English is the worst!

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We’ve all been there and heard it – “Why are these two words spelled the same but sound different?” or “Why do I need a comma there? You might have answered, “Because you don’t want to eat your mom; it’s “I want to eat, mom.””

I came across this humorous article Continue reading

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Cans, Wants, and Wills

Concept image of a Calendar with the text: Lessons Learned

This activity is meant to be a student’s journey to self-regulation (see Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997). The activity can take place at any time during the school term and is meant to awaken in students the desire to achieve their goals one step at a time. Hence, the process to self-regulation is the goal. Continue reading

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Self-Efficacy and the ESL Teacher

“Whether you think that you can or you can’t, you’re usually right” – Henry Ford

“People’s level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case” – Alberta Bandura (1995, p. 2).

The above two quotations, for me, highlight the importance of researching teachers’ beliefs, and importantly, their self-efficacy beliefs. Continue reading

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To feel or not to feel? That is the question!

I just got off the phone with a student who was not happy. As manager of ESL programs at the college where I work, I have just finished with a major overhaul of all our language courses, essentially flipping them, individualizing the syllabi and encouraging the active participation of students in class. I have followed all of the cutting-edge research in educational techniques and I know that my program is now excellent. So why was she angry? Continue reading

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Add fun to your vocabulary lessons with Quizlet Live

image source: John Allan

Quizlet Live is the latest feature on the Quizlet suite.  This is in addition to current learning activities which include: flashcards, test, learn, spell, as well as two games: gravity and match. In May of 2015 I posted about the attributes of Quizlet from a teacher-developer’s perspective. More recently, Continue reading

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Cards on the Table: What’s in a Name?

Hello my name is sticker icon set color. Name tag name card baby names name plate list of names my name is registration and inscription paper welcome identity. Vector design illustration
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I used to be very good at remembering names. So good, in fact, that I probably would have been great at selling cars. This ability is a definite asset for a teacher. In my early years of teaching high school, I could remember the names of 30 students after one class. Lately, I have been teaching writing to international university students (EAP), and the classes are smaller but I don’t put the same effort into remembering their names. Why? I am older (my memory is not what it used to be) and lazier. What I do now is I give the students large index cards to write their names on and place in front of them. This way, I know their names right away and I have a quick way of taking attendance—I collect the cards at the end of class and the cards of absent students would have remained unclaimed. This semester, I have such small classes that during one class I didn’t bother with the cards. Suddenly, Continue reading

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Aboriginal Lessons

Native American Inukshuk road side stone marker.
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When we’re educating ELLs, how many of us have the opportunity to expose students to Canadian history? I love teaching history and having learners explore how we got to today. At times, I wish I were more like a history version of Ms. Frizzle (I kind of have the hair for it minus the red).

It’s common to talk about the government, Confederation, and the iconic symbols of Canada, but I have found Continue reading

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5 Ways to Get Involved This Year

Group of Business People Using Digital Devices
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It’s 2017 and we’ve got some exciting ways for you to get involved with the TESL Ontario community! With each new year comes the reminder of our membership renewal – and our 10 hours of PD experience.  For some, our locals have many ongoing opportunities to connect with each other and learn within the community of practice. For others, the TESL Ontario Conference allows us to travel, share our experience and research, as well as build a network beyond our local reach.  But what about those of us Continue reading

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