Category Archives: Activities

Immersive Reader for Autonomous Reading Practice

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Introduction 

In 2018, Beth Beardall posted that reading advances learner grammar comprehension, vocabulary, writing skills, critical thinking skills and speaking fluency in the post Reading, Reading, Reading. Why it is so important!  One way to assist your learners with reading is to encourage them to use the Microsoft Immersive Reader tool.    

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Creating Dialogues Remotely

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Over the pandemic, several instructors have commonly requested assistance with recording dialogues for PBLA activities, assessments, reading practice or listening activities. In this post, I have detailed the steps. These steps focus on preparing a listening dialogue for a class activity. I am sure that many instructors and students have devised their own hacks for this issue, so if you have invented better methods, please add them to the comments below. 

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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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Task-Based Language Teaching

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In my last blog, I wrote about the educational movements and how they have encouraged new methods of viewing teaching and learning. They have also made room for new forms of content delivery to be developed. One of the more recent developments in content delivery, which is becoming popular in language teaching, is Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT), or “learning by doing.” Learning by doing can be defined as performing an action, i.e. enactment; in comparison, other ways of learning something are learning by viewing or learning by listening (Steffens et al., 2015). There is a general assumption that learning by doing creates better memories of an event or action, and so styles like TBLT are becoming more popular.  

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Moving Forward with Extensive Reading in the LINC Context

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In 2014, I posted on the TESL Ontario blog “Encourage Extensive Reading with MReader.” Since then, I have been integrating extensive reading with language learners in different contexts. I have learned a great deal using extensive reading in face-to-face situations. However, as COVID has forced us all online, the new challenge is facilitating extensive reading in a fully online mode.

In late 2021, Sepideh Alavi, a member of the Extensive Reading Foundation Board of Directors and Avenue mentor, and I started an extensive reading research project on the Avenue system. A critical part of this study is a pilot test of extensive reading with literacy-level classes. 

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Students in Charge: Ideas for Reading and Listening Activities

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Recently, I did a small experiment with my students. Instead of me assigning reading and listening tasks, I asked them to read an article and watch a YouTube video, and then make their own questions as if they were teachers. The results and feedback were quite astonishing.

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Ever just chat with your students?

I often hear students say they like any chance to have a casual conversation in English.  Literacy learners, however, are much more likely to avoid a conversation because they’re not confident enough to use the language yet. As ESL teachers, we prepare well-thought-out lessons that focus on grammar, composition, pronunciation, and structured activities, but we rarely foster a free flow of dialogue that encourages the students to just “use the language.”

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Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction: Praxis in Motion

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Praxis, the process of enacting theory, has played a significant role in my teaching practice, especially whenever my adult learners have a difficult time grasping a concept or feel like they are not learning as fast as they should. I find that when students begin to ask “why” and “how” questions or err repeatedly, I can rely on theory to explain and demonstrate the issue at hand. This methodology (Seabury, 1991) has worked for me and my adult learners, whose problem-solving curiosity is driven by their andragogical needs (Knowles, 1971).

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SAMR Says

Have you been asking yourself what technologies you could- or should- use to deliver your online courses? Maybe you’re looking for some guidance as to what to use and when. Online teaching challenges us to try a lot of new things, but we don’t have to imagine what functions well and when on our own. Instead, we can refer to the technology and learning pedagogy models which are out there to assist us in making informed decisions about technology in our lessons.

Puentedura’s SAMR model is used to describe the integration of technology into learning pedagogy. This model is sometimes viewed as a staircase, as depicted here, but the levels are not necessarily sequential. Each can be chosen independently to suit a lesson (H.L., 2017). The SAMR model aims to capture how technology can be used in teaching and learning practices.

In this article, I will discuss the first two steps in the SAMR model and how they can be applied in your teaching. Continue reading

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Listening Comprehension with the Cloze Test

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Most language teachers are likely familiar with the Cloze Test – the omission of specific words in a written passage (every 5th or 9th word, for example) to assess students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. I have also found them to be extremely useful to teach listening skills.  

When creating your own Cloze Tests, the first step is to find a passage that is at the students’ language level or no more than —as Krashen would advise— i+1 (just ONE above the students’ comprehensible input). The first two sentences and last sentence in the passage should also be kept intact as they give students important background information about the text.

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