Jenna Altherr Flores, AZTESOL Dennis Oliver Distance Assistance Grant Report

As Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Teachers of RefugeesInterest Section, I found Friday’s roundtable at the 2016 AZTESOL state conference in Yuma very valuable. I am delighted that AZTESOL has implemented both the k-12 Interest Section and the Community College Interest Section as well. After a warm welcome from Lutfi Hussein, the Interest Section Coordinator, the three groups split up to discuss the visions and goals of eachIS, and to consider the most pressing challenges faced by members and students of each group.  Following that, all the ISs reconvened and shared their IS’s goals for the upcoming year.

In the Teachers of Refugees Interest Section session, were visited our vision to ensure it matched our goals, and then all the new and returning members of the IS introduced themselves, noted what they would like to see the IS accomplish in the next year, and individuals shared some of the challenges they face in English language teaching for students from refugee backgrounds. It was helpful for members from northern Arizona, to Phoenix, to Tucson, and Yuma to see that many of us – and many of our students – have similar successes and obstacles. This meeting gave people from around the state a chance to voice their concerns and also offer support for other educators; it was also an excellent networking opportunity for teachers of refugees resettled in Arizona.

Any AZTESOL member who was, is, or may work with students from refugee backgrounds is welcome to join the Interest Section. Please email us at aztesolrefugeesig@gmail.com to be added to the listserv.  Members may also contact the listserv directly if they would like to circulate an announcement, or begin a discussion related to English language teaching for students from refugee backgrounds.

Our nextTeachers of Refugees IS meeting will be held in Tucson at the AZTESOL SoutheastRegional Conference on January 28, 2017; we invite all interested members to join us at this conference. We also plan to have a summer meeting in Phoenix(more details will be forthcoming).

The Teachers of Refugees Interest Section is grateful for the continued support of AZTESOL.We look forward to many more excellent conferences in the future.


Reflections on the Arizona TESOL Conference, 2016  

Michele Eckert, Dennis Oliver Distance Assistance Grant Recipient

As a first timer attending the 2016 AZTESOL state conference, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I was able to experience a great campus on my first trip to Yuma. After attending a day and a half of the jam-packed program, the conference far exceeded any expectations I could have imagined!  Here are some highlights that I found interesting and helpful.

Dr. Okhee Lee spoke to us about how ELP standards should correspond to content standards. There are many opportunities to use English language learning skills while engaging learners in math, science, and other disciplines. Her ability to connect to the audience while gently admonishing Arizona to “do better” (my own personal interpretation) was refreshing, enjoyable, and thought-provoking.  We can all start somewhere with her ideas. 

Jennifer Castillo’s presentation on Engagement and Motivation was full of “little nuggets of wisdom” that we can all take back to our classrooms. Some of her ideas were basic, however what was most valuable was her providing key words to remember (e.g., Random Motivation and Brain Breaks) that we can all keep handy as tools.  Her connection with the class was also engaging, and the seminar went quickly. 

Iran Razcon and Martin Cordoba presented a great session on intercultural competence – connecting learners to American culture while teaching English. Who hasn’t struggled with how to explain Halloween to people from Syria, Rwanda, Mexico, or the Congo?  Using humor, connecting young learners to older American learners, and meshing cultures through smart use of the Internet and technology were presented as effective tactics by this dynamic duo. As an “older” instructor, it was particularly fun to listen to these young professionals present new ideas.

I would encourage all members to attend the state conference next year in Tucson.  If you need a bit of help with your travel costs from other areas of the state, you should apply early for the Dennis Oliver distance assistance grant to help you get there!

Iran Maria Razcon, Mexican Educator Grant Recipient

I was awarded the Mexican Educator grant from AZTESOL to attend the state conference in Yuma. One of the sessions that was significant to me, was “Learning beyond Paper? Engage Students going Paperless” by teacher Fernanda Ortiz. This session discussed some of the issues that caused her to make the decision to leave aside a traditional paper and pencil approach for the technology that students love such as cell phones.

Ortiz shared the difficulties that made her change her teaching. These included having too much paper on her desk, losing students’ homework and worksheets, spending money and time on creating copies, and not being ecological with her teaching methods. Wanting to eliminate these problems inspired her to search for new techniques. Once she realized she enjoyed using internet access on cellphones, tablets, or laptops, just like her students, she began using these devices to enhance her teaching methodology and make learning more significant. Using these devices in an educational way solved most of Ms. Ortiz’s problems.

She acknowledged that some students struggled a little with the change at first; however, both students and Ortiz appreciated the efficiency of receiving assignments and delivering homework electronically.

Students nowadays are technological. Ortiz demonstrated the positive effects of using technology and more practical methods.

Jenny Slinkard, AZTESOL Socio-political Chair

It was great to be able to attend this year's 50th TESOL conference! The schedule was packed with networking opportunities and I learned a lot about how to advocate for English language teachers and their students.

During the Affiliate meeting we made connections with other TESOL affiliate members. I left with the realization that it's really important to recognize that we're not alone in our advocacy efforts. We can identify and reach out to other organizations and individuals who also feel passionate about working with immigrants and refugees around the state and who are possibly already working toward the same goals as us!

I attended a fantastic "Tea with Distinguished TESOLers" about advocacy. In an intimate setting with tea and cookies, I talked with Cristel, an immigrant from Germany, who told us about some of her terrible experiences as an immigrant to France after World War II and then as a student in the United States, and now in her efforts to advocate for refugees here.

After talking with Cristel, I realized how stuck in the bureaucracy I can feel when trying to help my students or teachers. One teacher had expressed frustration at his students prioritizing work over school, when of course he wanted them to succeed in their education. Cristel recognized that we can't judge our students or try to make them change their priorities, but we can try to engage with them in areas that they find important. It might be even mean playing soccer with them after school and building a personal relationship. Advocacy doesn't always have to be within the walls of our school or institutional setting.

 

Spotlight

S

Interview by Kassie Lamoreaux

 

Diana Djaboury

Coming to us from Mesa Community College, our spot light TESOL instructor is Diana Djaboury. She has been teaching ESL for “probably 15 years,” and lo

ves it. “I enjoy the interaction…” Diana says. “I’m drawn towards other cultures, like a magnet.”

She earned her MTESOL in 1979 and double Bachelor’s in Sociology and Spanish in 1975 at Brigham Young University. Her first teaching assignment was at a little community college in Utah, which is now the Utah Valley University. She taught for Life Educational Systems in Japan for 1 year. She’s also taught at Northern Virginia Community College, Arizona State University, and Glendale Community College. Diana is a fun, dedicated and an experienced ESL teacher.

 I asked Diana to share with us some of her TESOL “tricks.” Her first and most famous are her name cards. At the beginning of the semester she takes pictures of each of her students. She prints and cuts the pictures into squares and then pastes them on index cards with their names (and nicknames). It’s a quick way for her to learn her students’ faces and names. Diana says, “I use the cards in a variety of ways, to randomize learning.” They’re great for making quick groups, calling on students and playing games.  Sometimes she’ll let the students pick from the pile of cards as a way to choose partners or choose the next student to give a presentation. 

Her favorite listening/speaking activity is her “conversation mingle.” She writes several questions (all different) on strips of papers. Each student is given a strip of paper. She sets a timer for 5 minutes and the students are instructed to form a conversation with 2-3 people. The questions give them a place to start. When the timer goes off, she’ll tell them to rotate and find someone new to talk to about their question. She says sh


“I like to use songs,” Diana says. “For example, ‘Every day people’ by Sly and the Family Stone.’” It’s a song that teaches that differences are okay. “If you wear a hijae’ll rotate 3-4 times or more, depending on the size of the class and time allotted. When the rotations have finished, she’ll ask the class what they learned, and conduct a class discussion. I asked Diana for some sample questions, and she said it depends on the chapter they’re in. For example, if they’re learning about the conditional, all of the questions will start with “What would you do if…” She said one time the chapter was all about money, so questions included things like, “Who spends more money, men or women?”

b,” Diana says, “that’s fine. If you don’t, that’s fine, too.” Diana’s classroom is one of acceptance and understanding. Right now, Diana is working on a “Wor

ld Kindness Day” project. Students find a quote about kindness in their language and/or culture. “Every culture has one,” she says. Then, the students must do three random acts of kindness outside of the classroom. They then report and give a short presentation (2 minutes or so) to the class. They start with the kindness quote and then simply explain to the class what acts of kindness they did and how it made them feel.

Diana hopes to be a guest professor for Mexico in the summer, but other than that, she’s happy where she is. She says she’d like to “continue what she’s doing” at Mesa Community College “and not retire.”


Grants and Awards

TESOL Membership Winners!

Each year AZTESOL receives complementary memberships to give away. Congratulations to the winners: Chelsea Moreno, Michelle Beach, Rebecca Haag, Mehtap Acar, and Nicole Schmidt.

AZTESOL Grants and Awards

The following awards are officially available for AZTESOL members. Applicants must be AZTESOL members in good standing in the organization to qualify. If receiving a cash award, the applicant must provide a Social Security number to receive that cash award. Note deadlines for awards!

Cheryl Walsh Professional Growth Award

The purpose of this award is to assist up to three AZTESOL professionals in attending the TESOL Convention. There are now three $750 awards available. Application involves writing and submitting an essay of not more than 350 words on why the applicant would like to attend the TESOL convention. If presenting at the conference, please provide the topic or title of your presentation. An awardee is required to write an article for the AZTESOL News describing how TESOL participation has contributed to their professional growth. (Due January 1)

AZTESOL Distance Assistance Grants (Dennis Oliver Award)

The purpose of these grants is to offset the cost of attending the AZTESOL state conference. There are eight $100 awards available to any AZTESOL member who must travel more than 100 miles to attend the conference. Applicants submit a 100-word statement explaining why they would like to attend, the city of origin, and estimated mileage. After the conference, they are asked to write a summary of a conference session (500 words maximum) for the AZTESOL News. (Due September 10)

AZTESOL Special Project Academic Mini-Grants (Jean Zukowski/Faust Award)

Available for small special projects (academic research or instructional), AZTESOL Special Project grants can provide seed money or matching funds for AZTESOL members. Applicants should submit an overview or abstract of their project along with a budget proposal for funds being requested. Proposals are considered by the Grants and Scholarships Chair and granted by the Board with the Chair’s recommendation. Report of such grants is to be made to the Board directly or shared at the state conference or through the newsletter. (Open application period)

AZTESOL Mexican Educator Grant

The purpose of this grant is to assist a teacher from Sonora or Sinaloa to attend an AZTESOL conference. The amount of the award varies, according to travel costs, registration, and appropriate per diem. Up to $1000 may be awarded. Criteria for application include an explanation of the reasons why the person wishes to attend the conference, willingness to participate in the program as a presenter, financial need, and involvement in and commitment to teaching the English language. Applicants must write letters explaining reasons for wanting to attend the conference, including how the person and colleagues will benefit, interests for conference participation, a statement of financial need, and a current curriculum vita. In addition, supporting documentation is required: a letter of endorsement from a colleague or supervisor which explains the applicant’s EFL work and how the award will benefit the applicant and colleagues. (Due September 10)

AZTESOL Educator of the Year

The purpose of this award is to honor an AZTESOL member for notable contributions to AZTESOL and to the profession. The award is recognition at the State Conference and a 5-year AZTESOL membership. The criteria for the award are excellence within one or more areas within the field of English language teaching, distinguished leadership, and service to the profession. Nominations for this award must include the full name of the nominating person; the name, address, telephone number, and title of the nominee and nominator; a statement of why this person qualifies; and a statement of service to AZTESOL and contributions. (Due September 1)

AZTESOL Distinguished Service Award

Nominations are accepted for the Distinguished Service award following the same process as for the AZTESOL Educator of the Year Award. Recognition is given at the State Conference. (Due September 1)

Send all applications and grant proposals to:

Vicki.Ardisana@nau.edu or
Vicki Ardisana, P.O. Box 881, Yuma, AZ 8536


Upcoming Conferences and Professional Development Opportunities






AZ Department of Education K-12 - Calendar

of Professional Development


https://ems.azed.gov//home/SearchResults?SearchString=K12-AS


From TESOL International’s Website:

TESOL International Association provides the TESOL Conference Calendar as a service to TESOL members and the field. The information provided in the Conference Calendar comes from the sponsoring organizations. For more information, please contact the sponsoring organization. The listed events are not sponsored or endorsed by TESOL International Association.

January 2017

16-17 (Asia) Fourth International Conference on Languages, Literature and Society 2017, "Interdisciplinary Conversations about Language, Politics and Mobility," Singapore. Email ppca3000@gmail.com.  

20-21 (Asia) 37th Thailand TESOL International Conference, "ELT Pathways to Professional Excellence," Thailand. Email pragasit@gmail.com

23-24 (Africa) NileTESOL Conference, Egypt. Email president@niletesol.org.

February 2017

24 (Europe) 6th Bremen Symposion, "The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - how do we deal with its gaps?" Germany. Email symposion@fremdsprachenzentrum-bremen.de

24-25 (North America) Illinois TESOL-Bilingual Education Annual Convention, "Meeting the Challenge," Illinois, USA. Email convention@itbe.org

March 2017

3-5 (Europe) 40th TESOL-SPAIN National Convention, "Evolving & Involving", Spain. Email: paola.gonzalez@linguisticlinks.com

9-11 (Asia) 23rd TESOL Arabia International Conference & Exhibition, "Advancing the ELT Profession," United Arab Emirates. Email tacon2017@tesolarabia.org 

21-24 (North America) TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo, Seattle, Washington, USA. Email: conventions@tesol.org

24-26 (Eastern Europe) 25th Annual HUPE Conference, Solaris Beach Resort, Šibenik, Croatia. Email hupe.international@gmail.com

​April 2017

7-8 (North America) The Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture, "Enhancing and Advancing Teaching Education". Fairfax, VA. Email: kevin@viu.ed

19-21 (Asia) PELLTA 8th. International English Language Teaching Conference 2017 (iELT-Con 2017), "The 21st. Century Classroom : ELT Practices & Innovations, Malaysia. Email pelltapenang@gmail.com

May 2017

4-6 (North America) BC TEAL 2017 Annual Conference, "Celebrating 50 Years of BC TEAL," Canada. Email conference@bcteal.org.  

5-6 (Europe) InnovateELT Conference, "Power to the Learner! - What Can We Learn About Learning from Learners Themselves?" Spain. Email berta@eltjam.com

15 (Europe) A Panel on Educational Leadership, Greece. Email atiner@atiner.gr 

19-20 (North America) NCSU ESL Symposium. Email mcharrison3@gmail.com

June 2017

8-9 (Europe) OEB MidSummit, "Shaping the Future of Learning," Iceland. Email info@oebmidsummit.com

8-10 (North America) TESL Canada Conference 2017, "Celebrating Canada's 150th," Canada. Email conference@tesl.ca" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">conference@tesl.ca

16-18 (Asia) JALTCALL2017, "Active Learning through CALL," Japan. Email sig-publicity@jaltcall.org" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">sig-publicity@jaltcall.org.

22-25 (Europe) 1st FIPLV East European Regional Congress 26th BETA-IATEFL Annual International Conference, "Learning and Teaching Languages: Creating Bridges to the Future," Bulgaria. Email beta.iateflbg@gmail.com" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">beta.iateflbg@gmail.com

30-2 July (North America) 22nd Conference of the International Association for World Englishes, "Local and Global Contexts of World Englishes," New York, USA. Email tkbhatia@syr.edu" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">tkbhatia@syr.edu

July 2017

3 (Europe) 10th Annual International Conference on Languages & Linguistics, Greece. Email atiner@atiner.gr" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">atiner@atiner.gr.  

5-7 (Europe) 3rd International Colloquium on Languages, Cultures, Identity in School and Society, Spain. Email framos@lmu.edu" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">framos@lmu.edu

13-15 (Asia) The 15th International A​sia TEFL C​onference 2017 and the 64th TEFLIN International Conference, "ELT in Asia in the Digital Era: Global Citizenship and Identity", Indonesia. Email: asiatefl2017@uny.ac.id" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">asiatefl2017@uny.ac.id

August 2017

4-7 (Asia) The Fourth World Congress on Extensive Reading, "Pathways to Progress," Japan. Email dewert@usfca.edu" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">dewert@usfca.edu.

September 2017

6-7 (Europe) ICSD 2017 : 5th International Conference on Sustainable Development, Italy. Email contact@ecsdev.org" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">contact@ecsdev.org

29-30 (North America) MIDTESOL 2017: Crossroads of Cultures, "Crossroads of Cultures," Missouri, USA. Email vicki.anderson@cune.edu" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">vicki.anderson@cune.edu

October 2017

4-7 (Europe) ICLHE 2017 Conference, "Integrating Content and Language in Multilingual Universities," Denmark. Email iclhe2107@ku.dk" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">iclhe2107@ku.dk.  

19-20 (North America) 2017 GATESOL Conference, "Keys to Cultural Proficiency: Unlocking the Language of Equitable Instruction," Georgia, USA. Email kendracastelowgatesol@gmail.com" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">kendracastelowgatesol@gmail.com.

28-29 (Europe) 3rd English for Healthcare Conference, "Teaching and Learning of English for Medicine and Healthcare," Switzerland. Email crichards.golini@gmail.com" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">crichards.golini@gmail.com

November 2017

9-12 (North America) 44th International MEXTESOL Convention, "Strengthening Learning Communities," Mexico. Email leticia.vela@outlook.com" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">leticia.vela@outlook.com.

18-19 (North America) 2016 PRTESOL Annual Convention, "Reading the Word, Reading the World: Working towards Social Justice and Peace in the English Classroom," Puerto Rico. Email tesolpuertorico@gmail.com" data-wainlineremailstyle="-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%; -ms-text-size-adjust:100%;">tesolpuertorico@gmail.com.  



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