LEARNING TO READ VS. VOCABULARY BUILDING

For Administrators/Coordinators and Teachers - In my previous article I questioned whether or not the time has come to change the traditional perspective on reading gaps, and suggested that perhaps conventional reading resources were largely to blame. Learning to read and building vocabulary are two different areas of learning – let’s begin by looking at the definitions.

READING GAPS - A TIME TO CHANGE PERSPECTIVE

For Administrators, Coordinators and Teachers - I’ll start this article with a question “Where are the gaps in students’ reading abilities coming from?”. The traditional perspective would point to the teachers or the students themselves. Perhaps the teachers aren’t trained well enough in guided reading, or they need more training in phonics. Perhaps the student’s weak reading skills are related to their demographic background or their ability to learn. Maybe we need to change our perspective...

ACADEMIC ENGLISH LEARNERS - A PROPOSED SOLUTION

Jan 25 2018
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For Administrators/Coordinators - In the previous article I wondered if EAL/ESOL/ESL/EFL were all outdated and complicated ways of classifying students in our classrooms, making a case for removing these categories.  If these categories are redundant, a shift needs to take place in the mainstream teaching mentality, and I don’t believe that simply providing EAL/ESL training to staff is the solution. Why? Because the training is too narrow.

ACADEMIC ENGLISH LEARNERS - A CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE

Jan 25 2018
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For Administrators/Coordinators - This blog is about thoughts and questions… after several attempts at writing an EAL blog and a conversation with a friend, a thought occurred – what if EAL/ESOL/ESL/EFL are all outdated ways of classifying students and thinking? I say this simply because of the changing population of students in our classrooms.  We spend so much time trying to define who these learners are, and the language levels students need to be at to receive support etc.., but maybe this is the wrong way of looking at things. 

THE FSL & ESL EBOOK COLLECTION

Dec 25 2017
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For Teachers - I had the idea for the FSL (French as a Second Language) eBooks when I was working as a Middle/High School French teacher at the American School of Doha in Qatar. I was provided with textbooks which were fantastic in many ways – the vocabulary and grammar activities were helpful tools – but the one thing I always felt I was lacking was reading material for the students. The articles in the textbooks were often a struggle for students to read and comprehend, prompting me to look for primary French books that weren’t ideal either. Resources could be found for French Immersion students, but I couldn’t seem to find reading material for students who were 11 to 15 years old and just beginning to learn French. So I began creating my own FSL eBooks for the students, and found that my classes really enjoyed them. Then I took it one step further and started developing story lines and characters that the students could relate to, and whose journeys they would enjoy following.

DESIGNING BROCHURES FOR YOUR SCHOOL

For Administrators/Coordinators - As a Language Coordinator at the Netherlands Inter-community School (NIS), parents often asked me about our programs and how they could help their child at home. While I was always happy to meet and discuss, I felt like I had so much information to give that it might be difficult for parents to remember everything suggested. So I decided to create a series of Language Brochures, 8 in total that addressed both Early Years & Primary Years. Not only were these brochures helpful to me, but they were also helpful for classroom teachers to give parents who had language related questions. Some tips for creating brochures include:

HOW TO RUN A CONFERENCE AT A SMALL SCHOOL WITHOUT AN INTIAL BUDGET

For Administrators/Coordinators - The Netherlands Inter-community School (NIS) is a small international school in Jakarta, and roughly 150 students were in attendance when I worked there. We didn’t have an allotted budget to run a conference; however, as the Language Coordinator, I thought that a conference would be a fantastic opportunity for staff to share and gain knowledge on all topics relating to language – Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), English as an Additional Language (EAL), Language in the mainstream classroom, Mother Tongue etc... The Special Needs (SEN) coordinator at the school felt it would be great to add special needs topics as well, so the Inspired Education Conference ended up being a mixture of both. Despite not having an initial budget, I decided to attempt to run an education conference anyways, not an easy task, but in the end, it was well worth it. For any other small school out there, organizing a first time conference without an initial budget can be done. Here are the lessons I learned, some relating to budget and others associated with organizing a conference: