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
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

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.
image source: bigstockphoto.com

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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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

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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

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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

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Happy Holidays

hands of woman reading book by fireplace
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

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.

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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

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