In the classroom, one of my favourite goals is to encourage my students (and often colleagues!) to become a community of thinkers. I try to create a safe environment in which everyone’s opinion is valued. Below, I share a few simple strategies to boost your students’ thinking skills.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
(Carroll, L. 1865. Alice in Wonderland)
I wrote this piece about three years ago, reflecting on an old lesson and the role imagination plays in our ESL curricula. I believe this activity could be modified for an online classroom. If you give it a go, please let me know how it works out!
“Books are a uniquely portable magic,” as Stephen King wrote, so spend the rest of this pandemic with your reading socks on! It is a stressful time; reading a good book or an educational article can be extremely therapeutic!
In this blog entry, I will briefly review some professional articles and Canadian books I think you might enjoy. I would love an exchange of ideas if you read or have already read some of my suggestions listed below.
The educational reformer and philosopher John Dewey once said, “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” If, like me, you agree with him, you may find this post on reflective writing meaningful.
It is important to note that writing reflectively does not have to involve only one area of your life. You should be open to write about anything you want, knowing it is going to be for you and your benefit only. It does not really matter what you write about. The key is reflection to enhance mindfulness.
In this blog entry, I will attempt to briefly describe the contents of a presentation my colleague Glenn Ewing and I shared at TESL Niagara on February 8, 2020.
Glenn and I have been interested in EAP Speaking rubrics for many years. Information shared here and during the presentation is based on our personal reflection, professional experience, education, and research. Our focus is mainly on EAP speaking rubrics for midterm assessment. We maintain that typical EAP speaking rubrics often present some flaws which make them ineffective for the learner. We attempt to explain some of the problems, propose some principles of rubric design, and finally, promote, as an alternative, student-centred, formative speaking rubrics.
For years, I have
been fascinated with the work of Nel Noddings and her themes on care. In one of
her (2010) articles, she presses educators to become role models who shape healthy
and caring students. The students in my class were feeling stressed and
overwhelmed by being constantly assessed on their performance, so I decided to
create a set of lessons on the theme of stress. These lessons were prepared for
a high-intermediate level and each day represents a period of 50 minutes.
I believe that the first step to foster Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) and independency in our students is to use critical thinking and inquiry. I teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) to students who very often come from countries where neither SRL nor inquiry are particularly encouraged. I have been experimenting with critical thinking and inquiry and SRL skills in the classroom during my Master’s degree and I haven’t stopped. It is quite fascinating and rewarding. I would like to share a lesson in pronunciation I have recently adopted with one of my advanced EAP classes. Continue reading →
A few years ago, I had the great opportunity to participate in a series of workshops that promoted the use of drama and its technique in ESL. At the time, I felt I was doing quite well for a new teacher trying to impart and share some speaking techniques with students: I was covering some pronunciation exercises, conducting fun and meaningful role-plays, touching on interesting and hot topics to spark conversation, and lecturing about public speaking and presentation skills. After the workshops, I realized that I was not doing enough to promote fluency. Below, I am going to share a game on improvisation I learned and played during one of the workshops. I have tried it many times across a gamut of levels and I encourage you to try it with your students. Continue reading →
It is really complicated to explain in words the satisfaction I feel and the changes that have occurred during my studies for my Professional Master of Education both on a personal and professional level. The overall experience was enlightening for me. My sister has recently asked me what the most meaningful parts of this process were for me. This is a complex question, for there were so many aspects worth mentioning; for instance, Continue reading →