Transferring Language

Transferring Language

Ana Albir describes the development of a digital tool to help English learners in both mainstream and ESL classes

One of the most common arrangements for English language learners (ELLs) at schools in the U.S. is for them to take subject classes (e.g., math or science) in English, together with non-ELLs at grade level. ELLs are then pulled out of class for separate English language development (ELD) instruction. Existing software-based solutions are specific to ELD or ELA instruction and focus on targeting either foundational or linguistic requirements via computer-adaptive curricula.

Foundational and linguistic skills are essential for students. However, these challenges remain:
1/ Existing ELL tools are taught solely in a separate ELL class and receive support in a small portion of the day.
2/ Existing tools are curriculum dependent, leaving the majority of ELLs in core subject classes unsupported, to sink or swim.
3/ Existing tools do not incorporate the most recent best practices highlighted by the U.S. Department of Education, such as leveraging native-language proficiency (L1) to acquire English proficiency (L2).

ELL programs planting “Seeds of Hope” across the state

ELL programs planting “Seeds of Hope” across the state

They’ve lived inside barbed wire. They’ve fled genocide or other violence.

One student from the Middle East had lived through a kidnapping, while another experience the kidnapping and murder of a sibling. The child was killed while the family listened on the phone.

“School doesn’t matter after that,” said a teacher in the newly released Nebraska Loves Public Schools film “Seeds of Hope.” The film was screened at Chadron State College last week at the launch of Chadron High School’s strategic planning outreach.

It’s difficult to get a student to focus on math when they are still dealing with those types of trauma, another teacher pointed out in the film.

The importance of appropriate cultural education

Intercultural Mediation

Ian Akhbar stresses the importance of appropriate cultural education

How shall I talk of the sea to the frog,
if it has never left its pond?
How shall I talk of the frost to the bird of the summerland,
if it has never left the land of its birth?
How shall I talk of life with the sage,
if he is prisoner of his doctrine?
Chung Tsu, 4th Century B.C. (Fantini n.d., 26)

Teacher shortage: 24 students, 5 languages, 1 ELL teacher

Teacher shortage: 24 students, 5 languages, 1 ELL teacher

By the numbers: Arizona teacher shortage

  • 22 percent of teachers hired between 2013 and 2015 were not teaching in Arizona after one year.
  • 42 percent of Arizona teachers hired in 2013 left the profession within three years.
  • 52 percent of Arizona charter school teachers hired in 2013 left within three years.
  • More than one-third of Arizona teachers have been in the classroom for four years or less.
  • When adjusted for cost of living, Arizona elementary school teacher pay is the lowest in the nation. The pay for Arizona high school teachers ranks 49th in the U.S.

If Your Teacher Looks Like You, You May Do Better In School

If Your Teacher Looks Like You, You May Do Better In School

Think back to grade school for a moment and envision that one teacher who could captivate you more than any other. Did that teacher look a bit like you? One recent study says: probably.

There’s mounting evidence that when black students have black teachers, those students are more likely to graduate high school. That new study takes this idea even further, providing insight into the way students actually think and feel about the teachers who look like them and those who don’t.

Nominations + Elections

It is almost time again for the members of NMTESOL to elect three members of the Board of Directors: President, Treasurer, and Web Coordinator.

The term of service for these Board members will be the years 2018 and 2019. Before the voting can take place, though, we need your help in finding the best candidates for these positions.  Please take a moment to consider whether you or someone you know would be able and willing to serve in one of these capacities.

The President’s primary job is to lead the association, for example, by conducting meetings, representing the association to other  professional associations and government offices, and taking a major role in organizing conferences.

The Treasurer has responsibility for maintaining the association’s financial records and serves as liaison with the association’s accountant, and other duties.  (Knowledge of QuickBooks is preferred but not required.)

Web Coordinator has responsibility for the association’s email, online presence, social media, and other duties. In addition to being willing to fulfill the basic duties outlined above, the candidates must meet these criteria:

  1. They must be willing to become a member of NMTESOL (if not already a member).
  2. If elected, they must be willing to serve in the position for the duration of their two-year term.
  3. If elected, they must be willing to take part in monthly NMTESOL Board of Directors meetings, which are generally conducted online using Google Hangouts/Skype.

Anyone can recommend a person for the NMTESOL Board. If you wish to recommend yourself or someone else, please send recommendations to this e-mail address ( along with a short introduction of the candidate.  Send your candidate recommendations by December 31st 2017.

Voting will be conducted online. Results will be announced at our annual meeting, via email, and website.

Can exercise help ESL students learn English?

Can exercise help ESL students learn English?

Too busy to learn a new language? Try taking your language lessons to the gym!

No, this isn’t the latest “multitask for success” tip — working out while you study has actually been proven to improve memorization and retention of new vocabulary.

Recent research of Chinese university students with a basic knowledge of English demonstrates physical activity’s positive impact on language learning. The study published in PLOS Oneshowed students who rode exercise bikes while being introduced to a set of new English words improved performance at both the word and sentence level.

Every Student Succeeds Act

Will Your State’s ESSA Plan Work for English-Language Learners?

The Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy has put together a framework to evaluate states’ Every Student Succeeds Act plans to determine if they meet the law’s requirements for English-language-learner students.

Outlining 33 key questions, the brief guides readers through sections in state plans that should address English-learner accountability and offers guidance on how to evaluate the effectiveness of policies that states plan to adopt.

As the report authors write, ESSA requires states to provide a much clearer picture to the public on how English-learners are doing in schools, including keeping a closer eye on their English-proficiency progress and academic achievement. But there is already friction in some states over that mandate.

Parent Academy Assists Non-English Speakers


New Meadowlawn Elementary School Principal Tim Hargis recognizes the traits of dedication and perseverance in his English-language learner families, and sees how hard parents work to help their children be successful.

The school is home to the district’s elementary Newcomer Center Program for students who are brand new to the United States. There are currently 20 children in the program. Many other students schoolwide are ELL, with varying levels of English.