I’m sure what’s on everyone’s mind is this: When will this whole quarantine situation end? How will things be afterwards? And, will things actually return to normal?
It seems as though an endless period of time has passed during quarantine, and I sometimes have to check or be reminded what day it is. Weekends aren’t as exciting as they used to be because you can’t go anywhere, and worst of all, you can’t visit your loved ones and hug them.
Stress! As an educator I feel it. Meeting tight deadlines, converting to online learning due to COVID-19, finding appropriate learning resources, marking assignments, and addressing student needs can contribute to my stress levels.
It is the third week of social distancing in 2020, and I am constantly amazed and overwhelmed by the number of best practices being shared by colleagues and other educators. It is 2020 and the number of platforms to learn from and to share information about is just too many. Even so, I thought it might be a great time for me to share some of the best practices I have learned for effective online teaching strategies with my TESL community.
Many of us teaching at Ontario colleges were given a week to transfer our courses to distance learning. Keeping in mind that one week is definitely not enough time to learn and plan to teach from a distance, here are a few strategies that I follow while planning my courses.
In these strange and isolating times, many ESL instructors have navigated a truly steep learning curve of technical knowledge to teach online. Whether your online class looks the way you want it to or not, I applaud your efforts. I bet learners in your class are also very thankful for you!
Some of you might know that April is national poetry month.
The theme this year is A World of Poetry. What a great opportunity to
create poetry with your online class! Below are some resources and ideas to get
you on your way.
During the Ontario
College strike in October 2017, I felt compelled to be more politically aware.
Then, in October 2018, I attended the Canadian Ministers of Education, Canada
(CMEC) Pan-Canadian Research
Conference and I found the global and local initiatives to improve education truly
inspiring. At my institution, I
joined our Senate, Honorary Degree Committee, Local Executive Council, and
became the Chair of the Academic Policy Committee. Being a driver of change is
really hopeful and promising.
Noticing theory in the
context of cognitive linguistics seems to offer an interesting insight into the
processes accompanying second language acquisition focusing on the problems of
attention, awareness and memory. “Noticing” – despite disagreements in defining
the term – seems to function as a gateway into these processes in Richard
Schmidt’s (1995) deliberations. An ESL instructor “in the field,” might have burning
questions such as these: How is noticing initiated? Is it totally subjective
and personalized, or does it have some regularities that could be exploited in
the classroom? If the latter is true, then what are the stimulants? How can one
effectively manage the process of transforming “comprehensible input” into
Since Extensive Reading (ER) is a crucial part of language
learning, I have compiled some important ER resources to help you promote ER in
your classroom. ER can build learners’ confidence, enjoyment and autonomy.
At the recent TESL Toronto’s T4T mini conference at York University, I was inspired to take 4C integration into my instruction to a new level. Specifically, I was spurred on by James Papple and Tabitha Lewis’s session called Connections to Learning through Makerspaces. They provided a myriad of potential activities that extend and enhance learning beyond what is expected in a language learning class. Tabitha and Jim highlighted resources that are available through the Brock University’s Makerspace room.
In Brock’s Makerspace, learning
opportunities include tools to create high quality audio, shoot and edit digital
video, create and edit images, print 3D models, create moving LEGO structures,
scan objects into digital 3D models, cut materials with lasers, interact with virtual
reality, record video against a green screen, control a Sphere ball with a
smartphone app, build robots, paint 3D objects, and more.