In my very first TESL Ontario blog post, I shared an activity to help teachers remember their students’ names.1 It also happens that the activity helps students learn each other’s names and, as a result, helps to build community. By addressing each other by name, students are more likely to build bonds and feel valued. Building community is a process, however, and although this activity is a good start, teachers can incorporate other activities throughout the term or academic year to make the process memorable.
The following activity is one I use to help strengthen students’ sense of community by letting them share something about themselves that highlights a positive attribute. This activity also gives the teacher the opportunity to do the same.
As the streetcar lurched toward George Brown College, I gazed at the familiar storefronts, churches, and coffee shops that lined the route. How could everything be the same when it felt so different? I was nervous, panicked even. After all, I hadn’t taught in-person for close to three years. I berated myself for checking off the box to teach on campus. Wasn’t it easier to stay enclosed in my basement lair? I rechecked the supplies in my backpack and pulled out the instructions sheet for the tenth time. Offices have moved here, photocopiers are now there; do this if you need to print something, do that to access the computer system. Ughh.
TESL Ontario’s 2022 conference, which marked the organization’s 50th anniversary, brought forth current perspectives, reflections, and suggestions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This post highlights takeaways from six talks about fostering inclusion, advancing accessibility, and supporting newcomers.
As I finished my TESL program at Conestoga College this academic year and was in the process of applying for my OCELT Certification at TESL Ontario, an email popped up from our program head about a summer opportunity with TESL Ontario. Fast-forward nine weeks and here I am, feeling deeply connected and grateful for this opportunity, not to mention highly impacted by this team of individuals.
2022 marks a professional milestone for me: one decade as a contract instructor within Ontario English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs. The last ten years have seen me criss-cross the province undertaking assorted contracts for eight post-secondary institutions. Every college/university I have worked for has had a unique culture and slightly different approach to academic preparation for English language learners. However, some common themes have emerged about how the Ontario EAP market seems to operate.
In a two-part series, I will share insights about navigating a career in EAP that I wish I had realized from the start. I am confident much of what I say can apply to other TESL environments too.
In this first blog of the series, I discuss how people can get their foot in the door.
In Part One and Part Two of this series I’ve talked about issues that may affect attendance for literacy learners, as well as some best practices I’ve picked up over the years. In this post, I’ll pass along some more effective teaching practices for literacy learners and tips on PBLA.
As we continue with online teaching and learning, I think all of us have discovered the importance of building community in the online spaces in which we spend so much time. I suspect that we have all also discovered that it’s more challenging to build a community in an online environment than in a face-to-face class. #CdnELTchat hosted a Twitter chat to talk about this ongoing challenge.
On January 29th, 2021 we gathered on Twitter through the hashtag #teslONchat to discuss engagement strategies to utilize in our virtual classes. The guest moderator of the evening was Jen Artan (@JenArtan). Jen is an experienced Continuing Education Instructor with the Thames Valley District School Board, Instructor with IWC Hamilton, and Materials Developer with LearnIT2Teach. A certified Google Educator (Level 2), TESL Ontario Webinar Presenter, TESL London Social Media Chair, and a recent Masters of Education graduate from the Ontario Technical University, she likes to keep current on educational technology for adult learners.