Category Archives: Professional Development

Mastering Small Talk: Conversations That Get You Noticed and Rewarded!

two people making conversation
Image source: https://www.staffmanagement.com/mastering-small-talk/

Close your eyes for a minute and picture being at a networking event, and the manager of the school you’ve been dying to work at walks up to you and strikes up a conversation.  The first think you do after saying hello is effortlessly introduce yourself with your well-crafted and powerfully supported elevator pitch but, with that finished, what do you do now? Your mind goes blank, and you see the manager starting to shift her body away from you.  You’re losing her and, with each passing second, your opportunity at a future interview starts to disappear. In that moment, how could you have saved the conversation?

The answer is simple Continue reading

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#CdnELTchat, A Twitter Chat for Language Instructors

What is a Twitter chat?

Twitter is a microblogging tool that has recently been made most famous by the American President Donald Trump. Ok, it was popular before he started running for office, but my point is that everyone is familiar with Twitter.  It has approximately one hundred million active users daily.  A twitter chat is simply a collection of users that contribute to an online conversation using a common hashtag (#).   Twitter chats sometimes feature a guest that allows a community access to his/her expertise.

#CdnELTchat

This post is addressed to English language teachers across Canada.  Continue reading

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Board Moments: My First Year As A Member

Image of board membersMy first of three years as a TESL Ontario board member will be coming to an end soon, but it feels more like the beginning of what is turning out to be a rewarding professional opportunity.

I’m writing this blog entry to share with you why I feel so fortunate to be a member of this board, and why I recommend that you, my OCELT colleagues, consider applying to be a member of the TESL Ontario Board of Directors. I hope my positive experience will convince you to take action.

The call for nominations is open until June 11 at noon. To get started, head to our board recruitment info page:  http://www.teslontario.org/board-recruitment. Continue reading

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On Leaving

Image by Sanjeevan SatheesKumar on Unsplash

The position was meant to be something new to try out, to add some freshness into my PD experience. Fast forward three years, and the job of Twitter Manager for TESL Ontario is much more than that and still interests me. Why am I leaving?

It has been a challenging couple of years, and the reason I need to leave Continue reading

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Board Moments: How a Meeting Opened Up Pathways

Diverse people teamwork on meeting table
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

ESL instructors often ask about favourites to get conversation started. What is your favourite sport? food? movie? etc. Well, if you were to ask me, “What is your favourite board meeting?” (and surprisingly, no one ever has) I’d have to say the annual joint meeting with the TESL Ontario Affiliate Chapter Representatives (ACRs) and the Board of Directors.

My First Joint Meeting

The first joint meeting I attended was back in 2013 when I was neither a Board Member nor an ACR. I had agreed to Continue reading

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Board Moments: 2018’s New Start

Teamwork, team connect hands togetherness concept, show connection and alliance. Teambuilding in the office, young businessmen and women in casual unite hands for teamwork and cooperation
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

2018 has arrived with a lot of new energy and enthusiasm. At our first TESL Ontario board meeting of the year were 3 newly elected directors: Lara McInnis, Art Rekhtin and Amy Yani. Adding to that, David Hazell sits as the new Chair and I’m adding my efforts as the new Vice Chair. Other board members include Brett Basbaum, Alex Harchenko, Geoff Lawrence and returning secretary, Cheryl Fretz. The board is a great mix of experienced and newer members; with such diverse backgrounds, I am reminded of our vast membership.

TESL Ontario’s small staff has been hard at work since the conference in November 2017 and has been busy preparing many of the items raised at the AGM. It will be posted soon on our website. As for the board, planning has already started for the year ahead. We’re eagerly anticipating our joint meeting with the local Affiliate Chapter Representatives in early March. We only have the opportunity to meet twice a year, which is why it’s always a meeting we look forward to.

Having sat in on these meetings both at the affiliate and board level, the landscape of ESL in Ontario is clearly represented. To confess, as a LINC of many years, I often forget the thorny issues faced by my peers teaching in colleges and universities or the demands and challenges of those in administration and coordination. We’re all working towards the same goals of preparing our students for success. The joint meeting is also an opportunity to hear about what is happening in all 12 of TESL Ontario’s affiliate chapters.

My own affiliate chapter, TESL Ottawa, is showing such ambition in organizing new and innovative professional development opportunities. Our first “Ed Tech Jam” was inspired by what was happening in TESL Toronto’s annual T4T conference. TESL Durham tried out their first remote presenter from Ottawa a few years ago. Did you know that TESL Niagara has an “Eat, Talk, Learn” event? Or what about TESL Hamilton’s trivia nights? There’s so many creative opportunities happening at local levels and when we are able to come together, we can really share what works and what was learned.

It’s also an opportunity to come together to share what concerns we are seeing. PBLA seems to the newest acronym across most affiliates, but it’s old news in Ottawa. While international students seem to be dwindling in one area, another area has seen a surplus. One region has received federal pilot funding and another is facing job cuts. Our industry, it seems, is cyclical in nature. It’s either feast or famine. Every affiliate has faced this, and every affiliate has found a way to best handle the challenges.

The attitude at the board and at all local affiliates, I’m sure, is one of collaboration and teamwork. We’re here for each other as friendly colleagues and professionals with questions, suggestions, complaints, compliments and sparks of new ideas.

With the start of 2018, what questions and suggestions do you have for your local Affiliate Chapter? What new ideas would you like to share with the board?

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Journaling – a Means to Enhance Research Writing

I did not know that I was a researcher until I did academic research for the first time. Like many fellow teachers, just hearing the word research used to make me cringe. It might be the vast implications that research entails that put teachers off, myself included. After all, we all do our own research on a daily basis, whether it is preparing for class, looking up or creating new material, providing feedback, etc. We need to give ourselves more credit, for we all do research, an argument supported by Parsons, Hewson, Adrian, and Day (2013), who claim that “research is less rocket science than carefully planned, rigorously attended activity” (p. 5). Continue reading

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Don’t Just Think It: Blog It!

Blog Blogging Social Media Social Networking Online Concept
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Have you read this blog and thought hmm I wish they’d write about [insert relevant topic here] or read a post and thought I have another strategy for that? Maybe you’ve seen the emails over the years and thought that’d be neat, but I don’t know… Well, why not make this the year you take on a new adventure, come on board, and lead the conversation! Continue reading

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Joining In: How I Joined the Board

multiple hands connecting in the centre with the words Join In written overtop the image
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Recently I had written about why I joined TESL Ontario and my local affiliate chapter in Ottawa. To follow up, I would like to explain how I went about the process in hopes that this would inspire others to see just how easy it is to participate. Having attended a number of TESL Ottawa events, I was in awe of the amount of work and effort put forth by the local volunteers. There were always messages encouraging new members to join its executive and when curiosity got the best of me, I Continue reading

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Ways to Reflect on Your Teaching – A Practical Approach

image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

How often do you reflect on your teaching? Do you have enough time to reflect in a meaningful way? Reflective practice is an area I’m quite passionate about. However, I understand that many teachers struggle to find the time to reflect, or they may not know how to reflect in a way that enhances their teaching and benefits their learners. Making the time to reflect is key. I know first-hand the feeling of not having enough time to reflect when, for example, you have a pile of essays to mark. The second hurdle to reflection is figuring out how to reflect in a practical and purposeful way. In this post, I’d like to share some practical tools and ways to reflect Continue reading

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