Category Archives: self reflection

A Toast to Coaching

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Fellow TESL Community, whether you’ve benefited from working with a professional coach or not, join me in raising a proverbial glass in honour of coaches. 

In March 2020, like some, or even many of you, I found myself suddenly unemployed. The private language school I had taught at for the two years prior was unable to keep its doors open to welcome local and international English Language Learners due to the swift pandemic measures that came into effect that same month. My experience, sadly, was not unique.  

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#CDNELTCHAT: JOIN THE CHAT ON TUESDAY!

Image Source: #CdnELTChat Team

If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, March 30, when our topic will be: Teaching and Learning Vocabulary.  Below is a recap of the March 16 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Bonnie Nicholson.

A little over a year ago, on March 11, 2020, our lives were upended when the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Most schools and learning institutions in Canada closed to in-person learning soon afterwards, and many of us found ourselves teaching online classes for the first time. As we left our workplaces, I suspect few of us thought that we would still be in the midst of the pandemic a year later.

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#CDNELTCHAT: JOIN THE CHAT ON TUESDAY!

@CdnELTchat January 26, 2021 chat. What should we leave behind in #ELT?
Image Source: #CdnELTChat Team

If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, February 9, when our topic will be: What should we keep doing in #ELT?  Below is a recap of the January 26 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Jennifer Chow.

Whether we were ready or not, since last spring COVID-19 has forced almost all of us to become online teachers. For many of us working in ELT, the move to online teaching was a giant leap out of our comfort zone. As the pandemic enters its second year and mostly-online teaching and learning continues, we have an opportunity to think critically about our practices and to reflect on what we should maybe leave behind. This was the theme for the January 26 #CdnELTchat; the follow-up chat is on what we should keep going forward.

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I Speak, Therefore… I Teach?

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I have been an English Language Teacher for 20 years. When I started my career, I didn’t think it would take much effort to teach others something I had learnt during my childhood and teenage years. I could even make some “easy” money while I was at it!  “How hard could it be?” I thought to myself.

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Looking at 2020 through Rose-Coloured Glasses

image source: John Allan

In spite of all of the negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis, do you think you could find some positive events that you experienced in 2020?   It is difficult to imagine, as we are still in the eye of this storm.  Over the winter break, however, I started a brainstorm sketch about the positive effects that have come during the pandemic in order to reframe my focus for 2021. This is my list below; possibly you might try the same exercise to reset your expectations for your teaching and personal life in 2021. 

Teaching

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Reflective Writing for Students and Teachers

Channel Your Thoughts

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The educational reformer and philosopher John Dewey once said, “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” If, like me, you agree with him, you may find this post on reflective writing meaningful.

It is important to note that writing reflectively does not have to involve only one area of your life. You should be open to write about anything you want, knowing it is going to be for you and your benefit only. It does not really matter what you write about. The key is reflection to enhance mindfulness.

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Maintaining Balance & Thriving During COVID-19

Painted rocks, creative outlet, message of hope.
Image source: Gonul Turkdogan

What can EAP/ESL/EFL instructors do if they are laid off or have much reduced hours during COVID-19? This question concerns most of us. Like many others, I was laid off. I believe that with persistence and creativity we can stay positive. As examples to stimulate discussion, here are several things that I have found beneficial.  

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Online Teaching Reflections

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Some of my primary concerns about this current online world of teaching are the creation of community and how to effectively engage learners.

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Teach As If You Are Your Own Student

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A common expression I often heard when I first started teaching was “Teacher, I don’t understand.” I would, of course, ask them which part they didn’t understand, and then give them further explanation. However, I would still see confusion on their faces. It was my turn to be confused. I had done what I was supposed to do, explain, but still they repeated “Teacher, I don’t understand.”

I didn’t find the answer until I had the chance to observe a student teacher. I had my ‘aha’ moment. The teacher was explaining vocabulary and expressions perfectly. However, she had barely considered her students’ levels and their level of understanding for the “perfect” explanations. At that moment, I realized my mistakes: 1) I treated them like their English was at my level; 2) I taught English like I was an ESL teacher.

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Striking a work-life balance during COVID-19

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When COVID-19 hit, I spent a lot of time with my students keeping tabs on the latest news and reviewing hand-washing procedures.

Then, we were told to stay home, and my focus shifted to spending time with my family and keeping busy.

I work as an Adult ESL and LINC teacher, and soon enough, I was asked to teach online.

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