When I look around my classroom, I see a mix of ethnicities from around the world. Each student has their own cultural traditions and special holidays, but they may also be curious to learn about some of the traditions we celebrate in Canada during the holiday season.
In Canada we celebrate several important holidays at the end of the year, including Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Oktoberfest, Día de los Muertos, and Yee Peng. These are a few of the more commonly observed celebrations, however there are many more. Whatever the ‘reason for the season’, I try to be inclusive and recognize the diversity of our year-end celebrations when discussing the holiday season with students.
A narrative is a series of events that can be described through words, images, performance, or a combination of these forms. Often, the manner in which the story is told can impact how it is told and how it is received. Stories can convey complex concepts and perspectives, invoke strong emotions, and leave a lasting impression on our minds. This is why using narrative to facilitate learning can be so powerful.
I often hear students say they like any chance to have a casual conversation in English. Literacy learners, however, are much more likely to avoid a conversation because they’re not confident enough to use the language yet. As ESL teachers, we prepare well-thought-out lessons that focus on grammar, composition, pronunciation, and structured activities, but we rarely foster a free flow of dialogue that encourages the students to just “use the language.”
Learning English (or any new language) requires student focus, repetition, and practice, so it’s easy to see why students may often feel disengaged or even bored in the classroom. This is why ESL teachers love to try off-the-wall ways to liven up their classes and infuse some enthusiasm into the topic. Continue reading →