Notes can be taken in any way that helps the student learn/study the topic, so our goal should be to advise students on their options so they can choose effectively. As an academic drop-in facilitator, I receive many questions about note-taking strategies. This strongly suggests that students really want teachers to scaffold/model effective note-taking for them. This may not always be part of the curriculum, but should always be taught anyways.Continue reading
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?Continue reading
What is self-reflection in learning?
It is a cognitive awareness that occurs when students are aware of and can articulate what they know and what they need to learn. Thus, it examines the ways an individual learns.
Self-reflection is a huge and often overlooked part of education. While students are often asked to reflect on their own learning, their teachers typically do not coach them in how to do it most effectively. We already know that teacher reflection is a very important part of our professional development. TESL training usually offers great opportunities to learn how to do that. But students have similar needs. Neither teachers nor students can maximally improve their performance without self-reflection.Continue reading
Motivation is one of the key challenges for successful language learning, but sometimes instructors don’t sufficiently utilize motivation. Some teachers even think they cannot play a major role in student motivation, but I believe we can motivate our students in many ways. For example, motivational quotes are a great device to inspire our students. While teaching last summer at Niagara College, I shared biweekly motivational quotes to boost my students’ ambition. They truly enjoyed them! Below are the seven motivational quotes that my students voted as their favourites.Continue reading
The key feature of structured experience techniques is their combination of hands-on learner involvement, with a reassuring framework to reduce anxiety and promote active engagement. The trick is to provide supportive, structural guidance without lapsing into full-on, direct instruction. For comparison purposes, it might be helpful to begin by reviewing my earlier suggestions in ‘Enhancing Reading Comprehension I: Explicit Teaching Techniques.’ Structured experience strategies require teachers to gauge their own participation very carefully. The goal is not only to enhance learner skills but also to bolster their self-esteem through encountering success with experiential activity.Continue reading
Reading can be a very challenging skill for ESL learners. Teachers also know that individual students may respond differently to different styles of instruction. Fortunately, we have access to both explicit teaching techniques and structured experience techniques. Even though ESL teachers themselves may be more comfortable with one or the other of these options, it is well worth taking both of them seriously because each can make a contribution. Part I of this series covers explicit teaching techniques and Part II covers structured experience techniques. I will offer practical advice regarding both approaches, and explain three proposed techniques for each.Continue reading
It’s never been more important to focus on taking care of yourself. Maybe like me you are teaching or working from home. Hours of screen time and sitting too long can have negative health impacts. Here are the eight top self-care tips that I have tried and now use every day to reduce stress and boost mental health. Please test them yourself and let me know what you think.Continue reading