Have you been asking yourself what technologies you could- or should- use to deliver your online courses? Maybe you’re looking for some guidance as to what to use and when. Online teaching challenges us to try a lot of new things, but we don’t have to imagine what functions well and when on our own. Instead, we can refer to the technology and learning pedagogy models which are out there to assist us in making informed decisions about technology in our lessons.
Puentedura’s SAMR model is used to describe the integration of technology into learning pedagogy. This model is sometimes viewed as a staircase, as depicted here, but the levels are not necessarily sequential. Each can be chosen independently to suit a lesson (H.L., 2017). The SAMR model aims to capture how technology can be used in teaching and learning practices.
In this article, I will discuss the first two steps in the SAMR model and how they can be applied in your teaching. Continue reading →
Over the past months, thousands of language instructors across Canada have been unwittingly or intentionally taking on instructional developer responsibilities. They have been cobbling together, rearranging, and refining digital resources and activities from various sources to meet the needs of their students. Many instructors have been generating original learning resources to fill in gaps that appear while teaching online.
Usually, learning materials are prepared ‘on-the-fly’ to anticipate or adapt to challenges that arise from our classroom lessons. What happens to these documents? Often, they are forgotten on a computer drive and discovered on a slow day when you are considering which files to remove to free up hard drive space. These files are hastily named, filed, and saved, so they are lost. Sometimes, it is too much trouble to save and properly file a document that is created just before your online class is about to start. If you are currently teaching online, I am sure you will agree with this! Continue reading →
Plans are well underway for TESL Ontario’s Annual Conference, “Forging Ahead: Building New Normals Together,” to be held virtually in November 2021. We are looking forward to providing a creative, informative and exciting program of sessions covering a wide range of topics that span the entire TESL sector! The TESL Ontario Annual Conference is an amazing opportunity for you to share your knowledge, expertise and experience with your peers and to make a valuable contribution to the TESL Ontario community and beyond. We welcome your thought-provoking, practical, experiential and innovative presentation submissions for this year’s conferenceContinue reading →
On May 28, 2021 interested individuals gathered on Twitter to discuss digital literacy and Google Education Apps for ESL. The guest moderator of the evening was Stephanie Leutner (@leutner_s). Stephanie has been teaching ESL/EFL and designing curriculum for 20+ years, in Canada and overseas. She is a Level 2 Google Certified teaching-with-technology junkie.
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.
Peer feedback (otherwise known as peer assessment) can be useful to both the receiver and the giver of the feedback as long as the feedback is meaningful. For this to happen, peer feedback needs to be constructive; it should start with a positive observation before pointing to an area or areas for improvement; and it should include a suggestion on how to improve, which means that the focus needs to be procedural. This is not the case in the sandwich feedback approach.
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.
March 17, 2020 marked the beginning of a new teaching paradigm for schools all over Ontario as the province began its quarantine efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, schools had to instantly switch to 100% online delivery, which in a way also marked an acknowledgement that teachers are indeed instructional designers (and rightfully so). After all, instruction is not about technology for technology’s sake, but rather as a means to empower others to learn, to act on their learning, and to become independent, global citizens. With the shift online, it has become evident that as teachers we must embrace technology to be able to operate in a virtual world and do what we do best: Impart knowledge and awaken the desire to know more.
On August 21, 2020, we gathered on Twitter, through the #teslONchat hashtag, to discuss self-care with Patrice Palmer – @positiveupside
Patrice has 25 years of experience as an ESL teacher, trainer, and writer in Canada and spent seven amazing years in Hong Kong. She has taught students from 8 to 80 in a variety of programs. Her experience with professional burn-out in 2015 prompted her to reflect on her lack of self-care and adopt positive psychology strategies which she shares with other educators and administrators. Continue reading →
Nobody gets a credit card and says, “I am going to live in a never-ending loop of debt,” yet the Bank of Canada reports that the average debt held by residents of Ontario as of March 2020, excluding mortgages, is $24,406.