Lessons learned in an ESL Literacy Class

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During the fall term, I was privileged to teach a group of 10 ESL Literacy students. Although in the past I had volunteer-tutored a literacy student and had taught various computer literacy classes, teaching a whole class of beginner ESL students with literacy needs was a whole new challenge. I have to say it was thoroughly rewarding Continue reading


Preparing Great Grammar and Pronunciation Lessons

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We all want our teaching to be interesting and effective.  I regularly reflect on my teaching practice, and try to consider each of the following aspects of lesson planning*, particularly for grammar and pronunciation lessons. Let me share some tips that help me improve my lessons, and perhaps you will find an idea you could use.

Presenting the point

First, remind yourself of the scope of the lesson; know the needs and abilities of your students, and the time frame and focus of your class session.  Aim not to overwhelm your class with too much information, but also not to under-interest your students with too little challenge. Continue reading


2016 – Year in Review

Many Hands Holding Red Letters The Isolated English Word Never Stop Learning On White Background
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We want to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous 2017. We look forward to weekly posts from our amazing guest bloggers and occasional bloggers who always provide first-rate resources, tips, and practical ideas that encourage us all to strive towards excellence in our profession. This Friday look for our first post of 2017 from occasional blogger, Carol Blake.

Before we jump into the New Year, we thought it would be fun to look back on 2016, Continue reading


Happy Holidays

hands of woman reading book by fireplace
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It’s that time of year again where our team would like to express a huge THANK YOU to all of you for reading our blog and commenting on our posts.

As this season of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation is upon us, we’ll be taking a break from the blog and will return in the New Year.

This is a great time for you to catch up on posts you’ve missed or re-read posts you’ve enjoyed and be inspired.

We’ll be back on January 9th with more posts from our amazing Guest Bloggers and Occasional Bloggers.  This is also a great time for you to think about being a one-time Occasional Blogger yourself in the new year. Maybe there’s a reflection of your work that you’d like to share.  If you’re a TESL Ontario member and have a post in mind, send us an email (you can find our email on the Contact Us tab).

Happy Holidays, everyone. We hope it’s restful and warm.


Focusing on Bring Your Own Device – or B.Y.O.D. – Resources

image source: John Allan

At my current institution, I’ve been working with teachers, administrators and students trying to integrate technology into classroom learning.  This blended learning approach expectation has led to some frustration. There have been so many promising tools,
ideas, and toys that have not met our requirements. On the positive side, we have been lucky enough to experiment with ample resources to try out a variety of edtech tools and techniques. Continue reading


Student Teachers – Flipping your Class for Success!

education, learning, teaching, technology and people concept - group of students and teacher with tablet pc computer at school

It has been said that a teacher’s first task is to make herself progressively obsolete. I could not agree more. After all, one of our main mandates is to enable students to learn the target content and achieve the learning outcomes.
Thus, by course’s end, students should be able to “do” as the teacher “does”. If my course revolves around getting students to speak at an intermediate level in English, then by definition, they no longer need their teacher by course’s end. If they do, the course has failed in generating the target learning.

But how does a teacher go about “doing” this? I propose using a flipped class, or “student teacher” approach. See below.

***Warning*** – What follows may cause anxiety, dizziness or a lack of student trust in the teacher’s choice of instructional strategies. It may cause poor results on a course evaluation. It may actually push some students to complain to your superiors. But, fear not! It is ultra-effective! Continue reading


‘Tis the Season! Bringing students’ holiday traditions to the classroom

Image Source: www.bigstockphoto.com
Image Source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Hello, December! I realize it’s a few days away, but
with all the songs being played in malls and on radio stations and the stunning decorations everywhere, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been in December for the last 2 months! Every student and teacher (admit it!) is thinking more about his or her time off, and less about the time spent in the classroom. Holidays are both wonderful and important in one’s culture and society. They bring families, friends, and strangers together as they unite in the celebrations.

Holidays give us a sense of connection and perhaps more importantly, a sense of self. When you feel like you are part of something big, your life has that much more meaning. It’s a time when people make the effort to come together no matter the distance. People are more forgiving, and the desire to help is felt everywhere.

So how would you feel if you had no clue what holidays are like here? Continue reading


An Active Classroom is a Student-Centred Classroom

image source: www.bigstockphoto.comI hope my title did not conjure images of technology-enhanced learning with visions of smartphones, iPads, and laptops dancing up through the air. On the contrary,
this blog is about students stirring, moving in circles, and engaging in conversation. I’m talking about face to face interaction, where students are talking and listening to each other while the teacher is watching.

In the ESL classroom: LINC, ESL or EAP – we teachers need to have many ideas up our sleeves to make sure students are not yawning but interacting with one another and having fun while learning. Last year in September, I shared two of these strategies. You can read them here: http://blog.teslontario.org/an-active-start-to-the-academic-year/ In this blog, I share another one that I have found students also enjoy: Continue reading


E-tools to inspire greater academic writing autonomy among our EALs

young beautiful college student girl studying for university exam in stress asking for help under test pressure sitting on desk with book in youth education conceptHey now, TESL Ontarians! Have you ever wondered if your students have gone on to produce successful academic writing following their studies with you? This has been a burning question for me during and after English for academic purposes (EAP) courses / workshops I have delivered to university students over the past decade. As I mentioned in my last post, one of the more under-utilized strategies for promoting student success is the provision of resources
that can allow for students to take a more active role in their own learning. Inspired by work alongside L2 writing specialists and English language experts, I have some suggestions for useful electronic resources you may wish to share with your students in order to inspire greater academic writing autonomy and sustainability. In this post, I describe various e-resources Continue reading


Webinars: 50 and Counting

50 Webinar imageIt’s Sunday night, you’re mentally checking off your ever growing TO DO list to make sure you’re ready for Monday morning: make lunch, review lesson plan, pack worksheets, bring new whiteboard markers, load new PowerPoint into LMS … and that’s just to get you through Monday. Your mind starts to wander and you realize it’s time… Continue reading