Tech for ESOL Teachers

Information, Advice, and Reviews for ESOL Teachers

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I am participating in two EVO sessions this year – “Crafting the ePerfect Textbook” and “Educators and Copyright: Do the Right Thing”.

For week 2 of the eText session, I have written up a short analysis of different things that can be included in eTexts, and how much of that is up to the author (as opposed to the software or machine presenting the eText). To illustrate some of the things authors can do with eTexts without even learning any programming or using apps or the such, I made five style sheets to control the layout for various situations (mobile, accessibility, printing, and the such).

The page is here. Warning: it is long.

posted by spackman at 17:54  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Justify Both Sides in LibreOffice

One of the many great things about LaTeX is its ability to fill text, that is, to justify flush left and flush right on the same line, with extraneous space all in the middle. Until recently, I had not been able to get any WYSIWYG word processor to do it consistently. Sometimes centering the text, placing the cursor, and then hitting tab would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. Searching on-line didn’t turn up anything — but it is possible that I just wasn’t using the appropriate search terms. Before, fill justified text was a luxury that I didn’t really need. However, current APA guidelines require filled justified text in the running head. Anyhow, after about 20 minutes of playing around (yes, only 20 minutes), I think I have figured out how to fill justify in LibreOffice.


posted by spackman at 17:00  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Changes and Updates

Welcome to “Tech for ESOL Teachers”. My name is Chris Spackman, and I am an ESL teacher at The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University, in Columbus, Ohio. I am also a bit of a geek. This blog is my attempt to share a combination of my tech knowledge and my classroom experience with other teachers.


posted by spackman at 14:01  

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Great book for new teachers.

Here are some details from the book “Teach like a champion: 49 Techniques that put students on the path to college”. I have found the book very helpful because so much of the advice is so specific. The author includes examples of specific phrases that are (supposedly) effective and also tells the reader why they work and why they are better than some other commonly used phrases.

Also: There is a DVD included with the book. I have not watched it yet. The videos are of the techniques in the book actually being used with students. So I think the DVD (not having seen it yet, mind you) complements the book content well.

Chapter 6: setting and maintaining high behavior expectations explains techniques 36 to 42. They are:

  1. 100 Percent
  2. What to Do
  3. Strong Voice
  4. Do It Again
  5. Sweat the Details
  6. Threshold
  7. No Warnings

Each of these is explained in as many pages as required. Strong Voice includes five principles and takes about nine pages. Sweat the Details and Threshold only need about 2 pages each.

Technique 38: Strong Voice

Five Principles of Strong Voice:

  • Economy of Language
  • Do Not Talk Over
  • Do Not Engage
  • Square Up / Stand Still
  • Quiet Power

I am finding “Do Not Engage” especially useful. Basically, when the class is on a topic – whatever it is – the teacher should not allow the topic to be changed. Classic case is the teacher tells a student to do something and instead of doing it, the student replies with something like “I wasn’t doing it” or “She kicked my desk first”. The teacher should not reply with anything off topic, but should stay on target by, for example, repeating the request and adding a comment to the effect that the student does not need to talk now.

Do Not Engage applies to general classroom interactions as well. Students shouting out answers? Do not engage. Not even to say something like “Good but next time please raise your hand”. That is engaging. Better to say something like “Raise your hands if you want to answer” – corrects without engaging.

All of the techniques are handled in this way and there is a lot of good advice that new teachers will find very helpful. Experienced teachers may already know a lot of what is in the book. Or they may find several great ideas that they hadn’t thought of before.

posted by Osugi Sakae at 15:30  
Next Page »

Powered by WordPress