Category Archives: Identity

From Day One to Year Ten

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When I first started out as a teacher, I was terrified, as I’m sure anyone would be. I had always wanted to be a teacher, but the way I’d imagined the experience wasn’t exactly how it turned out to be. 

I’ve worked in after-school programs teaching English as a Second Language and I’ve been a substitute teacher, but when I got my first college teaching job, it was intimidating to say the least. I was going to teach adults in a more formal environment, and that word, “adults,” had always scared me because although I was a 22-year-old adult at the time, most of my students were older than I was! 

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Building cultural awareness inside and out

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I have been lucky enough to work with students from a myriad of cultures over the years. Had anyone asked me if I promote intercultural skills in my students, my response would be swift. Yes, of course!

After all, I have initiated plenty of culturally themed discussions, readings, presentations, digital narratives, and other activities. But after reading more about Intercultural Competence (IC) and, more specifically, Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC), I realize that I am not going far enough.

What is ICC?

Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) derives from Intercultural Competence (IC). Both refer to the ability to interrelate with people from different cultures. According to Byram (as cited in Bickley, Rossiter, and Abbott, 2014), being interculturally competent means you can communicate effectively with people from diverse cultures in your own language. ICC, however, focuses on the “additional knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities” to do so in a second or foreign language (p. 138). For EAP, obviously, this distinction is important. 

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PBLA CHECKS AND RECHECKS AND RECORDS HAVE SHADES OF TOTALITARIAN RULE, SAY LEARNERS

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Many teachers who have questioned portfolio-based language assessment (PBLA) have been wrongly described as “resistors” by PBLA administrators (for a discussion, see Desyatova, 2020). The students in my classes are not resistors: They are keen observers who have seen something that has not been raised before about the portfolio.  In one particular class, my students have observed that the “culture of assessment” inherent in PBLA (Desyatova, 2020, p.11) has features reminiscent of their lives under rule by the former Soviet Union, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).        

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Striking a work-life balance during COVID-19

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When COVID-19 hit, I spent a lot of time with my students keeping tabs on the latest news and reviewing hand-washing procedures.

Then, we were told to stay home, and my focus shifted to spending time with my family and keeping busy.

I work as an Adult ESL and LINC teacher, and soon enough, I was asked to teach online.

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Being a Skillful Teacher

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What does being a skillful teacher mean to you? Is it the same as or similar to being a powerful teacher? Are there any expectations inherent in unravelling any difference between these two perceptions?

Stephen Brookfield, a scholar in adult education, is someone I look up to because his focus is on helping adults learn how to critically think about internalized ideologies.  He believes that we teach to change the world and that being a sincere and reflective educator can be complex but that we need to be aware of those complexities in order to learn and empower our students (Brookfield, 2015). I have always enjoyed learning about his perspective and determining how I can use it in my teaching techniques.

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#CdnELTchat Summary for November 19, 2019 – Out & About: LGBTQIA2+ Learners & Teachers

By Bonnie Nicholas

The #CdnELTchat team hosted a fast-paced chat on November 19; the topic was Out & About: LGBTQIA2+ Learners & Teachers. We were thrilled to welcome Tyson Seburn (@seburnt) as our guest moderator for this chat, and we thank him for sharing his expertise and insights. Participants discussed questions under the headings of barriers, key points, teaching, materials, support, and change.

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November 5, 2019 #CdnELTchat (Intercultural Fluency in the LINC Classroom)

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by Bonnie Nicholas

On November 5, 2019, the #CdnELTchat team was happy to welcome Sandhya Ghai (@GhaiSandhya) of Mosaic BC (@mosaicbc) as our guest moderator for a discussion of Intercultural Fluency in the LINC Classroom. This chat was a follow-up to Sandhya’s Tutela webinar on the same topic. (Tutela members can log in to view the recorded webinar.) Thanks to Diane Ramanathan (@ramdiane), Tutela Community Coordinator, for facilitating this partnership between Tutela and #CdnELTchat.

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From an ESL Learner to a Teacher

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I came to Canada as an immigrant from Bosnia – a war-torn country – which, to this day, is difficult to return to when I want to visit family. Not only do I remember things no child should, but physical remnants remain at every corner of the country itself. My family was one of those that escaped with a random truck driver in hopes of getting out and not being denied entry into Croatia, which was safe.

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