It is clear that one of the goals of ESL students is to improve their listening comprehension skills. This goal might turn into a concern however, when they are preparing for an English proficiency test like IELTS, where achieving a certain score could be life-changing. This has led IELTS instructors and tutors to come up with multiple techniques and tips to help their students. In this blog post, I am going to share a technique that I personally developed and applied in my IELTS class, and discuss how it was viewed by my students.
I call this technique “moving backwards,” and my hope is that it will help my students to improve their listening skills while doing an IELTS listening practice test.
January is typically a time when people are looking forward – considering new goals and new approaches. In this post, however, I’ve decided to look back. I’m revisiting some of the information I gave in my very first professional development activity for TESL Ontario: a webinar I co-delivered in 2016 entitled Getting Animated: Graphic Novels in the ESL Classroom. My hope is that this blog will encourage readers to find ways to incorporate graphic novels and/or comics into their 2023 teaching practices.
If you do not have a permanent, year-round teaching contract in Ontario, I am sure that you have considered alternative careers or income streams from time to time. We all have our own reasons for our professional situations whether they are extrinsic or intrinsic. As I see it, there are five paths forward for short-term, contract ESL instructors in our sector:
When I started teaching online, it was clear to me almost immediately that I wanted to encourage my learners to write and that I wanted to see their writing on a regular basis. I had a CLB 7 Academic class, and I began rather naively and ambitiously. The assignment was straightforward:
You will have three journal topics a week. You will be given 15 minutes a day, three times a week, to write in your journal. You will be given a journal topic or you can write about whatever you want.
Learning never stops; this now includes both humans and Artificial Intelligence. As I type this blog post, I find myself either tabbing to accept the suggested word or ignoring the suggestion. Being prompted to type what auto-text thinks I should be writing can be annoying and, if I am not careful, I end up writing a word that I did not mean to write or, worse yet, pressing ‘send’ on a message or email with one or two unintended words. Although I appreciate its usefulness on some occasions, it irks me when I am given the wrong suggestion, as in the case of Grammarly’s use of double commas on a salutation (since when did adding a comma after ‘Hello’ or ‘Hi’ and before someone’s name become the grammar norm?)
When I look around my classroom, I see a mix of ethnicities from around the world. Each student has their own cultural traditions and special holidays, but they may also be curious to learn about some of the traditions we celebrate in Canada during the holiday season.
In Canada we celebrate several important holidays at the end of the year, including Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Oktoberfest, Día de los Muertos, and Yee Peng. These are a few of the more commonly observed celebrations, however there are many more. Whatever the ‘reason for the season’, I try to be inclusive and recognize the diversity of our year-end celebrations when discussing the holiday season with students.
As I finished my TESL program at Conestoga College this academic year and was in the process of applying for my OCELT Certification at TESL Ontario, an email popped up from our program head about a summer opportunity with TESL Ontario. Fast-forward nine weeks and here I am, feeling deeply connected and grateful for this opportunity, not to mention highly impacted by this team of individuals.
I have taught exclusively online for two and half years. During this time, the number of digital tools in my arsenal has skyrocketed. I have been consumed by technology. I used to feel sorry for “computer nerds” who squirrelled away in their basements, rarely coming up for air. And now I am one of them.