Make Your Word-Processed Documents More Accessible

Most of us are aware of the importance of the issues around digital accessibility through our own disabilities and supporting our students in virtual and blended classrooms. Some organizations offer accessibility training for educators and learners. Due to accessibility legislation and policies, software vendors build accessibility features into their wares. This opportunity allows us to make our documents more accessible. This post suggests some features available in the Microsoft Word app that instructors may leverage to make their digital documents more accessible. Please be aware that this is not a comprehensive accessibility resource, but an introduction for interested educators.  Continue reading


April is Poetry Month

Remember poetry?  Do you ever find opportunities to use it in your English instruction? This April marks the 25th anniversary of national poetry month.  We hope you enjoy this selection of previous blogs about poetry from TESL Ontario Blog. 

“If you wanted a poem, you only had to look out of a window.  There was material always, walking or running, fighting or screaming or singing.” Gwendolyn Brooks, African-American poet and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Annie Allen.  

“To Take the Road or Not to Take the Road… That is the question!” – Robert Frost Meets William Shakespeare

Haiku: a humble but mighty tool in ESL

Where I am from

April is Poetry Month!

Live Poets Society


Simplifying Real-World Content with ChatGPT and the Canadian Language Benchmarks 

Image taken from: Big Stock Photo

Lesson planning can be a time-consuming endeavor, especially for educators teaching students with lower levels of English proficiency. Adapting materials to meet the needs of these learners requires careful consideration and often entails significant effort. However, with the assistance of tools like ChatGPT, this process can be streamlined and made more efficient. 

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Maximize Your Potential: Why OCELT Certification Maintenance Matters

by Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy, Accreditation Services Manager, TESL Ontario 

Did you know that in order to maintain your certified status, OCELT (Ontario Certified English Language Teacher) certification must be renewed annually? This annual renewal process isn’t merely administrative; it’s serves as a gateway to a host of advantages that benefit teachers, employers, learners, and all stakeholders involved in language education.  These benefits enable employers and funders to ensure the high quality of their language instruction services, motivating teachers to regularly upgrade their knowledge and skills, while also staying abreast of the latest developments in the field of TESL.  OCELT is awarded to qualified English language teachers of adult learners by TESL Ontario, and is valid for twelve months.  Like many professional certifications, OCELT requires renewal at the end of each certification cycle to ensure the association can verify the continued professional development of OCELT holders.

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Mitigating the Effects of Trauma

Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash

“Two of my brothers were killed in the war in Ukraine.”

“My family’s houses were destroyed in Palestine”

“I have PTSD from a trauma in my homeland.”

“There is fighting in my street back home, and I can’t reach anyone.”

“My mother was sent to a re-education centre for being a Uyghur.”

“My husband and I and our two sons were put on a kill list, so we had to flee my country.”

“My sister is sick, and I cannot go back and see her before she dies.”

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Supporting Literacy Students to Become Independent Learners


I was taking the chairs down from the desks and putting them on the floor before the morning class, when a student came in and said:


She shook her head and pointed to herself.

Me,” she said.

She motioned for me to sit. Since that day, the students have put themselves in charge of the chairs.

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Teacher Time Management Strategies in the Classroom

Photo taken from: Big Stock Photo

One of the frequent challenges for teachers, even ones with experience is how to manage time in the classroom. One may well ask, why time management is so important. Effective time management is crucial to provide quality education. In fact, teachers don’t really have enough time to teach considering the breaks, learner attention span (which is typically half an hour or less); moving between classrooms for various activities and downtime between lessons and activities (Mehta, 2019).  Continue reading


ChatGPT Prompting the Basics 

During interactions over the past year with language instructors in various venues, I have observed a trend with educators’ generative chat usage.  Instructors are aware of generative chat technologies such as ChatGPT and Microsoft Edge Copilot through mainstream media, social media, relatives, students, or their peers. However, few have gone beyond sampling these tools a few times with basic prompts out of personal curiosity or to commence using prompts for lesson preparation.  

Attempts at generating resources with a generative chat tool do not always result in usable content because instructors often give up after a few prompts.   They do not understand that creating suitable content is an iterative process that involves structure, a defined target, skill, and imagination.  In this post, I offer guidance for language educators trying to create content for instructional purposes through prompting generative chat tools.   Continue reading


Smartphones can be a “Smart” Helper in the Classroom

Image taken from: Big Stock Photo

At first glance, smartphones may seem like the ultimate language roadblock for ESL learners. The alluring prospect of effortlessly translating any text with a simple tap can lead to a habit of overreliance, hindering genuine language absorption. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. When approached with a strategic mindset, smartphones can indeed become “smart” tools in the ESL learning arsenal, especially for those who find themselves grappling with the complexities of English at a foundational level. 

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Navigating the Labyrinth: Understanding Cognitive Load in the Language Classroom 


In the dynamic realm of language learning, teachers continually seek ways to optimize the learning experience for their students. One crucial factor often overlooked is cognitive load, the mental effort required to grasp new concepts in language learning. Recognizing and managing cognitive load in the language classroom can significantly impact student engagement, comprehension, and overall language acquisition. This blog post explores the concept of cognitive load, its implications in the language learning context, and practical strategies for teachers to enhance the learning experience. 

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