Category Archives: Professional Development

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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Delivering a Webinar

Webinar concept. Blackboard with handwritten text "Webinar", pink notebook and earphones on wooden background, top view
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Have you ever thought about presenting a webinar? Do you have some ideas or successes you think would be interesting to others? Want to add some new tech skills to your resume? Or just would like to give it a try?

Make presenting a webinar one of your 2019 New Year’s resolutions!

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Why teachers need to care about self-care – Part 2

image source: bigstockphoto.com

Last Monday, Patrice introduced a discussion on why teachers need to care about self-care. This Monday’s blog continues that discussion.

Self-Care Solutions

The implementation of self-care requires a mindset change and the belief that we deserve time and attention for our own needs. This is difficult for many teachers to do since caring seems to be part of our DNA.  I strongly believe that self-care should be easy to follow, of little to no cost, and should not add time or stress to an already busy career. I incorporated “new tiny habits” such as daily walks, setting reasonable marking expectations and boundaries (such as no emails at night or weekends), spending time doing things I enjoy, connecting with people important to me, and setting Sunday as a no-work/re-set day. Continue reading

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