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Showing posts from March, 2016

Taking Student Praise

If there's one thing I find difficult to do as a teacher, it is taking student praise.  This is example of a humblebrag, a newer word in the English lexicon. The truth is that I was raised in a household where praise was restrained and mainly reserved for achievements that clearly exceeded expectations. Actually, I find it more difficult to give praise than to receive praise because of this upbringing. It took me a few years to praise students who adequately met my expectations.

Student Praise Last term, I had a very rewarding experience teaching English to a relatively small but dedicated group of students. This combination of class size and student motivation helped me meet the linguistic, academic, and cultural needs of each student more effectively than in most other classes. Most of the students preferred this extra attention to their needs and skills, but there was one that didn't want me to get to know his learning and studying strategies too well. 

I had two very high…

The Shawnee Hills IEP Camp

Last month, we (the Center for English as a Second Language) hosted the Shawnee Hills IEP Camp at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  I blogged about how we were able to organize and host it in a previous post.  As mentioned in that post, we followed the EdCamp model and shared our professional learning with IEP faculty and staff from the University of Southern Indiana and from Southeast Missouri State University.  Our program (CESL) was also hosting English language teachers from Panama, who also attended the Camp.


Starting early at 8am in the morning, we had a very good turnout with around 65 of the registered 70 participants showing up.  Above is a picture of some of the earlier attendees mingling over our sponsored and catered breakfast from yummy Cristaudo's Bakery of Carbondale.  They have always been a dependable and popular caterer at CESL events.
Pictured above is a couple of our faculty members with our Panamanian visiting students/teachers. We were grateful to ha…

Selecting Online Videos for Listening Practice & Assessment

I was inspired to write this post because of the complications with my program's current practices with using online videos to help students develop their listening skills and to assess their listening skills. I've had conversations with my current and previous classes, which range from the intermediate-mid range of English language proficiency (as a whole, not just listening) to the lower advanced range. I initiated these conversations as a result from my first class at the program (our highest level for students intending to enroll in undergraduate courses), in which the majority of students complained about how difficult and inappropriate the online videos were compared to their expectations and academic needs.

In my current and previous classes, I performed a low-stakes informal (not controlled well) experiment with their full knowledge that this was an experiment.  I compared my students' reactions to videos from TED Ed to videos from the Sci Show You Tube channel.  I…