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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.
I’m sure what’s on everyone’s mind is this: When will this whole quarantine situation end? How will things be afterwards? And, will things actually return to normal?
It seems as though an endless period of time has passed during quarantine, and I sometimes have to check or be reminded what day it is. Weekends aren’t as exciting as they used to be because you can’t go anywhere, and worst of all, you can’t visit your loved ones and hug them.Continue reading
When I was a student in elementary school, I used to love “story time.” Some of my earliest and fondest memories as a child were sitting around in a circle and having the teacher read stories to the class. I’ll never forget the time my Kindergarten teacher cried while reading us “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. Stories are powerful. Story time was the best!
I love stories, whether they be novels, movies, or a friend’s adventure. So, naturally, as a teacher I like using stories in my classes.
Here are a few examples of how I have used stories as an ESL Teacher.Read morE
The ten to fifteen minutes at the beginning of an ESL class are so valuable to both teachers and students. That is the time when students are fresh and eager to learn. I would go so far as to say that students may even be optimistic and excited about what they are about to do (at least that’s how I like to view the students in that part of the class). In the spirit of that optimism, the warm-up is a great tool to increase students’ confidence, show them what they know and what they need to work on, and give the teacher a clear understanding of where the class needs to go that day.Continue reading
Over the summer, I worked as an ESL teacher at a summer camp for children and teens from abroad. This was my third-year teaching at the camp and I had a great time!
As expected, it was chaos, with students arriving every week from countries like Mexico, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, and Japan. There were lots of new faces with students coming and going.Continue reading