Tag Archives: learning

The Importance of Selecting Appropriate Reading Materials – How to Help Learners Find the “Right” One

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Learners often come to me with questions about their English reading materials. They wonder if the books they’ve chosen are good for practicing English or why certain expressions differ from what they hear daily. For instance, one of my students asked why “you shall” was used in a text. This highlighted a common issue: many learners struggle to distinguish between reading for pleasure and reading to learn English as a second language. This leads to a vital question: How does one choose a book that benefits English learning? However, selecting the right materials involves more than just finding any English text—it requires careful consideration of the learner’s proficiency level and the regional variation of English they are exposed to. 

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Student Engagement Strategies That Work

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As the day wears on, it’s not uncommon to see learners becoming unfocused, disengaged with classroom tasks, restless, noisy or silent. The most demotivating aspect of disinterested students is their unwillingness to learn. A Gallup student poll (2014) reports that nearly 50% of the learners were “either not engaged (28 percent) or actively disengaged (19 percent) in school” (Collier, 2015). 

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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 

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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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AI in ESL: Empowering Learners and Bridging Language Gaps

By Margaret Holec

Introduction

The past decade has seen a game-changing impact on English as a Second Language (ESL) education, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Notably, AI has made students more independent in their learning, helping them secure jobs even with lower English levels. Additionally, direct translation of messages and emails has become seamless, enhancing communication.

1. Independent Learning: AI’s Role in Student Empowerment

AI in ESL education has shifted the focus to personalized learning, allowing students to learn at their own pace. This independence builds confidence and self-reliance as learners navigate language acquisition with tailored support.

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Learner’s Autonomy! Is it for all learners? 

Mark Van Doren quote: The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
image source: Flickr-Venspired

As an ESL teacher with over a decade of progressive teaching experience, no notion in English language pedagogy was as mindblowing to me as the idea of learner autonomy. The way that learning and learners are seen as autonomous has always resonated highly with me; I always thought if anyone masters independent learning, they can learn almost anything with joy and efficiency. Recently, however, I’ve been thinking differently about this. Not because I am now a skeptic of this approach, but because I have been wondering if all learners want to be independent learners! Based on my recent encounters and experience at work, I now think maybe there are some learners who learn best without being independent. In this blog post, I’d like to share my own experience with this type of learner.   Continue reading

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Using Authentic Materials for EAP Students

Have you ever considered how you might conduct effective and enjoyable EAP sessions? Despite the limited duration and high-stakes nature of EAP classes, the emphasis on learner autonomy, critical thinking, and authentic academic situations renders the teaching process potentially more engaging than that of a standard English course, provided appropriate delivery methods are employed. 

As per Tomlinson’s (2013) perspective, classroom material ought to offer an array of authentic input in the target language, encompassing diverse styles, forms and functions. Based on this notion, I developed a lesson plan aimed at introducing my EAP students to academic research reports, facilitating their exposure to an authentic lecture and enabling them to independently explore the subject matter. To achieve this objective, I selected a TED talk and a pertinent research article as the primary resources for this lesson.  Continue reading

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Listening in Language Learning Part II: Extensive Listening 

This two-part blog focuses on tips for improving your students’ listening skills with both intensive and extensive listening methods. If you haven’t yet, go read Part I: Intensive Listening, then come back to read Part II. In this second part I will focus on extensive listening by offering tips for extensive listening practice, some resources for teachers to utilize, and some overall listening goals for teachers to bear in mind.  

Extensive Listening 

Just like extensive reading, this activity involves listening to self-selected listening material slightly below the student’s proficiency level and in large quantities. The focus is on overall understanding because the task is more relaxed and self-directed, with learners listening to longer audio or video selections without necessarily trying to understand every word. The goal of extensive listening is to develop overall listening comprehension skills, get used to the sounds and rhythm of speech, and become more familiar with the language in a natural way. 
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Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Class through Critical Texts, Talks, and Tasks

I asked TESL Ontario educators to record their thoughts on the question “What are one or two ways that you incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in your teaching practice?” This post shares their recordings (see link below) and synthesizes their responses, which highlight the importance of infusing criticality in classroom texts, talks, and tasks. 

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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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