Collins Academic Skills Series Wins ELTon for Innovation in Learner Resources

Academic Skills

In May, the winners of the annual ELTons awards were announced. Amongst the winners was the Academic Skills Series published by Collins. This is a six-book series for international students of all academic subjects who are studying, or preparing to study, at an English-speaking institution. Essential study skills and English language practice are combined to help students step up their performance from their IELTS or TOEFL score to achieve academic success on their course.

Each book stands alone, focusing on one skill required at university but they all follow an accessible series style which makes them easy to blend with other titles in the series. They work for self-study or classroom use.

“Now in their twelfth year, the annual awards, run by the British Council and sponsored by Cambridge English Language Assessment, are a celebration of innovation and excellence in English language teaching (ELT) from around the world.”

Visit the ELTons site.

Texas Sued Over Poor Quality of ELL Programs

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In June, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the Multicultural Education Training and Advocacy (META) filed federal court papers over the poor quality of language instruction offered to English Language Learners in schools (particularly secondary) in Texas. The little advancement of ELLs in Texas schools is described as “alarming”, with tens of thousands of ELL students not acquiring the level of English language proficiency as required under the Federal Equal Education Opportunities Act. It is said that the programs are under-funded and poorly administered.

Read MALDEF’s press release.

Online Video-based Quizzes

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The title pretty much says it all. Eslvideo.com is a great free resource for teachers. You can take an online video clip from a source like YouTube and create a quiz to go with it. Once you are finished, you can send students to eslvideo.com to complete watch and answer or you can embed the video and quiz onto your own website or blog.

Looking around at some of the videos and quizzes that teachers have made on the site, I was reminded how important it is for teachers to think carefully when they use video. I know that when I was still teaching, I often just wanted to share some of my favourite videos with my students. I knew that was not a good reason to spend class time watching, and yet I often pressed on. Those classes sometimes fell flat; I may have liked the video, but the language may have been way over the students’ heads or there was no clear learning aim. With the principles of effective video use in mind, I created my own quiz on using video on eslvideo.com and embedded it below. Try my quiz!