I often get asked how I stay connected with the TESL community since I’m not always teaching. Blogging as a volunteer guest blogger for TESL Ontario is an avenue I chose to do just that. So, I thought I’d share what I love about blogging for TESL Ontario with you. Be warned, this may entice you to apply!
When I applied to become a TESL blogger, I was excited. When I got the call to be interviewed, I was nervous (but the good kind of nervous).And when I found out that I was selected to be one of the bloggers, I did a happy dance, (luckily all of you didn’t have to witness it…I digress).Continue reading →
My learners struggle to retain vocabulary. The problem arises when I review the key words a week later, and my learners are unable to recall meanings. Hence, I decided to test the value of using a series of reviewing techniques in language teaching in order to endorse the assumption that the more stir created, the more likelihood that favourable learning results occur amongst lower level learners.
In exploring and determining the validity of this taxonomy, I used one of my Friday sessions on a current week’s themed vocabulary: college and classroom. As a result of this, I hoped to generate value by helping my learners increase their retention rate. My other key aim was to promote accountability in learning, and make students aware of the benefits of revision techniques by empowering my learners during the process. Thus, I divided the session into 4 separate segments.
Review Key Vocabulary
The first segment was reviewing the key vocabulary individually for 5 mins. in preparation for the activity. I used Continue reading →
There is an ongoing investigation concerning best practices, benefits and challenges related to virtual teamwork. A panel discussion exposing virtual teamwork will take place at the Sheraton Centre Hotel located at 123 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada at precisely 1:00 p.m., Friday,November 13th, 2015. Participants will be given a writing instrument and asked to write questions on a piece of uncoated stock paper, with a vellum finish. They will then be instructed to slip the note into a Fedora, which may be a code name for something they are trying to “keep a lid on“. Discreetly do as they say.
Top agents from the TESL Ontario Blog Administration Team will be disclosing sensitive information. Who are they? What do they know? How do they do it, being geographically dispersed? What technology are they using to communicate? What makes this virtual team tick? And most importantly, how can you use this information to design your own virtual team? Continue reading →
Last week, just before my webinar on using Twitter for Professional Development and Developing your Personal Learning Network (PLN), I came across a tweet from @danielmccabe, quoting Dave Burgess (@burgessdave), in Teach Like a Pirate , that said:
The negative teachers aren’t on Twitter…the people you see there are trying to move forward and help others move forward. (Burgess, 2012)
I am fresh off a third webinar for TESL Ontario and am basking in the glow of my PLN. This webinar was the second in a series of three that TESL Ontario has supported me in presenting. I had the pleasure of telling some stories about the important connections I’ve made on Twitter with teachers who offer me support and necessary dialogue. My Twitter PLN is the best sounding board for developing and tweaking ideas I have.
One of the challenges for educators active on Twitter is to bring more lambs into the fold. My favourite quote is from @AcademicsSay:
“You’ll have to show me how to do this Twitter thing sometime.” – Every colleague ever.
Over the past twenty years, I have met and befriended many teachers, but don’t even need all of my fingers to count the ones active on Twitter. It’s a shame, really. So many teachers are missing out.
I had lunch with a former colleague this week who was surprised and shocked by what I’ve been able to do Continue reading →
How often do you talk to other teachers? What do you usually talk about? Do you openly share ideas? I think for many educators, teaching can often be a very solitary job, (especially when first starting out). Of course, we are usually surrounded by many students, colleagues, and staff at our schools on a daily basis. But when it comes to certain fundamental aspects of teaching, like planning and reflection, a lot of teachers around the world do these alone. I think it is extremely unfortunate if you are one of these teachers because I have witnessed first-hand how teachers can grow and develop at an accelerated rate when they collaborate with their peers. Continue reading →
ESL Week makes me think about a particular student. Her first day is still crystal clear in my memory. Nervous, shy and just plain scared, she chose to say, “No English” mostly with gestures. I must have been blind as I did not see the butterfly about to emerge from that cocoon in a few months’ time. About six months later, one day, I made an announcement in class about the ESL week contest. Collectively, the class groaned, “No!”
In my experience, a yes becomes so much better when it begins as a no. 🙂
We then started playing with the contest idea. A scaffolded version of the ESL week guidelines became a reading comprehension task. We brainstormed ideas through a speaking lesson on the topic. She came up with a few different movie (video) concepts. The voice inside my head nervously said, “How are you going to help her? Do you know ANYTHING about editing?” But I did not interrupt her vision. We moved on to writing the story board for her idea. In the days that followed, she Continue reading →
I recently decided to take an educational workshop on Mental Health in Schools offered by our school board. While it was not directly related to Adult ESL, I felt it would enhance my learning and better equip me to understand adults with similar problems.
There was quite a mix of participants: TAs, and both elementary and high school teachers. At the second session, a young woman asked if the seat was taken at the table where I was sitting by myself, and I invited her to join me. She looked familiar, and I inquired as to whether we had taken a workshop together before, or if she had attended one of the P.D. Days at TESL Ottawa. I was naturally assuming she was a teacher. She then said she knew who I was by Continue reading →
As another school year is almost at a close, it is time for end-of-year reflections – for both students and teachers alike.
At the beginning of each school year, my students set goals for their language learning. They begin by assessing where they see their strengths and weaknesses, then selecting one or two specific areas to focus on, e.g., “Figuring out new vocabulary I read”, or “Organizing my writing more clearly”. They then make a plan of action – what specific strategies they will use to help them reach their goals, as well as what support they would like from me as their teacher and from their families at home. Mid-year we do a ‘where we are now’ check-in, which involves Continue reading →
Another year has ended in my journey as an ESL teacher. As I look back, I realize the roller coaster ride it was.
When I started in September, I had two students in a higher, multi-level LINC class. On the first day, only one showed up. On the second, the other student was there, but the one from the first day wasn’t there. Let’s just say that on both days we spent a lot of time getting to know each other.
I have been working on my TESL certification for the past few years through part-time online learning. For my practicum, I recently had the opportunity to observe and teach in a level four EAP class. Writing this blog post has posed an opportunity for me to reflect on the practicum experience and comment on the foremost challenge I faced when moving from TESL student to TESL teacher: balancing the theory learned in the TESL classroom and the realities of the classroom to provide students with the best possible learning environment.
The Perfect Lesson Plan vs. The Clock
Since I have taught in the college classroom before, I was already aware of the challenges of time. Instructors are responsible for following a rigid course outline and syllabus, regardless of the specific needs of the class. However, I felt that this was an even greater challenge in the ESL classroom.
ESL students need ample opportunity for practice in order to master language use, and this practice requires Continue reading →