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Weekly update 16th June

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Last updated by Breda Matthews

Hi everyone,

      I am going to apologies for the length of this update now. It has obviously been a busy week!
Last week had a lively discussion around the use of dictionaries both paper and electronic in ESOL and other subjects. There are a number of factors in this issue
  • schools and departments will have their own assessment management processes in which computer use will be covered. It is possible to turn off spell checkers and dictionaries as is done for students who have been granted special assessment conditions
  • it is important to maintain the validity of the particular assessment - this is why some schools and departments do not allow the use of electronic translators many of which are effectively computer
  • different achievement and unit standard may specify if dictionaries, and what types of dictionaries, can be used.
Jim commented on EL standards precluding the use of electronic translators. Standards were reviewed recently and teachers asked for feedback. I can only assume that not many people argues for the use of electronic dictionaries as I know that NZQA take great notice of teacher input into review. However there will be anew opportunity to provide feedback when the standards go through the next review process.
The other development on ESOL Online was the updating of the page for Making learning and language work. These pages are now much more visually enticing and may help to capture some of your mainstream colleagues. The short clips would make great 10 minute PD sessions. 
These resources are very timely after last week's conversation around Maths lessons and would help mainstream teachers to consider who was responsible for teaching the language of their subject.  

And highly relevant to our conversation this coming Saturday, the Auckland Mathematical Association is hosting a set of workshops and the theme is “Literacy in Mathematics and Statistics”. 


My own personal belief is that teaching the academic language of a subject will benefit the huge majority of students not just ELLs. I don't know what the conversation at your dinner table is like but mine certainly isn't conducted in academic English!
On other communities
On Primary ESOL Online Janet has posted on the DVDs and factors to consider when planning and sequencing tasks in a unit of work.
English Online shared Reading Bingo cards
This community also considered the factors that prevent us from sharing our resources. An interesting list and many of the reasons are common in our community too.
Have great week.

Breda Matthews

Facilitator: Secondary ESOL community 

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