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
Twitter is a microblogging tool that has recently been made most famous by the American President Donald Trump. Ok, it was popular before he started running for office, but my point is that everyone is familiar with Twitter. It has approximately one hundred million active users daily. A twitter chat is simply a collection of users that contribute to an online conversation using a common hashtag (#). Twitter chats sometimes feature a guest that allows a community access to his/her expertise.
This post is addressed to English language teachers across Canada. Continue reading
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
One of my courses specifies that students create a presentation on an educational resource and present it to their peers. The following is a model I’d like to share with you as a potential means of using a common theme with a final presentation as a way of promoting inquiry, research, collaboration, communication, planning, and writing within one term of instruction. The project comprises eight separate activities. Each activity involves the students practicing language and social skills in a variety of ways. These steps are detailed below in the section, Project Process. Continue reading
There is a lot of misinformation out there. How do you help your learners find the facts?
The idea for this lesson started when Ontario introduced the new Sex Education Curriculum in 2015. My students wanted to talk about it and everyone had a different idea about what was in this curriculum. I was shocked to find out that their information had come mostly from Facebook. Continue reading
In the early summer of 2017, I had the privilege of being asked to make a trip to Tehran, Iran to train a group of teachers for the TESOL Canada Certificate Program. When political events made the trip too dangerous an undertaking, I was crestfallen. I had already “met” the Iranian teacher who would be the primary facilitator of the program on Skype, and we instantly made a strong connection. I tried to console myself with the notion that I would make it there – one day – to meet her in person.
Then a different opportunity presented itself when the Iranian teacher asked if I could do a Skype train-the-trainer session with her and two other teachers who would be running the program. I was thrilled to be a part of the process in any capacity, so I happily agreed. The training sessions went Continue reading
Recently, I tried a campus familiarization activity with my students. In the past terms, students sat at their desks and looked at a map to identify services and their associated locations on a worksheet. Throughout the term students asked me, or each other, where different campus resources were located. It was obvious that they did not take in the campus resources information.
My challenge was to improve this learning activity. Reaching into my technology bag of tricks, I was looking for a technology that would improve this learning task. Continue reading
“I’m just going to find a video quickly online!” I’ve said to myself many times, clearly delusional. A “quick” online hunt for material to use in class often becomes a lengthy goose chase. It’s hard to find just the right thing, at the right level, on the right subject when searching the vast reaches of the World Wide Web. The better option? To make it myself. Sometimes this can seem intimidating though, especially if videography is a medium one is not used to working in.
Considering that fact, below is my summary of a video presentation my business partner, Larissa Conley, and I made for this year’s TESL Ontario Conference explaining how to make your own videos for classroom use. Continue reading
Teaching verbs can be accomplished through a combination of miming, games, worksheets, video clips, discussion, lecture, translation, and perhaps a host of other strategies. Reinforcing the meaning of many verbs by providing a video clip can help with retention. Flashcards can also assist with vocabulary acquisition. Quizlet’s flashcards deliver still images or animated clips online. Animated clips can accelerate acquisition through motion in context. Quizlet’s ability to include animated GIFs makes it a useful tool for language students learning base verbs.
I recently came across a web resource that reminded me of using Data-driven learning (DDL) with students. I have not tried using DDL for a few years but I think that WordSift will allow instructors to use basic DDL techniques with their students.
What is DDL?
Data-driven learning is a learning approach in which learning is driven by research-like access to linguistic data (Johns, 1991). DDL examines a corpora or body of text. WordSift can generate useful usage data Continue reading