The Connection Between Math and Language

This morning I was reading an article titled “How to make math a key part of your ELL curriculum.” In the article the author writes,

It also helps that numbers are numbers, and working with them is natural to speakers of any language.

It is a common assumption that math will be easier for English language learners. It’s just numbers, right?

Wrong!

While it seems on the surface that math would be transferable between languages because of numbers, it is actually a lot more complicated than that.

In this post, I will discuss some of the research that addresses the issue of language and math.

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Examining Identity & Culture as a Teacher

Our identity and culture have great influence over our teaching.

But how often do we think about these influences?

It’s quite normal to sit in workshops about a new pedagogical technique or attend meetings about the latest curriculum, but rarely do we take the time to reflect on how our teaching practices have been formed.

In this video, I talk about the influences of identity and culture on us as professionals and present an exercise that you can do either individually or as a grade level team.

I encourage you to take 5 minutes out of your day to do this exercise. I think you’ll be surprised what you discover about yourself.

Don’t forget to share your insights in the comments!

The Work of Dr. Marguerite Ann Snow

One of the top scholars in the area of content-based language teaching (CBLT) is Dr. Marguerite Ann Snow.

For decades, Dr. Snow has published on how to better integrate language and content in the classroom.

As such integration is one of the major struggles for CBLT teachers, especially in foreign contexts, I thought it would be helpful to post a little about Dr. Snow’s work and discuss a few takeaways for my CBLT readers.

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Is This Text Comprehensible for my ELLs? Let the Vocabulary Profiler Help!

Using authentic texts with English learners is great…

…unless, of course, they are way too hard for the students.

This is actually one of the top challenges for teachers in content-based language teaching (CBLT) systems, finding texts that are both authentic and comprehensible.

In a study on CBLT teachers, Cammarata (2010) commented, “The difficulty for the teachers was to find the right equilibrium between authenticity and complexity as they struggled to find a way to simplify the content in order to make it comprehensible for the students while keeping it interesting, cognitively engaging, and within the realm of the proficiency level of the learners (Cammarata, 2010, pp. 102-103).

But how do we know if the text we have chosen will be appropriate? That’s where the vocabulary profiler on VocabKitchen.com can help.

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Encouraging Students to Read

How does a student get better at reading?

Simply put…by reading.

Plenty of research supports the idea that extensive reading leads to better reading and language growth, but many kids just aren’t doing enough reading.

It’s our jobs as teachers to encourage our students to read. But the big question is how?

In this post, I will offer a few ideas to help create a community of avid readers in your classroom.

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Quick Tips: 4 Free Lesson Plans from TESOL Press (Limited Time)

Need some new ideas for the school year?

Well…TESOL Press has got you covered.

The New Ways Series covers a broad range of practical and contemporary topics relevant to English language teaching, including reading, writing, vocabulary, business English, and connected speech. The books in this series are essential for teachers who need a bit of inspiration or some great Monday morning ideas.

Below are 4 *FREE* lesson plans that you can use today in your classroom.

 
Buy Now Get the Full Lesson
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Interested in more? Get 10% OFF* all New Ways titles with promo code NEWWAYS10.

*Offer valid on print titles only. Offer expires 31 August 2017

After you try one of the lesson plans, let me know how it worded in the comments.

Coaching Language Teacher Development

I was asked recently, “How can I help my teachers get better?”

This is probably one of the most important jobs of a director or program coordinator. The teaching ability of your staff can make or break the quality of your program.

Unfortunately, helping teachers develop can be difficult. The first hurdle is the teacher has to want to get better. As teaching is quite a personal thing, teachers can often become defensive when suggestions of how to improve are offered.

Another problem is that teaching is very complicated. As an instructional coach, it can often be difficult to decide where to start. And in some cases, the point of development may not have a clear solution.

In this post, I will take you through my process for helping teachers to develop. It isn’t a quick fix, but I have found it has helped me achieve the vital goal of building the skills of a staff.

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Research Spotlight- Cross-cultural transition: International teachers’ experience of ‘culture shock’

My first night in Taiwan was awful. (The details are irrelevant)

But let’s just say culture shock hit me hard, and it took about 4-6 months before I settled in and “adjusted”.

I use quotation marks purposely on “adjusted” because I wonder if any of us really adjust.

Is culture shock just about the food, language, etc.? Or is there more to it?

And what about international teachers? Is their culture shock experience unique?

Donna Roskell attempted to answer those questions with her study Cross-cultural transition: International teachers’ experience of ‘culture shock’.

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Too Much or Too Little Grammar

Do you feel like you teach enough grammar in the classroom – too much or too little?

One of my concerns about the current state of EFL, particularly in schools that implement content-based language instruction is that grammar has taken a back seat and sometimes is even left at the curb.

Having taught in a content-based school while also tutoring students from a more traditional program, I noticed something interesting. The students from my school were more familiar and comfortable with academic concepts in English, but my tutoring students had “cleaner” English.

I shared this observation with a friend who owns a language school near where I live. The students in her school represent students from two different systems, one traditional and one content-based, and she seemed to notice the same thing.

Michael Swan, a well-known ELT author famous for his books on teaching grammar, asks us to reflect on the question:

Am I teaching enough grammar?

Watch his video where he discusses his thoughts on teaching too much or too little grammar and let me know what you think below in the comments.

I am curious to know where my readers stand.