Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thanksgiving Class Ideas



Thanksgiving is next week, and as always, this is a topic our newly arrived students have many questions about. Just yesterday, I explained what cranberries are in book club! In case you are looking for Thanksgiving-related content to use in class, here are some ideas.

For Listening Practice
Cooking how-to videos contain a lot of useful target language for our students: imperative forms, sequencing language, and household vocabulary in context, just to name a few. The Thanksgiving Essentials Cooking School playlist on the Food Network contains 10 videos on various topics (Pie Dough Basics, How to Make Chicken Stock, How to Slice, Chop and Mince, for example), and each video is only about 2 minutes long. You could do cloze exercises with lower levels, or have higher levels write summary paragraphs with target language.

For Reading Practice
The New York Times published a series of stories by 9 prominent writers: My Thanksgiving. Each of these stories is a reflection on the personal, emotional, and nostalgic nature of the holiday. For example, the historian Jessica B. Harris writes:
As happens, the decades flew by. Family guests at the table changed and eventually diminished until on some holidays it was Mom and I staring at each other across a table piled high with our annual feast. Certainly, there were guests, random friends stranded in town for the holiday, second cousins or foreign visitors with whom I wanted to share the holiday. Then, in 2000, Mom died and I became a Thanksgiving orphan.
The stories are all relatively short (under 1,000 words), and the grammar and vocabulary are suited to intermediate and advanced students.

For Movie Fans
Time magazine has a list of the Top 10 Thanksgiving Movie Scenes, with YouTube clips where available. Movies on the list include Home for the Holidays, The Blind Side, Funny People, and of course, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I also found a playlist of scenes from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, in case you want to show a short bit from this classic.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Literacy Review: A Journal of Student Work


If you are looking for new materials to use in your class, the Literacy Review, an annual journal of writing from adult literacy programs throughout New York City, published by NYU Gallatin, could be fun to explore. 

The last three issues are available onlineTopics range from life in New York City, to friends & family to work and education. The essays are touching and could be used as texts in reading class or serve as writing prompts. And each piece is accompanied with a picture of the student author and a short bio, which is inspiring for our students to see.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tools for Collecting Student Feedback


As we end the first month in most of our programs, we encourage you to ask your students for input on how the course is going. If students give you input now, there is still time to make changes before the end of the term.

Input can be collected via paper surveys, or online using Survey Monkey, a Google Form or Poll Everywhere, which is an easy-to-use electronic tool. Below are some feedback questions, along with some student self-assessment questions, to draw from for your midterm check-ins. You can also access feedback forms on the faculty website.


1.      What have you learned in this class so far?

2.      Which aspects of this course have been most helpful for you?  Why?

3.      What do you like best about this course?

4.      What would you like to change about the course?

5.      Which activities in this class help you the most?

6.      Do you have any suggestions about this class for the teacher?

7.      Which lessons have you enjoyed?  Why?

8.      Which lessons have you not enjoyed?  Why not?

9.      Which aspects of this course have helped you learn English?

10.  Which aspects of this course would you like to change?

11.  The most important thing I’ve learned in this class so far is …

12.  I need help with …

13.  I would like to learn about …

14.  What are the instructor's strengths?

15.  What suggestions do you have to improve the instructor's teaching?

16.  What steps could you take to improve your own learning in this course?

17.  Do you feel that the pace of the class is good? Is the class too fast or too slow for you?

18.  Do you have any other comments or questions about the class?

19.  How would you evaluate the work you’ve done in this course?  What do you consider your strengths to be?  What do you think you should work on?

20.  How much effort have you put into this class?  

21.  What have you been doing to improve your English language skills?

22.  What do you think you can do to continue improving your English language skills?

23.  Do you think your English has improved as a result of this course?  If so, how has it improved?  If not, why not?

24.  How do you plan to continue improving your English?




Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Moth at LaGuardia


Have you ever listened to the stories on The Moth, or used one in class? Even better, have you ever attended an event?

The Moth is coming to LaGuardia next week, and the theme of the night is Pushed. Storytellers will tell stories about "being pushed around, over the edge, out of the plane, into the marriage, out of the job, under the bus, through the fire or towards the light." People are invited to tell their stories related to this theme (more info on that process here) - or just enjoy the stories of others.

This is a ticketed event, and tickets can be purchased ($10) here. Please share this information with your students!

Friday, October 13, 2017

TELC Stories: Linda

Linda at the Great Wall
Learn more about what Linda experienced and learned this summer when she traveled to China to teach with with two other CUNY professors on the #telcstories blog.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Skills In Practice: Professional Development Day 2017



Please join us for a professional development day on Friday, November 10 from 9:00am to 2:00pm. The theme of this year's day is a practical approach to teaching various language and academic skills. Faculty and staff from TELC and CLIP will present sessions on critical thinking, pronunciation, reading, and writing.

Please RSVP here. Lunch will be served from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, so your response will help us to have an accurate count.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New student handbook, #telcstories and fall book club


Welcome back! This is one of a few First Day pics we posted on social media. Check out the rest on Facebook or Instagram.

A few updates.....

We have created a new student handbook, for students in all programs. The handbook has information about: our programs, student visas, LaGuardia, living in the US, applying to college, and applying for jobs. Please check it out and direct students to it, if they are looking for program information: sites.google.com/view/telcstudenthandbook

We posted two fun #telcstories at the end of the summer:

We profiled Jimmy and how his dancing and his ESL teaching inform each other. We appreciate him sharing his story.

And we shared a review of Bryant Park written by, Rainy, a 9/10 student this summer.  Please let Kate know if you have student work that we could highlight on the blog, or students who have stories we could feature.

Finally, this fall Book Club will be reading the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. We will meet on Tuesdays, 1 pm – 2pm. Please join us and spread the word with students.

To a fun and productive quarter!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Neuroscience of Pitch


Here's a really fascinating neurological look at how important intonations and pitch are in spoken language. KQED News - quoting an article in Science - says:
Now scientists are reporting in the journal Science that they have identified specialized brain cells that help us understand what a speaker really means. These cells do this by keeping track of changes in the pitch of the voice.
Pronunciation and listening/speaking teachers, have a look!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Voting For Our Fall Book


Daytime reading teachers, please help us get the word out to students about voting for this fall's book club selection. When we polled students on their preferred genres last week, they chose travel, fantasy, mystery, and science fiction. Here is the list of books we selected that match their preferred genres.

There is a link to the online survey on our Facebook page; the link can also be found here. We are putting flyers in the mailboxes of teachers at Level 3 and higher for you to bring to class and show to your students - please encourage them to vote for their choice after class.

Thank you for your support in building a culture of reading at TELC - we hope you'll join us this fall!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Teen English Academy at TELC

The teens and their teachers in Times Square
Today was the last day of the Teen English Academy. Read more about the program and what this summer's teens thought about it on the #telcstories blog.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

TELC Stories: Christina

"My job influences me to see the world with a more humbling perspective." Read more about why on the #telcstories blog.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Teaching Literature Reviews


For those of you who teach reading and writing at the higher levels, this article on how to teach literature reviews might be of interest. In particular, the first class she describes is a simple approach to teaching the basics of a lit review.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Why do we call it the TELC World Cup?


Thanks to all the faculty who came out to support the 2017 TELC World Cup. Read more about the day on the #telcstories blog and also learn why we call it the TELC World Cup.

Monday, June 19, 2017

TELC Student Literary Magazine



The latest issue of our student literary magazine was distributed last week. This issue features the work of 20 students from the morning, afternoon, and evening programs. We are thankful to Nursen for her continued dedication to this fantastic project, and we are thankful to all the teachers who encouraged students to share their work. Most of all, however, we are thankful for the work and generosity of our student authors! You can find the literary magazine in the office, the faculty room, and here.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Americanah Book Club


Read what the Day Intensive students learned from participating in the Americanah book club this spring on the #telcstories blog.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Languages Across The Curriculum

This symposium on Friday is free, on campus, and may be of interest to many of you. Teachers are also encouraged to bring their classes, if they wish. Click here to register; the schedule (including afternoon offerings) is listed below.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

World Cup 2017


Students have started asking about this, so please assure them that it is happening again this spring! We will announce some information meetings soon.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

TELC Reads Americanah: First Meeting On Tuesday!


The first meeting of the Americanah book club is coming up! Students, teachers and staff are all invited, and we are looking forward to this chance to socialize as a department. Please encourage your students to attend!

For the first meeting, we will focus on a scene in Chapter 1. If you have a chance to read the chapter, that's great; if not, I will bring some copies of this scene to read at the meeting. If you prefer to listen to the book, Scribd is offering a free trial download of the audiobook. I just downloaded the app to my phone, and I might start listening to the book on my commute.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Professional Development: LaGuardia's Global Learning Competency



Join us for a series of brown bag workshops this spring about Global Learning at LaGuardia Community College.

We will learn about what this core competency means for students entering the credit side of the college, and how we at TELC can best prepare them. We will look at assignments in a variety of credit courses, student writing samples, the global learning rubric, and more.

Writing teachers may find this particularly insightful and are encouraged to attend.

TELC Stories: Judy and Stephen -- What they learned from teaching in Iran and Oman


We feature a story about Judy and Stephen and what they learned from teaching English in Iran and Oman on the #telcstories blog this week.

Friday, March 3, 2017

TELC Stories: Nursen and the Literary Magazine

Nursen with Jose, who contributed to the Literary Magazine in 2016

This week, we feature Nursen and the TELC Student Literary Magazine on our #telcstories blog. Read the blog post and read below about how she uses the Magazine in her classroom.
One of my favorite things to do in my writing class is to distribute copies of the Literary Magazine from a previous semester to my students and assign it as reading homework. They are to read the magazine, choose one piece that they like the most, and be ready to explain why they like it. The next class, they get into groups and talk about their favorite pieces. Not only does this give them a chance to see good examples of writing at every proficiency level, but it also allows them to express their choices and opinions without the fear of being wrong. After all, that’s what we do in real life. We read, and we talk about what we read, without doing exercises or practicing vocabulary. I’ve observed that students really enjoy this activity. As a teacher, I especially like to see my level 3-4 students critique the content of a fellow writer’s work, hear how they relate to it, and see the diversity of their responses.
If any teachers are interested in doing a similar activity, Nursen can provide copies of the Magazine from previous semesters.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Using Newsela PRO


Earlier this month, a team from Newsela came to talk about how to use the Newsela PRO features. With our subscription, you can create a class on the site, assign articles to the class, track student progress and annotate readings. They also have a lot of on-demand training resources to help you learn more about these features. Download notes from the training and learn more about these features.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

TELC In The News


Check out Margaret and Liz on NY1 from this past Friday! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sharing Our Stories



New year, new project! Check out our new blog, We Are The English Language Center.

This blog - TELC Media Center - will remain a space for us to share teaching ideas and updates about the department and the university. It will continue to be a teacher-facing space focused on resources and information.

The new blog, however, will be a more student-facing space. We plan to share the stories of current and former students, as well as ask teachers and staff to share their #telcstories from time to time.