Category Archives: Collaborative Learning

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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Building Student Agency and Autonomy

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Providing students with various platforms and activities where they can voice their learning helps create an engaging learning environment where students feel autonomous in their learning journey. As Gao (2013) suggests, educators can be involved in their learners’ reflective thinking, where they together assess prioritizing students’ “concerns, desires, and visions” (p.236) and examine further “learning paths” (p.236) in order to promote students’ autonomous language learning. 

I’d like to suggest a few ways we can create an environment where students can thrive while strengthening their agency and autonomy: 

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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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Google Earth in your class? (Part Two)

Photo Taken by: John Allan

Last week, I talked about the application Google Earth and explained how it works. Check it out if you haven’t already! Today, I will discuss several possible activities and examples of ways to incorporate Google Earth into your language or immigration classes.
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Google Earth in your class? (Part One)

Photo by: John Allan

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

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Make the Most of Breakout Rooms

One of the biggest challenges with online classes is getting students engaged and working collaboratively. Breakout rooms seem to be the answer to both engagement and collaboration issues; however, these rooms can pose a whole new world of challenges. How do you utilize your breakout rooms to optimize student group work?

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Effective Online Tools & Resources for Teachers and Learners

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Over the past two years, I have been attending a lot of webinars, presentations, conferences, dialogues and online courses. I’ve also been reading blogs and articles as well as doing presentations and writing blogposts. I’ve gained knowledge and collected remarkable resources. Tools like the ones below can help us design tasks that will engage and motivate our learners.

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VoiceThread in the language classroom

With the new trend in education due to COVID-19, many language classrooms have been moved to hybrid, synchronous, or asynchronous modes of delivery online. This change has certainly impacted the socio-cultural aspects of our classroom dynamics in many different ways. 

Approaches to building community and the related language interaction have been impacted by the move to online delivery, and educators have sought assistance by looking into various EdTech tools to make up for this gap. One of these tools that I have found helpful in my language classrooms is VoiceThread.  

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Online Teaching Reflections

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Some of my primary concerns about this current online world of teaching are the creation of community and how to effectively engage learners.

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Even more creativity in the classroom

Inspiration

At the recent TESL Toronto’s T4T mini conference at York University, I was inspired to take 4C integration into my instruction to a new level.  Specifically, I was spurred on by James Papple and Tabitha Lewis’s session called Connections to Learning through Makerspaces. They provided a myriad of potential activities that extend and enhance learning beyond what is expected in a language learning class.  Tabitha and Jim highlighted resources that are available through the Brock University’s Makerspace room.

Makerspaces Technologies

In Brock’s Makerspace, learning opportunities include tools to create high quality audio, shoot and edit digital video, create and edit images, print 3D models, create moving LEGO structures, scan objects into digital 3D models, cut materials with lasers, interact with virtual reality, record video against a green screen, control a Sphere ball with a smartphone app, build robots, paint 3D objects, and more. 

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