Instructors want to help their international students become aware of their rights and of the services that their school offers them. After all, their presence significantly enhances our colleges and universities, benefiting domestic students as well, and contributing to the economy. Unfortunately, many international students do not realize what benefits their schools offer them. To some extent, this may be because of language barriers.Continue reading
Category Archives: Canadian Culture
Discussing the holiday season with students
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.Continue reading
Language Never Stops
Is it possible for a language to become outdated? Daniel Tammet (2018) answered this question in Every Word Is A Bird: “Language never stops.” “Language evolves over time to reflect the way understanding and beliefs change” (Lellman, 2021). Some expressions that were common a few years ago might not be so common now. This has made choosing good materials more challenging when it comes to real-world language learning.Continue reading
Learning the Art of Critical Pivoting
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.
Google Earth in your class? (Part One)
Google Earth is an application that some of us may have heard about or used for personal purposes. Unless you are a social science teacher, it is a sure bet that you have not tried integrating Google Earth into your language or settlement lessons. Whether it is used on the web or on a device, Google Earth is a very intuitive tool, and I thought it might be a good idea to raise awareness of some possibilities it can offer language instructors teaching fully online. Today, I will go over what Google Earth is and how to navigate the application, and in my next blog post, I will go more in-depth with ways to use Google Earth in your lesson plans. Continue reading
Building cultural awareness inside and out
I have been lucky enough to work with students from a myriad of cultures over the years. Had anyone asked me if I promote intercultural skills in my students, my response would be swift. Yes, of course!
After all, I have initiated plenty of culturally themed discussions, readings, presentations, digital narratives, and other activities. But after reading more about Intercultural Competence (IC) and, more specifically, Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC), I realize that I am not going far enough.
What is ICC?
Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) derives from Intercultural Competence (IC). Both refer to the ability to interrelate with people from different cultures. According to Byram (as cited in Bickley, Rossiter, and Abbott, 2014), being interculturally competent means you can communicate effectively with people from diverse cultures in your own language. ICC, however, focuses on the “additional knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities” to do so in a second or foreign language (p. 138). For EAP, obviously, this distinction is important.Continue reading
Ways to bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom
#CdnELTchat Summary for February 11, 2020
by Bonnie Nicholas
If you’re on Twitter, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, February 25 – on the topic of Practical Gamification in the Classroom with Cindy Liebel. You can access the #CdnELTChat Padlet at this link: Questions and Topics for #CdnELTchat. Below is a recap of the February 11 chat.Continue reading
Indigenous Cultures and EAP Classes
Should we teach Indigenous cultures and other matters concerning Indigenous peoples in our EAP classes? I’ve been reading about this lately. Here are some things I’ve learned.Continue reading
An Unexpected Canadian Gift
The standard protocol for presenting at TESL conferences in Canada is that the presenter receives an honorarium and a card expressing thanks from the organizing committee. It’s a nice gesture and I always appreciate it.
Recently I received a unique gift for presenting at the TEAM conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was a beautiful bag, handmade by Angela of the One Nation Exchange (O.N.E.). I was moved to learn more about O.N.E. and how this bag came to be.Continue reading
A Positive Group Volunteer Experience
While teaching a module about working in Canada, I found my students were a bit surprised when I told them that volunteer work was not only valuable to have on a resume, but also one of the best ways to gain work experience in Canada. For many, “paid” work experience seemed to be the only valued work experience they had known. So, when I mentioned to my class that employers like to see volunteer experience on resumes and hear about it in job interviews, students started asking how they could do it.Continue reading