does being a skillful teacher mean to you? Is it the same as or similar to
being a powerful teacher? Are there any expectations inherent in unravelling
any difference between these two perceptions?
Stephen Brookfield, a scholar in adult
education, is someone I look up to because his focus is on helping adults learn
how to critically think about internalized ideologies. He believes that we teach to change the world
and that being a sincere and reflective educator can be complex but that we
need to be aware of those complexities in order to learn and empower our
students (Brookfield, 2015). I have always enjoyed learning about his perspective
and determining how I can use it in my teaching techniques.
If you work with PBLA, what does your program site do with
the leftover Language Companion Binders? What you are looking at in the picture are
leftover PBLA binders at our location. Most are full of the quintessential “artifacts.” We have tried to encourage students to take
the binders with them when they leave the program, but the fact is that they
are not wanted. Management and staff have discussed different strategies to
facilitate binder departures, but so far most of our students just smile
politely and say “no thank you” before exiting as fast as possible, lest we try
to put it into their hands. Can you blame them? Who wants this huge awkward
emblem of the past century filling shelf space at home, not to mention the
weight when it is fully loaded?
What should we do with this precious plastic? We thought it
would be best to take out the old artifacts and recycle the binders back into
the classroom to be reused. This seems like a good idea but who is going to do
this time-consuming job? Who will do the cleanup? Should the administrators or
settlement workers be responsible? Perhaps those supposed volunteers that were frequently
referred to but who never materialized will do the work. As it is, teachers are still not being fully
compensated for the time we spend on PBLA, so not us.
What about the ton of paper inside the binders? Those have
to go into the recycling bin. The levity with which IRCC considers the
environment is astonishing. In a time when many countries are banning plastic
and using technology to reduce paper consumption, we are finding ways to
increase its use.
The implementation of PBLA has been poorly thought out from
the start. There is no fiscal plan for fair compensation, no environmental conscience,
and no evidence that it is enhancing learners’ experience. Why are we still
I’m looking forward to the summer
months. Even though there’s still snow on the ground, I recall my adventures teaching
ESL at a children’s summer camp. I learned a lot, as I do every year. I enjoyed
adapting existing material and creating my own instead of working strictly from
a textbook. It was challenging and time consuming, but I would argue better, more
student-centered, and fun.
In 2018, after some 37 years in the TESL field, I joined the TESL Ontario Board. This is the ideal volunteer challenge for me at this point in my life. I am keen to do what I can to contribute to the health of the organization and, most importantly, to the ongoing professionalization of TESL. Throughout the life of a teacher, you gain perspective as your career progresses and at one point you realize that you are ready to pitch in and give some time to the profession at large.
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.
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.
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.
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.