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May 14th, 2013 · No Comments
I am a huge David Foster Wallace fan, and I think this video adapted from a commencement speech he gave in 2005 is fantastic. I would especially considering showing it to my college- or grad-school-bound students. It’s a bit long, and it’s certainly not the easiest thing in the world to understand, but I love the perspective it offers on the purpose of education.
April 24th, 2013 · No Comments
Over the past several election cycles, I’ve become convinced that the only issue that truly matters is getting the money out of politics. Until we do that, no meaningful change is possible. Lawrence Lessig’s recent TED talk expresses this problem in clear and engaging terms.
This talk would be difficult for most students, but it provides a wonderful counterpoint to a naive understanding of the purity of American democracy. In my experience, many students (even those from democratic countries) see their own governments as being much more corrupt than America. An excerpt from this talk might help them to gain a more critical understanding. One way to use this video might be to take a 3 minute excerpt from early on (when he is explaining the statistics) and ask students to create a summary poster or other visual representation.
April 19th, 2013 · 2 Comments
I would like to start an environmental forum in TESOL. The purpose of this forum will be to bring together English language teachers, program administrators, and other English language professionals interested in environmental issues. We will use our network to share materials and other resources in a spirit of collaboration. We will also promote environmentally themed convention sessions, and have a social event / business meeting at TESOL conventions
In order to qualify as a forum, I need to submit a list of names and member IDs of 25 active TESOL members who support this forum. So if you believe that environmental responsibility is something worth discussing within TESOL and are an active TESOL member, please email me your name, your preferred email address, and your TESOL member ID. There is no cost to be in a forum, and you can be a member in as many as you like.
If you would like to be more involved, I have put together a simple survey. In it, I ask for ideas for a name for the forum, and also for opinions related to the round table and discussion session that we will be given at the convention as a forum. Thanks!
April 1st, 2013 · 1 Comment
This video is an effective way to visually communicate the wealth inequality in the US. I especially like the fact that it focuses so much on the difference between perception and reality. When I was teaching in China, I asked my class what percentage of Americans they thought was rich. The consensus was 80%. It would be interesting to ask students to do research like that described in the video. They could conduct surveys to find out what people thought the wealth distribution was, and compare the predictions with reality.
Another good direction to take with this would be to look at statistics on the global level. I’ve done an activity like this in the past — asking students to describe how they thought wealth was distributed throughout the world. They are always shocked by the actual numbers.
March 22nd, 2013 · No Comments
In this session, we talked about ideas for greening an English language program. I shared my own experiences, dividing my time between the areas of curriculum and resources. Here is the presentation I gave. Below, you can find links to the various materials I discussed.
A good place to start is a project I undertook while a graduate student at the University of Hawaii. For two semesters, myself and a colleague made a number of changes with the intent of greening our language program. The materials we created, along with a discussion of our successes and failures, are available here:
- Student Orientation – We created a two hour orientation program introducing students to some of the environmentally friendly options for food, shopping and recycling in the local community. This orientation included vocabulary review, an FAQ, a set of roleplays and discussion questions, and a green directory. I also talk about it on this podcast.
- Activities – We created a variety of environmentally-themed extracurricular activities.
- Food, Plates and Utensils – We found a more eco-friendly caterer and stopped using disposable plates and utensils.
- Other Changes – We attempted to be more responsible with our resource use and waste disposal.
- Difficulties – Despite the efforts and support of the administration and staff, we encountered some obstacles along the way.
I also talked about ideas for various content electives. I’ve used this project as the basis for a global issues elective, and you can visit this page for more information, including all of the handouts. There is also an article I wrote on the project for JALT’s Global Issues in Language Education newsletter. You can find a variety of other activities that I’ve used in global issues electives here and here.
Finally, I talked about ideas for integrating environmental content into other topic areas, like business, food, shopping and travel. This website is full of materials that could be used in that way. For a collection of food-related content, please check out the other presentation I did at TESOL 2013.
If you have any questions about any of these materials, please let me know. Feel free to email me or post in the comments. I’d also love to hear about ways in which you’ve made your English language program more environmentally responsible.
March 21st, 2013 · No Comments
Here are the materials from my TESOL presentation on giving international students the food-related language they need. My premise is that we focus on the language for expressing preference, describing cultural foods, and understanding recipes. In fact, these are not the most pressing food-related needs that our students have. I propose that food lessons should include the language necessary to express dietary practices related to allergies, religion and environmental / ethical beliefs. In addition to better meeting student needs, incorporating these types of supplementary materials makes our content much more engaging, and brings a critical thinking element that might otherwise be absent.
Here is the presentation I gave, included within are links to most of the materials I referenced.
“Do you eat…” Handout – This is a “master handout” that I’d pull pieces from to suit the level and needs of a given class.
Handouts from foodallergy.org
Information on Jewish Dietary Practices
Information on Hindu Dietary Practices
Information on Buddhist Dietary Practices
Faith and Food – Information on various religions and food
Food Labeling for Dummies – Legal definitions of the various terms and logos that appear on US labels.
Non-GMO Shopper’s Guide – Guide to finding products (especially processed foods) made without GMO ingredients.
List of Animal Ingredients – Definitions of the various ingredients that are derived from animals.
Banned chemicals article – Short article listing 13 chemicals that are banned in other countries but legal in US.
If you have any questions or would like to share any materials of your own, please email me or post in the comments.
March 18th, 2013 · No Comments
So You Want to Save Water? is an infographic that shows the water used in producing various foods and other items. At the bottom of the graphic, they show how much water could be saved by switching various things. I was surprised to learn that swapping a cup of coffee for a cup of tea everyday would save almost 11,000 gallons of water each year. One thing that didn’t surprise me was that the biggest water saving step that most of us could take would be to eat less meat. Switching a pound of beef with a pound of veggies per week would save over 94,000 gallons of water per year.
This graphic makes it easy to put various actions in perspective and would be a great addition to a unit on the environment, water usage or food.
March 14th, 2013 · No Comments
For those of you going to TESOL 2013 next week, I’ll be giving two presentations.
1:00-1:45 in D163
Feeding International Students With the Language They Need
Students come to IEPs with religious, environmental, and ethical values that inform their diet. Lessons about food should therefore give students the language they need to control and explain their food choices. In this session, we look critically at food-themed materials from several textbooks and discuss supplementary activities.
Socially Responsible Leadership
In this panel session, I’ll be speaking for 20-30 minutes, sharing ideas for bringing environmental responsibility into English language program administration. Emphasis will be placed on policies and practices that empower students to make environmentally responsible choices. For example, I will share my experience in creating and implementing a green student orientation aimed at familiarizing students with environmental resources both at the school and in the local area. This orientation raised student awareness of sustainable choices in terms of shopping, transportation, food and waste disposal. In addition, I will look at several ways to improve program resource use, including food service and paper consumption.
There are a bunch of other sessions that I’m looking forward to attending. I can already see I have some tough decisions to make!
|Thu. 3/21 1:00-1:45||D163||Feeding International Students With the Language They Need|
|Thu. 3/21 2:00-2:45||A302||Engaging or Offending? Adapting ESL Materials for Muslim Students|
|Thu. 3/21 2:00-2:45||D162||Purposeful Project-Based Learning in a Rural India College Campus|
|Thu. 3/21 2:00-2:45||D170||Service Learning and Teaching ESL: A Harmony of Ideals|
|Thu. 3/21 3:00-3:45||Roundtable Discussion Area||Strategies to Address Bullying in the English Language Classroom|
|Thu. 3/21 3:00-4:45||D168||Critical Pedagogy in Practice: Six Settings|
|Thu. 3/21 7:00-7:30||Ballroom C2||Peacebuilding Skills for Teachers and Learners|
|Fri. 3/22 8:30-9:30||Arena||Subconsciously Held Bias: Exposing the Myth of Racial Colorblindness|
|Fri. 3/22 10:00-10:45||D163||Opening Eyes and Minds With Local Community Based Research Projects|
|Fri. 3/22 10:00-11:45||A303||Harmonizing Language and Environmental Education: Inspiring Students to Be Green|
|Fri. 3/22 10:00-12:45||D223||Creating Global Citizens: Socially Responsible Educators in ESL Classrooms|
|Fri. 3/22 10:00-12:45||D221||Teacher Values, Beliefs and Identities in the ESOL Classroom|
|Fri. 3/22 11:00-11:45||C142||Building Partnerships: Incorporating Service Learning, Teacher Training Into ESL Programs|
|Fri. 3/22 1:00-2:45||D225||Socially Responsible Leadership|
|Fri. 3/22 3:00-3:45||D174||Creating Materials to Help Adults With Low Literacy Avoid Fraud|
|Fri. 3/22 3:00-3:45||D164||Infusing Gender Equity in EFL Classroom Teaching Practice|
|Fri. 3/22 3:00-4:45||C146||Social Class Identity: The Unspoken Undercurrent in TESOL|
|Sat. 3/23 10:00-10:45||D175||Occupy the Classroom: Getting Students Involved|
|Sat. 3/23 11:00-11:45||A305||Gender Issues in the Middle Eastern EFL Classroom|
|Sat. 3/23 11:00-11:45||A309||Helping the Poorest of the Poor in the Tourist Industry|
|Sat. 3/23 1:00-1:45||D175||Harmonizing Language Learning and Social Responsibility|
|Sat. 3/23 1:00-1:45||Roundtable Discussion Area||ESP for Law Enforcement: Addressing Social Justice Issues Through Language|
|Sat. 3/23 3:00-3:45||D175||Building Peace Through Critical Literacy|
|Sat. 3/23 3:00-3:45||C143||Teaching Tolerance Through World Religions in the ESOL Classroom|
|Sat. 3/23 3:00-4:15||D160||Integrating Marginalized Identities to Interrupt the Normative Curriculum|
March 13th, 2013 · No Comments
100 Views of Climate Change is a website from Colorado State University that offers short and long videos on climate change, along with notes on books and articles and links to other resources. Finding specific resources is very easy. The site is broken into five sections: climate, nature, humans, action, and the big picture. Each section is then further subdivided into 3 or 4 areas. For example, the section on the human face of climate change is broken up into impacts on people, responses from ethics, art and literature, and communication.
Each page is then sorted by type of resource. For example, the responses from ethics, art and literature has one short video, seven longer videos, three book recommendations, five links to articles and seven links to websites. The books, articles and websites are all annotated, making it easy to quickly tell which may be relevant to a given class activity.
March 7th, 2013 · No Comments
I love Shane Koyczan. I first heard his work in a collaboration with musician Dan Mangan called Tragic Turn of Events / Move Pen Move. His most recent work is a project based around his poem To This Day, where he collaborated with numerous volunteers to make a video that powerfully addresses the issue of bullying.
I would love to use this video with advanced learners as part of a unit on bullying. It would probably be helpful to provide them with the text of the poem beforehand. This video would fit in nicely with the materials on No Name-Calling Week.