Activating Conversational Competence

2014_joan_allenJoan Saslow and Allen Ascher

The most important building blocks of conversational competence are carefully constructed conversation models combined with a step-by-step pedagogy for intensive practice.

 The Value of Conversation Models

Although more and more English language course books today no longer even contain them, texts written in the form of “dialogues” or “conversations” have appeared in course book lessons for decades. The earliest dialogues were written to show students examples of “grammar in context,” but because such conversations simply “hammered” the grammar, they had an inauthentic feel that didn’t represent anything real people would ever say. Following is an extreme case, though not an unusual one:

Roy:     What are we going to do for our class field trip?
Jim:      When is it going to be?
Roy:     It’s going to be on Saturday.
Jim:      Where are we going to go?
Roy:     The students want to go to the nature park.
Jim:      OK. And we’re going to have a picnic. What are we going to need?
Roy:     My students are going to bring the sandwiches and drinks. And what about your students?
Jim:     They’re going to bring salads and snacks. Continue reading

The Success of NorthStar: Enduring, Evolving, Engaging

2014_FrancesFrances Boyd

The prize-winning academic English series NorthStar continues to meet the needs of students and teachers all over the world. In its fourth edition, the series endures by retaining its essential qualities. Yet NorthStar also evolves with updated content and expanded online tools. And the books continue to engage and challenge the hearts and minds of learners.

Enduring
Why have secondary and tertiary institutions all over the world continued to rely on NorthStar to help students reach their academic goals? What qualities have endured in the fast-changing textbook landscape?

The NorthStar series takes high-beginners to an advanced level in carefully scaffolded units. The series pioneered the two-strand design, offering both a listening & speaking and a reading & writing volume on each proficiency level. Students work with authentic or semi-authentic listening and reading material that respects their intellect and feeds their curiosity. Exercises and activities constantly integrate skills and recycle language. In addition, students engage in critical thinking on virtually every page of every book. This seamless blending of intelligent content and rigorous language study has been a hallmark of the NorthStar series from the start. Continue reading

Microlearning and MyEnglishLabs

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina Cavage

Why FLIP, or blend face-to-face learning, with digital learning? Well, the reasons are numerous. Many I have outlined here in the previous months. Moving some content outside of the classroom allows us more flexibility in the classroom. Additionally, it allows our classrooms to go back to a collaborative, communicative, rich language environment. However, it also allows our students to microlearn.

What is microlearning? While the term may seem new to you, the concept is not. Students learn best when content is presented in small chunks. Think of YouTube and Khan Academy. The success of these sites speaks directly to their appeal to digital natives—learning in bite-sized pieces for those ever-dwindling attention spans for traditional lectures. Recent research indicates that exposing students to new content in small doses is the most effective for learners today. Yet, while traditional learning methods are decreasing, media consumption is rapidly increasing for learners of all ages. Thus, the success of Khan Academy and TedEd. So, what about our ESL learners? How can we provide more microlearning for them? Continue reading

New – Instant Access for Your Students

MEL_Access_Code_8_3_14
Do you have situations where some students don’t have an access code for MyEnglishLab, because they bought or rented a used textbook? They can often hold up the rest of the class, until they buy an access code card and wait for it to arrive in the mail.

Or have you ordered textbooks without a MyEnglishLab access code, then realize some of your students could benefit from the extra practice in the MyEnglishLab?

Now there’s a solution. Students can purchase from pearsoneltusa.com/buymyenglishlab and get an access code emailed to them. All within 5 minutes!

Student can use their credit card or PayPal.

In the Instant Access site, students can purchase access codes for a variety of courses, including:

MyEnglishLab:
Focus on Grammar
NorthStar
Azar-Hagen Grammar Series
Pearson English Interactive
Project Success
MyEnglishLab: Reading
MyEnglishLab: Writing
TOEFL iBT
Also available is access to streaming audio for Contemporary Topics and Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn.

In January, students will be able to purchase subscriptions to four online dictionaries:

  • Longman Study Dictionary of American English
  • Longman Dictionary of American English
  • Longman Advanced American Dictionary
  • Longman Thesaurus of American English

You can give this flyer to your students, or have them go to pearsoneltusa.com/buymyenglishlab.