Tag: 2010

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Hard Times, Higher Goals Last month, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, delivered the keynote address at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages convention which repeated the familiar theme that during budget cuts, we need to find convincing reasons to justify funding for language programs, namely national security and international trade. The conclusion of...

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Devolve and Evolve So often when we talk about learning, we refer only to students in educational institutions even though we know that it is an ongoing process which hopefully continues for every single day of our lives. When it comes to educational methodologies, however, most of our policymakers seem to have such entrenched, preconceived opinions that they seem unable...

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Willing and Ready to Learn So often when we talk about learning, we refer only to students in educational institutions even though we know that it is an ongoing process which hopefully continues for every single day of our lives. When it comes to educational methodologies, however, most of our policymakers seem to have such entrenched, preconceived opinions that they...

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Loading the Dice Teachers are facing unprecedented demands as they start this new academic year. Falling state tax revenues have led to education budget cuts that state legislators feel can only be eased by federal funding and compliance with Washington’s demands for testing and accountability that receipt of the money entails. However, there is little evidence to support the premise that...

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Keeping Up With Styles As educational spending budgets are squeezed, the return on investment in educational technology is also coming under increased scrutiny. We cut such spending at our peril. Of course, we must invest in books and teachers but technology offers students more opportunity to learn according to their own style. Since the earliest language labs with reel-to-reel tape recorders,...

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Cutting to the Core When lawmakers dictate curricula, the natural reaction from educators is to reject this top down approach which seeks to homogenize the lives of children without possibly taking into account the individual gifts and foibles that teachers recognize as indicators of learning style. When a nationwide blueprint for educational standards is unveiled, reaction within the states of...

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Communicate Period The administration’s Race to the Top scheme is only the latest in a long line of attempts to “fix” our educational system — all of which have neglected the fundamental changes in our society that have occurred over the last 20 years and are likely to accelerate over the next decades. Comm­unications have taken on a whole new meaning...

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Reading in Any Language The theme of the International Association’s 2010 conference “Reading in Many Languages”seems perfectly timed to coincide with a new report (see News, p10) which finds that bilingual education works as well as English immersion in the pursuit of English literacy.    There is a wealth of evidence supporting the premise that acquiring literacy in one language accelerates the...

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Free Public Education Now that a compromised healthcare bill looks set to be pushed through Congress, the Administration has released its Blueprint for Reform to shift public attention to education and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act(ESEA), perhaps in the hope that it will be much easier to achieve consensus over education than it has been over health. Such a strategy is surprising since education is so...

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Keeping the Message Clear President Obama’s appointment of Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the Department of Education represents an enormous opportunity for English language educators. For the first time, an English learner with first-hand experience of succeeding in a second language is in a position to make a real difference to...