Tough constructions are a special case of constructions where we find unusual relationships between the form of a sentence and its meaning. These include examples like John is tough to please. Although this might seem quite unremarkable to you, it’s actually been extensively discussed by linguists and others. To understand why, we may need to take a few steps back.
When children begin speaking in multi-word sentences in their native language, they typically start out by producing semantically simple messages: their words are nouns, verbs and adjectives, and the meanings of phrases are built up in a straightforward way by combining the meanings of adjacent words. For example, toddlers say things like Mommy go (mommy is the agent of going), Continue Reading →
Most people like to chat. It’s pleasant to talk to your family over breakfast, and at work, you might go to the coffee room or water cooler mainly because you hope to bump into someone and have a little chat. These observations are consistent with scientific findings: As far as we know, conversation exists in all cultures (Levinson & Torreira, 2015). It is the most common form of using language and it is, of course, where children acquire their language.
What are conversations? A defining feature is that they consist of turns. As Levinson et al. put it, speakers adhere to a “one-at-a-time” principle: Speaker A says something and then B, then A again, or perhaps C, Continue Reading →
Most second language teaching recommendations place a considerable emphasis on “naturalistic” procedures such as immersion within a second language environment. Immersion means exposing learners to the second language in many of their daily activities, including other educational activities ostensibly unrelated to learning the second language. While immersion may assist in learning a second language, anyone who has lived in an immigrant society cannot fail to have noticed the many adults who learn almost nothing of the second language despite years or even decades of immersion. Furthermore, within an academic environment, even if immersion assists in learning the second language, it is likely to be associated with a considerable decline in learning the associated academic subjects. Simple immersion is unlikely to be effective. Continue Reading →
Learner-centred teaching (LCT) achieved best practice status in our field many years ago. Most of us have a sense of what LCT entails. We may characterize it as developing curriculum with the learners in mind; differentiating instruction to address learners’ varied proficiency levels, goals and interests; or simply providing more learner-talk than teacher-talk time. This article1 looks a little more deeply at LCT and some of the concepts underpinning its success in the 21st century English language classroom.
Marilyn Weimer (2012) defines LCT as follows:
Learner-centered teaching engages learners in the hard, messy work of learning.
It includes explicit skill instruction. It encourages learners to reflect on what, why and how they are learning. LCT also motivates students by giving them some control over learning processes. Continue Reading →
In The Courage to Teach, Palmer (2007) writes, “I am a teacher at heart, and there are moments in the classroom when I can hardly hold the joy… But at other moments, the classroom is so lifeless or painful or confused—and I am so powerless to do anything about it—that my claim to be a teacher seems a transparent sham.” (p. 1–2). Naturally, we teachers prefer to have more of the former kinds of experiences, as do our students. Towards that end it is worth asking: how can we create more joyful learning experiences for our students and ourselves? Among several other factors, the specific techniques that we use, coupled with an appreciation for how our students are perceiving them, can have a large impact. Continue Reading →
A one-day symposium on Teaching and Learning Vocabulary in Another Language was held at the University of Western Ontario on Friday 21st October 2016. Leading scholars and key researchers in the field of vocabulary studies discussed a wide range of second language (L2) vocabulary-related topics including (1) vocabulary learning through reading, (2) captioning and word learning, (3) corpus-based studies, and (4) phrasing aspects of language. In this report, we will summarize some key points from the symposium in order to provide teachers with up-to-date vocabulary research that can inform their teaching and make their teaching practice more effective and productive in L2 classrooms. In what follows, we will briefly review background knowledge relevant to the presentations and discuss pedagogical implications based on the presented studies. Continue Reading →
Instructors are no longer limited to pressing play on a VCR to show a video. With the advent of online streaming video, students can watch media independently of their peers on individual devices or workstations. This autonomous viewing experience involves navigation and audio controls. Online video technology has rapidly evolved to allow teachers and students more engaging features during a video viewing experience. These features are discussed in relation to enhancing the online video learning experience through various feature-rich websites.1
Online Video and Learning
Online video can enhance learning when the technology is cooperating. At its best, online video offers ubiquitous access to learning content through dedicated media hosts. Video sharing sites such as YouTube, institutional servers, and third party genre specific sources such as ESL video provide dependable streaming of millions of videos with a click of a button. Continue Reading →
Historica Canada is the largest independent charitable organization in Canada dedicated to promoting history, citizenship and identity. We examine the Canadian experience, past and present. We are dedicated to helping educators, by providing free, bilingual educational resources that are pedagogically relevant and curriculum based.
Historica Canada’s education resources are inspired by the historical thinking concepts developed by Peter Seixas and the Historical Thinking Project. These concepts aim to improve critical thinking in history education. The six concepts include Historical Significance, Primary Source Evidence, Taking Historical Perspectives, Change and Continuity, and Cause and Consequence.
Educational Resources: Methodology and Accessibility
All Historica Canada educational resources are available through a free and searchable Education Portal. Not only a resource bank of more than 300 learning tools, Continue Reading →
With the rise of precarious employment in the teaching field, some teachers are interested in looking at ways to earn additional income. There are other reasons such as the desire for more creativity, an interest in learning new skills, or having more work-life balance. For me, it was the freedom to travel at any time of the year, not just school breaks. This workshop was developed in response to inquiries from teachers regarding my transition to teacherpreneur and the research that I conducted as part of this transition.
We discussed the following topics: why become a teacherpreneur; definitions of teacherpreneur; the difference between a freelancer and a teacherpreneur; and the top five ways teachers earn additional income. There was also a hands-on activity where small groups brainstormed a list of “teacher transferrable skills” to inspire teachers to think of themselves as more than just an ESL teacher. Continue Reading →
It is a fact that the maple leaf is the ubiquitous symbol of Canada. At no time are you able to avoid its omnipresent inspirational influence being in Canada. Due to this fact, our class decided to choose creating a symbolic maple tree with our pictures on it, to celebrate ESL week. This project is to show that now we have the same roots, although we all came from different places.
The project was launched in the middle of the fall, when trees changed their colors into autumn tints from green, yellow to red. All of us were asked to collect these beautifully colored maple leaves and then we pressed them. It was essential that the leaves be flat. Also, Continue Reading →
She sets out in search of a better life
From her country of birth to her country of choice
Leaving behind her loved ones and her daily bread
“Do you even know what lies ahead?”
Asks that scared little voice in her head
But on she marches with a hopeful heart and a determined tread
It’s like breathing for the first time, again; her first lungful of Canadian air
A place more vast than she had imagined, more beautiful than she could bear
New language, new culture and a new country
A chance to make a new life, equal and free
But building that life is easier dreamed than done
There are so many doors, Continue Reading →