Category Archives: Professional Development

Career Tips for Shy/Introverted ESL Teachers and Students

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In general, Western society favours people who are extroverted and outgoing. This bias can be seen in multiple areas of daily life. At school and work, it is apparent in the emphasis placed on teamwork and open workspaces. In language, it is evident in the positive connotations associated with those who are outgoing/extroverts (e.g., approachable, the life of the party) and negative connotations for those who are shy/introverts (e.g., sheepish, wallflower).

Personally, I am an introvert. I prefer calmer environments and get depleted by lots of stimulation. I was once very shy, and I feared negative social judgment. In this blog, I present three strategies that have helped me cope as I have climbed the TESL professional ladder.

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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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Boosting your Career with the OCELT Designation – Growth. Recognition. Community.

Image source: TESL Ontario

Written by Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy, Accreditation Services Manager, TESL Ontario

Hi there. My name is Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy. I am the TESL Ontario Accreditation Services Manager. I am also an OCELT. Do you know what OCELT stands for? We see OCELT in email signatures, resumes, title slides of presentation decks, and presenter biographies quite often these days, which is excellent for our profession! The OCELT professional designation acknowledges the professional status of certified practitioners and enhances their professional prestige as members of a dynamic ESL community. If you are an OCELT but haven’t started using your professional designation yet, or if you are not an OCELT but are planning to start the application process soon, this blog post may encourage you to start today!

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A Look Back: History and Impact of TESL Certifications

Image source: TESL Ontario

Written by Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy, Accreditation Services Manager – TESL Ontario

Hard to believe, but TESL Ontario is turning 50 this year! Throughout the years, the association has made great strides in the area of setting professional standards for certification of English language educators.  We invite you to join us for a look back on the history of certification at TESL Ontario.

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Web Accessibility for Language Teachers

Educational digital accessibility is often viewed as a set of practices  dedicated that assist disabled individuals with challenges to participate in online and blended courses.  In fact, accessibility practices endeavor to more than eliminate barriers to education; they ensure that digital content is enhanced for everyone. Digital accessibility practices are something we all should practice because: 

  • they remove barriers to education and training
  • legislation requires accessibility across Canada 
  • many Canadians live with at least 1 disability 
  • they improve all digital resources for all users 
  • it is the right thing to do 

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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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Moving Forward with Extensive Reading in the LINC Context

Image taken from: Unsplash

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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Celebrating 50 Years – History of PLAR Service at TESL Ontario

Image source: TESL Ontario

Allison Keown is the Executive Director of TESL Ontario

TESL Ontario introduced certification for Ontario English language educators in March 2000.  The introduction of this provincial certification helped advance the TESL profession and the TESL Ontario certification swiftly became the sector standard for the hiring of English language educators in Ontario.

2004 – Expanding Access to Language Instructor Certification through PLAR

At a time when language teaching was gaining traction as a valued profession worldwide, internationally trained individuals (ITIs) with significant experience were struggling to obtain certification in Ontario, because their education did not meet the certification standards that had been established.  As a result, these qualified professionals were often having to repeat education that they already possessed, in order to become employable in Ontario.   

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Interview with 3 Board Members – A Year in Review (Part 2 of 2) 

In Part 1 of this two-part series, you were introduced to three of the TESL ON Board members who have completed one year of service. In Part 2, we dig deeper into their responses about their perspectives as Board members.  

Interview (continued)

What have you learned from your fellow Board members in the last year? 

Cecilia: Where do I start? Everyone is truly focused on the continued strengthening of the organization and to share their individual talents to make this happen. We have only Zoomed since I joined but I have felt welcomed from the very first time we met. New members are matched with a mentor who we can call on anytime and that’s reflective of the spirit of collaboration that exists within the Board and our organization as a whole. David Hezell, past Chair and treasurer, became my mentor and that helped me to transition to my current role as treasurer 

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