All posts by Bei Zhang

Language Never Stops

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Is it possible for a language to become outdated? Daniel Tammet (2018) answered this question in Every Word Is A Bird: “Language never stops.” “Language evolves over time to reflect the way understanding and beliefs change” (Lellman, 2021). Some expressions that were common a few years ago might not be so common now. This has made choosing good materials more challenging when it comes to real-world language learning.

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Students in Charge: Ideas for Reading and Listening Activities

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Recently, I did a small experiment with my students. Instead of me assigning reading and listening tasks, I asked them to read an article and watch a YouTube video, and then make their own questions as if they were teachers. The results and feedback were quite astonishing.

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Why Do We Need a Mentor?

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If you google the meaning of “mentorship”, you can find the literal meaning in the dictionary. According to Merriam-Webster, mentorship means “the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor” (n.d.).  But what does this mean in practice? Why is having a mentor important? This article discusses the importance of mentorship at work, how to find a mentor, and how to maintain a healthy and successful mentorship.

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The Year Teaching and Learning Changed

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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.

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Tools and Resources for Online Teaching (Part 2)

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Many of us have been teaching from home for more than a year. What a crazy milestone! While at home, we have all been trying our best to support our students by using various online and offline tools. It has been a tremendous learning journey for both teachers and students. However, often meaningful interaction is missing in our online class. Additionally, with lower-level students, introducing a new tool or online source can be challenging because of a lack of technological knowledge. This is where WhatsApp comes in handy.

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Tools and Resources for Online Teaching (Part 1)

In this article, I am going to share some of my ideas about how to keep Google Classroom neat and organized, as well as how to use Jamboard as an effective whiteboard.

Tools and Tips

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Google Classroom

Google Classroom (GC) has become the primary instructional platform for most teachers in Ontario since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I like it and I hate it. I like it because it is such a powerful platform for teachers to deliver content to students. I hate it because it can sometimes be messy and challenging when it comes to organizing content. It took me a while, but I found a way to organize it.

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Teach As If You Are Your Own Student

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A common expression I often heard when I first started teaching was “Teacher, I don’t understand.” I would, of course, ask them which part they didn’t understand, and then give them further explanation. However, I would still see confusion on their faces. It was my turn to be confused. I had done what I was supposed to do, explain, but still they repeated “Teacher, I don’t understand.”

I didn’t find the answer until I had the chance to observe a student teacher. I had my ‘aha’ moment. The teacher was explaining vocabulary and expressions perfectly. However, she had barely considered her students’ levels and their level of understanding for the “perfect” explanations. At that moment, I realized my mistakes: 1) I treated them like their English was at my level; 2) I taught English like I was an ESL teacher.

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