Tag Archives: motivation

A Year in the Life

Laptop computer with boxes of students in an online classroom on the screen
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

It’s been a little over a year since ESL campuses shut their doors. I can’t decide whether it has gone by slowly or quickly. In my personal life, the pandemic has lurched along, one depressing headline after another; endless days without family and friends. However, as a teacher I have been flying through the days by the seat of my pants!

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Quick Tips for Teaching Literacy

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Guest Contributor: Zainab Almutawali

These tips and guidelines are meant for instructors and volunteers who are new to the field of literacy and intend to work with adult literacy learners. What makes this document different is that it is not based on research papers and teaching theories. Rather, it is based on my experience teaching literacy students from diverse backgrounds and various levels of literacy. It is also based on other teachers’ experiences and my learners’ feedback, which I always consider when planning my lessons. Despite the challenges, I find that teaching literacy is very rewarding and fulfilling.

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In Praise of English Language Learners

A chalkboard sign saying, "Well done!"
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher, I think I have a responsibility to remind my students of the incredible job they have done as additional/foreign language learners. I think as teachers we sometimes forget the challenges our students are going through! This letter is to all additional language learners, wherever they are.

Dear EAL learners,

I acknowledge you. I admire you. I celebrate you! You’ve already done an incredible job. Whether you are at the beginning level, where your journey has just started, or you have been in this for quite a while, you are amazing and here is why.

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From an ESL Learner to a Teacher

Conceptual hand writing showing Be With Those Who Help Your Being. Business photo text Surround yourself of motivating showing Color Graduation Hat with Tassel 3D Academic cap on Books.
Image source: bigstockphoto.com

I came to Canada as an immigrant from Bosnia – a war-torn country – which, to this day, is difficult to return to when I want to visit family. Not only do I remember things no child should, but physical remnants remain at every corner of the country itself. My family was one of those that escaped with a random truck driver in hopes of getting out and not being denied entry into Croatia, which was safe.

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#CdnELTchat: join the chat on Tuesday!

is back on Tuesday, Jan. 29th to discuss “Balancing Language and in the Classroom”. We hope that you can join them.

Here’s a recap of their January 15th chat.


#CdnELTchat got off to a thoughtful start in 2019 with a focused chat on Resolutions in #ELT. Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) led the discussion by posting the questions, with Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) and Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) welcoming participants and replying to posts, and Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL) providing support in the background. The team has published an article reflecting on their experiences with #CdnELTchat, Building a Community of Connected ELT Professionals on Twitter. The article appears in the most recent issue of the TESL Canada Journal Special Issue, The Shifting Landscape of Professional Self-Development for ELT Practitioners. Continue reading

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#CdnELTchat: join the chat on Tuesday!

If you’re a Twitter user, join the next #CdnELTchat usually every second Tuesday. Below is a recap of the November 27th chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.


I have been learning how to speak Mandarin for the better part of twenty years, but I still can’t produce the fourth tone correctly. I automatically say the first tone instead of the fourth tone in conversation. I am aware that I do this, yet I can’t seem to correct this bad habit. Is this a fossilized error? Is there anything I can do to overcome this error? On November 27th, a group of educators discussed these questions and more on #CdnELTchat.

Thank-you so much to the enthusiastic participants who contributed their ideas and shared resources during this chat. Continue reading

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Gamification in Education: Hype or Useful Teacher Tool?

image source: bigstockphoto.com

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

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The apprenticeship of observation

image source: bigstockphoto.com

An interest in languages, combined with a few stints living and working overseas, has meant that I have played the role of language learner more than once.  These experiences have greatly informed my practice as a language teacher.  Famously, this is called the ‘apprenticeship of observation’. Teaching is a unique profession in this sense; teachers have their own experiences as students watching their own teachers teach, which influences them when they become teachers. Here are a few of the things I have felt and thought as a learner that have influenced my teaching…

I don’t care if there are some things my teacher doesn’t know. Continue reading

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Encouraging Learner Autonomy

image source: bigstockphoto.com

One of the best things teachers can do for their students is to help them learn to help themselves.  To promote learner autonomy, we need to build students’ self-confidence and give them strategies for teaching themselves.  Some of the ways we can do this include the following. Continue reading

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QR Code Treasure Hunt anyone?

Recently, I tried a campus familiarization activity with my students.  In the past terms, students sat at their desks and looked at a map to identify services and their associated locations on a worksheet.  Throughout the term students asked me, or each other, where different campus resources were located. It was obvious that they did not take in the campus resources information.

My challenge was to improve this learning activity.  Reaching into my technology bag of tricks, I was looking for a technology that would improve this learning task.  Continue reading

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