Becoming a Better EFL Teacher

How Technology Improves Student Learning and Sends More Kids to Graduate School

The modern teaching landscape has been changing in recent years, as Becoming a Better EFL Teacher has made note of on several occasions. Technology is often playing a bigger role in these shifts than many are willing to acknowledge, which is the focus of today?s post. Writer Sophia Foster of online learning resource http://www.mastersdegreeonline.org discusses the pros and cons of technology-assisted learning, and makes some predictions about the future.


Since the Internet was first introduced to the public less than 20 years ago and online access has increased worldwide, the use of technology in American classrooms has evolved from an occasional tool into a daily routine. While some educators remain speculative about the rising number of schools that incorporate smartphones and tablet devices into their curricula, the majority of teachers and administrators have noted the numerous benefits of fostering an appreciation for technology among today?s young people.

From chalkboards and No. 2 pencils to overhead projectors and slide rules, classrooms have historically embraced new learning implements on a widespread level. This has certainly proven true in the last two decades, as computer labs (typically one or two per school) have been replaced by laptop computers and/or tablet devices for each student. In 2010,
this movement was further bolstered by the National Education Technology Plan (NETP), created by the U.S. Department of Education?s Office of Educational Technology and spearheaded by President Obama. The plan falls in line with the president?s goal of graduating 60 percent of American college students by 2020. ?Education is vital to America's individual and collective economic growth and prosperity, and is necessary for our democracy to work,? Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote in a letter to Congress. ?To achieve this aggressive goal, we need to leverage the innovation and ingenuity this nation is known for to create programs and projects that every school can implement to succeed.?

The plan includes several new projects aimed at producing public school students with a knack for technology. One is Community Everywhere, a forum-based site that allows visitors to post questions and concerns, and then engage in discussion with other members of their community. Another, Learning Registry, allows administrators of sites for federal agencies (including NASA and the Smithsonian Institute) and NGOs to ?tag? content so that it may be located by common search engines. In addition, the plan also supports independently funded projects, such as an ?achievement badge? system inspired by contemporary video games sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and Mozilla Foundation.

Nationwide, public and private schools have adopted the ideas put forth by the NETP. A recent article by NPR contributor Sam Evans-Brown
profiled Oyster River Middle School in Durham, N.H., where teachers permit students to bring their handheld smart-devices to class. But rather than using them to play games or post on Facebook, the tablets and phones function as daily planners and reference materials. To mitigate concerns among low-income families, the school also keeps a stock of spare iPads for students who cannot afford their own. The San Francisco Chroniclereported a similar program at another school, Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, which is supplemented by the ?iSquad?, a team of tech-savvy faculty members committed to training the entire staff on how to use iPad tablets effectively by 2016. And FastCompany recently noted that schools across the country are implementing ?vo-tech? STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs aimed at creating interest in these highly relevant subjects among students at low-income schools ? many with the help of prominent technology firms like IBM.

In addition to classrooms, household Internet activity has also risen in recent years. According
to figures compiled by the Economics & Statistics Association, 68 percent of American households use broadband Internet service (which enables use of handheld devices), up four percentage points from the previous year; household computer ownership has also risen 15 percentage points in less than a decade. Another growing trend is ownership of phones capable of accessing the Internet. A report titled ?Mobile Technology & Academics,? authored by two Boston College researchers, noted that since 2008, the number of students with smartphones has risen from 20 percent to more than 65 percent.

Still, the ?smart-classroom? movement has its opponents. A recent article by State Impact NPR found that a significant contingent of
teachers view technology as merely one of many possible educational tools, none of which will replace the intrinsic value of a committed educator or classroom leader. Budgetary constraints are another concern. Cuts in state funding have led several schools to drop arts classes, physical education, after-school activities and other vital programs ? and now many are expected to afford state-of-the-art-technology. Patty McNerney, technology director for an Ohio district, told The Dayton Daily that most of her school?s tech financing comes from private donations, grant monies and Title I funds. And Matt Burns of TechCrunchnoted earlier this year that tablet devices in classrooms are likely to hinder the learning process for public school students, not effectively aid it as some have claimed. ?Learning is still prevalent in schools, but the storage of facts and thoughts is not,? he noted. ?Digital textbooks will only further this problem. Just click on a word to get its definition.?

However, as an article in The Telegraph noted two years ago, the
use of technology has the capability of altering the human learning process ? and for many, this transformation has already taken place. Several educational experts argue that constant use of the Internet ? which requires a constant stream of different reading materials, as opposed to a singular item like a book or magazine ? has effectively altered the way we read information and mentally process it. This ?associative? thinking brought on by web usage has replaced the more linear thinking in the minds of many adults and children, leaving them unable to read, write or generally concentrate on a specific task for a prolonged period of time. So, while individuals have become more tech-savvy and Internet-friendly, most learners are simply incapable of learning the old-fashioned way. ?'It seems pretty clear that, for good or ill, the younger generation is being [remolded] by the web,? social psychologist Dr. Aleks Krotoski told The Telegraph. To that effect, educational institutions that incorporate technology in the classroom are keeping with the times.

Audrey Watters of The Digital Shift writes that today, the vast majority of schools have found ways to use technological implements ? though
some have been more successful than others. She notes that many schools rely on outdated hardware, and simply do not supply enough devices/computers for students; according to NCES statistics from 2008, the ratio of children to Internet-equipped computers was 3:1 nationwide. She also urges schools to address logistical concerns, such as a large number of electronic devices simultaneously using one network, before heavily investing in technology and software.

Just as computers, smart-phones and tablets have transformed the classroom dynamic in the previous decade, the increased use of Internet for educational purposes stands to grow exponentially in the coming years. During this crucial trial period, teachers must find ways to incorporate web-based learning into their curricula ? whether they approve of the current trend or not.
 


Author : Larry

Foreign language education needs revamping


By Sarah Hann - Indiana Daily Student

The full text of this article available online at:
http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=76312


There?s been an increasing emphasis in the past couple of decades on American children learning another language.

My mother had a foreign language requirement in both high school and college, but my father didn?t have one ? foreign languages were still considered an elective for him and his classmates.

I?ve had to take one since the first grade. I was never very good at it ? actually, I?ve hated every Spanish class I?ve ever taken, all 12 years? worth. And in that 12 years, I got ? well, ?nothing? seems too extreme, but I?m far from fluent.

And when I got to college, I continued with Spanish because I?d tested out of part of the requirement.

But I never got an ?A? in a language class, finished as quickly as possible and practically threw myself a party when I was finished, so relieved was I that it was over.

Basically, I treated it the same way I treated math classes.

I?m convinced that I?m never going to need high-level math ? it?s important to be able to do long division, but I probably won?t ever need to prove the third angle of a triangle.Others might need it, but this journalism and history major will be avoiding math-related jobs.

Foreign languages, however, apply to all majors.

In an age of increasing globalization, the more languages you speak, the better. So foreign language requirements in school, as much as I didn?t like them, can really only help.

In theory.

In practice, 12 years of Spanish means I could help a Spanish-speaking customer pick out and pay for an outfit when I worked in retail, but I?d be lost after about five minutes in Madrid. I just don?t know enough Spanish.

I?ve found that?s the case for a lot of people: They learn enough to survive a class, but that?s it. They can?t apply the material to real life.

So while language requirements are a good thing, there needs to be an increased emphasis on students really learning the language, not just a few vocabulary words and (if they?re lucky) the difference between the preterite and imperfect tenses.

Steps are being taken toward our becoming a more bilingual country.


You can E-mail the article author at: hanns@indiana.edu
Author : Larry

Practical techniques for Early Childhood Development and Stimulation

Methods of Early Childhood Development Stimulation

There are several practical techniques for early childhood stimulation that help to promote intellectual development, physical and mental skills in pre-school children. Almost all methods of sensory or intellectual stimulation employ some type of stimulation based on one or more of the five senses. One of the most effective methods involves stimulation of the visual senses in a variety of ways. Audio or hearing stimulation is also a strong method used during early childhood that can achieve significant results in pre-school aged children.

Early Childhood Development: The Five Senses

Among the theories predominant in intellectual development and learning, the theory of multiple intelligences is one of the most frequently and extensively applied. Parents who want to accelerate or promote mental and sensory development ion their children can always rely on the use of games and playing. For example, using the sense of touch to give the child experience with a variety of textures, or changes in temperature are simple, safe ways to stimulate a child?s sensory experiences. Taste is stimulated by experiencing a range of different flavors. Colors and flashing lights on toys or other play objects are likewise ways of effecting substantial stimulation in early childhood skills and sensory development. Physical stimulation using motion and moving objects including rolling, bouncing, flopping or tumbling toys and objects can also be highly effective.

Early Childhood Development: Audio Stimulation Techniques

Parents and caregivers of young learners can use stimulants such as noise makers to activate audio senses. Nature sounds or environmental sounds recordings played to children are gentle but effective audio input that greatly help with early childhood stimulation. Another frequently used method for neural stimulation includes playing classical music selections in the background while the child is doing other things including during their ?nap time?. Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart especially, are classical music composers often used for this purpose. While the music is relaxing, it?s also able to activate multiple areas of a child?s brain. Surprisingly, smooth jazz (vocals) has been found to be an excellent auditory stimulant for young learners in a broad range of situations. New age (Kitaro) music can likewise be an effective stimulant as an aid to early childhood development. In addition, many children love noise makers from banging on empty pots and pans or shaking rattles, tooting whistles and horns to extracting sound from musical instruments of all kinds. It may be nerve-wracking to parents and siblings, but is essential to the child?s development.

Pre-Natal Stimulation in Early Childhood Development

Not only pre-school aged children can benefit from sensory stimulation but forms of pre-natal stimulation can also be effective. Ways to introduce this can include:

? Playing soft, low-volume music through headphones placed 180 degrees apart against the mother?s skin
? Talking or reading to the unborn child
? Gentle massages

Before engaging in any of these or other techniques, parents or care-givers should consult with their obstetrician or pediatrician.

Benefits of Early Childhood Development through Sensory Stimulation

Any of the aforementioned areas can be successfully used as an effective means of early childhood stimulation to promote intellectual and sensory development in pre-school age children. Proving this stimulation allows the brain to develop more extensively and at a faster rate than non-stimulated children. This early childhood stimulation will give the child a developmental advantage over other children of the same age or level in more than 85% of cases. Such early-developed children ultimately do better in school, integrate better with peers, siblings and parents, they also tend to be happier and better adjusted overall according to numerous clinical studies . Teachers at the pre-school and primary school levels also note a higher level of social and educational integration among children who have had some type of early development stimulation.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Learning English as a Foreign Language with Laughter

Laughter, the Best English Language Learning Tool
see full text online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/dec/05/tefl2

When asked, most experienced language teachers will readily admit that they encourage humour and laughter in their classrooms and plan it into their lessons. So what is the role of unplanned and spontaneous humour ? moments when the whole class momentarily erupts in laughter before returning to the task at hand?

In the early days of each course, when they meet their class for the first time, language teachers convey many hidden messages through their body language, their overall demeanour and the manner in which they address their students. One clear message (usually implicit) relates to the kind of atmosphere they wish to foster in their classroom.

In order to develop a spirit of informality within their classes such teachers attempt to reduce the social distance between themselves and their students by behaving in friendly and approachable ways. They smilingly encourage students to speak and applaud their efforts, being supportive when errors are made.

They may sometimes demonstrate in a humorous way that they themselves find unfamiliar sounds difficult to pronounce. If they make an error on the board (as most teachers do from time to time) they may make a quick quip to show that they are not embarrassed ? and to demonstrate that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process.

When it is appropriate to pull individuals into line, teachers tend to do so firmly but with a light touch, returning to the business of the lesson as quickly as possible. (By disciplining students with humour, teachers reduce the risk of alienating potentially tricky individuals.)

Language learners quickly absorb the message that their teacher welcomes spontaneous laughter within the classroom (provided it is of the supportive 'laughing with' and not of the destructive 'laughing at' kind). Sensing that their teacher has given them permission to laugh, many classes start to relax and to behave in readily responsive ways.

Full text of this article available online at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/dec/05/tefl2

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Practical techniques for Early Childhood Development and Stimulation

Methods of Early Childhood Development Stimulation

There are several practical techniques for early childhood stimulation that help to promote intellectual development, physical and mental skills in pre-school children. Almost all methods of sensory or intellectual stimulation employ some type of stimulation based on one or more of the five senses. One of the most effective methods involves stimulation of the visual senses in a variety of ways. Audio or hearing stimulation is also a strong method used during early childhood that can achieve significant results in pre-school aged children.

Early Childhood Development: The Five Senses

Among the theories predominant in intellectual development and learning, the theory of multiple intelligences is one of the most frequently and extensively applied. Parents who want to accelerate or promote mental and sensory development ion their children can always rely on the use of games and playing. For example, using the sense of touch to give the child experience with a variety of textures, or changes in temperature are simple, safe ways to stimulate a child?s sensory experiences. Taste is stimulated by experiencing a range of different flavors. Colors and flashing lights on toys or other play objects are likewise ways of effecting substantial stimulation in early childhood skills and sensory development. Physical stimulation using motion and moving objects including rolling, bouncing, flopping or tumbling toys and objects can also be highly effective.

Early Childhood Development: Audio Stimulation Techniques

Parents and caregivers of young learners can use stimulants such as noise makers to activate audio senses. Nature sounds or environmental sounds recordings played to children are gentle but effective audio input that greatly help with early childhood stimulation. Another frequently used method for neural stimulation includes playing classical music selections in the background while the child is doing other things including during their ?nap time?. Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart especially, are classical music composers often used for this purpose. While the music is relaxing, it?s also able to activate multiple areas of a child?s brain. Surprisingly, smooth jazz (vocals) has been found to be an excellent auditory stimulant for young learners in a broad range of situations. New age (Kitaro) music can likewise be an effective stimulant as an aid to early childhood development. In addition, many children love noise makers from banging on empty pots and pans or shaking rattles, tooting whistles and horns to extracting sound from musical instruments of all kinds. It may be nerve-wracking to parents and siblings, but is essential to the child?s development.

Pre-Natal Stimulation in Early Childhood Development

Not only pre-school aged children can benefit from sensory stimulation but forms of pre-natal stimulation can also be effective. Ways to introduce this can include:

? Playing soft, low-volume music through headphones placed 180 degrees apart against the mother?s skin
? Talking or reading to the unborn child
? Gentle massages

Important Note: Before engaging in any of these or other techniques, parents or care-givers should consult with their obstetrician or pediatrician.

Benefits of Early Childhood Development through Sensory Stimulation

Any of the aforementioned areas can be successfully used as an effective means of early childhood stimulation to promote intellectual and sensory development in pre-school age children. Proving this stimulation allows the brain to develop more extensively and at a faster rate than non-stimulated children. This early childhood stimulation will give the child a developmental advantage over other children of the same age or level in more than 85% of cases. Such early-developed children ultimately do better in school, integrate better with peers, siblings and parents, they also tend to be happier and better adjusted overall according to numerous clinical studies . Teachers at the pre-school and primary school levels also note a higher level of social and educational integration among children who have had some type of early development stimulation.
Author : Larry

Language Study Mandatory In Years 6, 7 And 8 in Queensland, Australia

Language Study Mandatory In Years 6, 7 And 8
http://www.mysunshinecoast.com.au/articles/article-display/language-study-mandatory-in-years-6-7-and-8,17333

Education and Training Minister Geoff Wilson has reaffirmed the Queensland Government's commitment to the study of languages in years 6, 7 and 8.

Mr Wilson said 90 per cent of Queensland state schools would teach languages in years 6, 7 and 8 by the start of the 2011 school year, with the remainder of schools coming on board in 2012.

"A 21st century education needs to equip young people to participate and engage across an increasingly globalised world," Mr Wilson said.

"The Queensland Government believes that through learning languages our students gain intellectual, social and cultural benefits.

"Learning a language provides them with analytical and communication skills that will enhance their learning in other areas."

Mr Wilson said the languages taught in schools would be determined by the school principal in collaboration with the school community, and in response to student needs.

"Many of our schools currently offer languages in some form or another," he said.

"What we are doing now is ensuring there is consistency of learning across schools and in the key middle years of learning.

"Establishing the study of language in upper primary school provides a strong early foundation in language learning from which students can move forward into secondary school and continue their study in a setting that allows for deeper specialisation.

"Mandatory language study in years 6, 7 and 8 provides a good basis for those who will seek to continue to study languages until the end of high school and beyond."

Mr Wilson said the restoration of languages in the middle years would recognise that Indigenous languages and Auslan (sign-language) were also options for schools for language study.

"Asian languages are also an important option for our schools as a greater cultural understanding and the ability to engage with our regional neighbours in their own language will provide extensive future for individual students and Queensland," he said.

"As the Australian languages curriculum is developed over the next few years, schools will begin using the national curriculum where it is available in the language that is offered in their school.

"The introduction of this national curriculum will provide young people across Australia with an opportunity to learn languages through a consistent and world-class curriculum."

More information about Languages in Queensland state schools can be found at: http://education.qld.gov.au/curriculum/area/lote/index.html

Minister for Education and Training
The Honourable Geoff Wilson
29/05/2010
Author : Larry

How to Talk on the Telephone in English



Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Accented teachers may be better for English language learners

The Washington Post
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/learning/accented-teachers-may-be-bette.html

A new study on how well students learn second languages from teachers with accents suggests that Arizona may be making a mistake by trying to remove heavily accented Hispanic teachers from classrooms filled with Hispanics trying to learn English.

School districts in Arizona are under orders from the state Department of Education to remove teachers who speak English with a very heavy accent (and/or whose speech is ungrammatical) from classrooms with students who are learning to speak English. Officials say they want students who don?t know much English to have teachers who can best model how to speak the language.

I wrote the other day about the difficulties in determining just how deep an accent has to be to be considered a problem, but here?s another side of the issue.

According to a new research study conducted in Israel, students learn a second language better from a teacher who speaks in the same accent as they do.

The study, published in the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, said that students learning from a teacher with the same accent have an easier time understanding the material. They don?t have to spend time trying to understand the English in a different accent.

According to one of the report?s co-authors, Psychology Professor Zohar Eviatar, the concentration a student would have to summon to understand English in a different accent is considerably greater than if the student were a native English speaker.

In Arizona, that would mean that Hispanic kids studying English would learn better from teachers with Spanish accents.

The research, conducted at the University of Haifa, has implications not just for second language acquisition, but for how well students learn new subjects, Eviatar said.

The study was performed by researchers from different backgrounds. Dr. Raphiq Ibrahim is an Israeli Arab with an Arabic accent; Dr. Mark Leikin hails from the former Soviet Union and speaks with a Russian accent; Eviatar is a fluently bilingual Hebrew-English speaker. The team was both personally and professionally curious to know more about the accent effect.

Full text of this article available online at:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/learning/accented-teachers-may-be-bette.html

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Pimsleur Rated Best Language Course to Learn a New Language Fast

Pimsleur Rated Best Language Course to Learn a New Language Fast

http://www.prweb.com/releases/pimsleur-language-course/learn-a-new-language-fast/prweb3950984.htm

Language students consistently rate the Pimsleur language courses higher than most other programs on the market by recent blog and independent studies. The ability to learn a new language fast is greatly increased when Pimsleur is included with your foreign language study. A free downloadable lesson is also available for review.

Is it possible to converse in a new language in as little as 30 days? According to most Pimsleur language course users, it is. Various independent polls and blogs rates the Pimsleur language method one of the best language course programs on the market. Pimsleur-Language recommends that those looking to learn a new language fast should consider the Pimsleur Method of language training, a language course technique that can give users the ability to communicate with native speakers of a language in as little as 30 days, or 15 hours of language lessons.

Pimsleur Language Courses - Learn a New Language Fast

Pimsleur programs provide plenty of positive reinforcement that will keep learners on track, and we found that Pimsleur gave us more proficiency and confidence in speaking the new language than any of the other language programs we reviewed."AudioFile Mag
Developed by linguistic expert Dr. Paul Pimsleur, the Pimsleur Method is an audio based language course that helps students learn a new language using the same method we all learn our first language--by listening.

Because a traditional language course relies on repetition and written work, many people who want to learn a new language fast often consider the Pimsleur method preferable to other methods.

Pimsleur courses do not require any written work. Instead, it is based on four principles that work together to help achieve faster language comprehension and memorization. A Pimsleur language course helps a student to build a Core Vocabulary using audio-based Organic Learning in order to pick up on the correct grammar and accent.

In addition, language students who use Pimsleur courses will maximize their memorization using a method known as Graduated Interval Recall, which tests students on words and phrases they have previously mastered at varying intervals. Finally, Pimsleur's Principle of Anticipation challenges students to rely on their memories of previously mastered material in order to progress in more advanced language lessons.

It's never too late to learn a new language. Language Students who begin a language course today will be in a better position to travel the world or to meet work requirements. Also don?t forget to participate at this year's American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language Expo Event (ACTFL) in Boston, MA November 19-21 where the Pimsleur language course has been featured many times.

Smartsource products offers Pimsleur language courses for more than 40 languages and offers buyers the chance to get a free downloadable Pimsleur lesson in order to hear how simple it is to learn a new language fast using this method. Some language course offerings are Arabic, French, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Italian, Portuguese, English, Russian, Japanese, Polish, Hebrew, along with some new offerings such as Urdu, Tagalog, Romanian, and some Native American Languages such as Ojibwe, plus many more.

About Smartsource Products:
Smartsource Products (www.Pimsleur-Language.com) was started to provide people with the ability to learn a new language for fun, for business, or for personal reasons. Because people are traveling far more often than they used to, there is no time to learn a language in the classroom or with a tutor. Smartsource Products offers language course programs that are based on the way the human mind works and the way we all learned our first language, which is by hearing.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Art From the Start

Grade-A ideas

From virtual-reality science instruction to meditation for teachers, these approaches aim to reinvigorate education for all ages.

Full text of this article available at:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2010/05/02/grade_a_ideas/

The current rage in education is STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But creative types are working valiantly to turn STEM into STEAM ? with the A standing for the arts. At the Boston Arts Academy, for instance, the arts are infused in every subject. While creative pursuits are often the first to go when budgets are cut, this high school continues to innovate as it engages students through the arts. The ninth grade just wrapped up a unit on African civilization with a multimedia celebration called ?Africa Lives.? The students got their hands dirty. And they mastered the material.

?High school shouldn?t be a preparation for life,? says co-headmaster Linda Nathan. ?It should be life.?

Nathan is not alone in her belief that the arts foster deep learning. Young Audiences of Massachusetts, a nonprofit that brings artists into schools, is inaugurating an arts integration program at the Salemwood Elementary School in Malden this fall. Visiting artists will help teachers incorporate the arts into the literacy and social studies curriculums. If the pilot program takes off, Young Audiences hopes to make it a model for other Extended Learning Time schools like Salemwood. Explains executive director Diane Michalowski Freedland: ?We need to think big.?

Way Beyond Latin Steven Berbeco is a self-described ?language nerd? who studied Arabic long before it became fashionable, and he was a pioneer when he began teaching the language at Charlestown High School a few years ago. Today, more and more public and private schools here and nationwide are offering Arabic, and classes at schools in Cambridge, Norwell, and other communities fill up as soon as they are offered.

While the teaching of French and German has decreased in high schools across the country, Arabic is on the rise. The federal government supports Arabic instruction through several grant programs. ?They see it as a real necessity for security and diplomacy issues,? says Nancy Rhodes of the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics.

But some students also see it as a chance to stand out on college applications. ?They want to be special,? says Berbeco. His students get to test their language chops, but they also gain a deeper understanding of other cultures. And being a high school Arabic student has its perks. Just last month, the Palestinian hip-hop band Da Arabian MCs played a concert at Charlestown High.

Making College Stick Today?s mantra about education is that students must be college- or career-ready when they graduate from high school. But nationally, 89 percent of first-generation college students drop out before receiving a diploma. That statistic horrified Dennis Littky, so last fall he and a colleague started College Unbound, a collaboration with Roger Williams University in Providence funded by the Lumina Foundation. Students spend 20 hours a week in an internship and study a curriculum that relates to their work. They live together while sharing chores and ideas.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Schools failing the disability test

REGULARS to Dominic Dimattina's cafe in Malvern East would never guess that its gregarious owner has grappled with comprehension and memory problems throughout his life.

For years this young man has masked his confusion with a broad smile, countering any irritation that might arise at his lack of understanding with a strong work ethic and a friendly demeanour.

Mr Dimattina's parents knew he had a learning difficulty of some kind from an early age. His mother, who had three older children, realised there was something wrong when he did not start speaking until age five. "If I was the eldest, I don't think she would have known there was a problem," he says.

His mother realised that her son had to be taught to express himself and often did not understand what he was told. But, as is often the case, this was not picked up by his teachers in early primary school.

Mr Dimattina's sociable nature helped him to get by for years, but by secondary school it was clear that he was struggling to comprehend the work and what was expected in class. He dropped out of school in year 10, aiming to become a builder's apprentice.

This was not to be. He worked for two builders but became depressed after finding himself unable to cope. "It wasn't the employers' fault," he says. "It was my fault because I couldn't handle the instructions and everything happening at once."
Mr Dimattina has found he can manage running his cafe because he can work in a logical way and the tasks are repetitive. He urges young people who feel defeated by their learning disability not to give up, but instead to find good role models. "It's OK to be you, and there is a future for you out there," he says.

Mandy Brent, the president of SPELD, a not-for-profit organisation providing support for dyslexia and other learning difficulties, attributes Mr Dimattina's success in building his own business to his tenacity and strong support and encouragement from his family. "That was a wonderful outcome," she says.

Many adolescents do not fare so well, dropping out of high school because their dyslexia or learning difficulty has not been identified. Even if it is recognised, the school is often unable to meet the students' needs for a more individualised program and for mentoring. Such students find language learning difficult, whether it is understanding and using spoken language or learning to read, write and spell.
"Language-learning difficulties occur despite the fact that the students are capable in many other areas of learning and life," says Ms Brent, a speech pathologist. "It is largely a result of the way the brain organises, sequences and stores language, and its sounds, word and sentence meanings. Some students cannot remember and understand instructions as well as others. Some students do not know the meaning of as many words as others and struggle to put their ideas on paper."

The full text of this article is available online at:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/schools-failing-the-disability-test-20100430-tyur.html?rand=1272609678713

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Babbel Grows from Website to Comprehensive Language Learning System

Enjoy Learning Languages at Babbel.com


PR Log (Press Release) ? Apr 13, 2010

Today the interactive language learning system Babbel (www.babbel.com) presents three new key features that make learning foreign languages easier than ever. Babbel apps for iPhone, created in collaboration with German software company Aspirement, offer convenient learning for on-the-go. Meanwhile, a special desktop program for PC and Mac now individualizes the learner?s routine. Finally, a newly designed interface for Personal Vocabulary allows words to be printed out for study offline. Tailored to fit individual routines, and taking full advantage of current internet technology, Babbel opens up new dimensions for the study of foreign languages.

High Learning Efficiency: Babbel Mobile for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Anyone can take a few moments on the way to work, in a café or during the commercial break to quickly practice some vocabulary: The Babbel Mobile apps in seven languages for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad makes this possible. When traveling, the program is also a great bring-along tutor and can provide the most useful vocabulary and phrases with just one click. Downloading the iPhone apps in any of Babbel?s seven languages ? Spanish, French, English, German, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish ? is free. Subscribers to the online portal have access to the entire Vocabulary on- and offline. There is also a trial version those who have not yet purchased Babbel.

Every user?s Personal Vocabulary synchronizes automatically. For those interested in the app independently of the online portal, there is the possibility to purchase it for ?5.99. This gives the chance to study up to 3000 words and phrases for any one language, as well as access to all features online and off. ?With the new iPhone apps, the user can take advantage of short breaks to brush up on vocabulary words and stay present with the language ? even with a tight schedule.? says Markus Witte, managing director of Babbel.

Here is a direct link to the App Store download for all Babbel languages: http://www.babbel.com/go/babbel-mobile

Individualized Language Training: ?Babbel Refresh? in Beta

Most people do have the time to study foreign language vocabulary, but it?s often easy for them to get distracted or lose momentum. Babbel has developed the new Babbel Refresh to motivate learners. The program reminds the user regularly to review, and allows the personal Vocabulary Trainer to be opened with just one click. Babbel?s Refresher Tool analyzes the learner?s current progress, and calculates what should optimally be reviewed next. The user sets the flexibility of the reminders according to their particular routine.

Babbel subscribers can download Babbel Refresh and install it locally on their computer. Based on the Adobe Air runtime environment, the feature works with both Windows and Mac operating systems.?Babbel is more than just a website,? Witte says. ?With this type of independent learning management, Babbel is one of the most up-to-date and comprehensive language learning systems around. The combination of technology, high quality content and innovative teaching methods make Babbel very unique.? Here is a link going directly to the Babbel Refresh download page (requires Adobe Air): http://www.babbel.com/go/babbel-refresh

Newly adapted learning material makes language learning even easier
Content-wise, Babbel has expanded its language learning system to offer more courses and new formats. Starting now, Babbel users can manage their Personal Vocabulary and Refresher Tool with individualized settings. In addition, due to popular demand, the learning system now offers the opportunity to print out Personal Vocabulary.

After the recent addition of Swedish and Brazilian Portuguese, the market entry into Sweden, Brazil and Portugal has just taken effect. Now Babbel offers a total of 42 possible language combinations for more than 700,000 learners from more than 200 countries.

For further information and images go to: http://www.babbel.com/home/about/press

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Teach English to Children


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

9 Fundamental Aspects of Education

Fundamental Aspects of Education

Untold volumes have been spoken and written on the true value and purpose of education. What aspects however, can we as educators really offer to those whose mental, psychological and physical development have been charged to us? In my personal opinion, here are nine fundamental aspects of a basic education and the contribution that we as educators can potentially make in each.

1. Self ? confidence

Development of self ? confidence in one?s self and one?s abilities is fundamental to human nature. Our value to ourselves and to others stems from our own self-esteem. A fundamental role of the educator is to recognize and develop the strengths and weaknesses of learners under our charge. We help our learners to know themselves.

2. Anxiety management

Stress and anxiety form an ever-growing portion of our lives no matter what stage or level we may occupy at any given moment. Learning to manage our hopes, fears, concerns and other anxieties is fundamental to our mental and physical health. Risk and opportunity management allow us to gage and act on those aspects which most affect our lives.

3. Autonomy

Our ability to effectively function on our own initiatives allows us to take responsibility, control and authority for our actions. It also gives us power to direct our own destiny. Right or wrong, good or bad, autonomy grants us final control over the forces and effects that shape our lives. As educators, we must aid pour learners to find the means to develop autonomy in their education and their personal lives.

4. Acceptance of Rules and Regulations

In any orderly society, its function and success ultimately lies in the regulations and rules it imposes. It also relies heavily on members of society accepting and abiding by those rules and regulations. Without this structure, anarchy and chaos soon result. As educators, we should strive to instill those values in our learners that promote respect for and acceptance of societies rules, regulations, restrictions, prohibitions and limits. Hopefully, as we ourselves do. We all make errors. The wise correct and learn from them as well.

5. Consideration of Others

In the process of growth, development and learning, we must respect and uphold the rights of others. This may be challenging to the extreme at times, but is fundamental to education in a free and open society. Tolerance of those around us, especially those who may be different from us in some way, is the essence of an cultured society no matter where on the planet that culture might be.

6. Working Towards Common Good

The quality of life in a society largely depends on the willingness of its people to contribute individually towards the benefit of the greater number. Self-centered pleasure-seeking might sound good at first glance, but its overall effect soon negates much of its promised benefits. As the members of a society unite in working towards a common good or a common goal, that society will prosper or falter for lack of such cooperative efforts. True educators can instill the value and benefit of cooperative effort into their learners in a variety of ways, means, activities and tasks.

7. Work as Opportunity

What is the purpose of life? All our efforts continually drive us toward a perceived goal, a holy grail, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, fame, fortune or immortality, among other life quests. To view one?s efforts as affecting the path, direction and eventual outcome of our life is a purpose which begins its installation into our hearts and minds at a very early age. Just note the number of successful people who reach a high pinnacle of some type at a relatively early age. Educators can be essential in promoting those aspects into the lives of their learners.

8. True Love and Friendship

To give unselfishly of one?s self, one?s time, energy and resources is a fundamental of true love and a genuine basis of friendship. Educators should strive to instill in their learners that ?it is better to give than to receive?. True value often comes not from what we might receive, but rather from what we willingly give to others.

9. Reflection

Reflection on what we are, what we do and the results of our individual and collective efforts in life can result in rich insights into our values and path in our existence. Why? Is the basis of all manner of scientific and insightful discovery. How, why, who, what and where, continually fuel our thoughts, minds, imagination and influence our actions. We may lose some of our childhood curiosity and wonder as we age ? or not, but it and our reflections on the events of our everyday lives can offer us much towards our personal development and that of our learners as well.
Which Aspects of Education Do You Consider Fundamental?
No matter whether you agree, disagree or are unconvinced in some way, each of us has educational values which we personally hold as fundamental. Take some time for reflection on just what exactly you think those essential aspects of education truly are. Then act on them.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

English Phonetics - Pronunciation Video


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

Teaching English as a Foreign Language with Social Responsibility

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Are you conserving and recycling water? As EFL, ESL or foreign language teaching professionals we ultimately have a responsibility to our learners, our adopted communities and ourselves as a form of social responsibility. We can quite easily, quickly and responsibly incorporate global, regional and local social issues into our class sessions to provide our language learners with an outlet for their English as a foreign language or other foreign language communicative skills. Pollution, crime, the environment, global warming and terrorism are all available topics of concern regionally and locally worldwide. Take water conservation for example.

It?s Raining But No One?s complaining

It?s raining this morning but no one?s complaining. Why? It?s because our city, Cali, is running out of water. Oh, officials aren?t really completely up in arms yet, neither are the people, however, the signs are all unmistakably there. Water outages occur each week. Water pressure is low and at times what comes out of your tap at home isn?t even fit to water the plants with. Not only is the water ?unpleasant? overall, it?s discolored, smells bad and contains sediment I?m not sure I even want to have identified. A couple or so years ago, city water service was interrupted when not one but two ? count ?em ? two dead bodies were discovered in the city?s water service reservoir. We won?t go into that at this time though.

But back to the rain, folks. Usually the rainy season here is what most people consider to be the Winter, the months of December, January and February. During that time we?ll have moderate to heavy rainfall almost daily, mainly at night. During those months conventional wisdom causes you to constantly carry a collapsible umbrella or risk a sudden drenching at virtually any hour of the day or night. December 2009, January and February of 2010 though were very different. We go practically no rain at all for weeks on end. Gardens withered, ornamental shrubs turned brown or just plain dried up. The grass was gone for all intent and purposes. This is a tropical climate you see, and the weather is warm to hot year round. No rain, no water ? a problem for everybody. So when the rains finally came this month, no one complained.

Thousands of Gallons of Water Being Wasted

Walking down the street, I consciously noticed the thousands of gallons of water being wasted. Rain ran in torrents from rooftops. It dribbled in droves from balconies and porches. It flooded gutters and pooled in small ponds where storm drains were clogged with debris. Rain ran in rivers down culverts to nowhere. What a waste, I thought. Just think, if only half or a third of the businesses, schools and institutions and private homes channeled their rain runoff into storage containers, there would hardly be any ?water shortage? in this city. The same is quite likely true of many cities worldwide as well.

An Accidental Water Conservation Discovery

It was sort of by accident we truly discovered the value of water conservation and recycling. When we put a plastic barrel under a downspout to collect the rainwater for watering the plants in the yard, it was such a help we soon added a second large covered container in the back. This collected water was used to wash clothes, flush the toilets and do general house cleaning. At first I was absolutely stunned at the quantity of water used to wash, then rinse (twice) a load of clothes. We started collecting the last rinse water from the washing machine to use for cleaning, flushing toilets and mopping. As a matter of fact, the rinse water even already had a little soap still in it contributing even more to our savings. Two more large rain water collection containers were added beneath downspouts in the back of the house, mostly used as ?utility? water. Our water and sewer bill plummeted by nearly 70%. Now who in the world is going to complain about that?

The water company, that?s who.

Why is Your Water Usage So Low?

A water company service truck arrived one afternoon without notice.

?Why has your water usage suddenly gotten so low??

They wondered, then asked ? and not all that politely either. After showing the two men our rain water collection, recycling and conservation measures, they nodded in agreement that we weren?t doing anything illegal, confirming that the water meter had not been ?tampered with? and reluctantly congratulated us on our efforts. Naturally, I related the whole experience to my English as a foreign language learners who soon spread the word. They continue to comment in class on changes that they and their families have made ? or not, and what the outcomes have been. Most are realizing some substantial savings which often get funneled into beer and aguardiente consumption. But then that?s another story.

And speaking of stories, what?s yours? Are you conserving and recycling water?

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, ?If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.
Author : Larry

How to Play Chicken with Waves that Can Kill You

How to Play Chicken with Pacific Ocean Waves that Can Kill You
Monday Jurubida, Choco

Playing Chicken with Pacific Ocean Waves

For awhile I watched from the beach as Doris played ?chicken? with the waves. When there was a lull in the heavy waves, I slipped out of my cap, shoes and T-shirt to slide into the water myself. It was surprising how warm the water was. I have taken many baths in water that was a lot cooler than this and I don?t take cold water baths by a long shot.

?The water is really warm?, I said to Doris.

?Yeah, isn?t it great??

I couldn?t believe how warm two sunny days had made the surf.

Heavier Pacific Ocean Waves Begin Rolling in

Higher, heavier waves now began to roll in. We played chicken with them, running to the water?s edge when the waves crested more than about six feet in height.

?Don?t go out too far?, my wife warned.

The undertow from the breaking waves told of an outgoing tide. With higher waves, it could easily carry a person out past the breaking point with potentially disastrous results.

A Nealy Fatal Case in Point

Minutes later, barely 20 feet from the waters edge, we turned to see a towering wave of turgid water bearing down on us. In unison, we bolted for the shallows with Doris a couple of steps ahead of me. I high-stepped like a football tight end through a sea of opposing team tacklers to get speed through the waist-deep swell. It was a race to beat the slam of that monstrous wave and its terrible undertow.

I lost.

A Mack truck slammed into my body from behind to send me tumbling helter-skelter in the bubbling brown sea soup. Emerging from the froth to the sounds of Doris? laughter, I struggled to get upright. But before I could regain my feet, the dreaded undertow began dragging me seaward like a limp rag doll. Doris splashed over grabbing my arm to try to prevent me being swept out further. The undertow started taking both of us. Fighting to break free, we pushed against the receding sands finally getting a foot hold. The sea lost this battle. We dried off deciding to take another dip the next day in calmer waters. Still, it was amazing how warm the Pacific Ocean was with two consecutive sunny days to warm Jurubida?s Bay.

I hope it?s still that warm tomorrow. Unfortunately, the unpredictable sea had yet another surprise waiting for us all the next day. And this time it was much more serious than we could have imagined.
Author : Larry