All posts by Guest Contributor

Trauma in the Classroom (Part 2)

Guest Contributors: Allyson Eamer, Amea Wilbur, Katie Crossman, and Jennifer Allore

This blog is the second in a two-part series on trauma in the classroom. Part 1 discusses how teachers can better facilitate learning and provide support for students who have experienced trauma, such as refugees.  This segment focuses on vicarious trauma?

Vicarious trauma is a form of second-hand trauma. It is experienced by people in helping professions when they are deeply affected by their exposure to others’ trauma. The term was coined in 1995 by Laurie Pearlman and Karen Saakvitne, and originally was used to describe symptoms that clinicians experienced from working with clients with trauma experiences. Vicarious trauma has since been recognized in other fields. It can occur in various ways, such as listening to traumatic stories or viewing disturbing images. 

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Trauma in the Classroom (Part 1)

Guest Contributors: Allyson Eamer, Amea Wilbur, Katie Crossman, Jennifer Allore

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If you are a LINC or ESL instructor, there is a good chance that you have taught learners who have experienced trauma. Syrian, Afghan and now Ukrainian refugees, for example, have been arriving in Canada in large numbers and are increasingly part of our classrooms. Although you are not a mental health specialist, you are often the first point of contact for many students. They likely see you more often and for longer blocks of time than they see their settlement workers or other professionals in their lives. Your students undoubtedly view you as quintessentially Canadian and very much a part of “the system” that directly impacts their lives and futures in Canada. Because you work hard to be a caring instructor and to build trust in the classroom, you are likely to witness the effects of trauma on student learning, and/or to have trauma disclosed to you by a student. You are therefore an important, if unwitting (and likely unprepared, we will argue), key player in responding to trauma.

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Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Class through Critical Texts, Talks, and Tasks

I asked TESL Ontario educators to record their thoughts on the question “What are one or two ways that you incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in your teaching practice?” This post shares their recordings (see link below) and synthesizes their responses, which highlight the importance of infusing criticality in classroom texts, talks, and tasks. 

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Reflections on a Year as TESL ON Board Member – from Mitra Rabie

Guest Contributor: Mitra Rabie

As a devoted English instructor, I have always thrived to be a rich source of inspiration and support to my students and their academic success. To my understanding so far, the overall composition of the elected Directors reflects a balance of perspectives from different sectors and regional diversity, and I am sure that as part of this Board and its Committees, I will learn a lot that I can then share with the community members.

I think one of the key reasons that motivated me to run for a position on the TESL Ontario Board of Directors has been the Board’s mission and vision as a leading authority to provide support and direction to professionals, government bodies, and industry stakeholders involved in the English language education field. It has been a great professional success for me to be appointed as a Board member and to serve on three of its Committees: Nomination, Research Advisory, and Strategic Planning.

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Considering a Role on the TESL Ontario Board? New Member Jenny Kirk Shares Her Experience

Guest Contributor: Jenny Kirk

Have you considered taking the next step in your involvement with the TESL community?  

I’ve recently taken on a new role with TESL Ontario. I’d like to tell you about my experience and why I think you too should consider taking on a new challenge.

Serving on the TESL Ontario board can be an amazing opportunity to develop your leadership skills, gain board experience and receive positive professional mentorship. Plus, the board needs your perspective. 

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Introducing the Colleges and Universities Committee

Image source: TESL Ontario

Guest Contributor: Jim Papple

Well, hello there!  I don’t think we’ve been formally introduced, but we’ve probably bumped into each other before…maybe at a conference, or a webinar.  Allow me to introduce TESL Ontario’s College and University Committee! 

Over the last 3 years, a small but dedicated group of people have been toiling to put together the infrastructure to have a new committee and a voice for College and University educators.  For a committee to work effectively, a lot of things need to be in place including terms of reference, a strategic plan, a call for volunteers.  We accomplished these tasks and many more within our first year and have looked to grow and expand.   Our mission is to develop leadership for professional development and practice among English language and TESOL educators working in both the college and university sectors.

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Learning the Art of Critical Pivoting

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Guest Contributor: Christine Smart-Wiseman

Like many others in the field, I am always looking for new ways to improve my teaching. My research as a PhD student at York University led me to examine teaching from a critical pedagogical approach. The guiding principle of this approach is to construct equitable and democratic classrooms with a goal to positively transform students’ lives (Canagarajah, 2005).

While I was doing my research in an ELL classroom, I uncovered many ways in which ELL environments contradict the goals of critical pedagogical approaches. In many cases, planning and preparing ahead to foster a classroom environment that supports critical learning can overcome these challenges, but at times, there may be a dynamic need to shift classroom spaces towards empowering teaching and learning. I have developed a strategy I call critical pivoting to address this problem and would like to share it with you.

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Growing Your Career During the Winter Months

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Guest Contributor: Catherine Crawford

Winter is a dormant season in Canada where the cold weather brings nature into hibernation. As such, our careers can also tend to fall into a period of stagnation during this time of year. It’s cold, dark and not many people are feeling energized compared to other times of the year. So, if you are trying to grow your career, how do you ensure it doesn’t suffer during these winter blues? Here are 4 career tips to implement this winter season:  

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SMART Goals

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Guest Contributor: Catherine Crawford

September is the only month that rivals January for that feeling of a new beginning, a fresh start. As many of us have enjoyed the lazy days of summer, Fall brings a sense of change and a newfound energy with it. Whether you are headed back to school, back to the office in some capacity, or are looking for a career change, the Fall is a great time to refocus and set goals.

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