Social Media and Critical Literacies

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Due to the immense changes in society and the way people communicate in the past 50 years, communication methods are now multimodal, and people need literacy skills that go beyond books. As Tarc (2013) writes, “In our current multicultural societies, it is hard to identify one’s identity and their understanding and background, in order to avoid possible misunderstandings,” (p. viii) and such considerations need to take place now that global migration is at its highest and daily interactions occur with people from different countries than ourselves. Whether or not people have experienced migration and/or immigration personally, many of the people they interact with on a daily basis are likely to have been born somewhere else; even without this interaction, the accessibility to the internet means that no one is isolated in their own “corner” of the world. Digital and print media tools can be used by educators to help students develop critical literacies skills, so that they can be more participatory and contemplative global citizens. 

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Personal Learning Styles and Reading Skills

Three learners, each with different learning style
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In this blog post, I’d like to point out the importance of taking learners’ personal learning styles into account when they are asked to do a reading task. This idea is interesting for me personally because I think not all the techniques and strategies which exist to help us do a particular task can work for all in the same way.

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Career Tips for Shy/Introverted ESL Teachers and Students

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In general, Western society favours people who are extroverted and outgoing. This bias can be seen in multiple areas of daily life. At school and work, it is apparent in the emphasis placed on teamwork and open workspaces. In language, it is evident in the positive connotations associated with those who are outgoing/extroverts (e.g., approachable, the life of the party) and negative connotations for those who are shy/introverts (e.g., sheepish, wallflower).

Personally, I am an introvert. I prefer calmer environments and get depleted by lots of stimulation. I was once very shy, and I feared negative social judgment. In this blog, I present three strategies that have helped me cope as I have climbed the TESL professional ladder.

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Back to the Classroom: Lessons in Returning to In-Person Learning

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When we went back to class in March, my students appeared larger than life. More human, tangible. Lots of smiles, welcoming faces, laughter, and excitement. They had a willingness to learn and interact with each other, as well as with the teacher. 

I was curious to see how teaching would function in a “post-COVID-19” period. I was happy to see them in class. 

I developed a learn-as-you-go approach. I didn’t know who would attend on a day-to-day basis and hoped more students of various backgrounds would join. 

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Enhancing Students’ Time-Management Success

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Teachers all want their students to succeed and time management is an obvious factor. Still, as an academic drop-in facilitator for international and domestic students, I hear students regularly requesting advice on that very issue. They have no problem understanding entrepreneur Jim Rohn’s shrewd comment: “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” But they are far from always good at doing it! How can we help?

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Fighting Disinformation

Source: Jorge Franganillo on Unsplash

The surge in propaganda and disinformation is challenging for everyone, but none more so than our students. Many of them are young adults who are new to the language and culture. Not only that, but they are maturing and developing new identities. I can only imagine then how perplexing it must be for them when they look at their screens.

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Critical Thinking Skills as Easy as 1-2-3

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The numbers 1-2-3 stand for the formula I devised to teach students to develop and demonstrate Critical Thinking Skills. By following the 1-2-3 formula, I teach students to think about their choice of answers.  I came up with this strategy as part of my efforts to teach first year college students to answer reading comprehension questions. Historically, I have found that short-answer questions tend to ask students to answer in one or two sentences, which, I think, limit students’ ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills. One or two sentence responses do not really encourage students to explain how they arrive at the answer. The result is usually an answer that can either be easily found in the text or must mirror what the instructor expects the answer to be.  Continue reading

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Keep Things Organized – Tips for Organizing Google Drive

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Organizing Google Drive for you and your students can be challenging. When assessments and assignments are assigned through Google Classroom, you may get lost in the mountain of documents. For your students – especially for those who aren’t tech savvy – it’s even more challenging. As we approach the end of the school year, here are a few lessons I’ve learned from online teaching about how organizing your Google Drive early saves you time and effort.

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Observation is a new Reflection!

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For all ESL teachers, observing other teachers and being observed are not uncommon parts of the job, especially for those who are at the early stages of teaching. Many novice and inexperienced teachers wouldn’t mind it; on the contrary, they appreciate the opportunity to observe more seasoned teachers.

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Extensive Reading for the blended learning class: MReader

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Over the past six months, we have been piloting and refining a fully online, extensive reading (ER) program for the Avenue community using the Xreading program. See the Moving Forward with Extensive Reading in the LINC Context blog post for more information. Many LINC instructors have shown interest in a blended learning ER solution for students as they are now returning to their centres. In this post, we offer a potential solution and an invitation to a webinar for implementing and facilitating a blended learning ER program using the MReader tool. 

MReader

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