I often hear students say they like any chance to have a casual conversation in English. Literacy learners, however, are much more likely to avoid a conversation because they’re not confident enough to use the language yet. As ESL teachers, we prepare well-thought-out lessons that focus on grammar, composition, pronunciation, and structured activities, but we rarely foster a free flow of dialogue that encourages the students to just “use the language.”
I recently wrapped up an introductory English course with literacy learners and got some valuable feedback from my students. After three months of students learning verbs, adjectives, and nouns, and practicing sentence structure and pronunciation, during our last lesson I decided to take a break from the routine and just engage students in a casual chat.
Learning English (or any new language) requires student focus, repetition, and practice, so it’s easy to see why students may often feel disengaged or even bored in the classroom. This is why ESL teachers love to try off-the-wall ways to liven up their classes and infuse some enthusiasm into the topic. Continue reading →
post-secondary, students are often required to work on culminating projects comprised
of various assignments submitted at different deadlines throughout the term. My
teaching partner and I wanted to bring the experience of a post-secondary
culminating project into our classroom, but in a way that was both manageable
and meaningful to our LINC students.
When doing major projects, my teaching partner
and I are always looking for ways to optimize Portfolio-Based Language
Assessment (PBLA) for all four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and
writing). As we focus on teaching our students English to prepare them for
post-secondary education and the workplace, we find ourselves utilizing creative
ways to incorporate PBLA with scaffolded learning. Thus, we came up with the
idea of a cereal box book report.
For the last 20 years, TESL Ontario has held technology workshops at the annual conference to introduce and provide conference attendees with the opportunity to learn from the many individuals who utilize technology in the classroom. Over the years, the interest has grown along with the opportunities to use technology from computers to tablets to smart phones. Most of our students have one or several of these devices. The use of these devices Continue reading →
This year at the TESL ON conference, Deborah Healey, TESOL International Association, will be one of our Keynote Speakers. The following blog post was written by Deborah. Here she gives you a taste of what she will be sharing at the conference.
Gamification in Education: Hype or Useful Teacher Tool? This is a question that I’ve been asking for the past few years, as I’ve tried gamifying some of my classes. Most teachers (myself included) have long used games in the English language classroom and in teacher training to encourage motivation and add a fun factor to learning. Some teachers have been able to use game-based learning, where a game sets the context for learning. Continue reading →
Teaching verbs can be accomplished through a combination of miming, games, worksheets, video clips, discussion, lecture, translation, and perhaps a host of other strategies. Reinforcing the meaning of many verbs by providing a video clip can help with retention. Flashcards can also assist with vocabulary acquisition. Quizlet’s flashcards deliver still images or animated clips online. Animated clips can accelerate acquisition through motion in context. Quizlet’s ability to include animated GIFs makes it a useful tool for language students learning base verbs.
Do you have some go-to activities that you use for multiple teaching points? I have a few. I think it’s reassuring for students to see activities they recognize. They feel confident when they know what to do, and they can focus on the point being taught instead of learning the rules of a new game (ahem, I mean “learning activity”). It also doesn’t hurt that reusing ideas and materials reduces teacher prep time. For these reasons, here are three of my favourite flexible activities.Continue reading →
This blog isn’t really about being thankful… unless you are thankful for a few ideas that you can use this week to teach about Thanksgiving. Are you tired of the same old worksheets that you use year after year? Are you looking for something different? Here I want to offer some (hopefully) fresh ideas that you can consider using in your classroom. Also, please share any ideas that you love to use in the comment section below. So, let’s freshen up our Thanksgiving activity repertoire. Continue reading →
Well, it is June and there is no better time to introduce the Canada Day holiday to your students. I have searched the web and have asked colleagues about favourites for teaching about Canada and Canada Day. Since150 would put this post way over the maximum word count, I have pulled together 15. I hope this helps you and your students with your holiday preparation. The resources are listed in alphabetical order. If you have any that I have missed please add them through the comments feature below.
I often think about newcomers to Canada, and specifically those coming from challenging circumstances who are building a new life in a new land. How are they settling into their new environment? Are they adjusting? Managing? Dealing? Healing?
Many of these newcomers are from the Middle East and are observing Ramadan, a holy month that’s observed by millions of Muslims around the world, where the central focus is fasting. Continue reading →