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Time flies. Or, as the Romans used to say, “tempus fugit.”
Two weeks after the CATESOL 2009 convention in Pasadena ended, I’m finally having a chance to sort through the numerous books, doublecheck website leads, and evaluate materials that I picked up. Sometimes “the eyes are too hungry”, and I went a bit overboard in collecting ESL materials and resources for advanced English language learners. Of course, English teachers love books, new curriculum materials, and free ESL materials. I also have the excuse of working as a consultant for a workplace ESL program so I went hunting for some particular products for healthcare workers.
Here is a short list of promising materials:
VSOE ideas from CATESOL convention
American Speech Sounds program for Healthcare workers. Also www.eslrules.com has powerful training materials for focused workshops for non-native English speakers working in hospital, clinics, and across the medical field.
- Effective Practices in Workplace Language Training (TESOL)
- Getting Ahead in the US (Living Language) – videotape/textbook series
- New Citizenship DVD for future naturalization tests. This free DVD, perfect for adult educators, confirms that the new citizenship test will only require a “high beginning” level of ESL to qualify for American citizenship. Personally, I consider this an absurdly low standard that implies new American citizens can speak worse English than at least a half a billion English speakers outside of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
Of course, low standards have many fans in the world of adult education and with many immigrant groups. More on this topic later.
- The Center for Applied Linguistics www.cal.org continues to offer wider and deeper variety of resources for ESL teachers, especially for adult education.
- I had several fascinating conversations about various English competency tests and their possible use in the workplace. The TOEIC test, on its merits, seems the strongest by far. Unfortunately, this test – used by millions in the workplace worldwide – has become almost forbidden due to lawsuits claiming discrimination in the United States. What does this mean? Millions of applicants and employees in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, France, Germany, and other non-English speaking countries have taken this test of English skills. Why? Because English has become a global language and competency in English has become an essential workplace skill.
- But not in the United States! So-called labor and civil rights activists have promoted the concept that requiring English proficiency, as tested by the TOEIC, is discrimination unless the ad explicitly states “English skills required.” This strange situation means that American workers can, and so often do , speak at a lower level than educated workers in Asia and Europe. What’s wrong with this picture!!!
- Software programs continue to become stronger day by day, minute by minute. English language learners, international ESL students, and adult ESL educators have more choices than ever. I will spend a solid chunk of time researching these language programs during my summer break. So far, however, it’s clear that www.openbookenglish.com and www.spokenskills.com offer great values for administrators, teachers, and students. ESL teachers will also find www.lessonwriter.com a wonderful, innovative, and time-saving site.
More later, but I must return to a large pile of research reports that need grading!
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