Category Archives: motivation

A Year in the Life

Laptop computer with boxes of students in an online classroom on the screen
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

It’s been a little over a year since ESL campuses shut their doors. I can’t decide whether it has gone by slowly or quickly. In my personal life, the pandemic has lurched along, one depressing headline after another; endless days without family and friends. However, as a teacher I have been flying through the days by the seat of my pants!

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Brain Breaks Essential when Teaching Online

Image taken from BigStock Photos

In general, teachers have an unwavering commitment to their profession and an unparalleled work ethic; when COVID-19 hit, they applied this to online learning. However, the hours spent learning how to teach in this new environment have taken a toll on both their mental and physical health. Many teachers have had to strike a whole new work-life balance.

During an in-person lesson, it is natural to take a break, whether that be leaving the room briefly or stepping into more casual conversation between teachers and students. But what happens in the online classroom when we take a break? For most of us, continuing our work is the norm. How does this ultimately make us feel? Are we better off working through our breaks for the benefit of our students? Continue reading

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Quick Tips for Teaching Literacy

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

These tips and guidelines are meant for instructors and volunteers who are new to the field of literacy and intend to work with adult literacy learners. What makes this document different is that it is not based on research papers and teaching theories. Rather, it is based on my experience teaching literacy students from diverse backgrounds and various levels of literacy. It is also based on other teachers’ experiences and my learners’ feedback, which I always consider when planning my lessons. Despite the challenges, I find that teaching literacy is very rewarding and fulfilling.

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Put Your Reading Socks On!

A Perfect Time to Read

Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

“Books are a uniquely portable magic,” as Stephen King wrote, so spend the rest of this pandemic with your reading socks on! It is a stressful time; reading a good book or an educational article can be extremely therapeutic! 

In this blog entry, I will briefly review some professional articles and Canadian books I think you might enjoy. I would love an exchange of ideas if you read or have already read some of my suggestions listed below.

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In Praise of English Language Learners

A chalkboard sign saying, "Well done!"
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher, I think I have a responsibility to remind my students of the incredible job they have done as additional/foreign language learners. I think as teachers we sometimes forget the challenges our students are going through! This letter is to all additional language learners, wherever they are.

Dear EAL learners,

I acknowledge you. I admire you. I celebrate you! You’ve already done an incredible job. Whether you are at the beginning level, where your journey has just started, or you have been in this for quite a while, you are amazing and here is why.

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Symbolic New Materialism: From Theory to Practice

A Brief Introduction to New Materialism

The interconnectedness of two people's stories symbolized through this unique artwork
Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Consider how much time instructors and students spend in front of electronic screens and how essential technology has become within the last eight months. Meetings and lessons delivered via Zoom and other online platforms are the new normal. Given the challenging times that we are facing including new approaches to learning, living, and overcoming adversity, the idea of new materialism is gaining momentum.

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Maintaining Balance & Thriving During COVID-19

Painted rocks, creative outlet, message of hope.
Image source: Gonul Turkdogan

What can EAP/ESL/EFL instructors do if they are laid off or have much reduced hours during COVID-19? This question concerns most of us. Like many others, I was laid off. I believe that with persistence and creativity we can stay positive. As examples to stimulate discussion, here are several things that I have found beneficial.  

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Online Teaching Reflections

Fast forward and rewind symbols on either side of zen stone, pause reflect and rewind
Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Some of my primary concerns about this current online world of teaching are the creation of community and how to effectively engage learners.

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Music for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Music recording concept. Creative process of writing a song
Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

I recently created an online listening and speaking module about music. The idea came to mind as a way to make online learning fun, interesting, and engaging for students.

           The module was broken down into four weekly sessions and accessed by students via Canvas, Padlet, Zoom, PowerPoint, Word, voice recording apps, and email.

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