Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's English Dictionary had been released. It delivers on a promise contained in its promotional materials that it would describe a great deal of English idioms. It lists and explains, for example, 23 English idioms that use the word "hell," none of which, by the way, would have been considered acceptable in the English-speaking household I grew up in, where we generally didn't use emphatic language at all. But if you are learning English and want to understand other folks, you have to know what these words, mean, right? Here are a few excerpts from the "hell" list. ...


Alabama has joined North Carolina in deciding not to admit undocumented immigrants to community colleges. The policy will go into effect next spring, according to a Sept. 26 Associated Press article. The Alabama state board of education approved the policy on Sept. 26. Last May North Carolina barred undocumented students from community colleges and decided to stick with that policy even after it received clarification from the federal government that it could go either way: admit or not admit them. South Carolina has enacted a law saying undocumented students can't be admitted to ANY state colleges. And Arkansas education officials ...


The number of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States has slowed, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report released today. The report, "Trends in Unauthorized Immigration: Undocumented Inflow Now Trails Legal Inflow," says that 800,000 undocumented immigrants were coming to the United States on average per year from 2000 to 2004. But from 2005 to 2008, the annual average fell to 500,000, with a decrease from year to year. The report says that 11.9 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States. It also says that from 2005 to 2008, it was no longer the case ...


Click on over to Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day to view the 7th edition of the ELL/ESL/EFL Blog Carnival. Mr. Ferlazzo is the founder of the carnival. The list of contributors for this niche blog carnival (what doesn't have a niche on the Internet?) is growing. This edition includes some practical ideas for teachers of English-language learners, such as a tip from David Deubelbeiss at EFL Classroom 2.0 for helping students to learn a language: "Make it necessary." The "teensvoices" project featured in the submission by Challenge Language School Blog, in which students around the world ...


A nonprofit organization in Oregon paid 23 ordinary Oregonians $150 a day to be bombarded with facts about English-language learners—and to come up with a recommendation on whether their fellow Oregonians should vote "yes" or "no" for a state ballot initiative that would affect such students. The Oregonian reports that 14 members of the panel recommend a "no" vote on Measure 58. If passed, the measure would put a limit on the amount of time English-language learners can receive instruction in their native languages. The measure says the limit for high school students would be two years; for elementary...


If school district officials are going to require teachers to be fluent in English, they need to be careful how they enforce that requirement. That seems to be the lesson from a court case in Massachusetts that involved the firing of three teachers by the Lowell school district. My colleague Mark Walsh has written about a state appeals court decision concerning that case over at The School Law Blog. The appeals court backed the teachers. Stephen Sawchuk at Teacher Beat writes about the decision as well. I first reported on the situation in 2003. The court case involved teachers whose ...


In "Finding the Language to Teach Science," an article posted yesterday at edweek.org, my colleague Sean Cavanagh has done a great job of showing us how teachers can teach English while also teaching academic content. In this case, the content is science. As I travel around the country, I find that more schools are trying to figure out how to weave English instruction into content instruction. But I also still see a lot of students being taught isolated vocabulary in English-as-a-second-language classes that are separated from core-content classes. Teaching academic content to ELLs who are in middle school is ...


Lance T. Izumi and Bruce Fuller provide opposing opinions in the New York Times about presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama's support for bilingual education. Mr. Izumi argues that English immersion works better than bilingual education, citing the success of a single elementary charter school in Los Angeles County. (I've written on this blog before about Mr. Izumi's preference for English-immersion methods.) Mr. Izumi is the senior director of education studies for the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy. Mr. Fuller says bilingual education can work well, if the teachers who carry it out are well-prepared to do so. Mr. Fuller ...


If you have an administrator putting a lot of pressure on you because he or she thinks your school will miss meeting adequate yearly progress goals because of low test scores among English-language learners, you might want to read a big-picture article that Education Week published this week about the No Child Left Behind Act. The article describes a study that examines how likely it is that California schools will have all students meet "proficiency" by the 2013-14 school year. The answer: not likely. Here's what Education Week reporters Sean Cavanagh and David J. Hoff wrote: Using statistical-modeling techniques, the ...


The Boston Globe published a story this week, "English Period," about how an elementary school in Framingham, Mass., has carried on with bilingual education, though voters passed an initiative back in 2002 to curtail the educational method. Under the 2002 law, educators in Massachusetts must place students in English-only classes for 30 days before they can move them to bilingual education. In addition, they must get waivers from parents of the English-immersion approach, the default method, to place any students in bilingual education. The article spells out what impact this has on the students in the program. It quotes Ron ...


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