Even during prosperous times ESL professionals in Canada encounter precarious employment: contract work, limited hours, and no/minimal benefits (Breshears, 2019). TESL graduates often struggle as they enter the field with limited knowledge of how to navigate the diverse segments of Canada’s TESL market (Wu, 2019).
Have you been asking yourself what technologies you could- or should- use to deliver your online courses? Maybe you’re looking for some guidance as to what to use and when. Online teaching challenges us to try a lot of new things, but we don’t have to imagine what functions well and when on our own. Instead, we can refer to the technology and learning pedagogy models which are out there to assist us in making informed decisions about technology in our lessons.
Puentedura’s SAMR model is used to describe the integration of technology into learning pedagogy. This model is sometimes viewed as a staircase, as depicted here, but the levels are not necessarily sequential. Each can be chosen independently to suit a lesson (H.L., 2017). The SAMR model aims to capture how technology can be used in teaching and learning practices.
In this article, I will discuss the first two steps in the SAMR model and how they can be applied in your teaching. Continue reading →
Reading can be a very challenging skill for ESL learners. Teachers also know that individual students may respond differently to different styles of instruction. Fortunately, we have access to both explicit teaching techniques and structured experience techniques. Even though ESL teachers themselves may be more comfortable with one or the other of these options, it is well worth taking both of them seriously because each can make a contribution. Part I of this series covers explicit teaching techniques and Part II covers structured experience techniques. I will offer practical advice regarding both approaches, and explain three proposed techniques for each.
In Part One and Part Two of this series I’ve talked about issues that may affect attendance for literacy learners, as well as some best practices I’ve picked up over the years. In this post, I’ll pass along some more effective teaching practices for literacy learners and tips on PBLA.
Over the past months, thousands of language instructors across Canada have been unwittingly or intentionally taking on instructional developer responsibilities. They have been cobbling together, rearranging, and refining digital resources and activities from various sources to meet the needs of their students. Many instructors have been generating original learning resources to fill in gaps that appear while teaching online.
Usually, learning materials are prepared ‘on-the-fly’ to anticipate or adapt to challenges that arise from our classroom lessons. What happens to these documents? Often, they are forgotten on a computer drive and discovered on a slow day when you are considering which files to remove to free up hard drive space. These files are hastily named, filed, and saved, so they are lost. Sometimes, it is too much trouble to save and properly file a document that is created just before your online class is about to start. If you are currently teaching online, I am sure you will agree with this! Continue reading →
Instructors in the LINC program have been teaching within the framework of PBLA (portfolio-based language assessment) for a few years now with the most recent guidelines having been published in 2019. The 2019 PBLA Guidelines outline the history and rationale, address practical implementation, and conclude with a resource section. While some instructors have embraced its use and see its benefits, others continue to find that it impedes effective teaching and learning, consuming a lot of time both in and out of the classroom. Program costs, its impact on teachers’ time, and its accuracy in measuring student language proficiency are important elements when considering its effectiveness. In this blog, I consider “the good, the bad, and the ugly” in PBLA theory and practice. Continue reading →
The work-from-home situation has lasted more than a year. During the pandemic, almost everything has been moved online, including education. This has been especially challenging for ESL education. We teachers needed to quickly learn technology and adapt it to meet our students’ needs. Our students have had to deal with technical issues in the language they are learning. But, at the end of the day, we all managed, and managed well! Here are a few lessons from my year-at-home.
In recent decades, language-teaching methodology has seen a sharp rise in training more independent and autonomous learners through what is known as Strategic Investment. (Brown, 2001). Strategic Investment is a learner-centered approach, with a focus on employing methods to
With summer school wrapping up, I am having a difficult time transitioning from a work to a vacation mindset. Some people might not have a problem with this, but I do.
When the semester is finished, it is hard for me to stop thinking about my work and students. I am driven to come up with new teaching strategies, check my emails, and worry about my students’ continued learning. Continue reading →