Why the Race to Find Bilingual Teachers?

By Kevin Mahnken

Because in Some States, 1 in 5 Students Is an English Language Learner.

There is a persistent shortage of dual-language teachers as the number of English language learners in American schools continues to rise. While a number of districts have looked to the short-term solution of hiring from Spanish-speaking countries like Spain and Mexico, two new papers from New America highlight recommendations for how to incubate bilingual talent stateside.

Roughly 5 million K-12 students in the United States are classified as ELLs, specifically targeted for assistance in achieving English proficiency. That accounts for about 1 in every 10 American schoolchildren, the great majority of them children of Spanish-speaking immigrants. And although they are sometimes assumed to be clustered in states like California, Texas, and Florida, tens of thousands have also trekked to the Pacific Northwest.



LINK: The 74 Million

Text for Argument: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

by Jean M. Twenge, The Atlantic







One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”

LINK: con’t @ The Atlantic


Doug Reeves Takes on Five Myths About Grading

 by Kim Marshall, TIE columnist

In this article in All Things PLC, consultant/author Douglas Reeves confronts these widely espoused misconceptions about grading:

Image result for grades

Myth #1: Grades motivate students. Grades may have motivated teachers and administrators when they were young, but that’s not the case with many of their students today. The evidence is right in front of our noses, says Reeves: We’ve just conducted a decades-long experiment on the efficacy of grades as motivators; if grades were effective motivators, homework completion, classroom engagement, and overall diligence would be sky-high. Not so!

Myth #2: Grading homework and practice improves achievement. There are three problems here, says Reeves. First, for practice to be an effective tool for improvement, students need to be pushing the limits of current performance and getting continuous feedback – very difficult to orchestrate for 30 students working in their bedrooms. Second, as soon as teachers give grades for practice work, the incentive is for students to play it safe and not push into challenging or unknown territory. “No one gets feedback that is meaningful,” says Reeves, “because the only feedback that matters is that the work was finished on time and correctly. No one gets feedback to improve specific skills because everyone is doing the same dreary and unchallenging work.” And third, it’s unfair and demotivating for students to have their final grade pulled down for practice work.

Myth #3: Grades drive future performance. True, there’s a correlation between good grades and college success, and between poor grades and dropping out of school, but Reeves questions whether grades cause success and failure. He cites “the ‘good girl effect’ in which female students are disproportionately rewarded for quiet compliance, behavior that may lead to good grades but does not necessarily correlate to success after secondary school… While it is possible that intelligence and work ethic forge the path from kindergarten to Ivy League and Wall Street, it is also possible that zip code, tutors, and connections – all artifacts of family socioeconomic status – are the underlying causes.”

LINK: con’t @ TIE blog