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ESL Insights

A community dialogue exploring issues of concern to ESL educators and students from diverse immigrant communities.

KQED Education offers a wealth of ESL Resources for educators - visit www.kqed.org/esl

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ESL Insights's Latest Posts

“Everybody, Please Take Out Your Cell Phones”

ESL Insights | December 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

“Everybody, Please Take Out Your Cell Phones”

While most instructors lament the change of tides where every student has a cell phone seeming more interested in a four inch screen than the lesson at hand, I often wonder how quickly the instructor would change their tune if they knew, for example, that their students were tweeting something profound that they heard while listening to their favorite teacher.

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Turn Your iPad into a Smartboard

ESL Insights | November 6, 2013 | 2 Comments

Turn Your iPad into a Smartboard

Many of us in the ESL world are regularly watching well-to-do schools getting the latest and greatest in smartboard technology while we are left with the computer someone dusted off from the basement. But never fear! If you’ve got a projector, your iPad is going to take you to the next realm in EdTech, and I’d argue that in some ways it’s even more flexible than a smartboard.

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Flipping Bloom: What Flipped Learning Can Mean For ESL Students

ESL Insights | October 14, 2013 | 3 Comments

Flipping Bloom: What Flipped Learning Can Mean For ESL Students

I have thought about writing this for quite some time. What is flipped learning? In 1948 Benjamin Bloom developed Bloom’s Taxonomy. This taxonomy determined learning. There were six tiers to get through and students needed to progress through the first tier before moving on to the second, and so on.

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Top 10 Tech To-Dos Over The Summer

ESL Insights | June 24, 2013 | 2 Comments

Top 10 Tech To-Dos Over The Summer

“You’re so lucky you have the summer off,” is the first comment anyone who finds out I’m a teacher says. Well, I may not be in the classroom teaching, but in many ways I’m still working. Teachers are so busy on a day to day basis during the school year preparing lessons, grading assignments, attending meetings, and so on, that our To Do lists never seem to get all checked off.

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Fun Ways to Use Voicethread with ESL Students

ESL Insights | June 7, 2013 | 10 Comments

Fun Ways to Use Voicethread with ESL Students

Voicethread’s tagline is “Conversations in the cloud” and that pretty much sums it up. I love using Voicethread activities with my ESL students at City College of San Francisco and have been doing so for years now. It is a great tool to encourage to students to talk to each other, listen and think about each others’ ideas.

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Our Learners’ Voices

ESL Insights | May 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

Our Learners’ Voices

Immigrant adults come to ESL classes for a number of reasons- communicate effectively in their new homeland, become literate for the first time in their lives, do better in their jobs or get a better job, move on to higher education and career training, and help their children do better in school. While most of adult learners have multiple reasons to learn English,the motivation behind these reasons is to be better integrated in their new land.

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What is Noncredit?

ESL Insights | May 1, 2013 | 0 Comments

What is Noncredit?

The pedagogy of noncredit is quite different from credit. Because students’ attendance may be intermittent, teaching requires lot of repetition and “spiraling up,” which can be described as repetition with a slight refocus or increase in difficulty each time a teaching point is covered. In ESL, repetition is not a problem – in fact it’s a benefit. Language acquisition must involve repetition, and lots of it.

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Is Technology Changing Your Brain?

ESL Insights | April 23, 2013 | 5 Comments

Is Technology Changing Your Brain?

Digital technology may well be the darling of the 21st Century, but is it good for your brain? When I ask college students if the onslaught of information affects their brains, or how they learn, there is a digital divide in responses. The 20 year-olds and under grew up connected, yet will admit that focusing on one thing for any length of time is problematic.

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Restarting Your Career with Upwardly Global – Monica’s Story

ESL Insights | April 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

Restarting Your Career with Upwardly Global – Monica’s Story

By Mary Voelbel Monica came to the US in 2006 from Columbia with a Masters degree in Child Abuse Prevention and years of experience in public health. Originally an ESL student, she spent 5 years working minimum wage jobs until she learned about Upwardly Global and how to rebuild her career. “El que persevera alcanza” […]

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The Listening and Speaking Center at De Anza College – We Help You Lower Your “Affective Filter”!

ESL Insights | April 8, 2013 | 0 Comments

The Listening and Speaking Center at De Anza College – We Help You Lower Your “Affective Filter”!

If you are an ESL/EFL educator, you must remember the Affective Filter Hypothesis … right? It is one of the five hypotheses about second language acquisition proposed by Stephen Krashen. It refers to a psychological barrier that can hinder or promote progress in learning a second language. The Affective Filter can be raised or lowered as a result of the quality of the learning environment – and low anxiety facilitates success in practicing and learning a second language.

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