All posts by Tamsin Cobb

The Art of Group Work

Team work conept. Hard-working university students sitting at table pointing at some information in book with pencils trying to understand what is written there. Students working with books studying
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Group work – just the mere mention of this makes some students cringe.  In fact, I have heard from students who actively choose courses that don’t involve group work even if at first the course sounds really interesting, but in reality, that limits the choices tremendously!  In other cases, I’ve stood at the front of the class and announced, “ok, let’s get into groups and…” and all of a sudden, I hear this cacophony of sighs transcend the room – no holding back, no filters. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of group work in education, and Continue reading

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Celebrating National Dictionary Day

Fake Dictionary Dictionary definition of the word encourage.
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This weekend has been filled with social gatherings and sharing our thanks with friends and family – and our students, but in the world of teaching, before one major theme is complete, our thoughts are filled with what’s next.  October is filled with major themes – Fall harvest, Thanksgiving, and Halloween, but did you know it’s also the month of National Dictionary Day?  As Shakespeare said, what’s in a name? Well for many language learners, the answer is Continue reading

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National Volunteer Week: Let’s Make a Difference Together

image of people putting hands together with the word volunteer in text box
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I tried to scour the Internet for motivational/inspirational quotations to start this post. I wanted to really capture the essence of my intention and put it into words using a famous quotation or an iconic figure that would resonate with you. I read quotation after quotation, visited page after page, and no string of words truly said what I wanted to convey today.  Why is today so special? Why am I trying to find just the right combination of words? Continue reading

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It’s Raining PD!

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Last week, we welcomed the first day of Spring – hello Spring!  Maybe you’re like me when Spring arrives. My mind begins to think of that very North American task of Spring cleaning.  However, my Spring cleaning list rarely has anything to do with cleaning up the house. Continue reading

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Aboriginal Lessons

Native American Inukshuk road side stone marker.
image source: bigstockphoto.com

When we’re educating ELLs, how many of us have the opportunity to expose students to Canadian history? I love teaching history and having learners explore how we got to today. At times, I wish I were more like a history version of Ms. Frizzle (I kind of have the hair for it minus the red).

It’s common to talk about the government, Confederation, and the iconic symbols of Canada, but I have found Continue reading

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5 Ways to Get Involved This Year

Group of Business People Using Digital Devices
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It’s 2017 and we’ve got some exciting ways for you to get involved with the TESL Ontario community! With each new year comes the reminder of our membership renewal – and our 10 hours of PD experience.  For some, our locals have many ongoing opportunities to connect with each other and learn within the community of practice. For others, the TESL Ontario Conference allows us to travel, share our experience and research, as well as build a network beyond our local reach.  But what about those of us Continue reading

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Webinars: 50 and Counting

50 Webinar imageIt’s Sunday night, you’re mentally checking off your ever growing TO DO list to make sure you’re ready for Monday morning: make lunch, review lesson plan, pack worksheets, bring new whiteboard markers, load new PowerPoint into LMS … and that’s just to get you through Monday. Your mind starts to wander and you realize it’s time… Continue reading

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Special Post: Leadership, Professional Development, and the Annual TESL Ontario Conference

Conference Concept. Modern Line Style Illustration. Multicolor Conference Drawn on Dark Brick Wall. Doodle Icons. Doodle Design Style of Conference Concept. Conference on Dark Brick Wall. Conference.
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Fellow TESL O members, it is almost that time of year where we get a chance to share our knowledge with each other and develop our skills as educators at the annual #TESL2016 Conference.  This face-to-face experience allows us to build our community of practice and share leadership in the field.  The conference might be in November, but preparations have already started! As we prepare for this conference, we ask, will you be a leader?

Leadership

One of the MANY benefits of TESL O’s annual conference is the opportunity to develop your own leadership abilities. Be a discussion leader by presenting or better yet, co-presenting an approach in the classroom that you have tested, a research question that you have investigated, or a tool that you have used and believe others can benefit from.  Be a creative leader by displaying a poster of your idea or tool. Continue reading

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How do I write faster?

Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com
Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

A typical conversation that I have with students near the beginning of a semester goes like this:

Me: How are things going? What would you like to do today?

Student: Ugh I have so many assignments you know, and I have to study a lot and write so many papers. It took me a long time to write this essay… like 6, 7 days. That’s too much. Please teach me how to write faster.

Me: Writing essays takes me a long time, too.

Student: No. It can’t take you this long… you are a professional and English is your first language. I want to write essays in maybe 4 hours total.

For many students, this request is a very logical one. How do they juggle the multitude of assignments in a 14 or 15 week semester? Writing faster is more efficient and beneficial to them than not writing at all. After all these years, I still don’t have a clear answer because I can’t even write a 10 page paper in 4 hours. Once we get through the initial conversation, here are some strategies I do provide: Continue reading

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Relax, Reflect, and Renew!

Morning cup of coffee with mountain background at sunrise
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Hello fellow readers!

It has come to that time of year again when we take some time to reflect on our past year or past school term and fill our thoughts with hopeful new adventures in the classroom – after all of the marking is done that is!

THANK YOU again to you all for visiting the site each week or clicking on an intriguing title from the monthly emails. Comments have been steadily picking up, and your thoughts, comments, and questions mean so much to our bloggers who take the time to create posts that will be meaningful to the TESL community.

We will be taking a break from blogging until the New Year and will return with our next posts appearing January 1st and 4th. We hope that weekly visits to our blog will be on your New Year’s list! Maybe there is a topic or idea you would to explore in the new year – why not send us an email and see if one of our bloggers can speak to his/her experiences.

As always, if you have any suggestions, an interest in blogging, or comments, please go to our Contact Us page and send us an email.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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