~A rose by any other name would smell
as sweet. But would it, really?
My name, Jennifer, comes from the Welsh Gwenhwyfar. It means “white wave” or “fair lady.” Although I don’t see myself as a “lady,” I do like the rhythmic majesty of “wave.” The tumbling, repetitive motion of it. But if it weren’t for the research I did, I wouldn’t have a clue what my name means. My parents certainly didn’t put much thought into it; they just liked it. Indeed, according to Ye Chongguang, “Chinese names are often chosen for their meaning, but English names are chosen for their sounds” (Lee, 2001).
The role of critical reflection is very important in action-based
approaches to problem solving. Reflecting allows us, as researchers and
educators, to think about what can be done after an observation of a particular
method and how action can be taken to fix or alter the process of the method to
make it more effective. “Being able to explain what you are doing and why you
are doing it also enables you to be clear about its significance for your
field, which is important when it comes to saying why your research should be
believed and taken seriously by others, especially peers” (McNiff, 2011, p.
In a time where TESOL
teaching is turning away from prescriptive methods, and teachers may have the
increasing freedom and responsibility of adapting to their students’ needs, a
question that faces ongoing consideration is whether or not the first language
(L1) has a role in the EFL classroom. The good news for teachers who engage or
would like to engage L1 use in the classroom is that this approach is strongly
backed by theory and research-based evidence in the field of second language
acquisition. Here, in the first part of a three-part series on this topic, I
will outline this body of support for incorporating the L1.
#CdnELTchat got off to a thoughtful start in 2019 with a focused chat on Resolutions in #ELT. Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) led the discussion by posting the questions, with Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) and Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) welcoming participants and replying to posts, and Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL) providing support in the background. The team has published an article reflecting on their experiences with #CdnELTchat, Building a Community of Connected ELT Professionals on Twitter. The article appears in the most recent issue of the TESL Canada Journal Special Issue, The Shifting Landscape of Professional Self-Development for ELT Practitioners. Continue reading →
If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat usually every second Tuesday. Below is a recap of the November 27th chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.
I have been learning how to speak Mandarin for the better part of twenty years, but I still can’t produce the fourth tone correctly. I automatically say the first tone instead of the fourth tone in conversation. I am aware that I do this, yet I can’t seem to correct this bad habit. Is this a fossilized error? Is there anything I can do to overcome this error? On November 27th, a group of educators discussed these questions and more on #CdnELTchat.
Thank-you so much to the enthusiastic participants who contributed their ideas and shared resources during this chat. Continue reading →
“You have to get your SBA’s, SUA’s, T’s and A’s in order to have an organized portfolio, Sridatt,” said the Lead Instructor of Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) implementation. “You also have to get,” continued the official, “peer evaluations [PE’s], learner reflections [LR’s], and inventory checklists [IC’s], all in order to have a good, organised portfolio.” The order and presentation of the portfolio, not the teaching of the language itself, seems paramount. I welcome myself to the new world of English as a second language teaching, even though my new teaching practices are not aligned with my educational philosophy.
By the time the individual was finished, I was beginning to see a sort of preoccupation over skill building activities (SBA’s), skill using activities (SUA’s) tasks (T’s) and assessments (A’s). When the individual was gone, it didn’t take much reflection to conclude that Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) seems to be a faulty assembly line approach to education. 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 →
Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) has created a new world, where the doing of tasks is a must, with no exceptions whatsoever. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word task is the notion that you have something to do, most likely something you are not too keen on doing. A task by any definition is a piece of work you must do or undertake. The Merriam-Webster dictionary goes further to add: “Something hard or unpleasant that has to be done.” Some common synonyms for the word task are chore, job, duty, labour, toil, and burden. Both as a noun and a verb, the word task does not evoke anything pleasant someone has to do. How the word task came into adult ESL teaching methodology now troubles me. There has to be a better Continue reading →
Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) is here to stay. “Teachers cannot opt out” (p. 58) and it is “an expectation of employment” (p. 71). Once implemented the way it was meant to be, the evidence suggests, it is an academically sound approach to teaching and learning. The PBLA programme, now being implemented in all ESL non-credit classes that are funded by Citizenship and Immigration, has two critical shortcomings which I have encountered Continue reading →
I am trying to fully understand the translingual approach – specifically how it aligns with English for academic purposes (EAP) or the much needed skill of clear, concise written communication. The idea is great, but how do we go about it?
Horner, Lu, Royster, and Trimbur (2011) propose a translingual approach for dealing with student writing in academia.
Although I agree with most of the underpinnings behind the new approach, I am not so sure how they envision it. I agree with many of their ideas, but…
I agree that students’ right to use their language (English and otherwise) should be respected. I also agree with the authors’ opposition to the monolingual “view that varieties of English other than those recognized as ‘standards’ are defective” (305). Varieties of English, they explain, include what monolinguals Continue reading →