Category Archives: Tips

#CdnELTchat: join the chat on Tuesday!

image source: #CdnELTchat

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 conversation November 6th on #CdnELTchat

image source: #CdnELTchatt

If you’re a Twitter user, read on to learn all about how you can join the next #CdnELTchat which takes place tomorrow, November 6th.  Below is a recap of last month’s chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.

In our personal lives, we use YouTube playlists, Facebook feeds, pins on Pinterest, Instagram feeds, saved tweets on Twitter etc. to save and share videos, news, images and information. With the increase of accessible information and resources online, what can educators and students do to curate content effectively?  Bonnie Jean Nicholas (@EALStories) and Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) moderated a #CdnELTchat on “Content Curation” to explore this topic.

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5 Tips for Starting the Semester Off On the Right Foot

Back to school. Concept with pens, books, an apple and blackboard with inscription : Back to school
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Ok, so aside from wearing shoes that make you feel amazing but won’t make your podiatrist cringe, this post will walk you through 5 tips that can send you off into the Fall semester strong and energized.

I know, I know, there are plenty of posts out there that are dedicated to giving you tips and hacks for getting ready for a new school year, but there’s a reason for that. We educators are planners (even when we think we’re flying off the seat of our pants), and we look forward to a new year and thinking about how we can make it incredible for us and our students. These tips are my go-to whenever I start a new semester and take inventory. Continue reading

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Ace the Interview: Using the SPARK-Technique to Stand Out from the Crowd

Group Of Diverse People Waiting For Job Interview In Office
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Congratulations! You have razzle-dazzled the department manager with your small-talk skills and your memorable elevator pitch and have received the exciting news that you have a job interview. After giving yourself that well-deserved pat on the back, you realize that it’s time to start preparing. You set out to craft the most powerful and impactful answers that will not only impress your audience, but will also demonstrate how you CAN and WILL add tremendous value to their company. What might that answer look like? Continue reading

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The 30-Second Elevator Pitch – The Necessary Evil

African american businesswoman with briefcase talking to man by elevator
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To be remembered, you must first make yourself memorable.

To fully understand the power of a great elevator pitch, I first have to come clean with you. After many years of teaching Business English in Korea and China, I returned to an oversaturated ESL / ELT job market, filled with passionate and qualified language instructors who were all vying for the same jobs; yet, I had to compete in an environment where I had no network, no one to sing my professional praises, no advantage of native “Englishness”, and no real understanding of how to sell myself. Six jobless months passed, and I knew it was time to finally take stock. Clearly, it was me, not them and, with this humbling realization, I set out to Continue reading

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Mastering Small Talk: Conversations That Get You Noticed and Rewarded!

two people making conversation
Image source: https://www.staffmanagement.com/mastering-small-talk/

Close your eyes for a minute and picture being at a networking event, and the manager of the school you’ve been dying to work at walks up to you and strikes up a conversation.  The first think you do after saying hello is effortlessly introduce yourself with your well-crafted and powerfully supported elevator pitch but, with that finished, what do you do now? Your mind goes blank, and you see the manager starting to shift her body away from you.  You’re losing her and, with each passing second, your opportunity at a future interview starts to disappear. In that moment, how could you have saved the conversation?

The answer is simple Continue reading

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Encouraging Learner Autonomy

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One of the best things teachers can do for their students is to help them learn to help themselves.  To promote learner autonomy, we need to build students’ self-confidence and give them strategies for teaching themselves.  Some of the ways we can do this include the following. Continue reading

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Lessons learned in an ESL Literacy Class

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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

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Mid-term blues – Keep Going!

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image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

I find myself asking this question often, but in all seriousness, where has the time gone?
I can’t believe November is a week away!  It’s fair to say that some of us don’t have that drive we once had at the start of the school year to get up first thing in the morning, eager to start the workday. And honestly, no one can be blamed for feeling run down already. Our profession can take a lot out of us. There’s no
denying that. And with the influx of newcomers – due to what’s been happening in the world – it hasn’t lightened the load any. So teacher burnout is a real possibility.

So much demand is placed upon teachers, and the needs of the students can really affect your will and drive to stay motivated. Especially around this time of year, it’s easy to Continue reading

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IN PURSUIT OF LEARNERS’ EMPOWERMENT: CAN WE TEACH GOOD WRITING HABITS?

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As I’ve shared with you in previous blogs, one of my ongoing interests is finding ways to empower my students to become better writers of English. What is the formula?

  • Vocabulary skills are important (Checked √)
  • Grammar is important (Checked √)
  • Controlled practice is important (Checked √)

…Wait a minute… Modeling is super important…

Modeling Writing

According to Cumming (1995), language teachers need to not only provide text models of a good writer’s final product (what an assignment is supposed to look like at the end), but also model the cognitive process of writing. In other words, we as teachers should model writing-as-a-process that mimics the actions performed by effective writers (hint: we need to write a lot to be one too). Continue reading

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