I’m sure what’s on everyone’s mind is this: When will this whole quarantine situation end? How will things be afterwards? And, will things actually return to normal?
It seems as though an endless period of time has passed during quarantine, and I sometimes have to check or be reminded what day it is. Weekends aren’t as exciting as they used to be because you can’t go anywhere, and worst of all, you can’t visit your loved ones and hug them.
In these strange and isolating times, many ESL instructors have navigated a truly steep learning curve of technical knowledge to teach online. Whether your online class looks the way you want it to or not, I applaud your efforts. I bet learners in your class are also very thankful for you!
Some of you might know that April is national poetry month.
The theme this year is A World of Poetry. What a great opportunity to
create poetry with your online class! Below are some resources and ideas to get
you on your way.
At the recent TESL Toronto’s T4T mini conference at York University, I was inspired to take 4C integration into my instruction to a new level. Specifically, I was spurred on by James Papple and Tabitha Lewis’s session called Connections to Learning through Makerspaces. They provided a myriad of potential activities that extend and enhance learning beyond what is expected in a language learning class. Tabitha and Jim highlighted resources that are available through the Brock University’s Makerspace room.
In Brock’s Makerspace, learning
opportunities include tools to create high quality audio, shoot and edit digital
video, create and edit images, print 3D models, create moving LEGO structures,
scan objects into digital 3D models, cut materials with lasers, interact with virtual
reality, record video against a green screen, control a Sphere ball with a
smartphone app, build robots, paint 3D objects, and more.
One way to promote student engagement is by providing students with real-world hands-on learning experiences. An excellent way to do this is through student-produced video projects.
In 2008, Mary Anne Peters, Julianne Burgess, Elizabeth Sadler, and Zachary Arlow created the LINC for Youth Photography Project and LINC for Youth Video Project at Mohawk College to help newcomer youth learn English in a collaborative environment. The foundation of these unique classes is grounded in multiliteracies theory, youth culture, and technology. At the College, I teach in LINC Youth Video Project (LYVP) with my teaching partner, Emily Imbrogno, and media technician, Zachary Arlow. LYVP is targeted to newcomers ages 18-25, with Canadian Language Benchmarks 4-5. LYVP has students create video projects on topics connected to newcomer youth experiences and interests.
I’m looking forward to the summer
months. Even though there’s still snow on the ground, I recall my adventures teaching
ESL at a children’s summer camp. I learned a lot, as I do every year. I enjoyed
adapting existing material and creating my own instead of working strictly from
a textbook. It was challenging and time consuming, but I would argue better, more
student-centered, and fun.
standard protocol for presenting at TESL conferences in Canada is that the
presenter receives an honorarium and a card expressing thanks from the
organizing committee. It’s a nice gesture and I always appreciate
I received a unique gift for presenting at the TEAM conference in Winnipeg,
Manitoba. It was a beautiful bag,
handmade by Angela of the One Nation Exchange (O.N.E.). I was moved to learn more about O.N.E. and
how this bag came to be.
post-secondary, students are often required to work on culminating projects comprised
of various assignments submitted at different deadlines throughout the term. My
teaching partner and I wanted to bring the experience of a post-secondary
culminating project into our classroom, but in a way that was both manageable
and meaningful to our LINC students.
When doing major projects, my teaching partner
and I are always looking for ways to optimize Portfolio-Based Language
Assessment (PBLA) for all four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and
writing). As we focus on teaching our students English to prepare them for
post-secondary education and the workplace, we find ourselves utilizing creative
ways to incorporate PBLA with scaffolded learning. Thus, we came up with the
idea of a cereal box book report.
When I was a student in elementary school, I used to love
“story time.” Some of my earliest and fondest memories as a child were sitting
around in a circle and having the teacher read stories to the class. I’ll never
forget the time my Kindergarten teacher cried while reading us “Love You
Forever” by Robert Munsch. Stories are powerful. Story time was the best!
I love stories, whether they be novels, movies, or a friend’s
adventure. So, naturally, as a teacher I like using stories in my classes.
Here are a few examples of how I have used stories as an ESL