Using VoiceThread for Monday’s Meeting of the Minds

Tomorrow is the first of the Advanced Oral Communications classes’ weekly “Monday Meeting of the Minds” during which students will discuss issues and events of American families and society.  VoiceThread will be used to facilitate the discussions.  Topics will center on issues that many of us in this culture are dealing with such as health care, unemployment, high cost of living, caring for children and aging parents, crime and such.

Often our ELLs are confused about the way American society runs, and with how Americans deal with issues.  They have questions they want to ask but aren’t sure how.  They have opinions they would like to express, but lack the necessary background or vocabulary.  This will be an opportunity for them to share their thoughts through technology, and at the same time learn to make themselves heard appropriately.

I think this will be an interesting exercise for all of us, and a great opportunity to share thoughts, experiences, and information.  I look forward to helping the students with their English language and technology tools, and to learning a lot from them and what they bring from the their broad base of experiences and diverse cultures.

US Not Doing Enough for Adult Learners

According to Government Accountability Office (GAO) report the US is not doing enough to help its non-English speakers in part due to lack of  coordination of efforts, effective training, and access to classes.  It is doubted that any stimulus monies will be used to increase funding for English language learning.  Contrarily, funds seem to be on the decrease with cuts in budgets and even charging for classes as in California.   Tax breaks are being discussed for qualified ELL teachers to encourage them to work with adults.

This article is in The Guardian Weekly from the UK.