Category Archives: Uncategorized

Self-Efficacy and the ESL Teacher

“Whether you think that you can or you can’t, you’re usually right” – Henry Ford

“People’s level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case” – Alberta Bandura (1995, p. 2).

The above two quotations, for me, highlight the importance of researching teachers’ beliefs, and importantly, their self-efficacy beliefs. Continue reading


Add fun to your vocabulary lessons with Quizlet Live

image source: John Allan

Quizlet Live is the latest feature on the Quizlet suite.  This is in addition to current learning activities which include: flashcards, test, learn, spell, as well as two games: gravity and match. In May of 2015 I posted about the attributes of Quizlet from a teacher-developer’s perspective. More recently, Continue reading


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


2016 – Year in Review

Many Hands Holding Red Letters The Isolated English Word Never Stop Learning On White Background
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We want to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous 2017. We look forward to weekly posts from our amazing guest bloggers and occasional bloggers who always provide first-rate resources, tips, and practical ideas that encourage us all to strive towards excellence in our profession. This Friday look for our first post of 2017 from occasional blogger, Carol Blake.

Before we jump into the New Year, we thought it would be fun to look back on 2016, Continue reading


Happy Holidays

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It’s that time of year again where our team would like to express a huge THANK YOU to all of you for reading our blog and commenting on our posts.

As this season of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation is upon us, we’ll be taking a break from the blog and will return in the New Year.

This is a great time for you to catch up on posts you’ve missed or re-read posts you’ve enjoyed and be inspired.

We’ll be back on January 9th with more posts from our amazing Guest Bloggers and Occasional Bloggers.  This is also a great time for you to think about being a one-time Occasional Blogger yourself in the new year. Maybe there’s a reflection of your work that you’d like to share.  If you’re a TESL Ontario member and have a post in mind, send us an email (you can find our email on the Contact Us tab).

Happy Holidays, everyone. We hope it’s restful and warm.


Student Teachers – Flipping your Class for Success!

education, learning, teaching, technology and people concept - group of students and teacher with tablet pc computer at school

It has been said that a teacher’s first task is to make herself progressively obsolete. I could not agree more. After all, one of our main mandates is to enable students to learn the target content and achieve the learning outcomes.
Thus, by course’s end, students should be able to “do” as the teacher “does”. If my course revolves around getting students to speak at an intermediate level in English, then by definition, they no longer need their teacher by course’s end. If they do, the course has failed in generating the target learning.

But how does a teacher go about “doing” this? I propose using a flipped class, or “student teacher” approach. See below.

***Warning*** – What follows may cause anxiety, dizziness or a lack of student trust in the teacher’s choice of instructional strategies. It may cause poor results on a course evaluation. It may actually push some students to complain to your superiors. But, fear not! It is ultra-effective! Continue reading


Webinars: 50 and Counting

50 Webinar imageIt’s Sunday night, you’re mentally checking off your ever growing TO DO list to make sure you’re ready for Monday morning: make lunch, review lesson plan, pack worksheets, bring new whiteboard markers, load new PowerPoint into LMS … and that’s just to get you through Monday. Your mind starts to wander and you realize it’s time… Continue reading


ESL for Specific Purposes – Myth or Reality?

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To function or not to function? That is the question. Have you ever been faced with a 36-hour business English intensive course that aims to bring beginner-level students to a “functional” level of fluency in a work-place setting? Do you think this type of course can be successful in developing “functional” fluency? I think not.

There currently exists a panoply of “function-specific” ESL courses, from business correspondence to academic purposes. While it is possible to teach an advanced student to draft conventionally proper business letters, it is virtually impossible to do the same with a beginner. In order to meet this demand however, many institutions offer short courses which are function-specific. In other words, the ESL course will not cover, say, Continue reading


TESL and QR codes

A colourized QR Code leading to the TESL Ontario Blog site

While working on ESP books for a technical program, I found that QR codes were a great solution to add quick links to additional resources.  These resources included interactive activities, worksheets, images, videos, animations, graphs and further readings. I am not the first person to think of using QR codes for educational purposes. Links to fantastic resources providing a myriad of uses of QR codes for educators can be found in the additional resources section below. I am offering a few simple practices that you might consider to improve access to resources in your classroom, on your class website, or in your instructional documents.

What is a QR code?

QRs, or Quick Response Codes, were developed for Continue reading