Online Teaching Reflections

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Some of my primary concerns about this current online world of teaching are the creation of community and how to effectively engage learners.

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I write, therefore I am? Go hybrid in online language teaching

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As Eva Hoffman quipped, “We live forward, but we understand backwards.” Hence, I’ve done a recount of my experience as a LINC instructor of advanced online classes during the pandemic and a student myself of different online courses from Additional Basic Qualification courses at OISE,  to  my own French lessons, transformed during the pandemic into Zoom meetings.  An issue that captured my special attention was the rationale for the hybrid mode of the remote ESL teaching.

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Teaching with Wet Paint

image source: unsplash.com Amauri Mejia

As the transformation to full online teaching continues, many instructors are unwittingly becoming instructional design-developers.  Some are adding study sets to Quizlet, others are hastily making Kahoots, while still others are using more ambitious tools such as H5P, Hot Potatoes and ScreenCastify to create more complicated learning experiences that enhance their online lessons. To generate timely, interactive, engaging and diverse learning opportunities for our students, many of us are creating digital learning objects on the fly.   

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#CdnELTchat: Join the Chat on Tuesday!

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If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, September 29. Below is a recap of the September 15 chat written by #CdnELTchat moderator Bonnie Nicholas.


The #CdnELTchat community returned from our summer hiatus with a Welcome back! informal chat. 

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Financial Friday I don’t have a pension, now what? (Part 2 – Investment Vehicles)

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In my last blog post I discussed a number of issues related to arriving at retirement without the proper savings to support your lifestyle. In this second part I want to highlight some investment vehicles available to build wealth. Our focus here relates to investments in equity markets and fixed income securities, which is my area of expertise.

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Summary of the #EdTech discussion with John Allan

September 4, 2020 marked another successful and fruitful discussion on Twitter, through the #teslONchat hashtag. We discussed #EdTech with John Allan – @mrpottz

This chat explored the topic of education technology in terms of instructors and administrators rethinking their previous choices of edtech for online teaching. Continue reading

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Teach As If You Are Your Own Student

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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.

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Adapting lesson plans for online teaching

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Image source: Jessica Freitag via PowerPoint Design

Awkward silence and staring at the screen while not knowing what happens next are what students may experience during an online session. On the other side, however, the instructor is trying hard to pull up a file for the next activity. You may think naming the activities of the day will do the job, but perhaps a bit of visual aid helps keeping the plan in mind both for the students and teachers. This is where an electronic version of a lesson plan might play a role.

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Perfect Timing: Avenue.ca

I am currently part of the team working on Avenue, an online portal that is the right thing at the right time!  It has been a pleasure to work with an amazing team of Canadian educators, administrators and developers to create Avenue under the management of New Language Solutions charity.  This IRCC sponsored Avenue national learning repository for adult newcomers and language instructors launched in mid-August.  The majority of Avenue’s courses, learning activities, resources, and training are focused on fully online teaching and training.  Avenue is a timely solution for language and settlement instructors and students as LINC classes continue online. I consider Avenue the principle online resource for IRCC language instructors across Canada.

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Remote(ly) Adjusting: Endless Possibilities

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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.

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