Enhancing Students’ note-taking Skills I: Note-Taking Methods

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Notes can be taken in any way that helps the student learn/study the topic, so our goal should be to advise students on their options so they can choose effectively. As an academic drop-in facilitator, I receive many questions about note-taking strategies. This strongly suggests that students really want teachers to scaffold/model effective note-taking for them. This may not always be part of the curriculum, but should always be taught anyways.

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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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How Practicing Self-Reflection Works for Both Teachers and Students

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Tseng Tzu said, “Every day I examine myself on three counts. In what I have undertaken on another’s behalf, have I failed to do my best? In my dealings with my friends have I failed to be trustworthy in what I say? Have I passed on to others anything that I have not tried out myself? (as cited in Confucius & Waley, 1938).

Self-reflection is an approach that allows you to have an opportunity to examine what you have done and what you can learn from your past. However, it is never an easy thing to do, as we are living in a fast-paced world full of “smart” devices. We may spot our mistakes and want to improve, but soon enough we will leave everything behind and move on to a new project. The problem is that we can never go anywhere without reflection. In this article, I am going to talk about how to take advantage of self-reflection to help us improve from both teacher and student perspectives.

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Building Student Agency and Autonomy

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Providing students with various platforms and activities where they can voice their learning helps create an engaging learning environment where students feel autonomous in their learning journey. As Gao (2013) suggests, educators can be involved in their learners’ reflective thinking, where they together assess prioritizing students’ “concerns, desires, and visions” (p.236) and examine further “learning paths” (p.236) in order to promote students’ autonomous language learning. 

I’d like to suggest a few ways we can create an environment where students can thrive while strengthening their agency and autonomy: 

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Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about OCELT® (Ontario Certified English Language Teacher) Certification and Designation

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

OCELT certification has become the industry norm in Ontario, and OCELTs are being hired by both government-funded programs and private schools in Canada, and by international employers. 

As the Accreditation Services Manager at TESL Ontario, I help interested individuals navigate the certification process to become successful in their pursuit of OCELT certification. Here I would like to share the five most frequently asked questions from applicants:  Continue reading

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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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Creating Dialogues Remotely

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Over the pandemic, several instructors have commonly requested assistance with recording dialogues for PBLA activities, assessments, reading practice or listening activities. In this post, I have detailed the steps. These steps focus on preparing a listening dialogue for a class activity. I am sure that many instructors and students have devised their own hacks for this issue, so if you have invented better methods, please add them to the comments below. 

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Social Media and Critical Literacies

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Due to the immense changes in society and the way people communicate in the past 50 years, communication methods are now multimodal, and people need literacy skills that go beyond books. As Tarc (2013) writes, “In our current multicultural societies, it is hard to identify one’s identity and their understanding and background, in order to avoid possible misunderstandings,” (p. viii) and such considerations need to take place now that global migration is at its highest and daily interactions occur with people from different countries than ourselves. Whether or not people have experienced migration and/or immigration personally, many of the people they interact with on a daily basis are likely to have been born somewhere else; even without this interaction, the accessibility to the internet means that no one is isolated in their own “corner” of the world. Digital and print media tools can be used by educators to help students develop critical literacies skills, so that they can be more participatory and contemplative global citizens. 

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Personal Learning Styles and Reading Skills

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In this blog post, I’d like to point out the importance of taking learners’ personal learning styles into account when they are asked to do a reading task. This idea is interesting for me personally because I think not all the techniques and strategies which exist to help us do a particular task can work for all in the same way.

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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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