Category Archives: Approaches

Timely Talk About Tobacco

image source: Toronto Public Health

You’ve noticed that many students in your class smoke.  Is quitting smoking something you should talk about? Is it any of your business?  Many of your students have children.  Do they smoke around their children?  Is it part of your role as an instructor to discuss the negative health effects of smoking?  Continue reading

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Better, Best, or Next Practices in English Language Teaching

Best. Choice, practice or Service. Wooden letters on the office desk, informative and communication background
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I find the term best practice troubling; and I say this as I wear my language instructor hat and my consultant hat. Full disclosure: I am working on TESL Ontario’s Directory of Best Practice Resources. The Directory is a compendium of online (and hard copy) high quality resources for adult ESL and FSL instructors and administrators. Please check it out: http://bestpractices.teslontario.org/ . In putting together our Directory, Continue reading

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Kahoot, not just for games anymore

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Using visuals is an integral part of our daily teaching practice; however, often, our visual aids are rather mundane. For example, one of the primary and most popular visual aid has been PowerPoint. Despite the benefits of using this tool, it can easily turn a classroom into a passive learning environment.

Having said this, there are other tools available through which knowledge and information can be transferred to students. One of the alternatives available is Kahoot. Now, many of us might have heard of or used this tool in our classrooms. Kahoot is a game-based teaching tool that teachers usually use to test student knowledge after their teaching is completed. However, Kahoot can be used for purposes other than testing. This post introduces Kahoot as a tool that can replace PowerPoint presentations Continue reading

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Learning and Resilience

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This year at the TESL ON conference, Asmaa Cober, Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre, will be one of our Keynote Speakers. The following blog post was written by Asmaa. Here she gives you a synopsis of her keynote address:

Learning never happens in a vacuum — people bring all of their experiences with them to the classroom. Newcomers (and refugees in particular) have a life history — experiences that greatly affect their ability to learn. We will explore some of the types of experiences that refugees bring with them to the classroom. Continue reading

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What’s So Funny? Looking at Different Cultural Approaches to Humour

Young man laughing out loud, crying from laughter in two positions - holding stomach and hand on forehead, cartoon vector illustration isolated on white background. Young man laughing to tears
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My husband and I laugh together a lot. I cannot imagine being with someone who does not share a sense of humour.  However, I know many couples who do not have the same sense of humour. One of my mother-in-law’s first dates with her future husband involved seeing a Laurel and Hardy movie during which he laughed loudly. She thought he was an idiot but went on to marry him.  Obviously, we don’t always laugh at the same things. This becomes quite apparent when you teach a second language class. Continue reading

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Getting in the Way of Progress

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This blog post is about the verb “to get,” and how sometimes this verb can get in the way of progress. Biber and Conrad (2001) list the verb “to get” as one of the twelve most commonly used verbs in spoken English, which explains why it would be an important verb to know. However, too much of a good thing can sometimes get in the way of progress. The verb “to get” and all its inflections can end up replacing every other possible verb, which in turn might prevent some learners from moving to the next stage of language proficiency. Continue reading

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Managing Strong Personalities in the Classroom

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I imagine we’ve all had classes in which one or two students dominate the room.  Maybe they ask questions at every turn or monopolize discussions, not leaving room for others to speak. Making room for everyone in the classroom without alienating these students can be a difficult task.  Here are some methods that can be used to keep a balanced classroom: Continue reading

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Reading, Reading, Reading. Why it’s so important!

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I was talking with a colleague, Lisa, during lunch break the other day. At our school, the students have a  1-hour class with a pronunciation instructor once per week. Lisa was suggesting  the merits of having a similar intensive lesson every week on reading.  After our discussion, I began to consider the importance of reading versus the other skills. I am beginning to wonder if reading is the key skill to developing English proficiency.

Don’t get me wrong – Teaching pronunciation is one of my favourite classes to teach. I guess I like the focus of language use and playing with the sounds, the stress, intonation and inflection. Many students have expressed that it is important for them, as well.

Anyway, back to reading.  Continue reading

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STRESSING OUT WITH THE BOMba’s

Last Spring, as I was sitting listening despondently to students mangling stress, I decided to give up on words, and create a sound pattern that was so visually simple, they’d be compelled to listen.

If you can’t hear a sound, it is very difficult to reproduce it. Our students hear stressed syllables, which would be okay, except in English over 60% of our syllables are unstressed, and we often forget to teach them how to listen for those unstressed syllables.

English spelling compounds the problem.  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.
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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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