Miss the conference?

Did you miss our conference at SIT?

It was fantastic! And a few of our presenters are willing to share. You can check out some of the presentations at this link while you’re thinking about coming next year when we do it all over again…

Care to help out ETS?

From our mailbox…

My name is Alexis Lopez and I am a Research Scientist at Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey.  My colleagues and I are conducting a research study to examine how teachers use their students’ home language in instruction and assessment.

To collect this information, we are inviting ESL teachers in middle and high school to complete a 15 minute on-line survey about how they use or facilitate the use of the students’ home language in the classroom and in assessment.  The survey results are completely confidential.

We are requesting that you send this email invitation to ESL teachers in your organization, which contains a link to the online survey.  If you yourself are a(n) ESL teacher in middle or high school, please feel free to complete a survey.


Our research team thanks you in advance for your time and consideration.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your assistance.


Alexis A. Lopez, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
English Language Learning and Assessment
Educational Testing Service
660 Rosedale Road, MS 04-R
Princeton, NJ 08541
Tel: 609-734-1985
E-mail: alopez@ets.org

Another year down…

NNETESOL staged a lovely conference at SIT last weekend.

And now it’s over. And we’re getting the website prepped with links you can check out. But in the meantime, you can focus on other professional development opportunities.

NYS TESOL will have its conference next weekend. Pre-registration has ended, but they do accept on-site registrants.

And our neighbors to the south, MATSOL, is gearing up for its May 2015 conference. Call for proposals is due December 1. You can find all the information you need here.

And, of course, TESOL International’s convention is coming up in March in Toronto. 

Got more news to share? Send it to us at nnetesol@nnetesol.org

Right Mindset for a Superhero


Photo by JD Hancock. http://goo.gl/avPcLm

I was working with one of my newcomer students, who had never spoken or heard English prior to February of last year. as he tried to answer the question: What do you want to learn in first grade?

He looked at me and very seriously said: “I want to learn to be a superhero.”

I tried very hard to contain my laugh and said to him: “Hmm. I am not sure I can teach you to be a superhero, but I can help you learn to read and write.”

He looked at me in puzzlement and very seriously said: “I learn to read so I can teach me be a superhero.”

Unbeknownst to him, my student was using “growth mindset.” He believes he can read and learn to be a superhero.

This belief will help him go far and be successful in life.

Every day he brings his books to my classroom and he decodes those words with all his might. Even though he makes a lot of mistakes, that does not stop him. He has a not forgotten his goal.

He accepts the challenge.

I have been reading a lot of research on the brain and how the brain is elastic and can change. Challenging ourselves to learn new things, picking up a new hobby or–as my student is doing–creating a goal to learn to read to become a superhero will help us create new pathways in our brain, in turn increasing our brain capacity.

For those of us who work with students who are learning English as a second language, it is important we keep this in mind when they struggle and we help them persevere we are helping them make more neuronal connections. In turn we are helping them develop their growth mindset. And this growth mindset will ensure their success.

The term “growth mindset” was coined by Dr. Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset (2008). She writes there are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.

This has nothing to do with having a high IQ or being very smart. It literally has to do with how much we enjoy a challenge and that enjoyment will be the motivator that lead us towards success.

Per Dr. Dweck , when we see students struggling, we should not be asking ourselves whether they can learn. Instead we should ask ourselves, “How can they learn? How can I teach them?”

It’s about changing our own beliefs and our own internal dialogues to train ourselves to think that although some of our ESOL students struggle, with the right mindset they all can learn to be superheroes.

Mary Lou Donahoe
New Hampshire state representative  

Something for your reading list…

Have you Read or Used the Essential Actions: A Handbook for Implementing WIDA’s Framework For English Language Development Standards?

EssentialActions_mediumThe Essential Actions Handbook is designed to help teachers who work directly with English Learners (ELs) and help schools focus on meeting academic language needs.  As stated in a Colorin Colorado! article, “the purpose of this handbook is to promote collaboration, mutual understanding, and use of language development standards among all educators who work with ELs.” Within theEssential Action Handbook there are fifteen standards-referenced strategies for you to take action in your classroom, team, and district. A step-by-step process for using the handbook as part of a professional learning community is shared in the article.

Colorin Colorado! article available at www.colorincolorado.org/article/61084/.

Essential Actions Handbook available at http://wida.us/standards/eld.aspx#essentialactions

Additional Resource: www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/elme/bdwidaessentialactions.pdf


Shelly Chasse-Johndro is treasurer for NNETESOL and teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement courses for pre- and in-service teachers.

Sold Out???


It’s true.

For the first time since I’ve been a member of NNETESOL (2006), we have sold out. The issue is the site. We are at SIT this year, which can only hold 200 in its biggest space, which is where we will be listening to the keynote and eating lunch.

I’ve never been. But I’ve heard it’s beautiful.

I can’t wait!

I hope that you are all excited, too, as we move into November.

For those of you who waited too long, I’m sorry. It’s going to be a great conference. And if you would like to have input for our next conference, come talk to the board and find out how you can join us. We’re all volunteers, all doing this on the side as we work full-time jobs at K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and community organizations. And we would be excited to welcome you.!

Beth Evans

NNETESOL webmaster.

We Are the Advocates

fist-424500_1280Does the Dream Act matter? If it does, then there is a dire need for us, teachers of English to speakers of other languages, to become very active members in your state education association. We have the responsibility to make sure that our students are getting their well-deserved education and that they can be citizens if they choose.

I want to talk about Ferguson, Mo., and the aftermath of the tragic shooting that occurred there. African American males are in a very precarious position in America. In Portland, Maine, the high school achievement of black males is at 2 percent. In Ferguson, as well as in different cities and towns in the U.S., black males are being targeted.

I believe wholeheartedly that there is a certain group of people who still have strong racist feelings. That is why NNETESOL needs to address culture, tradition, and human rights. Academics is great, but specific basic needs require our attention, or teaching will not mean anything.

Our students are human beings and have human rights, but their parents are not familiar with their own rights, so we must become their advocates. In Maine, our governor has decided not to give refugees and immigrants who are undocumented their benefits. However, the Portland and Lewiston mayors have been strongly opposed and have funded the program locally. Aside from this benefits cut, the governor has also cut school funding and have allocated more money to have more charter schools in Maine.

I am deeply concerned with our gubernatorial election as November is right around the corner. We have a three-way run. Portland has only funded 43% of its mandated 55%, and the shortfall has even made it worse for districts to have sufficient funding. Our ELL students come to the U.S. to be able to live and be educated but somehow, they are victimized once again.

As educators, we are compensated, but I feel and observe that these students are not being served well. Until their basic needs are met, they will not be able to power the filter, which allows effective learning to happen.

Thank you. I welcome any suggestions or discussion.

Ina Demers

Maine representative

2014 NNETESOL Conference



Saturday, November 8, 2014 8-3:30

Keynote by Dr. Diane Larsen-Freeman

Capacity, Not Competence

Diane  Larsen-Freeman, School of EducationIn this talk, Dr. Diane Larsen-Freeman will suggest that learning is not a two-step process.  It is not that one develops a mental grammar or competence through exposure to comprehensible input, and then converts it to output through practice. For one thing, speaking of “input” and “output” is dehumanizing.  For another, it denies the unity that underlies learning. Instead, from a complex systems perspective, one that she currently favors, “the act of playing the game has a way of changing the rules.”  She will interpret this quote and suggest that it heralds a new(er) view of learning—one that strives to build capacity in students, rather than competence.

Diane Larsen-Freeman is Professor Emerita of Education, Professor Emerita of Linguistics, Research Scientist Emerita at the English Language Institute at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is also a Distinguished Senior Faculty Fellow at the Graduate SIT Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. Currently she is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.  Some of the books she has written are Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed. with Marti Anderson, 2011), Grammar Dimensions:  Form, Meaning, and Use (Series Director, Heinle/Cengage, 4th ed., 2007), Teaching Language:  From Grammar to Grammaring (Heinle/Cengage, 2003), and Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics (co-authored with Lynne Cameron, Oxford University Press, 2008).  Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics received the 2009 Kenneth W. Mildenberger prize from the Modern Language Association. Dr. Larsen-Freeman is currently working on the third edition of The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher’s Course, co-authored with Marianne Celce-Murcia and published by Heinle/Cengage.

Check here for more conference details, including a schedule of presentations!

And then register below:
Eventbrite - NNETESOL Fall Conference

TESOL Call for Standing Committees

NNETESOL is an affiliate of TESOL International.  Want to get more involved? Check out the links below.

Get Involved! Serve on a TESOL Standing Committee
Looking for ways to get involved with TESOL International Association? Would you like to use your expertise and experience to help guide TESOL programs, services, and publications?

Apply to serve on one of TESOL’s standing committees.

These committees help the TESOL Board of Directors implement the association’s strategic plan and conduct association business. Terms of service vary in length, but all new committee members begin their service at the annual TESOL convention.

Serving on a committee will sharpen your leadership skills and help the association better meet the needs of its members and the field of English language teaching and learning.

The deadline to apply is 14 September 2014.

Read more about the Standing Committees and apply here.

Here we go again!

Back to school time is nearly upon us.  Where has the summer gone?  I’m starting to look forward to seeing my students again, and seeing how they have grown and matured over the intervening weeks. 

On August 1, I attended the Educational Summit at Keene State College.  I attended a workshop on the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) and found it very interesting.  It is a technique which can be used at any point in teaching a topic to encourage students to think about what they want to know about that topic.  The teacher gives them a focus for their questioning with a ‘Question Focus’ statement that is not a question.  It could be used as an extension of KWL.  At the same summit, I presented a workshop called Customs (Culture), Kids, Learning, and Language.

The South Central TESOL professional group in New Hampshire will have its first meeting of the year on from 4 on September 9 at New Hampshire Technical Institute, in Concord.  There will be more information on the agenda as the time approaches.

On October 14, I will present my full day workshop (“What’s it Like to Be an Immigrant High School Student in American Public Schools?”) at the Marriott Convention Center in Portland, ME.  Included in the registration fee, participants will receive a 600+ page ESOL program.  More information on that will be available on the Maine listserv in the near future.

I hope all our colleagues throughout the Northern New England TESOL area have had a restful and restorative summer break.


Karen Boxell is NNETESOL’s publisher’s liaison.

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