#CDNELTCHAT & #TESLONCHAT : JOIN THE CHAT ON THURSDAY!

Image Source: #CdnELTChat Team
Join #CdnELTchat & #teslONchat to chat about designing inclusive pedagogies in #ELT on Thu, Feb 25 (note the date) at 6PT 7MT 8CT 9ET 10AT.

If you can, join @Jessifer ‘s webinar earlier on Feb 25 as this will be the basis for our chat (but not essential): https://asuevents.asu.edu/content/design

Below is a recap of the January 26 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Jennifer Chow.

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Tools and Resources for Online Teaching (Part 1)

In this article, I am going to share some of my ideas about how to keep Google Classroom neat and organized, as well as how to use Jamboard as an effective whiteboard.

Tools and Tips

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Google Classroom

Google Classroom (GC) has become the primary instructional platform for most teachers in Ontario since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I like it and I hate it. I like it because it is such a powerful platform for teachers to deliver content to students. I hate it because it can sometimes be messy and challenging when it comes to organizing content. It took me a while, but I found a way to organize it.

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Student Projects to Promote Creativity

It is a new year and some of us may need some fresh ideas to add energy, motivation and tasks to our classes.  One possible means of accomplishing this is to include relevant project work into the syllabus.   

The tools listed below are just that – tools.  As the instructor, you can guide the learners to themes as focal points for project content.  These free, digital tools include how-to guides, an online example, and orientation blogs for the instructors to read and consider before embarking on a digital venture with their learners.  

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#CDNELTCHAT: JOIN THE CHAT ON TUESDAY!

@CdnELTchat January 26, 2021 chat. What should we leave behind in #ELT?
Image Source: #CdnELTChat Team

If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, February 9, when our topic will be: What should we keep doing in #ELT?  Below is a recap of the January 26 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Jennifer Chow.

Whether we were ready or not, since last spring COVID-19 has forced almost all of us to become online teachers. For many of us working in ELT, the move to online teaching was a giant leap out of our comfort zone. As the pandemic enters its second year and mostly-online teaching and learning continues, we have an opportunity to think critically about our practices and to reflect on what we should maybe leave behind. This was the theme for the January 26 #CdnELTchat; the follow-up chat is on what we should keep going forward.

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Haiku: a humble but mighty tool in ESL

photo: Sahil Pandita on Unsplash

Reduce, reduce, reduce. Make every word count. I repeat these instructions every day in my EAP classroom. Session after session, I hand out exercises to reduce wordiness and replace empty, abstract words with those that are strong and specific.  

And yet, the students have a hard time going “beyond the exercise” to apply these skills to their writing. They continue to fill their pages with in the event that, “as a result of,” and “in our society today” as well as abstracts such as “the meal was good,” “the lake was beautiful,” and “the people looked happy.”  

I needed to find an authentic writing form that would encourage rich, yet spare, prose. And then it struck me—the haiku. The Japanese poem is inherently concise and relies on specific, sensory words. A win-win! 

So, I initiated a “holiday haiku” activity. First, I explained the basic form: one line with five syllables, the next with seven, and the third with five. Secondly, I divided the class into small groups to brainstorm specific, image-worthy words that evoked their celebrations back home. This second stage worked beautifully. Not only did the words flow, but also the students enjoyed sharing their cultural traditions.  

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A Timely Time to Empower College and University Educators

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On November 5, 2020, during TESL Ontario’s 2020 Annual Conference, four professors representing the organization’s Colleges and Universities Committee made a call for interested members to apply to join the committee. Mobayen, McInnis, Meyer Sterzik and Papple —each from different postsecondary institutions— shared the current objectives of the committee as well as its future goals, all meant to build a community of practice (CoP) amongst members who teach in the academic sector. As noted in their presentation, 30% of TESL Ontario members teach in the academic sector; yet I wonder, why aren’t there more members in TESL’s Colleges and Universities Committee?

You might ask: Why is it important for the college/university committee to have representation?  For me, having representation could mean the addition of more PD content that informs and enriches the teaching of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English for Specific Purposes (ESP), and all other acronyms listed in this presentation, including “EBP” and “ESAP” (L. McInnis, personal communication [slide 21], November 27, 2020).

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Summary of the #InstructionalDesign discussion with Anna Bartosik

December 11th, 2020 marked our final #teslONchat of the year. We gathered on Twitter to discuss Instructional Design with Anna Bartosik (@ambartosik). Anna is a doctoral candidate, an instructional designer, a teacher, and a teacher trainer. Anna develops online and blended courses and works on curriculum development. Her interest in self-directed professional development informs her work as a teacher and instructional designer, but also inspired her research of teacher professional development on social media platforms, like Twitter.

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I Speak, Therefore… I Teach?

Foreign language speaking icon. Outline foreign language speaking vector icon for web design isolated on white background
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I have been an English Language Teacher for 20 years. When I started my career, I didn’t think it would take much effort to teach others something I had learnt during my childhood and teenage years. I could even make some “easy” money while I was at it!  “How hard could it be?” I thought to myself.

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Does Online Learning Enhance Learners’ Language Ego?

Person covering one side of face while smiling.
Image source: Photo by 青 晨 on Unsplash

Language ego is a real phenomenon. A concept coined by Guiora (Brown, 2000) “language ego” is a learner’s second identity as they come to see themselves picking up a second language. One of the most vitally important responsibilities of an ESL teacher is to ensure that students’ language ego is well protected.

Conventionally, in physical classrooms, due to the existence of face-to-face communication, learners might experience more fragility and defenselessness with their peers.  I have personally experienced the sheer fear and anxiety that the physical interaction and presence of others with their eyes placed all on one person can create.  However, through online platforms of teaching and learning, I have noticed that learners feel safer and more secure about their language ego, and I have seen improvements in learning.

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