The ten to fifteen minutes at the beginning of an ESL class are so valuable to both teachers and students. That is the time when students are fresh and eager to learn. I would go so far as to say that students may even be optimistic and excited about what they are about to do (at least that’s how I like to view the students in that part of the class). In the spirit of that optimism, the warm-up is a great tool to increase students’ confidence, show them what they know and what they need to work on, and give the teacher a clear understanding of where the class needs to go that day.Continue reading
Do you feel uncomfortable when you visit a new place? I imagine how our students feel when they arrive to Canada. Not only are they here to learn English, but they’re also here to adapt to an unfamiliar culture.
Speaking from experience as a current ESL teacher and a former ESL learner, I thought I’d compile a short list of the top five ways that teachers can support their learners in their transition to help them adjust and become confident and effective learners.Continue reading
Bringing the L1 into the EFL classroom does not need to be an overhaul of current practice in the classroom, nor does it need to be applied to each and every classroom activity. It is something that can be applied strategically and with intent at the teacher’s discretion. The point is not to create a new method, but to understand that cross-linguistic awareness is one of many useful teaching/learning techniques that are available to us as language teachers.Continue reading
The cherry blossoms are out! It’s spring and finally warm enough to ride my bike to work. I do my best thinking on that bike. With a new semester starting, I find myself reflecting on the semester gone by. Peddling on cold, rainy days tends to cause me to remember my failures, but on warm, sunny mornings, I recall my successes. For 16 years I have been teaching university prep writing, grammar, reading, speaking, and listening to students from around the world.Continue reading
Despite the wealth of research that purports the benefits of a cross-linguistic approach, many learners and teachers are operating in an environment where the L1 is used with trepidation and as a last resort if it is used at all. Why is it that teachers and learners are hesitant to take cross-linguistic and multilingual approaches on board, despite the value of these tools for language learning?Continue reading
Can you name all of the Kardashians? What is Fortnite? Are fidget spinners still a thing? What’s a meme?
Do you use pop culture references in your ESL lessons? I do! Let’s explore some of the disadvantages and advantages of doing so.Continue reading
Does grammar make you nervous? Do you wonder if you know enough to be able to help your students with their grammar? Let’s take pronouns, for example. Can you explain when to use who or whom? You and I or You and me? You can Google these issues fairly easily and find helpful explanations, or you can find good ESL grammar exercises and worksheets online, or you can use a good textbook.
The bigger question is what grammar should we teach?Continue reading
Dealing with Sensitive Topics in ELT
On March 26th, ELT practitioners from across Canada and beyond connected on Twitter for #CdnELTchat to talk about Dealing with Sensitive Topics in ELT. Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) kept the conversation moving by posting questions, while Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) helped out by replying and retweeting, and Svetlana Lupasco (@stanzasl) and Jennifer (@jennifermchow) provided background support.
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.Continue reading
With the arrival of winter comes an entire month devoted to the hardest working muscle in our bodies – the heart. February was heart health month, but it’s important to continue to talk about what we can do to make sure we keep our heart in tiptop shape. The heart works hard to pump blood to all parts of the body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
But what happens when we don’t have good heart health? And why is it important for ESL educators to know about this?Continue reading