Thursday, April 26, 2012

How To Teach ESL To Young Students With Little Or No Knowledge Of English

English as a Second Language favorite things o...
English as a Second Language favorite things on display in June (Photo credit: Newton Free Library)
By Brian M Giles

Explaining the mechanics of the English language to young students with little or no background knowledge of English demands a teacher who is not only highly qualified and experienced but also equipped with the necessary skill set.

Teaching children in a language different from their native language requires first and foremost patience. Children can get restless and bored very quickly if they are unable to understand what is going on in the class.

It may be easy to misinterpret such restlessness as bad behavior, when in reality it is simply the result of students' inability to understand what is going on in the classroom.

On the other hand, students can become very engaged and interested if the teacher can find a way to communicate with them. To accomplish this, teachers should ideally have the ability to interact with the children in a fun manner, using not only language but also gestures, facial expressions, motions, and even pictures drawn on the white board when necessary. This keeps students' interest in the classroom and ultimately leads to a class that is learning quickly.

With the right teacher, kids who are learning ESL can learn fast, and their parents can be highly satisfied, but this is true only if they are given a suitable learning environment. This is especially true when teaching ESL grammar, which students often find particularly vexing.

During ESL grammar classes, the teacher may notice the students' attention drifting away, and behavior problems might creep into the class. This is due at least in part because of the complexities of understanding English grammar.

The large number of tenses and the complex, specific grammar rules can make learning the English language a very difficult process for foreign students - especially those of a young age.

Therefore, in addition to the patience and techniques described above, teachers of ESL or EFL must have a broad and deep knowledge of English grammar, including an understanding of tenses and parts of speech as well as a clear idea of what needs to be done to explain these to students.

Some languages, such as Mandarin Chinese, make little or no use of tenses, so teachers must coax their students to begin not only speaking in the past and future tense, but also learning to think in terms of the past, the future, and the other time intervals associated with English tenses.

However, young students do not respond well to simple lectures, so it is imperative to communicate concepts such as complex grammar rules using games, activities, and fun methods that the students can relate to.

By doing so, teachers can guide students to begin using English in a natural and appropriate way, and this can pay dividends for years to come in terms of not only their education but also their future success in life and work.

ESL grammar exercises that are informative and enjoyable should be incorporated into ESL classes on a regular basis. Need ideas for your own classes? Follow this link for some useful ESL Grammar Games

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SAT: Testing and Teen Anxiety

SAT logo
SAT logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Joel S Goldman

All tests are stressful. But, the SAT is in a league of its own when it comes to inducing anxiety. So much rides on the student's performance.

He or she has prepared for the Test for a long period of time or, at the very least, has been told repeatedly for months, of the importance of the test. And, just to make the stress more acute, the test is incredibly long - a three and a half hour, fatiguing and draining marathon.

How does that stress influences the student's performance? Stress can help as well as hurt performance. It can focus and concentrate the mind and screen out extraneous thoughts. But, when anxiety affects the decision making process of a student, it can negatively affect the student's score significantly.

One of my SAT students - let's call her Sara (not her real name) had emigrated to the United States three years earlier. She was a bright, capable individual. In fact, Sara wrote beautiful essays that surpassed those of some of my best students. But, her scores on SAT practice tests remained stubbornly in the same range - one that did not reflect her progress and knowledge.

I asked Sara what she was doing differently on the Test day that caused her results to be over 100 points less than her performance in our sessions together would have indicated.

When I first started to work with Sara, I showed her my system for answering Critical Reading questions. As with most students, she expressed concern that using the system, including taking notes on a passage would take extra time and prevent her from finishing the Exam within the time limits.

I asked her to give it a try and see if it didn't save time in the long run. She was soon convinced that my system worked and I thought that the battle was won. Her timed homework practices improved over time and everything pointed to a higher score. What was wrong?

I learned from Sara that when she took the practice Test, she used the first steps of the system, but afterwards reverted to her old habits - guessing. Her anxiety regarding the clock took over.

Furthermore, it turned out that in her practices, she was going over the allotted time constraint. She thought the goal was to hand in perfect homework, rather than to simulate Test time constraints. Hadn't we talked about timing her practices? Yes, but ...

I made clear to Sara all over again, that homework must be timed. If we aren't simulating test conditions, we aren't accomplishing anything. There is only one goal - to prepare for the SAT. I learned something from this conversation.

The tutor has to check and re-check whether the student is following the guidelines. Even if you have gone over all the ground rules, don't assume that the student is following them. Reinforce them periodically.

Focusing on the content of the Exam and developing the student's analytical skills are not enough. You have to remind the student of the overall strategy. And, you have to do it, periodically.

Joel Goldman is President of Summit Tutoring. He helps students in the NYC area to develop the skills, confidence, and mindset required to excel on the SAT. He can be reached at or at 917 528-0424.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Choosing University for a Career Change? Think Carefully

Academic (Photo credit: tim ellis)
By Helen Trudgeon

Many people go to university direct from school or college with a clear idea of what they want to do and where their career is heading.

There are others who go to university without that clear focus, who study for a degree in a subject which is of interest to them but may have no clear idea what they will do with it afterwards.

There is also a third group of people who choose to go straight into the workplace without even considering university.

Fast forward a few years and the picture may have changed as any of these people may have decided the time is now right to take up studying again and return to university. This is not an easy decision, particularly today with rising university costs and increased unemployment.

So it's important that if you are considering a similar step, you think very hard about it before making your choice and ask yourself these questions.


If you are thinking of returning to university, you first need to ask yourself why. Why are you motivated to go back to studying? Do you simply want to pursue a course of study in an area you're interested in - for enjoyment and self-fulfilment, or are you looking to change your career and need a relevant degree to make this happen? Or are you already in a career which will be enhanced with the right degree?

These are very basic, but important questions you need to have clear answers to before you go any further. If you don't have a clear answer and a strong motivation, then you could be potentially wasting not only three years of your life, but also a great deal of money.


Once you have established your reasons for returning to study, you need to look at exactly what you want to study. This is not just about the subject but the specific course - courses can vary hugely in terms of quality, content and teaching methods, so make sure you do your research to find the one that is most suited to what you want to achieve and is most suited to your learning style.


This question is related to what you want to study, which will to an extent dictate where you go, but there are wider considerations to think about. This is particularly the case if you have a family or other commitments, which may affect your range of options.

You could be restricted by simple geography if you are unwilling or unable to up-root yourself, you may need to tailor your choice according to a university course's admissions policies, or there may be another reason entirely.


This is really a question of how you want to complete your degree. Do you want to go away to university for three years full time study or would you prefer to study part time over a longer period, so you can continue to work? These days, the options for different types of study are broad, so again, it is important you carry out your research into what will best suit you.


No-one can be unaware of the rise in university tuition fees coming into effect at the end of 2012 (in the UK - ed). It is therefore more important than ever that if you are considering returning to university you fully work out the cost implications.

Unless you are fortunate enough to have a lot of money to play with, then university is an enormous financial commitment that you need to think through - particularly if you also have a family to support whilst you study. You will not, however, need to start repaying any student loans until you start earning over 21,000 pounds.

Back to studying

If you have been working for several years, you may also need to get used to studying again. This may be easier for some than for others, so it is a good idea to try to establish your preferred learning and studying styles as quickly as you can in order to create an effective study routine. This should also help you settle into university more easily.

When you graduate

It is advisable that from the very start of your degree course, you have a clear view of what you will do, or at least exactly what you want to do, once you graduate. This will not only help you to focus more effectively on your studies, but it will also motivate you to do everything you can to ensure you find the right job within your chosen career path.

This motivation should include gaining relevant internships during vacations, voluntary work and targeted job searching to ensure that your three years at university conclude with a productive result.

Helen Trudgeon writes for Terbell Ltd, event management training specialists based in London.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me in My First Year at University

Jubilee Campus, Nottingham University. This ar...
Jubilee Campus, Nottingham University. This architecturally innovative campus was built on the site of the old Raleigh bicycle factory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Thomas P Sykes

There is nothing like learning from your mistakes, but why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from others? Every year, tens of thousands of South Africans enrol in university for the first time and a whole new world of challenges and excitement await.

However, "challenges" is just old-person speak for, "Things are about to get difficult." You will have to take our word for it that these challenges will make you a better person. There are some things though, that you can simply bypass on the learning curve and Kelly Ansara explains below, from her perspective as a first year student just what those are.

"Bright-eyed and bushy tailed, I walked onto campus! Books piled into my shiny new satchel, I was wearing spanking-new jeans, clean All Stars and a pencil bag with every colour highlighter you could imagine. I was ready to take on the world one faculty at a time. Ambition was my name and a BA in Journalism was my game".

"They gave me lists of books, classes, lecturers, maps ... and a student card (with a dorky picture of me on it). But what they didn't give me was everything I learned and earned in my first year."
  1. Smile on your student card photo - you don't want to look like a felon for the next 4 years.
  2. Buy a pair of comfortable trainers or flip flops for those flights of stairs.
  3. You won't make friends on your first day; you will be too worried about finding your lecture venues.
  4. Coffee is a prerequisite and it's cheap.
  5. Buy your textbooks second hand because it's economical.
  6. Remember you are only a number to the lecturer unless you decide to stand out.
  7. Join a club or society - you'll meet people and get involved in something you love.
  8. Your education is yours and yours alone. Don't expect any hand-outs.
  9. Love what you do, if you don't then no one else will.
  10. Most of all, you will grow in so many other ways over the next few years other than just your degree. Keep an open mind!
Don't be afraid to make mistakes as they don't define who you are; varsity is so much more than textbooks and marks.

Also, don't forget to pay it forward. Take a look around your first year class and you will see just as many wide-eyed teenagers desperately trying to make sense of it all. Be on the lookout to help someone with some insight you have gained. It's the quickest way to make friends on campus - and you are going to need those friend for the next three to four years of your life!

Thomas Sykes is the Editor in Chief at where we have constructed highly useful tools for finding the perfect course with financial aid at universities and colleges across South Africa. Begin the process with our Courses tool now

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Does Cursive Handwriting Need to Be Taught In A High Tech World?

Cassowarys Victorian Modern Cursive
Cassowarys Victorian Modern Cursive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hi everyone,

This article describes the situation in the US curriculum, and may give some indication of trends that may hit the Australian education setting as well.What are your views on this?


Dr Robert Muller.

Does Cursive Handwriting Need to Be Taught In A High Tech World?

By Linda S Spencer

You may not have noticed but cursive handwriting is quickly becoming a skill of the past. Many schools are choosing to eliminate handwriting instruction from their elementary classrooms.

Controversy is growing over the role handwriting and keyboarding instruction will have in the classroom, particularly in the elementary grades where students are still developing their reading, writing and motor skills. The controversy was addressed earlier this year by an Educational Summit held in Washington, DC titled "Handwriting in The 21st Century."

The Department of Education Common Core State Standards for education was developed in 2010. These common core practices apply to English language arts and Mathematics. The standards represent a set of expectations for student knowledge needed to succeed in college and careers.

Keyboarding is listed as a skill that students must acquire, manuscript handwriting is minimally addressed and cursive is excluded altogether. These major changes serve to increase the controversy over the roles of handwriting and keyboarding instruction in elementary schools.

Cursive handwriting has long been a cornerstone of education yet the elimination of cursive handwriting has been based on assumptions including the assumption that keyboarding skills are superior to handwriting skills.

Today the Common Core State Standards allow each state to decide whether to include cursive handwriting in their curriculum. Given the choice more and more states have been choosing to eliminate cursive handwriting instruction from their schools.

Some feel that teaching cursive is "old fashioned" and a waste of time. Others believe that it should continue to be taught. Regardless of your point of view, you should be concerned about the removal of handwriting from the curriculum because these changes are occurring without researching the possible consequences for the young learner.

At the heart of the controversy is the lack of evidence regarding how the elimination of cursive handwriting will impact learning and education in general. Much of the education research that has been conducted by universities has focused on technology and literacy. Little regard has been given to the interrelationships of handwriting development and reading, spelling and composition. As a result many kids educated in the last two decades cannot write in or even read cursive.

Many policy decisions were made without researching the possible impact on young students who are still developing their reading, writing, and motor skills, and specifically, how these skills relate to cursive handwriting instruction. That may be changing.

The Educational Summit titled "Handwriting in the 21st Century" held in Washington, D.C. included the attendance of professors, neuroscientists, teachers and interested citizens. Presenters shared cross-disciplinary handwriting research and attendees voiced their opinions about whether - and how - this skill should be taught.

Through presentations and workshops, attendees learned how handwriting is a foundational skill that helps children develop in other areas, such as reading, writing, memory, and critical thinking.

Several neuroscientists presented findings ranging from handwriting and occupational therapy to neuroscience research that documents the impact of handwriting on kids' learning. In a survey at the conclusion of the summit, 85 percent of the attendees believe that handwriting instruction is "very important" in the 21st century. A majority responded that handwriting should be taught from Kindergarten through 5th grade.

All of the research presented at the conference indicates that teaching handwriting is beneficial. Although the conference was sponsored by a handwriting curriculum company, the presenters came from a broad range of fields and presented a convincing case.

One of the most remarkable findings came from Karin Harman-James at Indiana University. She presented research she conducted using MRI scans of children's brains. Her research which was conducted in 2012 showed that writing by hand activated parts of the brain associated with language development, while keyboarding did not.

For anyone interested in learning more about how handwriting and keyboarding produce different changes in the brain many published research articles are available for perusal on the internet.

In addition, some neuroscientists have published books which have sections describing how handwriting affects the learning process. One of these books is "The Hand: How its Use Shapes the Brain, Language and Human Culture", by Dr. Frank R. Wilson.

His book describes in detail the pivotal role of hand movements in the developing of thinking and language capacities and in "developing deep feelings of confidence and interest in the world-all-together, the essential prerequisites for the emergence of the capable and caring individual."

Considering the bullying problem and the lack of empathy many teachers are noticing in their students, could it be that learning cursive handwriting has an effect on the area of the brain that develops empathy and tolerance for others? We don't know ... yet.

Another book is, "The Brain That Changes Itself", by neuroscientist Norman Doidge. His book discusses the subject of neuroplasticity, how the brain changes and develops neuropathways in relation to habit changes and repeated actions. His research describes how handwriting and keyboarding require different actions and affect the brain in different ways.

Dr. Doidge has said, "When a child types or prints, he produces a letter the same way each time. In cursive, however, each letter connects slightly differently to the next, which is more demanding on the part of the brain that converts symbol sequences into motor movements in the hand. Each of these actions creates different neuropathways in the brain".

Much controversy exists regarding the importance of cursive handwriting. Evidence is building that indicates the brain is affected and changed in ways we never realized. Brain research is constantly providing new revelations.

As this research is growing and available, changes in curriculum that impact how kids learn and retain knowledge need to be carefully examined and evaluated prior to being implemented. At present most school districts can still decide if they want to teach cursive handwriting. Where does your school district stand?

If you think cursive handwriting is important to learn contact your child's teacher or school administrator and express your concern. Some states are reinstating cursive handwriting into their education curriculum. A white paper summarizing the research presented at this conference is available on the summit website:

By Linda S. Spencer, CGA, MS

Linda Spencer is a certified Graphoanalyst with over 25 years of experience working as a handwriting expert. She holds a masters degree in Human Service Administration. She has six years of experience working in both the public and private sectors of education and has worked with teens with developmentally delayed and high risk concerns.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Secrets to a Successful Homeschool Day

An example of a homeschool setting.(caption fr...
An example of a homeschool setting (Photo: Wikipedia)
The Secrets to a Successful Homeschool Day
By Tawnee M Hinton

Sometimes it seems like the day is over before it gets started. It can be difficult to get the morning started and stay on track.

If you have these issues, you may be searching for the way to keep your homeschool day under control. Here are some secrets to keeping our homeschool day successful and productive.

Plan ahead

One of the biggest things that works for us is to plan ahead. Knowing what I expect to accomplish each day helps me. I like to know what I need to get done and what I want to get done. As long as the need list is complete, I am happy; and if the want list is completed, I am ecstatic! When the kids know what they need to get done each day, they feel better and like the sense of accomplishment of making progress through their lists.

Be flexible

Being flexible is also important. If the day does not start the way it should, we just adjust the schedule back. If we find that we have afternoon activities, we get started earlier to ensure we are wrapping up by the time we need to leave. When unscheduled interruptions happen, we just adapt and move on. I keep the kids informed on what we are doing and why we are trying to get things done early. This makes them feel a part of the daily decisions and keeps them understanding our daily goals.

Plan activities for the Little Ones

If you have little ones at home, planning activities for them is important to keep the disruptions to a minimum. Obviously, when you have infants and toddlers about, interruptions will happen (see be flexible) but having some planned activities is a good way to keep them involved. We scheduled time for reading, working on toddler activities, and playing quietly with special toys.

Having a time to play with Play-do, a special toy, blocks, or flashcards is important and makes them feel a part of the school day as well. You may also want to consider some time for "school" where your older children "teach" the little ones. My daughter LOVES teaching our 2 year old. She is learning and so is he and they both enjoy the time.

Schedule one-on-one time

It is important that every child gets some undivided attention from mom. If you have several children, this can be more of a scheduling necessity but is very important. Quality time does not have to be a large block of time. Fifteen minutes of quality time snuggling with a book, playing cars with your son, or just talking can go a long way and can REALLY have an effect on the overall attitude of all the children. Plan to have one-on-one time with the toddlers and work your way up. Toddlers who get one-on-one time with mom are much more manageable throughout the day.

Keep it short

We keep the lessons short. This is the biggest key to our daily success. We have found this approach to be very effective and retention is much higher. We have the clock available and the children know how long to spend on the subject at hand. When the allotted time has passed, we move on. If you need more time on a subject, consider breaking it into two time slots to keep the lessons short.

This is helpful, especially in subjects that are challenging or uninteresting to your child. They know they only have 15 minutes and usually can concentrate for that long. We keep everything between 10-20 minutes. Obviously, as children get older, you may need to increase time slots for certain subjects but, overall, this can be a successful schedule.

Keep your cool

Keeping your cool, regardless of what happens to your day, is vital. I have found that the less I let our interruptions and unscheduled issues upset me, the more smoothly our days seem to go and more we accomplish. Just go with the flow and adapt when necessary and you will find that your day is smoother and your stress level is much lower thus making everyone much happier.

Homeschooling can be challenging at time but the challenges are worth the rewards exponentially. Doing your best to keep your days smooth and productive is beneficial to everyone. Finding what works and being flexible can go a long way to making your homeschool days successful!

Tawnee is a freelance writing, homeschooling mother of 2. When she isn't reading to her kids, planning a science experiment, or figuring out the next field trip, she loves getting the kids outside and getting active. She does writing on many topics including real estate, business, and education.

Tawnee loves the freedom of writing on the topics that are of interest to her and is thrilled to be blessed with the opportunity to homeschool. When not teaching or writing for a client, Tawnee enjoys working on her homeschool blog,

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Study: Why Attention Deficit Disorder Is Over-Diagnosed

Symptoms of ADHD described by the literature
Symptoms of ADHD described by the literature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
from The 

Researchers in Germany find that mental health practitioners tend to diagnose ADHD using their intuition and unclear rules of thumb, not recognized diagnostic criteria.

PROBLEM: The rates of ADHD diagnosis in the developed world have become almost inflationary, increasing annually by an average of three percent from 1997 to 2006 and 5.5 percent from 2003 to 2007 in the U.S. But how accurate are these diagnoses?

METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by University of Basel's Katrin Bruchmueller surveyed 1,000 child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists across Germany, 473 of whom participated in the study. They received one of four case vignettes, and were asked to give a diagnosis and a recommendation for therapy. In three out of the four cases, the described symptoms and circumstances did not fulfill ADHD diagnostic criteria. The gender of the child was included as a variable as well, resulting in eight cases.

RESULTS: Many mental health practitioners seem to proceed heuristically and base their decisions on unclear rules of thumb. The respondents more readily diagnosed ADHD when the case involved a male patient and presented prototypical symptoms, such as impulsiveness, motoric restlessness, and lack of concentration. They were, for instance, twice more likely to conclude ADHD with the boy version of the vignettes than with the girl vignettes. Interestingly, even the therapist's gender played a role in the diagnostic as male doctors diagnosed ADHD more frequently than their female counterparts.

CONCLUSION: ADHD is over-diagnosed because doctors rely too much on their intuition and not on defined, established diagnostic criteria.

SOURCE: The full study, "Is ADHD Diagnosed in Accord With Diagnostic Criteria? Overdiagnosis and Influence of Client Gender on Diagnosis," is published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

ESL Writing: Teaching Students To Enjoy Expressing Themselves With The Written Word

Students working with a teacher at Albany Seni...Students working with a teacher at Albany Senior High School, New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)By Aaron Whirl

Let's face it: ESL writing classes can be boring and predictable. Many students have an instinctive aversion to writing due to the fact that most writing lessons are routine and tedious. That's why ESL writing activities are among the most useful tools that a teacher can have in his or her ESL arsenal.

Writing activities are, at their core, simply more enjoyable ways of putting pen to paper, and they elevate writing from a boring and routine task that students will tend to dread to an interactive assignment which students can look forward to and enjoy.

After all, writing is an art form, comparable to music, painting, or dancing, and it is the role of the teacher to inspire students to think of writing as a way to express themselves creatively.

So how can a teacher accomplish this?

First of all, teachers should consider the age and level of the class when devising an appropriate activity. Certain assignments or activities may need to be simplified, for example, if the students are younger or at a lower level.

Then, there are several different kinds of assignments that can be given out. Some students enjoy journal writing, and the teacher can allot 5 or 10 minutes per class for writing in a journal and answering a predetermined question.

Alternatively, rather than giving the students a predetermined topic, it may be useful to allow the students to simply write extemporaneously about anything they want for a period of time. The teacher can choose to check the students' journals periodically, but it may also be useful for the journals to remain private, viewed only by the students, as this could help foster an appreciation of writing that can be exploited later in the class' writing assignments.

For a more fun and interactive activity, the teacher could write the first sentence of a story, then print this out on several different pieces of paper. Each student can begin writing his or her own version of the story, and the teacher can encourage them to be creative and unique, letting the students vote on their favorite story and offering a prize to the top-ranked student.

Finally, as a variation on this activity, the students can write only two or three sentences instead of the entire story, then pass the story to their neighbor to continue, and so on until the story has passed through several students.

Some of these stories will inevitably become so silly that they may not make much sense, but as long as the students are having fun while writing and doing so while still trying to write correctly, the content of the stories is of secondary importance.

The most important thing is that students are writing and having fun while doing so; only in this way can students learn to think of writing as a form of artistic expression instead of a means of tedious classroom punishment.

ESL writing lessons can be either an inspiring and enjoyable part of ESL classes or simply another part of class to be dreaded. It is up to the teacher to make this distinction. For several useful activities as well as printable writing activities, check out the materials on this site >> ESL for kids

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ESL Worksheets: The Best ESL Resources for Teachers

ThinkerThinker (Photo credit: RyAwesome)By Aaron Whirl

Teaching ESL to young students requires a teacher to have patience, humor, and an ability to communicate in a lively manner using few words and many gestures. But these qualities alone do not necessarily make for an effective class.

It is crucial that the curriculum used in class is suitable and effective, as this will be the main guiding force in the students' learning process. However, given the large amount of ESL resources on the market, it can often be very challenging to find truly useful and effective ESL textbooks.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of finding suitable ESL resources for teachers of young children who are not native English speakers is finding books that will challenge them without making them feel bored.

Young children may become bored quite easily when studying a foreign language, because they simply don't understand the language and may lack the attention span necessary to stay motivated and alert throughout an entire class. ESL resources such as books, workbooks or magazines can either help or hinder this process.

Ideally, an ESL curriculum will incorporate books that have reading passages and writing assignments along with games, colorful pictures, and maybe even songs. Moreover, it is always a good idea to try to come up with creative assignments.

This may mean adding your own ideas to supplement the standard assignments included in textbooks or simply skipping some of the material in the book in order to keep it fresh, interesting, and relevant to the young learners.

However, teachers are often at the mercy of the school's administration when it comes to choosing books. Therefore, to customize classes and shape them to the teacher's liking, it is a good idea to regularly incorporate ESL worksheets into classes.

Teachers can add their own stamp on classes by bringing in worksheets, including either those custom-made by the teacher or suitable worksheets downloaded from the internet. The best ESL worksheets include fun and lively components such as pictures, jokes, or interesting sentences that will hold the children's attention and keep them wanting to learn more.

Many teachers view worksheets as something that does not necessarily have to be interesting or entertaining; however, by looking at worksheets differently - as something dynamic and potentially enjoyable - teachers may find new possibilities for their classrooms.

Most worksheets will involve sentences, stories, or writing passages. This is a perfect opportunity to have fun with the kids and make them interested in English. The sentences or passages on the worksheets should be interesting, lively, and maybe even silly.

In this way, students will actually begin to look forward to the worksheets, and they will begin to view them as a break from the rote and routine process of learning, which often involves sitting in a chair and passively listening to a lecture.

ESL Worksheets can be a teacher's saving grace, especially when the curriculum allows for little flexibility.

For several useful ESL worksheets, lessons, and exercises that can be freely downloaded, printed, and copied, check out ESL Resources for Teachers

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Working With a Difficult Doctoral Advisor

CommunicationCommunication (Photo credit: P Shanks)By Samuel Josephs

One of the most frustrating situations to find yourself in as a PhD student is to have an advisor who is not responding to your communication or providing feedback on your work.

You have completed all of the course work and passed all of the exams your department and/or university requires, and are now in the dissertation stage and hoping to finish, but you are struggling and not getting the direction from your advisor that you need. For this reason, choosing your advisor is crucial.

However, sometimes there are limited faculty members to select from in your department (as an advisor), or your advisor may have difficult things going on in his or her life that are affecting the feedback and communication you get.

The first thing that can be helpful is setting up regular meetings with your advisor. If you both know you will meet every week on a certain day and at a certain time, you can get into a routine, which can help you move things forward.

It also gives you a deadline to focus on in working on the tasks you have to complete, such as writing the literature review, and gives your advisor a deadline in terms of providing feedback on the tasks you complete.

If your advisor fails to set up regular meetings, or fails to show up to any scheduled meetings, document everything. This is important if it comes to the point where you feel you must switch to another advisor and/or must speak to the Graduate Studies Chair in your department or the Department Head about the situation.

If you feel that your advisor is holding you back from moving forward in the program, talk to the Chair of Graduate Studies in your department first and explain the situation. That person has probably worked with your advisor and can advise you on how to improve the situation, or can direct you to other forms of assistance.

Before you talk to the administrators in your department about the situation with your advisor, it is important to communicate with your advisor and let him or her know your concerns (in a respectful way!). The point is not to confront your advisor, but to let him or her know what you need and to better understand his or her viewpoint.

Perhaps he or she isn't giving you the feedback you're asking for because he/she thinks it is work you need to figure out on your own, and that figuring these things out independently is a part of becoming a scholar in your field.

As with any relationship, communicating with your advisor is crucial, and the ability to communicate with a variety of people is a part of all working relationships, so developing these skills during your graduate studies will greatly benefit you in your career.

For more information on professional editing services for your research paper, thesis, or dissertation, visit Submit a page for a free sample edit from any of our editors or submit a full document for editing and have it returned in as soon as 4 hours. Editor World LLC is Better Business Bureau Accredited.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Tennessee Senate Approves Bill To Warn Students That Hand-Holding Is A ‘Gateway Sexual Activity’

A man and a woman holding hands with fingers i...A man and a woman holding hands with fingers intertwined (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Hi readers,

The article below is amazing. With such petty concerns taking up so much energy, is it any surprise that the USA is going down the gurgler?

Tennessee Senate Approves Bill to Warn Students That Hand-Holding is a ‘Gateway Sexual Activity’

by Scott Keyes, Think Progress Health:

Like any state legislature dealing with 8 percent unemployment and thousands of its residents facing disenfranchisement, the Tennessee Senate is targeting the menace of underage hand-holding.

Last week, the Senate passed SB 3310, a bill to update the state’s abstinence-based sex education curriculum to define holding hands and kissing as “gateway sexual activities.” Just one senator voted against the legislation; 28 voted in favor.

Since the bill specifically bans teachers from “demonstrating gateway sexual activity”, educators would be prohibited from even demonstrating what hand-holding is. Breaking these laws could result in a lawsuit, as Hunter from Daily Kos notes:

"If your teacher teaches you anything about sex that isn’t specifically on the approved curriculum, like demonstrating “holding hands” for the class instead of quietly asking about the dangers it poses, they can be sued".

Still, this anti-hand-holding push may only be the second-worst bill passed in Tennessee this month. Nearly a century after the Volunteer State played host to the Scopes Monkey Trial, the legislature has now enacted a new law allowing educators to teach creationism alongside evolution.

About the Author

Scott Keyes is a reporter for at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Scott went to school at Stanford University where he received his B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Sociology. He has appeared on MSNBC and TBD Newstalk TV and been a guest on many radio shows. His writing has been published by The Atlantic, Politico, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott comes to DC from southwest Ohio, a state very near and dear to his heart.
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Choosing Your Doctoral Advisor

Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King, in doctoral gown.Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King, in doctoral gown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)By Samuel Josephs

One of the most important decisions any doctoral student will make is who to pick as a doctoral advisor. If possible, doctoral students should think about possibilities for a doctoral advisor and members of the doctoral/dissertation committee before selecting and starting a program.

Who you choose as your advisor affects so many parts of your life during your doctoral studies, such as the opportunities you have for funding and whether you get feedback on your research or scholarship in a timely manner.

One tip is to think about how well the faculty member communicates and responds to communication. For example, does the faculty member respond to your emails and/or phone calls? Is the faculty member available to meet on a regular basis? How long does it take him or her to respond to your communication?

These are all questions that you should think about carefully because you need to get feedback from your advisor on a regular basis during the dissertation writing stage, and don't want to find yourself working with an advisor who doesn't seem concerned with helping you move forward in your program.

You also want to work with a faculty member who has demonstrated that they are esteemed and have been productive in their field, because learning from him or her will help you become stronger in your field.

Who you choose as an advisor is crucial, as it can even affect whether you get a faculty position you apply for. Search committees look highly upon good mentors - those who are helpful to students and have a good record in terms of productivity in research and scholarship.

There are good and bad advisors in any department and university, and there can be a lot of negative effects of choosing a bad one, so it should be given a lot of thought, and a considerable amount of time should be spent communicating with members of the department to make sure the right choice is made.

Talking with other graduate students as early on in your program is one of the best things you can do, as other students will have had direct contact with the faculty members and may have even heard stories from students who have graduated.

However, keep in mind that the advisor/graduate student relationship can often be affected by personalities, so one negative story does not mean that one particular faculty member is not the right choice for you as an advisor. Choosing a doctoral advisor is possibly the most important decision you make as a doctoral student, so it is something that should be given as much thought as possible.

For more information on professional editing services for your research paper, thesis, or dissertation, visit Editor World is a BBB Accredited company. Submit a page for a free sample edit from any of our editors, or submit your full document for editing and have it returned in as soon as 4 hours.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Acronyms in English Education

English as a Second Language favorite things o...English as a Second Language favorite things on display in June (Photo credit: Newton Free Library)By Richard D. Miller

As an English teacher from Canada living overseas I am often asked if I teach ESL.

I actually teach EFL and there is a simple explanation in that ESL (which is English as a Second Language) is when English is learned and taught in a country that is an English speaking country.

On the other hand EFL, (English as a Foreign Language) is taught and learned in non-English speaking countries. So, learning English in Japan would be EFL and learning English in Canada would be ESL.

There have been comments that many students of English in ESL programs already are in possession of a second language, however the "a" in ESL negates that argument. An acronym that has grown in common use, particularly in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, is ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).

When educators are studying to become an English language teacher, there are several options to the student of language pedagogy. An organization named TESOL which means Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, was formed in the mid 1960's in America and is now designated an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) by the United Nations is dedicated to English language pedagogy.

However, TESOL also means Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. There are even degrees in TESOL offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. There is also TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESL Teaching English as a Second Language that may even be offered at the certificate or diploma levels.

There is also the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and CTEFLA (the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults) replaced the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) Certificate.

In addition to the American based TESOL that is an NGO, many groups also implement the acronym in their organizations where language teachers support them, such as KoTESOL (Korea TESOL) and CamTESOL (Cambodia TESOL).

As for testing the abilities of the students of English, there are several. The biggest that is put on by ETS (Educational Testing Service) is TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) that is the largest English norm-referenced test, and within the TOEFL it has its own acronym within which is the TWE (Test of Written English). And, the TOEFL has several versions, the CBT (Computer Based TOEFL), the iBT (internet Based TOEFL) and the PBT (the Paper Based TOEFL).

The other major language test that ETS puts on is the TOEIC (Test Of English for International Communication). There are several other testing options available and they include the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), the YELT (York English Language Test) and MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery).

Richard Miller teaches at Kansai University in Osaka.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Young Teacher's Guide To Using Textbooks As Teaching/Learning Tools

Textbook StackTextbook Stack (Photo credit: greenasian)By Richard D Boyce

At the outset, let me say that teaching from a textbook is a 'no-no'. It would almost always give the impression to students that you don't know your 'stuff' or you are not confident.

Here, you need to remember that you will always know or understand more than the vast majority of your students with the topic you are teaching.

There will occasionally be gifted students in your class who will understand it all. Use them as tutors/mentors for fellow students. They will often express difficult ideas in ways better understood by their classmates.

However, since textbooks can be expensive, it is important that they be used often and effectively. A good textbook can be a real asset to you as well as for the student. The author was, most likely, a teacher who has written the book on the basis of their own experience.

A good textbook is an essential tool in learning, helping with consolidation and practice of skills. Therefore, take a great deal of time researching various choices to find the one that best suits your needs. A bad choice becomes an expensive mistake.

The writer spent most of his career teaching Mathematics where a textbook is essential. During his years as Head of Mathematics, he introduced several new syllabuses into his school. Consequently, he and his staff needed to research carefully to find the best available textbooks. Sometimes it took up to two years to test out the available text books. His experience in using textbooks and selecting new ones provided the information for this article.

A good textbook is a:

• Reference guide;
• Source of the basics to learn and/or practice;
• Source of rules or procedures to be learnt;
• Source of exercises used to consolidate new learning and ideas on how to practice new skills (these need to be carefully graded to allow students enough practice to consolidate the basics and then allow them easy movement forward to the more challenging tasks);
• Source of revision exercises;
• Source of worked examples; and
• As a backup when you teach new and challenging topics.

It should contain the following:

• Chapter summary of ideas to be remembered;
• Chapter review/test;
• Answers;
• Easy to understand diagrams, graphs, pictures and other illustrations; and
• It may also contain a suggested work program as a guide to the time you need to spend on each topic.

Teach your students how to use the textbook effectively as it can be an efficient learning tool at home. Spend a lesson looking at the following list of sections in the text book, explaining how to use each part.

(a) Contents page
(b) Index
(c) Explanations of new work
(d) Worked examples
(e) Learning work
(f) Exercises to do
(g) Skill practice
(h) Chapter review
(i) Chapter test/diagnosis
(j) Problem solving
(k) Extension work
(l) BOB, back of book - answers

Work Program and Your Textbook

Give students a work outline to go with the text book. In it, detail the basic exercises the students need to do to gain an understanding of the subject. This is the minimum requirement only. However, specify what needs to be done to extend this understanding to gain the best marks possible.

Some final advice

Insist that students have their textbook with them every day in class. If you know that you will definitely not be using it next lesson, tell the class not to bring it (students appreciate not having to carry heavy books unnecessarily). However, don't forget to remind the class to bring it to the next lesson. You need to be careful with this process in lower level classes especially in junior high school classes.

When you know that you will use a textbook in a lesson, insist it remains closed until you have finished the teaching part of the lesson unless you plan to refer to it as part of your teaching strategy. It is important to write the number/s of the page/s you intend to use on the board.

Then, don't start referring to what the students must do until you are sure everyone is on the same page. This is also true when you set work from a textbook for the students to do.

Some teachers, particularly, in lower high school classes with less able students, have extra textbooks with them or photocopies of the relevant pages to ensure all students will be able to do the planned work.

In the end, your text must be:

• Teaching tool;
• Teaching aid; and a
• Learning tool

For information on many classroom topics, go to There you will find practical advice gained from the experience of over 120 years in the classroom. The eBooks on the website were written by Rick Boyce and edited by his two retired teaching partners, Roy Wyatt and Terry Prindable.

The mission statement of our group is to provide 'real' information on how the classroom really works to help young teachers begin their career on a high note. On the website, go directly to the category, "The Young, New and Trainee Teacher".

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Home Tuition: How To Find the Right Tutor

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03:  Tutor Sadie Ho...Tutor Sadie Houston speaks at the New Choices For Youths Trust (Credit: Getty Images via @daylife)By Drew Graham

There are a lot of students who struggle with their studies. When this happens the best solution is usually to hire a tutor to give them some personal attention and help get them up to speed.

If you are going to hire a tutor however you have to make sure that you know how to find the right one for your needs.

The first thing that you have to do in order to find the right tutor for your needs is to really think about how much help you need with your studies. If you are generally able to keep up with the lessons in class but would like a little bit of extra help to make sure that you get the best grade possible a classmate who is doing well in the subject may be adequate.

On the other hand if you are really struggling to understand the material you will probably need the help of a professional tutor.

If you are going to choose a professional tutor it is best to find one who is certified. There are various levels of certification depending on where you live but in general your best bet is to go with a professional teacher who is moonlighting for extra cash. They will have the most training and experience.

There are also people who work as fulltime tutors who have certification but who are not licensed teachers. They can be a good option but they will not have the same level of training as a teacher.

One thing to keep in mind when you are looking at certifications is to make sure that you choose a tutor who has training and experience in the subject you need help with. A licensed teacher may have the most teaching experience but if all of that experience is in teaching history they are probably not going to be much help if you are struggling with math. You have to consider both their certification and their teaching background.

There are generally two sources that you can use to find tutors, the first is to go through an agency, the other is a freelancer. A tutor from an agency will generally have more training and experience but will also cost more. With freelancers it is a bit more a gamble since you don't have an agency to do background checks. On the other hand a tutor who is freelancing will generally cost less.

If you are struggling with your studies home tuition may be the solution to your problem. Home tuition can give you the personal attention you need to get back on track.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Make Christchurch Your Home While Studying English As A Second Language

ChristchurchChristchurch (Photo credit: Hari L Ratan)By Cait Adams

If you are planning to learn English as a second language, you have made an excellent decision that will help you throughout life. There are several study options available to you. You can learn via the internet, books, CDs and English language schools.

Many students believe that one of the best options is to learn English as a second language at a school in a country where English is spoken as the first language. If you move to a new country to become a full-time student of English you can learn the language very quickly because you are surrounded by other English speakers.

Many countries offer English language schools, so the choice really depends on which part of the world you would like to live while you learn.

One option that many foreign language students have chosen is to learn English as a second language at a school in New Zealand, which is a small nation made up of two main islands and about four and a half million people. The country is well-known for its clean, green image, beautiful scenery including lakes, mountains, beaches and wide stretches of rural land.

The New Zealand people are friendly and there are always plenty of things to do. One of the cities where you gain benefits by studying English is Christchurch, which is the biggest city in the picturesque South Island of New Zealand.

Situated on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretches to the Southern Alps, Christchurch - more commonly known among the locals as 'The Garden City' - is a fantastic place to study if you love wide open spaces and a huge choice of exciting and adventurous leisure time experiences such as skiing, snowboarding, hot air ballooning and hiking.

Many students make Christchurch their home while they are studying English as a second language at a school in the city. There is a choice of schools available so there are always plenty of other students to spend time with. Christchurch is also home to many people from countries all over the world who have moved to the area because of its beauty, clean air and proximity to such fabulous scenery and outdoor activities.

Christchurch is a very easy city to get around using buses, bicycles or walking. The Christchurch International Airport is situated on the outskirts of the city, and is only a short 15 to 20 minute drive into the centre of the city. Accommodation is available in the city and surrounding suburbs and many students choose to live in areas where they are close to activities such as shopping, movies, restaurants, bars and the beach.

When you have more leisure time away from your studies, the great outdoors is right there waiting for you - from hot air ballooning over the Canterbury Plains to snowboarding at Mt Hutt. You can even try fishing in the Rakaia River. If you love animals, you'll enjoy the Orana Wildlife Park and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

You will love the atmosphere and friendly people of Christchurch if you choose the city as the place to live while you attend an English as a second language school.

CCEL (Christchurch College of English Ltd) is a privately-owned English language school located on the University of Canterbury campus in Christchurch. CCEL works in partnership with the University and provides international students with a pathway to further study, find out more about studying English As A Second Language today.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Best Methods to Improve Conversational English

Only in England...           (Photo credit: exfordy)By Michael Hines

One of the factors that indicate success in ESL classrooms is the proficiency of students in oral communication.

Whether the ESL class is for basic, intermediate or advanced learners, the ability of students to articulate simple to complex ideas in English can be verified, assessed, and improved using various ESL techniques.

Once students become comfortable using the basic approaches of communicating meaning in English, they can start participating in English conversations, whether through orchestrated scenarios or in real life encounters.

In any linguistic context, the process of conversation involves listening, the mental formulation of meaning and speaking. Each participant in a conversation has to perform all three tasks in order to remain an active and relevant player in the encounter. Because these tasks are by no means easy to perform for most non-native speakers, the experience of successfully participating in a complete session provides much pleasure, excitement and satisfaction among ESL/EFL students.

Often, there is some sort of eureka moment when an idea expressed in English is correctly apprehended by the student and when a specific idea students are trying to convey in foreign language is articulated correctly and clearly understood by a native English speaker.

Likewise, teachers of English as a second or foreign language whose students have developed conversational skills are adequately affirmed in terms of their profession as well as the learning strategies and techniques that they adopt.

Hindrances that prevent full involvement in conversations

Getting learners to develop conversational skills in English is riddled with challenges, however. The fact is, the various forms of oral discourses - light conversation, role-plays, debates, topic discussions and recitations - are seen with dread and apprehension by many students.

This results in a considerable timidity or hesitation among students to proactively articulate their thoughts in English. A number of factors have been identified to cause or reinforce learners' reluctance to speak in English. These include:

1. The topic is irrelevant or totally foreign to the learner
2. The learner does not have an opinion or anything to articulate about the subject
3. The learner does not know how to correctly articulate an idea and is fearful of making mistakes and ridiculed by the class or the conversation partner
4. The learner is intimidated by the higher level of proficiency exhibited by other learners. The possibility of being compared to more articulate learners results to a nagging reluctance to participate even when the learner has valid ideas about the topic
5. The learner is conscious about and ashamed of the peculiar accent he or she exhibits when speaking in English

Getting these common hindrances out of the way is the first major step a competent ESL/EFL educator should take. For learners to develop acceptable proficiencies in oral English communication, any roadblock that prevents an active, meaningful participation in oral discourses should be addressed. Here are some logical, common sense approaches in doing so:

1. ESL/EFL educators should be aware of the socio-cultural contexts they are teaching in. Aligning lesson plans that make use of highly relevant and familiar topics (common Thai dish ingredients or street foods, Korean television series, and unique Bornean wildlife, for examples) will help learners to easily form ideas and opinions that they need to express in English.

2. To facilitate a better learning environment, English teachers should make it a point to get to know their students individually as much as possible. In smaller classes, getting to know students' hobbies or interests may help yield valuable conversation topics. This may not be possible in much bigger classes, however. One way to circumvent cases wherein students are not able to form meaningful ideas or opinions about a topic is to assign them fixed, pre-fabricated roles or opinions. This way, learners can focus on language production skills instead of forming viewpoints or drawing from their own personal experiences.

3. Creating an open, tolerant, and socially constructive classroom is critical in fostering collaborative learning. At the beginning of the course, the ESL/EFL educator should already have established that mistakes will inevitably occur and that there is no reason to be ashamed of them. The teacher may also opt to give due credit to risk takers even when they commit mistakes. This is an opportunity to correct mistakes and encourage other learners to participate.

4. In some learning scenarios, competition is a strong motivation for success. In others, however, collaborative techniques that wholly benefit the group are better utilized.

5. Exhibiting accents is a normal manifestation in second or foreign language articulation. Educators and linguists differ on how they regard this phenomenon, however. On one hand, the spread of English around the world has transformed it into a global language such that no single ethno-linguistic group can now really claim it as its own.

The British and the Aussies have their respective accents. Why would accents that indicate a Japanese or Filipino speaker be viewed as incorrect when the meaning conveyed is apprehensible to any English speaker? After all, linguists believe that language is organic and continually evolving, with different groups assimilating a particular language and imbuing it with their own characteristic nuances and accents.

On the other hand, there are educators who maintain that encouraging the use of a neutral English accent is the best course to take in the long run, especially in global communication. Because some English variants and pidgin forms are difficult to comprehend quickly, neutral accents are preferable when significantly distinct socio-linguistic groups are communicating in English.

Hence, educators should constructively teach the globally acceptable way of speaking in English without marginalizing the specific English variant characteristic of the locale they are teaching in.

Effective aids to English conversations

Speaking and listening exercises are still, by far, the most effective way of improving conversational skills. However, any hindrance that prevents learners from fully participating in these exercises should immediately be addressed by the ESL/EFL teacher as explained previously. Using conversation cue cards that are used in role playing sessions may also help learners become less apprehensive about participating.

Transitional exercises that teach learners on how to listen and speak about relevant everyday encounters should be an integral part of the course on conversational English. Talking about the weather, buying groceries, meeting a new acquaintance, a job interview and offering to rent an apartment are just some of the scenarios wherein potentially useful English conversation exercises may be initiated.

As these scenarios are familiar, students will more likely participate in communicating their thoughts. Once educators have familiarized and made learners comfortable with speaking and listening exercises, the class may proceed to more complex activities. These include formal debates on different relevant topics. When conducting debates, remember that it is more important for students to focus on how to articulate than to concentrate on how they really feel about a subject.

To help learners develop a neutral English accent, teachers should advise them to 1) observe and imitate the mouth movements of competent English speakers; 2) use the dictionary to learn correct pronunciations; 3) listen to audio books in English; 4) read English books or magazines aloud; and 5) record their English conversations and oral readings to identify common mistakes and have these rectified.

Finally, in addition to classroom activities, ESL/EFL teachers may encourage their students to visit online portals that offer live English conversations to second or foreign language learners. Most of these are paid services but other websites do offer free audio records of different situational dialogues. These audio records can be good practice aids to help students improve their English conversational skills.

Michael G. Hines is an educator living in Thailand and the Founder of Icon Group (IconGroupThailand):
Total ESL - ESL Social Networking

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

To Label or Not to Label? Pros and Cons of Educational Diagnoses

Symptoms of ADHD described by the literatureSymptoms of ADHD described by the literature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)By Maggie Dail

To Label

1. Diagnostic testing may reveal learning gaps
2. Getting a diagnosis / label may qualify an individual for help in school and tutoring services at some colleges
3. Having a label may make it easier to explain atypical behavior or achievement

Not to Label

1. While diagnostic testing may lead to learning gaps / (i.e. person can't add two digits to two digits, this person does not understand cause and effect in reading), it often limits expectations to what a person with that label typically can do.
2. Before getting a label one should find out what kind of services will be offered and how it will impact the learning of the individual. In school settings, the emphasis is usually to accommodate so the individual can fit in with the mainstream.
3. Often having a diagnosis provides little in the way of resolving the issues. Recommendations are often very limited.

While a diagnosis that affects learning often has a health component as a part of the underlying cause, we should be sure that in treating that health issue, we search for its underlying cause or causes.

As an example, one should remember that ADHD is not a deficiency of a drug such as Ritalin. Those types of drugs do not get to the underlying cause of the typical behaviors of ADHD. They may control symptoms, but do not resolve the underlying causes.

Before making a decision, explore alternatives that are capable of providing resolution to the underlying causes to the difficulties rather than merely provide accommodations.

Since the 1930s there has been an alternative to the mainstream, the neurodevelopmental approach. This approach uses a developmental profile, looking for missing pieces in development. These gaps indicate to the neurodevelopmental specialist that specific brain stimulation is required to encourage development. When that occurs, the reason why a label may have been assigned disappears.

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (Dr. Temple Faye, Glenn Doman, Dr. Robert Doman and Carl Delacato, PhD), are considered the founders of this approach. There are a number of organizations that have developed from the ideas and experience of the Institutes.

Generally parents are instructed in how to do short, frequent activities to stimulate the needed areas in the brain. Occasionally, you will find organizations with programs that will provide these services to parents. Other organizations may offer a combination of "in center"- and "at home"-activities. Families should determine which of these options best fit their needs and circumstances.

All of these programs fully embrace the concept of neuroplasticity that has become more accepted in recent years in the mainstream. Neuroplasticity recognizes that the brain is much more flexible in its learning capacity throughout life than previously thought.

The key to the success of these programs is determining the underlying cause and stimulating the brain in a specific way consistently over time.

Maggie and her husband, Ronnie operate the Center for Neuro Development in Lakewood, Washington. Maggie earned a Special Education from Adams State College in 1989. She has been in an internship / independent study leading to certification with the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists.

They offer local, on site services as well as some long distance consultation. They work with homeschoolers as well as those who attend school. While many of their clients are challenged with learning they offer products and services for a broad range of individuals.
Free E-Book: Unlocking Learning Potential: From Gifted to Challenged

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