One highlight of my ESL teaching career was when I taught in the Black Forest of Germany at an English Summer Camp. I taught Local German teenagers who wanted to practise conversational English.Our mandate was to introduce them to North American English since they were being taught British English in the German school system. I was the only Canadian on our team; the others were all from the United States.
I always attend conferences to try to improve myself as a teacher, and sometimes I come away exceptionally motivated. This was the case a few years ago when I attended a great session on rubric creation. At the time I was working in a private language school and also doing some part-time LINC teaching. I kept wondering how I could mark student writing in a way that was useful to the students but also less time-consuming for me. This session seemed to be the answer to my prayers. Continue reading
One of my TESL Professors told me that to be an effective educator you needed to participate in the community. I’m not sure I’ve accomplished the first part yet, but I have certainly learned a lot from volunteering. What I love about being on the TESL Ontario Board is how it has enriched my knowledge of the diversity of our field.
I have been on the TESL Ontario board for nearly 6 years, which means that my time is drawing to a close. When I reflect back on the last 6 years, the first thing that pops into my head isn’t Continue reading
Having worked in various ESL/EAL sectors in Ontario over the past 20 years, I decided to apply for the TESL Ontario Board in 2015. I had thought of applying to the Board for years before, recognizing the important role of TESL Ontario to support and advocate on behalf of our profession, its members, and the increasingly important role our profession plays in building bridges in Ontario/Canadian society. As I had worked in the private, LINC and college/university EAP areas, I thought I’d be able to share perspectives from these complementary experiences to help shape the direction of the organization and the future of our exciting profession. So in 2015 Continue reading
It was nearly 5 years into my teaching career before I cautiously attended my first executive meeting for TESL Ottawa. I’ve attend conferences, lectures and workshops religiously from the very beginning. It was the best opportunity to meet and get to know other colleagues away from the photocopier. It was energizing to end the day with new tips and tricks for my own teaching toolbox to try out on Monday morning. It was also a chance to Continue reading
Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) is here to stay. “Teachers cannot opt out” (p. 58) and it is “an expectation of employment” (p. 71). Once implemented the way it was meant to be, the evidence suggests, it is an academically sound approach to teaching and learning. The PBLA programme, now being implemented in all ESL non-credit classes that are funded by Citizenship and Immigration, has two critical shortcomings which I have encountered Continue reading
During the fall term, I was privileged to teach a group of 10 ESL Literacy students. Although in the past I had volunteer-tutored a literacy student and had taught various computer literacy classes, teaching a whole class of beginner ESL students with literacy needs was a whole new challenge. I have to say it was thoroughly rewarding Continue reading
The age of technology has arrived. It can be integrated, according to its pundits, into every stage of teaching the four basic skills: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. Better yet, nothing beats technology for enhancing both teaching and learning, the pundits add. It’s the new transformative tool and game changer in the domain of education.
Selected studies on specific target audiences suggest that one particular app or another has indeed enhanced reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. On the whole, however, years have passed, and test scores and outcomes have not gotten any better with most technology assisted learning and its various applications. No one, especially me, seems to know which technology is best suited to a teacher’s goals and outcomes. There are, and I think everyone would agree, too many apps purporting to enhance both teaching and student learning. At the same time, studies on the efficacy of technology and second language learning are Continue reading
I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the ACPI-TESOL National Conference in Costa Rica earlier this month. Although it was a relatively small conference (under 60 participants), the organizers were able to attract presenters from the U.S., Panama, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and UAE (and me from Canada).
I believe as teachers, we can always learn something new no matter how many years we have been teaching. This conference was no exception in that there were many take-aways from the presentations. However, before I provide some of the conference highlights, I wanted to talk about my experience trying to navigate in a Spanish-speaking country as a non-speaker of Spanish. (I did take some lessons a few years ago, but I didn’t even have enough language skills to function.) I forgot how it feels to be unable to communicate – even a simple request! The last time I experienced this kind of powerlessness and vulnerability (not to mention feeling dumb) was when I got lost in Hong Kong; I actually got lost 3 times in 3 different taxis in Costa Rica! There is certainly nothing more meaningful for a language teacher than experiential learning and appreciating the daily challenges for many of our students!
Here are some of the conference highlights: Continue reading
Diane Ramanathan has been a LINC Home Study instructor with The Centre for Education and Training since Feb 2014. She is also a part-time professor for the TSL program at Algonquin College.
Transcript: Continue reading