Archive for the ‘ESL Teaching’ Category

Teaching the ESL Teachers   Leave a comment

One of the biggest challenges trainee ESL teachers face is identifying how they were taught and realizing when they’re teaching the same way.

While the teacher-fronted PPP model works fine for elementary and secondary school students; today’s adult ESL students require their learning to be both self directed and embracing of their prior experiences.

Attached is a powerpoint I used to introduce the concept of teaching ESL to adult learners.

Feedback is welcome.


How Tech Keeps Students Engaged   2 comments

Simply: Have them create their own content.

I adapted a textbook exercise on giving advice about moving back home with your parents to use with my intermediate listening/speaking class. Students completed the following steps to create their own advice video:

  1. Listen to an interview about the reasons why people move back home with their parents, and take notes (Real Talk 2)
  2. Adapt questions from the interview to use in their own surveys.
  3. Interview other students about their reasons to move back home with their parents.
  4. Regroup and discuss results.
  5. Create their own advice videos.

By recording, viewing, critiquing, and re-recording the videos, my students had much more speaking and listening practice that they would have by just reading an article and answering some questions.

When students create their own content, it creates great buy in! To view the videos, please visit the American Culture & Language Institute’s Facebook page:

Posted March 20, 2012 by Cyn Hatch in Ed Tech, ESL Teaching

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Alternative Assessments for Vocabulary Acquisition in ESL Students   2 comments

A major hurdle for ESL student’s developing language proficiency is academic vocabulary use. Using a fun and familiar language task, such as a crossword, as a form of alternative assessment, engages students in using both memory and problem solving/exploratory learning skills to solve the task. In addition, crosswords can scaffold students’ participation during the task as identification of known words helps students identify less familiar ones.

I created the following crossword using a Mac App called “Puzzlemaker Lite.” The task helps me study the terminology used in my language assessment class. I’m hoping to use the same software to create crosswords for a vocabulary and spelling class in NVCC’s  non-credit ESL program.

Posted November 13, 2011 by Cyn Hatch in Ed Tech, ESL Teaching

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New Semester – New Assessment Challenges   2 comments

What’s the Best Pronunciation Diagnostic Tool?

Finding an authentic, practical, valid, and reliable assessment tool for pronunciation is a bit of a struggle. I’m torn between wanted to used a controlled method by having students read a paragraph or a semi-controlled method by having students read a first part of a story and then use pictures to finish it in their own words.

Controlled Vs. Semi-Controlled Methods to Generate Speech

Both have pros and cons. Controlled methods have students produce speech acts that they may not do on their own, i.e. pronounce multi-syllable words, ask questions, use reported speech, etc., but the act of reading aloud doesn’t produce natural speech in NES, let alone NNES. With the cons in mind, this semester I’ve opted for the semi-controlled method.

A “complete the story task” has students produce authentic speech and reading acts so that the teacher can assess students’ reading comprehension, fluency, and pronunciation accuracy. By assessing interrelated language skills, the test is integrative. The task is communicative in that it produces an authentic speech act: telling a story, and an authentic reading task: reading for information. The task is an example of alternative/formative assessment in that it assesses students’ developing English language skills and the feedback would later be used to inform both the teacher’s identification of strengths and weaknesses and foster students’ independent learning. The tester uses the same story task with each student and evaluates students’ responses using a rubric, thereby aiming to promote inter-rater reliability. The rubric insures that the tester assesses students’ reading comprehension, fluency, and pronunciation accuracy; not their consistent use of tense, agreement, etc., thereby making the assessment valid.

Posted September 8, 2011 by Cyn Hatch in ESL Teaching

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Teaching Teachers to Use Tech & Social Media in ESL Instruction   1 comment

I’ve put together a quick powerpoint on the ways I’ve used technology and social media in ESL instruction. Feedback greatly appreciated. Will use it to train teachers in my ESL program.

Disclaimer: photos are taken from the web and this powerpoint will be used for educational purposes only.


Tech in ESL Workshop final

Posted June 19, 2011 by Cyn Hatch in Ed Tech, ESL Teaching

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How Can We Assist Our Students to Use Critical Literacy Practices in a Digital World?   Leave a comment

While using “critical literacy skills in a digital world” may seem like just another new skill for students to master, it’s important for teachers and students to remember that they already perform similar critical literacy functions when they review non-electronic media, such as books, newspaper articles, reports, etc.

As teachers of any subject, but esp. of ESL, I believe we need to use the known to teach the unknown. I present this challenge (being critically digitally literate)  to my students in terms of we are building upon their practices of evaluating the “person, purpose, and period (of time)” when researching/reading non-electronic media. I use this same mantra whether they are searching the Web, watching interviews from TV/YouTube, or listening to CD recordings.
In enabling our students and ourselves to be critically literate in the Web 2.0 world, our challenge is three-fold:
  • realizing that we have the expertise to construct pedagogically sound instruction
  • realizing that the skills students need to be electronically literate are often already used in a slightly different form/different media
  • realizing that we can apply our own understandings/uses of digital media as an important step in the process of aligning Web 2.0 tools to our curricular goals.

Posted April 19, 2011 by Cyn Hatch in Ed Tech, ESL Teaching

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Digital Story Poster @ WATESOL   6 comments

This weekend, our Technology in English Language Teaching class at American University presented our major project of the spring: digital stories.

Final DS Poster_WATESOL_2011

Posted April 17, 2011 by Cyn Hatch in Ed Tech, ESL Teaching

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