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Trauma in the Classroom (Part 2)

Guest Contributors: Allyson Eamer, Amea Wilbur, Katie Crossman, and Jennifer Allore

This blog is the second in a two-part series on trauma in the classroom. Part 1 discusses how teachers can better facilitate learning and provide support for students who have experienced trauma, such as refugees.  This segment focuses on vicarious trauma?

Vicarious trauma is a form of second-hand trauma. It is experienced by people in helping professions when they are deeply affected by their exposure to others’ trauma. The term was coined in 1995 by Laurie Pearlman and Karen Saakvitne, and originally was used to describe symptoms that clinicians experienced from working with clients with trauma experiences. Vicarious trauma has since been recognized in other fields. It can occur in various ways, such as listening to traumatic stories or viewing disturbing images. 

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Trauma in the Classroom (Part 1)

Guest Contributors: Allyson Eamer, Amea Wilbur, Katie Crossman, Jennifer Allore

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If you are a LINC or ESL instructor, there is a good chance that you have taught learners who have experienced trauma. Syrian, Afghan and now Ukrainian refugees, for example, have been arriving in Canada in large numbers and are increasingly part of our classrooms. Although you are not a mental health specialist, you are often the first point of contact for many students. They likely see you more often and for longer blocks of time than they see their settlement workers or other professionals in their lives. Your students undoubtedly view you as quintessentially Canadian and very much a part of “the system” that directly impacts their lives and futures in Canada. Because you work hard to be a caring instructor and to build trust in the classroom, you are likely to witness the effects of trauma on student learning, and/or to have trauma disclosed to you by a student. You are therefore an important, if unwitting (and likely unprepared, we will argue), key player in responding to trauma.

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Immersive Reader for Autonomous Reading Practice

Image taken from: Unsplash

Introduction 

In 2018, Beth Beardall posted that reading advances learner grammar comprehension, vocabulary, writing skills, critical thinking skills and speaking fluency in the post Reading, Reading, Reading. Why it is so important!  One way to assist your learners with reading is to encourage them to use the Microsoft Immersive Reader tool.    

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The Road to Community, Leadership and Innovation in the TESL Field 

I recently had the pleasure of delving into TESL Ontario’s past by reading through decades of annual reports, Contact magazines, conference reports and other historical documents. It was fascinating to discover this organization’s rich and remarkable history, and to uncover TESL Ontario’s role in the development of the TESL profession over the past 50 years.   

In a recent interview with some of TESL Ontario’s most influential members, (a project we are developing for our 50th anniversary celebrations at the conference), Shailja Verma stated “TESL Ontario has taken us from church basements to recognized institutions and buildings.”  

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Throwback Thursday

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Dear Readers,  the TESL Ontario Blog website has been running since October 2014. There are so many excellent blogs written and perhaps forgotten.  In our “Throwback Thursday” posts we will highlight some of them.  We hope you enjoy!

While I am sure most instructors have begun classes for the fall term, perhaps you have new students trickling in – or haven’t had a chance to do a “get-to-know-you activity. Follow the link below to read Cecilia’s ideas from her October 2014 post.

http://blog.teslontario.org/get-to-know-activities-in-the-language-classroom/

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Five Reasons to Attend The 2022 TESL Ontario Annual Conference

TESL Ontario’s landmark 50th annual conference, Celebrating 50 Years of Community, Leadership and Innovation, will be here in no time! The conference, taking place October 26-28, will once again be held virtually to prioritize the safety of all of our attendees.  
 
Here are just a few key reasons why you should mark your calendar now and make plans to join us in October! 
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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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Back to the Classroom: Lessons in Returning to In-Person Learning

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When we went back to class in March, my students appeared larger than life. More human, tangible. Lots of smiles, welcoming faces, laughter, and excitement. They had a willingness to learn and interact with each other, as well as with the teacher. 

I was curious to see how teaching would function in a “post-COVID-19” period. I was happy to see them in class. 

I developed a learn-as-you-go approach. I didn’t know who would attend on a day-to-day basis and hoped more students of various backgrounds would join. 

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Observation is a new Reflection!

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For all ESL teachers, observing other teachers and being observed are not uncommon parts of the job, especially for those who are at the early stages of teaching. Many novice and inexperienced teachers wouldn’t mind it; on the contrary, they appreciate the opportunity to observe more seasoned teachers.

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