#CdnELTchat: join the chat on Tuesday!

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If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, November 27th. Below is a recap of the November 4th chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.


What does it mean for learners to be autonomous and accountable? How do you teach students to take responsibility of their own learning? What roles does metacognition play in learner autonomy? These are some of the questions that a group of educators tackled on November 6th.  Bonnie Jean Nicholas (@EALStories) and Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) moderated a #CdnELTchat to explore this topic.

Thank-you so much to the enthusiastic participants Continue reading

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Join the next conversation on #CdnELTchat

image source: #CdnELTchat

If you’re a Twitter user, read on to learn how you can join the next #CdnELTchat.   Below is a recap of the October 23rd chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.

Being able to use learning strategies and study skills can empower students to become independent learners. What learning strategies and study skills do English language learners need to support their language learning journey? Bonnie Jean Nicholas (@EALStories) and Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) moderated a #CdnELTchat to explore this topic.   Continue reading

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Come On Baby, Light My Fire…

I tend to write my conference reflections as soon as possible after the conference for obvious reasons. (Obvious = getting old and forgetting stuff quickly)  I promised myself that this conference I would self-indulge, go only to the workshops that light my fire. Since the time I had to actually attend workshops was minimal (I was doing other things for the conference), I wanted to make that time count.

I attended no PBLA workshops. Continue reading

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Lessons of the Outlier

Young students with books and notes. Smart young guy and girl doing their homework in University campus. Learning and education for young people.
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“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” M. Proust

Travel is not new to me. Travel as a newly minted ESL teacher is.

I am in the middle of a month-long TESL internship in Poland, arranged through Algonquin College, as an optional extension to the TESL Program. Though culturally quite similar to Canada, I am plunked in a community where I do not speak or read the language. Continue reading

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Smart Phones in the Pronunciation Class? Yes!

Multicultural friends group using smartphone with coffee at university college break - People hands addicted by mobile smart phone - Technology concept with connected trendy millennials - Filter image
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Sometimes students come up with great ideas for learning!  When I taught a couple of pronunciation classes at our local community college a few years ago, I was struck by the students’ use of their phones in class – not so much as a distraction or a deterrent to learning, but as an aid to help them produce accurate speech.  The primary advantages I observed are that the phone can provide individual feedback at the touch of a button and that it is available for practice outside the classroom as well. 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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Teaching in Mexico

Old black leather suitcase with books on the floor. Retro stile. Vintage accessories for business. Checkered suitcase. Summer vacation
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After a seven-year hiatus, I am teaching ESL again. I am in Los Cabos, Mexico and this morning’s class will be at a non-profit college aimed at giving underprivileged kids an opportunity for higher learning.

My sister K., who lives here half the year, instigated this.

I’ve been looking forward to it. I even managed to fit in a few of my old ESL books from my teaching days into my suitcase.  Continue reading

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Seeing Through My Students’ Eyes

The topic for this post has been on my mind for a while. It is more of a question arising out of my experience with multi-modal text, specifically students’ work when transducing words to image. Perhaps you can help me answer the question:

Whose images should students be required to produce when asked to analyze the author’s writing: The visualization of what they read or what the author intended?

I ask because I have found that controlling what students visualize while reading might be just as controversial as asking students to think in English. Continue reading

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Reflections on the implementation of PBLA

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“You have to get your SBA’s, SUA’s, T’s and A’s in order to have an organized portfolio, Sridatt,” said the Lead Instructor of Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) implementation. “You also have to get,” continued the official, “peer evaluations [PE’s], learner reflections [LR’s], and inventory checklists [IC’s], all in order to have a good, organised portfolio.”  The order and presentation of the portfolio, not the teaching of the language itself, seems paramount. I welcome myself to the new world of English as a second language teaching, even though my new teaching practices are not aligned with my educational philosophy.

By the time the individual was finished, I was beginning to see a sort of preoccupation over skill building activities (SBA’s), skill using activities (SUA’s)  tasks (T’s) and assessments (A’s). When the individual was gone, it didn’t take much reflection to conclude that Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) seems to be a faulty assembly line approach to education.   Continue reading

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The apprenticeship of observation

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An interest in languages, combined with a few stints living and working overseas, has meant that I have played the role of language learner more than once.  These experiences have greatly informed my practice as a language teacher.  Famously, this is called the ‘apprenticeship of observation’. Teaching is a unique profession in this sense; teachers have their own experiences as students watching their own teachers teach, which influences them when they become teachers. Here are a few of the things I have felt and thought as a learner that have influenced my teaching…

I don’t care if there are some things my teacher doesn’t know. Continue reading

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