Teaching communication skills to internationally trained professional students has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career. My students have years of experience and vast knowledge in their areas of expertise, yet when it comes to communicating the simplest thoughts and ideas, they often seem to be challenged; confidence and language barriers could be the two biggest reasons behind this challenge.
curriculum that I teach requires students to present only twice over the span
of 4 months. This semester, however, I have started providing my students with
more opportunities to present without making it an official presentation task.
I have named this approach “Reading & Presenting Circles.” The results have
been stellar, so I thought I should share the approach with my TESL Blog
community. The class I have implemented the Reading and Presenting Circle
approach in is 18 weeks, and I meet my students twice a week.
The TESL Ontario Annual Conference is right around the corner! December 5th and 6th will be here before we know it. Are you attending? We’ve been looking at the schedule and highlighting all over the place! There are so many interesting topics being covered that it’s hard to pick just one at a time.
Quilting and knitting circles have existed
for a long time for the purposes of pleasure and producing a useful final
product, but how did a handicraft project for a group of Master of Education
students turn into a feel-good, emotional learning journey? It was an
assignment for a research methodology course, but it was so much more than that.
It was also collaboration, self-discovery and an emotional roller coaster all
rolled into some highly memorable academic presentations. At least that was my
observation, if not quite my personal experience.
One of my courses specifies that students create a presentation on an educational resource and present it to their peers. The following is a model I’d like to share with you as a potential means of using a common theme with a final presentation as a way of promoting inquiry, research, collaboration, communication, planning, and writing within one term of instruction. The project comprises eight separate activities. Each activity involves the students practicing language and social skills in a variety of ways. These steps are detailed below in the section, Project Process.Continue reading →
I often think about newcomers to Canada, and specifically those coming from challenging circumstances who are building a new life in a new land. How are they settling into their new environment? Are they adjusting? Managing? Dealing? Healing?
Many of these newcomers are from the Middle East and are observing Ramadan, a holy month that’s observed by millions of Muslims around the world, where the central focus is fasting. Continue reading →
During my TESL practicum, I was privileged to work with a wonderful instructor in an EAP class. My practicum supervisor* was great at scaffolding and layering; as the course progressed, each language skill was incorporated into subsequent lesson activities until it all culminated in a final project. The class was in oral skills with the final project being a presentation. Along with using the targeted language from the semester, the presentations also included a focus on appropriate body language, strategies to engage the audience, and the use of technology.
While presentations are common in English language classes, they can be very stressful and time consuming. In order to add variety to the assessments during the course, another activity that was required of the students, and that could easily be adapted for any type of ESL classroom, was leading a discussion group. Not only did we use this in the EAP context, I used the same activity in an EFL class that I taught in Ecuador in which the students were preparing to take the First Cambridge Exam. Here is how I did it!
Fellow TESL O members, it is almost that time of year where we get a chance to share our knowledge with each other and develop our skills as educators at the annual #TESL2016 Conference. This face-to-face experience allows us to build our community of practice and share leadership in the field. The conference might be in November, but preparations have already started! As we prepare for this conference, we ask, will you be a leader?
One of the MANY benefits of TESL O’s annual conference is the opportunity to develop your own leadership abilities. Be a discussion leader by presenting or better yet, co-presenting an approach in the classroom that you have tested, a research question that you have investigated, or a tool that you have used and believe others can benefit from. Be a creative leader by displaying a poster of your idea or tool. Continue reading →
Imagine if someone said something overtly sexual or crude to you. What would your reaction be? Disbelief? Shock? Anger? Now imagine that the speaker is your ESL student. Of course, your response has to be different.
Sometimes because of pronunciation or improper word usage, ESL students inadvertently say or write the most shocking things. A while back, one of my students wrote this in a peer review (a student response to a student assignment, in this case an essay): “Your hooker is not very appealing and is unlikely to attract the reader.” Of course, he meant hook. What a difference two letters can make. This situation was easier to deal with because the student had not uttered this sentence aloud to the class. I took him aside and explained the meaning of the word, resulting in him blushing quite a bit.
Sometimes students mispronounce words such as sit, beach, can’t etc. I deal with this issue Continue reading →
Presentations are ubiquitous in modern life, so it makes sense to include them as a component in ESL classes.In North American culture we have certain expectations about how presentations will be given.The format is low-context, meaning the presenters are making sure that they can be understood by the audience.The students in our classes not only require the appropriate language skills, they also need to understand how to format a presentation so that the audience can understand its structure.The following house analogy is one way to teach about how the format of a presentation gives it structure.This structure makes the content more coherent to the audience.
The introduction welcomes the audience to your presentation.It tells them who you are, why you are giving the presentation and, maybe most importantly, it shows themwhat to expect.It’s the first impression that the audience has of what will be delivered.Much like the front lawn or the walk way to your house, the first impression of the introduction adds value. Continue reading →