Category Archives: Andragogy

#CdnELTchat: join the chat on Tuesday!

is back on Tuesday, Jan. 29th to discuss “Balancing Language and in the Classroom”. We hope that you can join them.

Here’s a recap of their January 15th chat.


#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

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#CdnELTchat: join the chat on Tuesday!

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

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Reflections on the implementation of PBLA

image source: bigstockphoto.com

“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

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Philosophical and Historical Mindedness: A New Teaching Philosophy of Innovation and Care

An Enlightening Experience

Wood block education word over backboard school. Education word formed by educational wood block. Education word concept for background.
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

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

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Tasking the Adult Language Learner To Do Tasks

Close up of old English dictionary page with word task
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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

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PBLA: A Need for Task-Based Needs Analysis and a Study in Task Differentiation

Man stretched between two cliffs
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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

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The Translingual Approach – Agree but…

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

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…

Agree

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

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Finding Balance in the Student Teacher Classroom

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I have been working on my TESL certification for the past few years through part-time online learning. For my practicum, I recently had the opportunity to observe and teach in a level four EAP class. Writing this blog post has posed an opportunity for me to reflect on the practicum experience and comment on the foremost challenge I faced when moving from TESL student to TESL teacher: balancing the theory learned in the TESL classroom and the realities of the classroom to provide students with the best possible learning environment.

The Perfect Lesson Plan vs. The Clock

Since I have taught in the college classroom before, I was already aware of the challenges of time. Instructors are responsible for following a rigid course outline and syllabus, regardless of the specific needs of the class. However, I felt that this was an even greater challenge in the ESL classroom.

ESL students need ample opportunity for practice in order to master language use, and this practice requires Continue reading

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Centred and Balanced

image source: www.bigstockphoto.com
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

What is student-centred learning?  There are many facets to this idea.  It can be lessons based on students’ needs.  It can mean choosing topics based on students’ interests.  But one of the concepts that is most commonly related to student-centred learning is learning through discovery.  When someone learns through discovery, they are given enough autonomy to interact with materials and consequently discover how things work (think figuring out grammar rules implicitly).  On the other side of the coin you have teacher directed learning where knowledge is transferred from teacher to student (think explaining how grammar rules work). Continue reading

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The Power of Disorientation

bigstock-Leave-Your-Comfort-Zone-plan-o-74019913
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As ESL teachers, we all know that the techniques we need to employ while teaching adult learners differ from those techniques used with children.  Jack Mezirow, a well -respected theorist in the field of adult learning, suggests that adults need to experience a disruption as a catalyst for the learning process.  In his theory of transformative learning, he lays out the steps in the process which result in learning.  The first step toward adult learning comes in the form of a disorienting dilemma.  This dilemma provokes a period of critical reflection to help us make sense of the disturbance.  As a result of our examination of what is happening, we grow.

In my experience as an ESL teacher, most of the participants attending the classes I teach have experienced a lot of Continue reading

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