Welcome to the fifteenth edition of the ESL/EFL/ELL Carnival. Let us start the week with some resourceful reading materials from many of the finest bloggers, authors, and educators of the English language teaching world! So brew your favorite coffee, relax, and enjoy. Our posts include tips to help educators with their social media experience, ways to integrate technology effectively into the classroom, advice on giving presentations at conferences, and suggestions to help improve methodology from various experts.

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PDF file of the 15th Edition ESL Blog Carnival

Thought-provoking Pedagogy

In Ken Wilson’s post, Ten Things I Think I Know (Part I), he delineates five points that may make you question your approach to teaching English. These include that most students are there because they have to be, most English classes are monolingual, most English teachers are not native speakers, most teachers have to use a coursebook, and most English courses are exam directed. Make sure to read the insightful comments and debates that are taking place.

Never make a big deal about how many people learn English and pretend this is some kind of carrot for learners. It isn’t. – Ken Wilson’s Blog

Marisa Constantinides gives various tips for helping instructors build a sense of community to facilitate learning in her post, Storming out or Norming in?.

If our objective is to make of our learners effective communicators and to acquire the much sought after communicative competence, then we have to create a social environment in which the members will have the DESIRE to communicate with each other about matters that are of personal interest to them, which will provide them with a PURPOSE and will generate INTERACTIVE situations.- Marisa Constantinides, TEFL Matters

Nick Jaworski offers advice on having a more learner-centered approach in the classroom in his post, The Teacher as Narrative: Moving from a Teacher-centered to Learner-centered Classroom. His suggestions include using drama and video.

The students think, “Oh what’s our crazy teacher up to now?”  You can talk to the students casually for a bit and point out who you are, what year this is, and what you’re doing in their class.- Nick Jaworski, Turkish TEFL

Ms. Flecha relates how she uses the L1 of students to help them learn to spell in her post Incorporating Languages I Don’t Know Into My Teaching. She also share’s her student’s story about the struggles her grandmother encountered as a young girl in  A Stunning Moment.

Alia told me her grandmother, when she was 8, had to get a job because she didn’t have the $3 it cost to go to school, plus her parents had just died.- Ms. Flecha, My Life Untranslated

Nightwalker provides several examples of effectively using L1 in the classroom in the post, Should L1 be used in EFL classes?. Moreover, he gives a nice description of the monolingual and bilingual approach.

Using L1 is not the problem. The problem is when and how to use it. -Nightwalker, My English Pages

Dominic Cole encourages us to let students cheat in his post, Spelling acivities 12 – Let them cheat. He even provides us with some lessons that ensure students cheat. One of my favorite lines of this piece is posted below.

The lowdown scumbag is actually looking to see how the word is spelled. I like students who look to see how words are spelt.- Dominic Cole, The Really Boring English Blog.

Jason Renshaw describes how teachers can be more effective by using the Engage Active Study Activate instructional approach in his post, ESA vs EAS(A) and the Fear of Failure in ELT. Jason prefers the EASA approach for many reasons and expands on its merits in this post.

EASA is somewhat discovery and task-based, assumes students can (and should) use existing language to communicate before doing any specific building or practice (without assuming anything too specific about what they already know), and is reflective where ESA is predicative. – Jason Renshaw, English Raven

Barbara Sakamoto reminds us of the importance of reflection of those who influenced our instructional styles in her post, Lessons Learned from Great Educators.

If someone had come up with a crystal ball and told me that I’d end up teaching English as a foreign language, and living nearly half my life outside my home country, I’d have thought it was a great joke. However, looking back at what I learned from the great educators in my life, the path becomes easier to see. -Barbara Sakamoto, Teaching Village

David Deubelbeiss provides several great micro teaching skills and acts that will improve student learning in his post, It’s The Small Things That Count. Some of these include personalizing lessons, using personal space wisely, and knowing when to step back.

So many teachers believe that their teaching would be better if they had a better book or they had fewer students or the administration were better or if the classroom were arranged differently or if ……… I’m skeptical. -David Deubelbeiss, Teaching Village

MarmaraELT posts research and findings about The Role of Input in the Child’s Acquisition of Language. In his research he notes the importance of adult and peer input in helping children learn a language.

Children react very consistently to the deep structure and the communicative function of language,and they do not react overtly to expansions and grammatical corrections. -Marama ELT/ EFL Resources

Congratulations to Johanna Stirling who will soon have her book published. She shares some of the topics in the book in her post, Spelling Bees- How Do You Spell…? Some ways include through sound, sight, and patterns.

While I was playing with the Times spelling bee game (I told you it was addictive) I was trying to work out HOW I knew the spellings that I knew. -Johanna Stirling, The Spelling Blog

Henrick Oprea talks about the traits he looks for when hiring teachers in his post, About Teachers. These include listening skills and the ability to inspire.

I find that one of the most important things in a language classroom is building rapport with your learners. Rapport facilitates learning, and therefore teaching.- Henrick Oprea, Doing Some Thinking

Before we begin learning about important technology tips, Marisa Constantinides reminds us Don’t Forget the Pedagogy.

“Very little is said about the methodological issues surrounding some of these new tools, their advantages and drawbacks, in fact, what most well-trained teachers instinctively start thinking about.”- TEFL Matters

Teaching Effectively with Technology

If you are like me you love integrating technology effectively into the classroom. One of the best ways to do this is by having your students provide you with feedback about your use of technology in the classroom.

Larry Ferlazzo and his colleague surveyed their students to determine which activities they enjoyed. You can read more of the results in his piece, How Do Students Feel About Using Computers to Help Learn English posted at Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day. Many of his students asked to blog more, have lessons where they create movies, and visit the computer lab more.

I fairly regularly try-out different instructional strategies with my students that also include surveys and assessments in order to help analyze what has worked and what hasn’t been particularly successful.- Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day

Nik Peachey presents 10 Teacher Development Task for Web 2.0 Tools posted at Nik’s Learning Technology Blog. These tasks involve incredible web 2.0 video, audio, writing, and dictation tools. Visit his post for the several tasks.

I created a number of tasks for teachers which I hope will help develop their ability to use technology and to evaluate and create materials using web based tools.- Nik’s Learning Technology Blog

Karenne Sylvester presents several different ways to revamp the Getting to Know You, Getting to Know Me activity with students in her post, Powerpointing Me -EFL Tech Tip #13. These include using Wordle, Photopeach, Flickr and more.

Objective: Create an atmosphere of sharing right from the get-go. Find out your students’ communicative abilities and weaknesses: particularly when making small talk /asking and answering questions.-Karenne Sylvester, Kalinago English

Vicky Saumel presents 40 Things you can do with a Data Projector in an EFL/ESL lesson.  Some of these activities include view and solve interactive problems in groups and displaying images for brainstorming.

There’s no doubt that IWB’s are very popular these days. However, many schools do not have them, but have data projectors instead. – Vicky Saumel, Educational Technology in ELT

In Jamie Keddie’s post, The Third Conditional- A Lesson Plan, he provides us with a creative lesson in pdf format to download for free. In this lesson, students learn the third conditional by searching on Google and analyzing a Homer Simpson quote. The students are bound to have a lot of fun.

Homer Simpson once said something along the lines of: “If God had wanted us to be vegetarians, he wouldn’t have made animals out of meat.” This is the starting point for a lesson plan on the third conditional. -Jamie Keddie

Sean Banville presents a clever way to introduce yourself to students through a glog in his post, Glogster – My Glog.

I hope a lot of what I had included on the glog provided them with some kind of model (more in terms of content than language structure) for them to write about themselves. The scripts I got back from them were definitely more creative than those I’d received in previous years. -Sean Banville’s Blog

In Eva Büyüksimkeşyan’s post, Best of My Students, you do a lot of enjoyable exploring of her students’ glogster projects.

It is a great tool and I believe it enhances their creativity because of that I often assign projects with glogsters.- Eva Büyüksimkeşyan, A Journey in TEFL

Janet Bianchini shares examples of how to use several web 2.0 tools to manipulate images Images4Education and Moodle for Gardening and Cooking: Course Update. These include making motivational posters, an Oscar’s award, book cover, and more.

As you can see, I have been able to combine some of the new things I am learning from my Images4Education course. I am delighted to share them with you here.- Janet’s Abruzzo Edublog

Arjana Blazic shares an interactive quiz she created on the site a4esl.org, Words Related to Books and Literature, which is posted at Activities for ESL students.

Sue Lyon-Jones presents some fantastic tongue-twisters in her post, Tongue Twisters for The Digital Age. You must read them all.

We all wailed when the Fail Whale failed!- Sue Lyon-Jones, The PLN Staff Lounge

Tara Benwell presents a partner interview activity, Writing Challenge #13: An Interview with a MyEC Member – My English Club.

You are going to interview your partner about a topic of your choice. Tara Banwell, MyEC Writing Challenges

Berni Wall shares 10 Top Tips for Improving IELTS Scores. Some of these tips include practise often, join an online community, and use the language around you.

The test is a means to an end not an end in itself and the danger of only concentrating on the test is that you are not seeing the wood for the trees! Berni Wall, Radical Language

Marisa Pavan describes how the Internet and educational technology have improved her teaching methods in her post, Reflections on Edtech.

The use of the Internet has been great help for me to be able to make my students expand on what they are learning. -Marisa Pavan, Linguistic Consultancy

Presentation and Social Media Advice

Jeremy Harmer gives some advice for presenting in front of audiences in his post, On Being Nervous. He personalizes the post by sharing his own experiences with shaky legs and hands.

Sometimes the audience seems to ‘get away from you’ and you find yourself talking into a vacuum and have no idea how to get back in touch with them.- Jeremy Harmer’s Blog

Burcu Akyol invites educators to mentor other educators in social media or to be mentored by becoming involved in this important European Union project, European Union Request and Invitation for Associate Partners.

Using a PLN language educators will be able to find their way through the jungle of ICT resources on the net and find language teachers, just like themselves, that will help them use the resources. -Burcu Akyol

Gavin Dudeney stirs quite a debate in his post On Going Public. He advises those new to Twitter and blogging to learn about the culture, respect those who have been in the field for awhile,  and be consistent with your opinions.

Be a responsible global citizen – listen to the people in your PLN. It’s not all about you.- Gavin Dudeney, That’SLife

Ozge Karaoglu provides 10 ways to become a webhead in her post, How to Survive in 2010 – Digitally. Some of these include start blogging and tweeting, Google your name, and attend online sessions.

The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.- Ozge Karaoglu’s Blog

Graham Stanley believes this is the year more educators will become active on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. He describes his reasons in detail in his post, 2010 Year of the Personal Learning Network.

All of this is why I think 2010 will be the year when teachers many more mainstream start to embrace the idea of the PLN and begin to take a more active part in belonging to the global staffroom that is out there waiting for you, offering you friendship, support, help and advice – if you want it!- Graham Stanley, Blog EFL

Dominic Cole provides a useful tip for both English language learners and educators in his post,  Use iGoogle as Your Home Page.

What you need to do is think about how you can use your computer to get the experience of living in an English speaking country. -Dominic Cole’s Learn English Daily.

Issues to Ponder

Mary Ann Zehr presents Most-Read Blog Posts in 2009 posted at Learning the Language. Some of the great articles she posted are Obama Visits School Where Large Number of Students Are ELLs, Research on Push-In Versus Pull-Out, Resource: Research Brief on RTI for ELLs, Ten-Year Anniversary of Proposition 227, and For Some Students in L.A., Once an ELL, Always an ELL.

The attention to these two blog entries tells me that educators are seeking to expand their repertoire of strategies that work with ELLs.- Mary Ann Zehr, Learning the Language

Lindsay Clandfield makes six predictions for our field in his post, Six Language Teaching Trends of the 00s. These predictions include English as a Lingua Franca will rock the boat and technology will become the new imperative. Lindsay has also started another great blog on the Global site. He describes it, “What about a travel blog, full of reflections on teaching in different parts of the world, trip anecdotes, inspirational photos of teachers and classrooms in different countries and short video clips done in a documentary-style with a handheld camera? Kind of like a global tour of language teaching today?”

More than anything else, this decade could be seen as the decade in which technology muscled its way onto the teaching scene amid a mixture of delight and anguish (perhaps more anguish than delight in many teaching contexts). -Lindsay Clandfield, Six Things

Tom DeRosa presents 5 Tips for Building a Quality (non-ELA) Classroom Library. Some of the tips include providing several books in a series, books with characters the students’ ages, and including newspapers and other media. Additionally, he provides tips for funding a library and getting started.

One way to ensure your success is to build a quality classroom library full of books your students will actually want to read.- Tom DeRosa, I Want to Teach Forever

If you are not an ESL teacher, we end with the perfect post for you! Seth Baker details what it takes to be an ESL teacher in his post, ESL Teaching: The Easy Way to Live Abroad. He brings up issues like what factors to consider when teaching abroad and paints the reality of the situation.

I need to qualify my title: living abroad is never easy. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, but it sure isn’t easy. -Seth Baker, Happenchance: Useful Stuff for Creative People

Looking forward to the next carnival?

The Carnival welcomes any blog posts, including examples of student work, that are related to teaching or learning English. You can contribute a post by using this easy submission form. If the form does not work then feel free to dm Karenne, @kalinagoenglish, on Twitter or email it to Larry Ferlazzo through his contact form. If your post was not included, then I may not have received it through the form.

Karenne Sylvester at Kalinago English: Teaching Speaking Using Technology will host the following carnival on April 1st. Mary Ann Zehr at Learning the Language will host the Carnival on June 1st. Please leave a comment if you’re interested in hosting a future edition.

You can see all the previous fourteen editions of the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival here.