Category Archives: Professional Development

October 22 #CdnELTchat (Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning)

Image source: #CdnELTchat

by Jennifer Chow

On October 22, enthusiastic #CdnELTchat participants talked about “Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning”. We were excited to have Rob McBride (@LearnIT2Teach) of New Language Solutions join us as our guest moderator for this chat. Rob is one of the project managers for the EduLINC coursewareand LearnIT2Teach/Avenue.ca. Thank-you to all those who added their thoughts before, during and after the chat. 

It was a fast-paced chat with many conversation threads. Here are some of the key ideas that came out of the chat:

  • The definition of blended learning is flexible and may describe classes with face-to-face instruction combined with online teaching and learning activities, but could also include exclusively online teaching and learning environments with synchronous and asynchronous activities.
  • Blended learning may include “flex-time” models, where students can choose to attend in person or via remote conference services.
  • Blended learning is always changing, and instructors have to keep adapting and refreshing modes and methods.
  • Blended learning helps students build or develop multimodal literacy skills, digital literacy skills, learner autonomy, self-reflection, and online social engagement with other learners. 
  • Some of the challenges of blended learning include time management, lack of tools and resources, tech difficulties, equity in access, and isolation.
  • Some of the blended learning tips that were shared include engaging in better practices via a Community of Practice, consulting learners through classroom discussions and surveys, using interactive screencasts, creating a digital orientation, creating and sharing a style guide to support a program, developing “Transitions” classes to get students ready for blended learning and engaging in course design evaluation.

All the resources that were shared can be found here: Resources for Blended Learning. Please feel free to add resources to this live document. 

You can find the tweets by searching Twitter for our hashtag, #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the tweets from both the live and the follow-up asynchronous chat using Wakelet: #CdnELTchat Summary on Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning

These are the questions we used in the chat: 

Q1: What is blended learning? Is there a single accepted definition? 

Q2: What are the benefits and challenges of blended learning? What are the unanticipated challenges – what do most instructors fail to plan for? 

Q3: What do teachers and students need to know before trying blended learning? 

Q4: What are some better practices for blended learning? How do we identify these? And how can teachers work together to support each other and share ideas and best practices?

Q5: What questions should we ask ourselves to evaluate the design of our blended learning courses? Are there any tools we can use to do this?  

Q6: How can we deal with questions of access and accessibility in blended learning? For example, what about students who do not have regular access to an internet-enabled device and a reliable, high-speed internet connection outside of class?

The #CdnELTchat team is looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat


Our next chat will be on Tuesday, Nov. 5 with special guest moderator, Sandhya Ghai, who will talk about Intercultural Fluency in LINC Classrooms.


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Self-care for teachers: #CdnELTchat September 24, 2019

image source: #CdnELTchat

written by Bonnie Nicholas

As always, during the live chat, participants had a lively discussion responding to the questions posted by our moderator, Augusta Avram. And as always, people who couldn’t participate in the live chat added to the richness of the conversation afterwards through the #slowburn format. Thanks to everyone who participated! A couple of themes emerged from the ongoing conversation: #ELT can be stressful work, and we need to take care of ourselves and support each other. Some ideas that were shared included having an emergency self-care kit, remembering that “no” is a complete sentence, making  time and space to debrief, blocking off me time, advocating for ourselves as well as for our students, setting boundaries, and remembering the importance of exercise and physical health.

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What I Did on My Summer Vacations

Image Source: Patrice Palmer
Palmer, second from left, with staff of Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce Training Centre, 2017.





Do you remember having to write about your summer vacation on your first day back to school?  It doesn’t seem like a very original topic, but I want to share my experience as a volunteer in Honduras, Ethiopia, and Guyana with Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO).  You are probably wondering how this happened since I’m an ESL teacher, not an executive.  Let me explain. 

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September Brings a New School Year and New PD Goals

Start of school year concept. Teacher faceless holds blackboard with title back to school. Man welcomes students, chalkboard on background. Teacher holds chalkboard in front of face.
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

The start of a new school year is upon us! Are you prepping for the first week of classes? The excitement of new students, the rush to finalize lesson plans and materials, the planning and organizing of new routines at home are all part of the exhilarating feeling that September fills the air with. September is a chance for a new start. Maybe you’ve been reading the blog throughout the summer for some new lesson ideas or new technology to try out in the classroom.  But September is also a time to think about new professional development goals.

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Encouraging reflective practice for ourselves and our students

#CdnELTchat summary for June 25, 2019 by Bonnie Nicholas

Reflective practice word cloud
Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

A small but mighty group of ELT gathered on Twitter on the last Tuesday in June to reflect and discuss questions around reflective practice. These are the questions that guided our discussion:

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Good Practice in teaching vocabulary

Image containing the title of the post.

If you’re on Twitter, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, June 25th. Here is a summary of the June 4th chat compiled by Bonnie Nicholas

On June 4, 2019, the #CdnELTchat community brought their best and briefest words to talk about good practice in teaching vocabulary. We chose good practice over best practice because what is best can change and can depend on context. Agree? Disagree? Tweet your comments using the #CdnELTchat hashtag.

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My ANPC Experience

In early October, I saw a call go out on the TESOL webpage looking for members to join a newly formed committee called the Affiliate Network Professional Council (ANPC).  The call asked for interested parties who had recent previous experience on an affiliate board, as you would be working with other affiliate leaders closely. I thought it sounded interesting, and I quickly discovered that I was right. 

TESOL International has about 100 affiliates from a wide range of places, like Bangladesh, New York state, and Yakutia, Russia. When I first joined TESL Ontario, I was surprised to learn that

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#CdnELTchat: Join the chat on Tuesday

If you’re on Twitter, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, April 16th –
Advocacy in #ELT.  Below is a recap of the March 25th chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.


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.

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#CdnELTchat: Join the chat on Tuesday

If you’re on Twitter, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, March 12th. Below is a recap of the the most recent chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.


On February 26th, ELT practitioners connected on Twitter for #CdnELTchat to discuss Giving Quality #Feedback, a topic that was chosen by #CdnELTchat enthusiasts. Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) kept the conversation moving by posting questions, while Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) helped out by replying and retweeting, and Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) and Svetlana Lupasco (@stanzasl) provided background support. Please contact any of the team members if you have ideas for chats or if you’d like to help out, maybe by co-moderating a chat or collecting the tweets for a summary like this one. 

Feedback can be very powerful if done well. Good feedback gives students information they need so they can understand where they are in their learning and what to do next. During the conversation, we shared tips, experiences and resources on giving effective feedback. We’ve collected the discussion around each question using Wakelet. Click to read the questions and replies.

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#CdnELTchat: Join the chat on Tuesday


If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, February 26th. Below is a recap of the the most recent chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.


On February 12, ELT practitioners from across Canada and the U.S. connected on Twitter for #CdnELTchat on the topic of Supporting teachers new to the #ELT profession. Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) kept the conversation moving by posting questions, while Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) helped out by replying and retweeting, and Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) and Svetlana Lupasco (@stanzasl) provided background support. Please contact any of the team members if you have ideas for chats or if you’d like to help out, maybe by co-moderating a chat or collecting the tweets for a summary like this one.

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