Action Research as a Praxis for Transformative Teaching Practice in ELT Classrooms

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Abstract

This paper is to illuminate how action research can be used as a praxis to shape teaching as a constant transformative practice in English language teaching (ELT). I will offer a synthesis on what action research is, how professionals have used it in practice, and why action research is a vigorous and enlightening tool for ELT practitioners and teacher educators for their transformative knowledge (re)building process despite some criticisms.  Then, I will briefly exemplify two action research projects that I have conducted with different colleagues in different settings.

“The unfinished character of human beings and the transformational character of reality necessitate that education be an ongoing activity.  Education is thus constantly remade in the praxis.   Continue Reading →

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Other, Research, Teaching
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Developing Intercultural Competence: Surveying EFL Learners’ Knowledge, Strategies, and Attitudes

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Abstract

Understanding others has long been a goal of language teaching yet remaining in the background of educational practices (Liddicoat, 2012). One of the existing challenges in the language-teaching domain is the integration of culture and language. The incentive to conduct this study is the existing gap of teaching culture in language classrooms. The researchers investigated learners’ opinions on the presentation of English-speaking countries’ (ESC) cultures and explored the cultural knowledge scope of Iranian EFL learners. Besides, the strategies used by the learners to acquire intercultural communicative competence were explored. A questionnaire was distributed among 250 language learners, yet twenty-six male and female EFL learners, intermediate and upper-intermediate level, were interviewed to probe their knowledge, strategies, and attitudes.  Continue Reading →

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Language teachers’ knowledge and practice of metacognition

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Abstract

Language learners’ (L2) knowledge about their own learning (also known as metacognitive knowledge) enhances with learners’ acquisition of metacognitive skills and successful applications of metacognitive strategies. In these contexts, L2 teachers’ knowledge about teaching is quite opposite to “abstract, decontextualized” knowledge, which results in executing “a set of discrete behaviour” (Freeman & Johnson, 1996, p. 400). Similar to the learners, as Freeman and Johnson (1996) argue, the way “teachers actually use their knowledge in classrooms is highly interpretive, socially negotiated, and continually restructured within the classrooms and schools where teachers work” (p. 400). Therefore, language teachers’ knowledge of metacognition needs to be improved and applied in their instruction and classroom environment which eventually encourages and guides learners’ metacognitive behaviors in L2 learning.  Continue Reading →

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Narratives: Portraying Students’ Identity as Writers

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Abstract

The objective of this research study was to analyze B.A. students’ writers’ identity based on their narratives.  The theory for this research was based on the poststructuralist perspective of identity and on theoretical concepts for personal narratives.  For the methodology, the Case Study approach was taken into account.  Students argued that a writer creates stories and contexts.  Hence, students see themselves as apprentices that like to write, but not as writers.  For the participants, there is a difference between a teacher that writes and a writer, and also none of the participants mentioned academic texts as writing.  For them, writing is related to tales, poetry, and fiction.

Resumen

El objetivo de este estudio fue el de analizar la identidad como escritores de estudiantes de licenciatura en idiomas con base en sus narrativas.   Continue Reading →

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CLIL as a Meaningful Pathway to Redefine Foreign Language Courses in Higher Education

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Abstract

This article gives account of the pedagogical interplay that CLIL could have as an educational approach within a pre-selected undergraduate group of International Business students. It presents a proposal that considers the importance of providing learners with an embedded, functional and curricular model, in which languages and content interrelate simultaneously. In the same line of thought, it suggests a set of materials and resources which could be applied according to particular educational settings, and puts forward a five-step elemental procedure to follow, along with guidelines for teachers to implement CLIL within their university classes.

Introduction

Colombian traditional education models have been immersed within our society for many decades up to now. Features such as memory,  Continue Reading →

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CLIL, Other, Research
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Using Art to Incorporate Culture into the ESL Classroom

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There is a lot of research that supports the idea of teaching culture in the foreign language classroom. One reason why it is a good idea to incorporate culture into language learning is that it provides students with intrinsic motivation to study the language by creating a positive learning environment through the integration of language and culture (Engh, 2013). Another reason is that socio-cultural competence enhances linguistic competence and makes it easier for learners to understand the language and become better communicators (Arevalo, 2010). They are better able to understand the subtle differences in intercultural norms between socio-cultural groups and make connections to their own culture, which in turn helps avoid stereotypes and build stronger relationships with other cultures (Byram,  Continue Reading →

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Found in Translation: Plurilingualism as Pedagogy for Teaching Post-Secondary Vocabulary

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L2 Vocabulary Teaching in a Multilingual Canada

Words are not isolated units of a language: they are components of a larger interconnected system that allow second language (L2) learners to access other components in that system (Nation, 2013). For example, knowing a word is systematically linked to knowing its spelling and pronunciation. Indeed, vocabulary proficiency has even been shown to predict post-secondary English as a Second Language (ESL) students’ reading ability, as well as their capacity to read on their own (Laufer & Ravenhorst-Kalovski, 2010). As such, the development of L2 learners’ vocabulary knowledge intuitively equates to the overall development of their L2 competencies.

While there are many different techniques that can be applied in the L2 classroom to raise students’ vocabulary competencies,  Continue Reading →

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Towards a Pedagogy for Reconciliation–Indigenization: What it is and Why it Belongs in the ESL Classroom

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“Challenge is an integral part of transformative experience”; I came across this line in “Unsettling Faculty Minds: A Faculty Learning Community on Indigenization” (Yeo et al., 2019, p. 38). It resonated with me because this has been true in my life.  Challenge usually precedes and instigates change, whether that change is internal or external.   However, despite the momentum produced by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the recent acknowledgment of the treatment of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women as genocide, there still remains resistance among educators to answering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action.

It is important to recognize that universities, including my own, the University of Toronto, have acknowledged the role they played in the erasure of Indigenous culture and the justification of cultural genocide.   Continue Reading →

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Curriculum, Other, Research
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Deconstructing the Cultural Dig: Examining Ryerson’s Real Institute Speaking Project

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It is the final days of school, and students are getting ready for their final project. Dressed in business attire and with professionally designed posters in-hand, they march into the largest Ryerson building on Yonge St. and are about to complete their final assignment of the school year. They are nervous, yet they are ready to face their future peers, professors, and other community members.

Ryerson’s Real Institute (RRI) EAP program has recently completed its 6th year and like many programs, there are certain challenges that were faced. The program is an academic preparation program for English language learners, which runs for 8 months. The goal is to prepare students linguistically for their post-secondary studies. Like many programs,  Continue Reading →

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The Challenges and Strengths of Culturally Diverse Classrooms: A Consideration of Intercultural Curricula

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Introduction

The internationalization and multicultural character of Canada are affecting both the content and delivery of educational and language programs. As students learn, live, and work to become global citizens, the need for programs and curricula that reflect culture and diversity will only continue to grow. An intercultural curriculum, defined as a planned program of study with intentional inclusion of culturally-diverse content and a culturally-safe learning environment that fosters cognitive and affective learning (Mestenhauser, 1983; Shenk, Moore & Davis, 2004), is suggested as a response to this need. The reasons for this are that such a curriculum engages students’ thinking, prompts reflection, and promotes dialogue about various cultural perspectives. Such curricula also facilitate students’ development of understanding and respect for their own cultures as well as others’ cultures.  Continue Reading →

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Shuai vs. Sean: What’s in an English name for students?

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“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie

It is well-known in the TESOL community that many students take on an English name different from one’s birth name, and it is more common in some groups of students than others. In fact, among some Asian students, the practice of taking on an English name is almost de facto and one that is practiced not only in English-speaking countries, but in many schools in Asia as well (Chien, 2012; McPherron, 2009). As such, a Haeda might also be known as Heidi, Mohammed becomes Moe, and Sun-mi goes by Alice. The instructor will use the chosen English name for the student and,  Continue Reading →

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Identity, Other
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Editor’s Note

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This is my last issue as editor of TESL Ontario’s Contact magazine. My heartfelt thanks go out to all our readers. You are literally the raison d’être of the magazine. And of course, all the writers who have contributed their ideas and research are its life force. It has been my pleasure to connect these two groups, to put you, if I may, in contact.

In 2012, I took over the editorship from Tania Pattison, who served as editor for a year after the untimely death of Clayton Graves in 2010. Clayton was editor for seven years before that. I am grateful to them and to the other editors who went before for their vision and stewardship.  Continue Reading →

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