Something that I have struggled with for the last ten years as an ESL teacher has been whether or not to properly inform my students about the implications of studying a new language. There seems to be a prevalent preconception among many ESL students that learning to speak English is easier than say, learning the subjects in a college level math course.
To many, abstract subjects like theoretical mathematics or computer programming are obviously more difficult than linguistic subjects. There may be some truth to this concept. However, these courses are often very specific in scope, last anywhere from thirty-two to ninety hours, and require students to simply “remember” and maybe “apply” what they learn. Even though it is a common practice to segment English language programs by level of ability, say levels 1 to 5, or like the CLB, 12 levels in total, these courses are often far from adequate in providing enough time to properly “learn” the content of these levels. Continue reading →
For the purposes of this post, curation is defined as aggregated content that has been identified and vetted by a human curator. You might choose to leave the searching, sorting, repackaging, organizing and publishing to curators. Serious curators are area specialists who spend a great deal of time and effort to provide their networks with relevant content. The majority of curated content is located, and shared on a casual basis by common social media participants on an ad hoc basis. This can be seen daily on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Part-time curation is something that we do when we have a few spare minutes but the dedicated few that are professional curators are tremendous sources for up-to-date content.
Discovering a curator and trusting that they will curate relevant content that meet your professional requirements may necessitate determination and patience, but the results will be worth it. Just imagine, someone else combing through dozens of sources and hundreds of items to repackage and present the most relevant to your on a daily basis. Continue reading →
As presented in my last post, Personal Learning Network Sources, a Personal Learning Network (PLN) can include numerous resources that assist communication, resource sharing and professional growth. I have found that one of the most challenging aspects of PLNs is organizing the content for efficient retrieval. As PLN resources are added or removed it becomes clear that arranging them is necessary to enable efficient access. A single starting page, or PLN home page, is a solution that I have found provides effective access to my PLN.
A starting page is the first page of your PLN based on the chosen tool. One example is using your Twitter account page, Twitter being the tool, as Anna Bartosik details in her post, How to Connect the Right Way: Using your PLN on Twitter. I use the tool Symbaloo as my starting page for my PLN. The Symbaloo organizer uses tabs, thumbnail icons and text to provide quick access to my PLN resources.
Below, I offer some PLN starting page options. Each of these possibilities embody their own strengths and weaknesses. As a language instructor, you may want to choose one of these options based on your experience with digital organizers, your personal technology skills and the quantity of resources in your PLN. Continue reading →
It has come to that time of year again when we take some time to reflect on our past year or past school term and fill our thoughts with hopeful new adventures in the classroom – after all of the marking is done that is!
THANK YOU again to you all for visiting the site each week or clicking on an intriguing title from the monthly emails. Comments have been steadily picking up, and your thoughts, comments, and questions mean so much to our bloggers who take the time to create posts that will be meaningful to the TESL community.
We will be taking a break from blogging until the New Year and will return with our next posts appearing January 1st and 4th. We hope that weekly visits to our blog will be on your New Year’s list! Maybe there is a topic or idea you would to explore in the new year – why not send us an email and see if one of our bloggers can speak to his/her experiences.
As always, if you have any suggestions, an interest in blogging, or comments, please go to our Contact Us page and send us an email.
Over the past months, I have been posting and providing professional development sessions on creating engaging and interactive learning experiences with video as the focus media. Tools have included Edpuzzle, ESLVideo, Ted Ed Lessons, TubeChop and Zaption.
Searching for and finding suitable videos or animations takes time and effort. Depending on your learning objectives, there are many videos or section of videos that may be beneficial. As with everything in education, one size does not fit all. It takes imagination, discipline and creativity to create engaging learning objects that meet your instructional requirements.
The majority of feedback after my webinars and workshops has been focused on where to find suitable videos or animations. The annotated list below is a starting point for teachers to explore video resources: Continue reading →
I am always searching for additional resources to integrate assessment into courses. This past summer, I stumbled across Ted Ed. Ted Ed is a creation from the popular Ted Talks, non-profit, series of videos and live events. Ted Talks are currently inspiring, challenging and teaching all who spare the time to listen.
What’s in it for Teachers
Ted Ed Lessons allow anyone to feature any YouTube hosted video, not just Ted Talks videos, and build a lesson around the video/animation. The Ted Ed resource provides a simple process and interface for educators to create learning quizzes. There is no coding or technical expertise involved in this process. These digital lessons can be easily shared through social media or email and with some skill a lesson can be embedded into your institutional learning management system or your class homepage.
The ability to easily live and work overseas can be one of the greatest benefits of teaching ESL. For me, it was actually the reason I fell into the field!
If the travel bug has you, or if you’re just looking for new teaching experiences, there is a plethora of options for you out there (depending somewhat on citizenship, level of education, experience, etc.). Below is a quick breakdown of two common destinations for ESL teachers:
China, Korea, and Japan are by far the most popular destinations for Canadian ESL teachers, especially for those with little or no experience. For many jobs, the only requirement is a bachelor’s Continue reading →
This week we reached our 50th post from our Guest Bloggers and Occasional Bloggers on the TESL Ontario blog! We wanted to write a post to allow readers and bloggers to take a moment and take it all in. Our first post was on October 6 of last year, and it started with the lines
“We are so excited and proud of this initiative which all started because of YOU, TESL Ontario members.”
We are still excited and proud of this blog, and our passion continues because of YOU, our TESL Ontario members.
THANK YOU to our bloggers, our commenters, and even our silent readers. Over these past posts, we have engaged in meaningful conversations and opened opportunities for reflection of our own practices, and we are invested in keeping that going with your involvement.
Another year has ended in my journey as an ESL teacher. As I look back, I realize the roller coaster ride it was.
When I started in September, I had two students in a higher, multi-level LINC class. On the first day, only one showed up. On the second, the other student was there, but the one from the first day wasn’t there. Let’s just say that on both days we spent a lot of time getting to know each other.
Fear of making a mistake or asking a stupid question is a legitimate problem. Sir Ken Robinson in his TED talk: “How schools kill creativity” talks about how the education system makes people fear being wrong. This fear of being wrong can squash our creativity. If we always keep ourselves in check, so that we don’t make mistakes, we will never take chances. He states we need to be prepared to be wrong.
I often say to my students “There is no such thing as a stupid question!” I’ve said this many times. However, when I put myself in the position of student, I sometimes feel like my question might be stupid.