One Milestone at a Time

image source: www.bigstockphoto.com
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

This week we reached our 50th post from our Guest Bloggers and Occasional Bloggers on the TESL Ontario blog! We wanted to write a post to allow readers and bloggers to take a moment and take it all in.  Our first post was on October 6 of last year, and it started with the lines

“We are so excited and proud of this initiative which all started because of YOU, TESL Ontario members.”

We are still excited and proud of this blog, and our passion continues because of YOU, our TESL Ontario members.

THANK YOU to our bloggers, our commenters, and even our silent readers.  Over these past posts, we have engaged in meaningful conversations and opened opportunities for reflection of our own practices, and we are invested in keeping that going with your involvement.

Here’s to another 50 posts – and many more!

 

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A Discrete Approach to Teaching ESL – What Does it Mean?

A human figure stands behind a warning sign with one hand raised
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I have been thinking about my past experience teaching discrete ESL. It is one of those experiences that I wish I could forget – erase out of my head, but the more I try, the more I think about it. Well, I read that the best way to deal with bad memories is to either talk or write about them– so here it is:

You should not ask students to read aloud! You are only to focus on reading – when they read aloud they are speaking, which is not the focus of the lesson,” said the person in charge. Continue reading

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A Time for Reflection

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Another year has ended in my journey as an ESL teacher. As I look back, I realize the roller coaster ride it was.

When I started in September, I had two students in a higher, multi-level LINC class. On the first day, only one showed up. On the second, the other student was there, but the one from the first day wasn’t there. Let’s just say that on both days we spent a lot of time getting to know each other.

Continue reading

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Listen to Me!

Man Listening to gossip
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One of the five classes in my EAP course is a 50-minute a day listening class. It’s always been the most difficult for me to teach, partly because it’s directly after lunch, when students are  not the most awake!

Over the years I’ve tried various teaching resources, searching for the most effective texts and material to help students. These are the  best ones I’ve come across for teaching listening  skills in EAP:

English for Academic Study: Listening

I love Garnet Education’s EAS series, and use the Vocabulary and Reading & Writing books as a major part of my curriculum. When my course first began, our listening curriculum was based entirely on the EAS: Listening book. Continue reading

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Alleviating Article Anxiety

Simplify Blue Marker
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While it is probably true that simple language structures are the easiest thing to teach and  learn, we should look very carefully at what we consider to be simple.

Take for example English articles. There are only two of them: definite and indefinite —   maybe three, if we count the allophonic variant of the indefinite article  ‘an’.  Unlike other languages,  in English we don’t have to take into account gender or case when deciding which one to use.   So, why are these items so difficult for English language learners?  The answer to this question relates to the rules that govern articles, which are very complex, thus making their application somewhat difficult.

Continue reading

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Finding Balance in the Student Teacher Classroom

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I have been working on my TESL certification for the past few years through part-time online learning. For my practicum, I recently had the opportunity to observe and teach in a level four EAP class. Writing this blog post has posed an opportunity for me to reflect on the practicum experience and comment on the foremost challenge I faced when moving from TESL student to TESL teacher: balancing the theory learned in the TESL classroom and the realities of the classroom to provide students with the best possible learning environment.

The Perfect Lesson Plan vs. The Clock

Since I have taught in the college classroom before, I was already aware of the challenges of time. Instructors are responsible for following a rigid course outline and syllabus, regardless of the specific needs of the class. However, I felt that this was an even greater challenge in the ESL classroom.

ESL students need ample opportunity for practice in order to master language use, and this practice requires Continue reading

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Create Engaging and Interactive Video Learning Objects with EDpuzzle

EDpuzzle logo
EDpuzzle logo

I am currently developing blended learning courses with English as a Foreign Language teachers at a technical college. One of the challenges that we face is incorporating rich media such as videos and animations. Rich media can result in vibrant demonstrations, simulations and presentations.

Issues with Embedding Media into a Digitally Hosted Course

Creating or locating the media itself is obvious and could fill five blog posts. Beyond acquiring the media are concerns that these learning objects adhere to the institution’s fair use and copyright guidelines. As well, the learning object and its intended learning event must map to one or more of the course’s learning objectives. Issues of placement on a digital platform such as layout, colour scheme, skins, support features, and accompanying activities are a few of the elements that we negotiate when adding media to a course page.

Once the video is embedded on a digital page, I suggest adding interactive and self-assessment activities to transform the activity from a passive event into an active one. Continue reading

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Why We Do This

Recognition

I went to my last class this past Friday expecting my entire class to be present. Well, of the 13 who normally attend, only 5 showed up! I didn’t know how to feel about this. But no matter, I carried on with the lesson. To stay positive, I thought it was great that I could focus more on each individual. We had a lot of fun despite the lack of attendance that day.

The feeling in the room was certainly bittersweet. On one hand, I was happy to have my Fridays back to spend with my little girl, but on the other hand, it was kind of hard for me to leave these special individuals, whom I’ve come to respect and appreciate so much throughout the course of the past seven weeks.

If you remember from my last post when I discussed WorkPlace ESL (http://blog.teslontario.org/workplace-esl/), classes run Continue reading

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IPDP and the Joys of Scholarly Practice

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image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

What’s IPDP you may ask…It stands for Individualized Professional Development Plan. It’s the type of professional growth you sketch out for yourself – for your own growth. It does not include the type of PD your workplace or professional organization requires of you – the type you have to complete because …well…you have to. IPDP is like a box of chocolates. Continue reading

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My Way of Recognizing Count and Non-Count Nouns

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image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

I had taught the lesson many times.

You can count apples, but you can’t count water, so you say how many apples and how much water. You can count people, but you can’t count sand, so you say fewer people and less sand.

I’d go over and over the lists of nouns that were count and non-count. I could often see the confusion in their eyes. Yet, a simple question from a student changed the way I teach this concept and got rid of most of the puzzled looks.

The question? Continue reading

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