Category Archives: Uncategorized

Make Your Word-Processed Documents More Accessible

Most of us are aware of the importance of the issues around digital accessibility through our own disabilities and supporting our students in virtual and blended classrooms. Some organizations offer accessibility training for educators and learners. Due to accessibility legislation and policies, software vendors build accessibility features into their wares. This opportunity allows us to make our documents more accessible. This post suggests some features available in the Microsoft Word app that instructors may leverage to make their digital documents more accessible. Please be aware that this is not a comprehensive accessibility resource, but an introduction for interested educators.  Continue reading

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Simplifying Real-World Content with ChatGPT and the Canadian Language Benchmarks 

Image taken from: Big Stock Photo

Lesson planning can be a time-consuming endeavor, especially for educators teaching students with lower levels of English proficiency. Adapting materials to meet the needs of these learners requires careful consideration and often entails significant effort. However, with the assistance of tools like ChatGPT, this process can be streamlined and made more efficient. 

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Supporting Literacy Students to Become Independent Learners

Image: Bigstockphoto.com

I was taking the chairs down from the desks and putting them on the floor before the morning class, when a student came in and said:

Teacher.

She shook her head and pointed to herself.

Me,” she said.

She motioned for me to sit. Since that day, the students have put themselves in charge of the chairs.

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Smartphones can be a “Smart” Helper in the Classroom

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At first glance, smartphones may seem like the ultimate language roadblock for ESL learners. The alluring prospect of effortlessly translating any text with a simple tap can lead to a habit of overreliance, hindering genuine language absorption. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. When approached with a strategic mindset, smartphones can indeed become “smart” tools in the ESL learning arsenal, especially for those who find themselves grappling with the complexities of English at a foundational level. 

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Teaching To The Test

Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

I had planned on giving one of my classes a task every Friday. What’s that saying? Ah, yes. Even the best laid plans. . . My plan was running like a well-oiled machine until the final week of classes before the Christmas break. I’d scheduled a writing task on December 15, and the class did it. That was not the problem. Time was. I didn’t have enough of it to cover all the material, and so I decided to teach to the test, or task, as it were.

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TESL Ontario – Conference Blog: Career Booster

By Kiara Y.R. Kim, Resource Development Assistant

The Career Booster Forum held on Thursday, November 9, 2023, from 1:30 to 2:30 pm, attracted participants eager to gain insights into employer expectations, resume-building, and effective interview practices. The event featured seasoned professionals sharing employment opportunities as well as their hiring expertise to empower new adult ESL teachers.

Employability at St. Charles

The St. Charles Adult and Continuing Education Centre offers programs in a number of categories which include English language instruction: ESL/LINC classes, citizenship, IELTS, English for Everyday Living, Care for Newcomer Children (CNC), and VISITORs. Holly Bartoszek (Supervisor) and Melita Vrakela (Lead Instructor), both from the ESL/LINC program at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB), provided a detailed presentation of employment opportunities and hiring expectations at St. Charles. Successful candidates would begin on the supply list, then apply for permanent positions that become available. Some of the qualifications outlined included:

  • TESL Ontario Certified (OCELT)
  • Ability to instruct ESL according to CLB
  • Familiarity with PBLA
  • Evaluate student learning outcomes on an ongoing basis
  • Engage in accurate St. Charles reporting process
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TESL Ontario – Conference Blog: Career Connections

By Kiara Y.R. Kim, Resource Development Assistant

The TESL Ontario Annual Conference held on Thursday, November 9, 2023, featured a Career Connections webinar from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. This session, led by Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy, Accreditation Services Manager at TESL Ontario, and Krista Walsh-Murrayn, Project Manager at Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB), provided a detailed overview of the TESL certification application process, efficient job searching strategies, and resources provided by the CCLB.

Key Takeaways from the TESL Ontario Certification Application Process (Reza Mazloom-Farzaghy)

OCELT and ICTEAL are officially registered professional designations and certificate trademarks. OCELT certification recognizes that a certificate holder has the knowledge and skills required for teaching English to adult learners in all publicly funded and private programs in Ontario, other Canadian provinces and territories, and abroad. ICTEAL certification recognizes that a certificate holder has the knowledge and skills required for teaching English as an Additional Language in international settings. TESL Ontario offers three application pathways to gain certification:

  • Application pathway 1 is for graduates of TESL Ontario accredited training programs.
  • Application pathway 2 – CCPLAR Stream A is a credit-based evaluation pathway for those who hold prior education from non-TESL Ontario accredited training programs.
  • Application pathway 2 – CCPLAR Stream B is a competency-based evaluation pathway for those who only hold prior ESL/EFL teaching experience.
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Happy New Year!

Here are some short and sweet messages from some on our TESL ON Blog Team. We asked the question: What are you hoping to discover and learn about in 2024 with regard to your TESL practice or any other endeavours? 

Jennifer Hutchinson: Happy New Year everyone! I hope this year brings you the contentment of routine as well as the excitement of trying new things.  My resolution is to lower my screen time, watch TV less, read more, and spruce up my teaching practice with new strategies and tools. Hope I succeed!  Here’s to a happy, healthy and engaging 2024 to you all.

Derek Czajkowski: I’m reading a book by Stanford University Professor Jo Boaler called Limitless Mind, which supports the science behind neuroplasticity, the idea that we don’t have fixed brains, and we are capable of learning any subject, at any age. I want to explore this topic in my blogs, as it has definite relevance to our students, who are learning a new language, many of whom are older, and are dealing with learning impediments. I also want to expand my subject range for my blogs. In 2024, I want to learn how to be a better teacher, improve, especially how to be a more effective teacher to lower level students. I would also like to become more adept using online platforms such as Avenue, as well as incorporating AI and ChatGP in my lessons, which I keep at arm’s length, for now, but am becoming somewhat more open to. Last, I want to wish everyone a creative and dynamic year in and out of the classroom, and that despite all the frustrations that come with being an ESL teacher, we are helping our students flourish. 

John Allan:  In 2024, I am hoping to share projects that I have been contributing to over the past few years.  These are New Language Solutions, the team behind Avenue, resources being shared to the Canadian LINC sector. Posts may include discussions about online technology standards, open independent learning resources, new Canadian graded readers and considerations to make online courses more efficient. If there is an opportunity, maybe some commentary on AI and language teaching. 

Ozma Siddiqui: As the year turns over another leaf, I would like to start the new year with learning more about how AI can be used for successful learning in the classroom. AI seems to be the way forward and I would love to see how it can be integrated into the English classroom. I wish the TESL fraternity around the world the best of 2024 and hope to continue on this journey of lifelong learning!

Gordon Hatt: I’m currently doing twenty, one-hour classes per week. They are one-on-one and small group coaching classes with native French speakers whose abilities range from level 4 to 7. All of these students have studied English since grade one, and many through the college level. All of them need to be able to function in English at work at least occasionally. Finding authentic texts that stimulate the upper-level learners and learners needing specialized vocabulary is an ongoing challenge: Too easy, and there is no learning. Too difficult, and the students founder. Recently, I have experimented using ChatGPT to convert authentic news articles to the appropriate CLB level. I felt it was very successful and will be using it again in the coming year.

Elyse Borgdorf: Wishing everyone a happy and fruitful 2024.  I’ll be taking maternity leave during the year, but hope to use time away from the classroom to understand AI better and look into TESL opportunities that complement my current life stage as a young mom.

Beth Beardall: Best wishes to everyone for a healthful and fulfilling 2024. I hope to continue to hone my skills as a LINC/ESL Instructor. I am especially thinking about how to incorporate a more holistic approach to “doing” PBLA.  On a personal note, I want to continue to strengthen my newly discovered practice in Qigong.

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Metrics that Matter: Indicators of Success in ELT Admin Roles

By Kiara Y.R. Kim, Resource Development Assistant

Administrative roles are important in the overall management, functioning, and strategic direction of educational institutions. These roles can encompass a wide range of responsibilities that may involve overseeing operations, implementing policies, or managing resources to ensure the overall success of the educational programs and institutions.

Whether you are an educator seeking to broaden your impact on a larger scale, drawn to leadership and mentorship for educators, or motivated for professional growth, embarking on the path from educator to administrator is a journey that demands both ambition and strategic navigation.

In this unique blog series, we explore the pursuit of administrative roles in the field of English Language Training (ELT). TESL Ontario collaborated with six (6) hiring managers representing various sectors of the Ontario ELT landscape, who stand ready to share their experience, advice, and wisdom along this transitional journey. This fifth and final installment of the series is designed to shed light on key performance measures that contribute to excellence in the field.

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