I have always believed that the best tax planning strategy is to keep in your wallet as much of your hard-earned money as possible. I have come across a number of tax deductions that are often overlooked or unknown to many. I’d like to share six of the most common with you.
Peer feedback (otherwise known as peer assessment) can be useful to both the receiver and the giver of the feedback as long as the feedback is meaningful. For this to happen, peer feedback needs to be constructive; it should start with a positive observation before pointing to an area or areas for improvement; and it should include a suggestion on how to improve, which means that the focus needs to be procedural. This is not the case in the sandwich feedback approach.Continue reading
Writing is an art, and art is supposed to be creative. But how come there’s a course called “Creative Writing?” How is this different from any conventional “Writing Course?” To be even more specific, should we have a course called – Creative Writing – in ESL, or can a conventional “Writing Course” do the job?
As an ESL teacher, I think that in the world of language pedagogy every piece of writing should be creative and therefore whether the course is called “Writing” or “Creative Writing,” creativity is an inherent part.
In this article, I’d like to share with you what happens when I teach a Writing course, which to me is no different than a Creative Writing course.Continue reading
If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat (in partnership with #TESL ONchat) on Friday, October 23. Below is a recap of the September 29 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Jennifer Chow.
Some of my primary concerns about this current online world of teaching are the creation of community and how to effectively engage learners.
As Eva Hoffman quipped, “We live forward, but we understand backwards.” Hence, I’ve done a recount of my experience as a LINC instructor of advanced online classes during the pandemic and a student myself of different online courses from Additional Basic Qualification courses at OISE, to my own French lessons, transformed during the pandemic into Zoom meetings. An issue that captured my special attention was the rationale for the hybrid mode of the remote ESL teaching.Continue reading
As the transformation to full online teaching continues, many instructors are unwittingly becoming instructional design-developers. Some are adding study sets to Quizlet, others are hastily making Kahoots, while still others are using more ambitious tools such as H5P, Hot Potatoes and ScreenCastify to create more complicated learning experiences that enhance their online lessons. To generate timely, interactive, engaging and diverse learning opportunities for our students, many of us are creating digital learning objects on the fly.
Advantages of using customized crafted learning objects include:
- appropriate language level and content for students
- learning objects will be relevant to the flow of an instructional unit
- new learning objects will add to your instructional tool chest for next term
- student motivation may improve as they engage with relevant activities
- instructor’s education technology skill set will improve
- contributions to and from educational peers will strengthen your professional learning network
While creating paper-based learning materials is routine for language instructors, creating digital learning objects is not exactly the norm. Generating learning opportunities on a daily basis for impending lessons leaves educators open to potential awkwardness – typo here, a logic flow gap there, and technology issues that could not have been predicted as the activity worked perfectly on the teacher’s computer on the previous evening. Many teachers have no choice; they learn a tool such as Socrative and immediately start creating activities that can be used to encourage more engagement through learner interactions. Without the luxury of time, digital learning objects are shared with students without proofreading, peer input or pilot testing.
Teaching with fresh and untested learning objects is risky but necessary during these trying times. We do not want to lose our students’ respect, but we need to have them engaged while they are learning online. Below are a few suggestions to help avoid embarrassment while teaching with wet paint.
- Join an appropriate collective. Fortunately, the CIC, now IRCC, moved forward with recommendations suggested in the Fast Forward report (Kelly, M. et. al. (2007)). This report resulted in a learning object collection, Tutela, and an open source learning management solution, the LearnIT2teach project, now Avenue. CLB-aligned language learning courses, learning objects, instructor training and mentoring are available to those in the settlement and language teaching sector. Learning objects sourced from these projects are professionally created, vetted and organized for Canadian instructors to download and use with their online classes.
- Locate tools that generate multiple activities from a language corpus. The corpus can be a list of words, a list of terms with definitions and images or a logical block of text. An example of this is Quizlet, which generates a set of flashcards, an adaptive learning activity, a spelling activity, a test, and three games including Quizlet Live, which involves all of the learners in a synchronous game. By creating online learning objects with efficiency, teachers will have more time to take care with their data entry and testing of the learning objects.
- Collaborate with peers. Instructors can invite other instructors at their institution or those from other schools across Canada to create and share learning objects. Tutela already performs this function, but teachers are developing for the next day. It might be sensible to cooperate with a web of instructors who are willing to create, share and give feedback on learning objects. These learning objects can be contributed to Tutela in the future after they are refined.
- Organization of learning objects. It is very important to name and categorize your digital files consistently. This is more imperative if you are sharing these with others or are intending on using them in upcoming terms. Online learning objects such as Quizlet, Kahoot or Quizizz store learning objects on their websites. It is still important to be diligent with naming and categorizing these learning objects. I learned this with Quizlet and H5P. After a few terms, it was difficult to find learning objects without a naming system. Have a look at my old H5P account. What a mess!
- Keep a Learning Objects Journal. Keep a record of the experience with each digital learning object. You can learn from shared live activity, reported scores, access logs and discrete item data if learning objects have issues. Also, solicit feedback from the learners and other instructors. Their feedback can pinpoint problematic issues. These can be remedied later on, if you have time during term breaks.
If you have any additional suggestions to improve the digital experience for our language teaching community, please add your idea(s) in the comment box below this post.
Allan, John (2020). Reconsidering Quizlet. https://www.eflmagazine.com/reconsidering-quizlet
Allan, John (2017). Add Fun to Your Vocabulary Lessons with Quizlet Live. http://blog.teslontario.org/add-fun-to-your-vocabulary-lessons-with-quizlet-live/
Allan, John (2015). Create Learning Objects Quickly with Quizlet, http://blog.teslontario.org/create-learning-objects-quickly-with-quizlet/
Kelly, M., Kennell, T., McBride, R., & Sturm, M. (2007). Fast Forward: An Analysis of Online and Distance Education Language Training – Settlement at Work. New Media Language Training. Retrievable from: http://wiki.settlementatwork.org/index.php?title=Fast_Forward:_An_Analysis_of_Online_and_Distance_Education_Language_Training
Aveune. Online settlement language training solutions for adult newcomers and teaching professionals. https://avenue.ca
Hot Potatoes. https://hotpot.uvic.ca
LearnIT2teach. An Internet portal for LINC professionals wanting to get started with online blended learning. http://learnit2teach.ca
SettlementAtWork Wiki. http://wiki.settlementatwork.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
Tutela. The online community for ESL/FSL professionals! https://tutela.ca
If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, September 29. Below is a recap of the September 15 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Bonnie Nicholas.
The #CdnELTchat community returned from our summer hiatus with a Welcome back! informal chat.Continue reading
In my last blog post I discussed a number of issues related to arriving at retirement without the proper savings to support your lifestyle. In this second part I want to highlight some investment vehicles available to build wealth. Our focus here relates to investments in equity markets and fixed income securities, which is my area of expertise.
September 4, 2020 marked another successful and fruitful discussion on Twitter, through the #teslONchat hashtag. We discussed #EdTech with John Allan – @mrpottz
This chat explored the topic of education technology in terms of instructors and administrators rethinking their previous choices of edtech for online teaching. Continue reading