English for Academic Purposes in Ontario: Results from an exploratory survey

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Abstract
The on-going “internationalization” of Canadian post-secondary institutions has resulted in significant demographic changes in these institutions’ student bodies, creating a need for more effective support of students using English as an additional language both during these students’ transitions to university and during their degree programs. Currently this type of support is offered across a wide range of contexts in Canadian institutions of higher education, often embedded in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs. Given the increasing demand for EAP, investigation of the features of existing programs and the experiences of EAP practitioners is necessary for improving equity and efficacy within the field.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
EAP, ESL, Research
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WebSafe: Tools for newcomers to counter digital disinformation

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Abstract
WebSafe is a set of learning resources, organized by units and modules into a comprehensive course which aims to address the knowledge and skills gaps faced by some newcomers to Canada in dealing with digital disinformation. The development of the WebSafe course was part of a wider project which included an extensive community consultation to determine the impact of digital disinformation on newcomer ELLs in Alberta. This community consultation, along with a comprehensive literature review, focused the development of the materials. It provided a foundation for developing course content, strategies, and all of the first-hand accounts used to bring the impact of digital disinformation to life. The WebSafe course was then piloted with several hundred students and adjustments made as a result of teacher and learner feedback.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Technology
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Teaching in COVID-19 Times: Challenges, innovations, solutions, and opportunities

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Abstract
Based on the research we presented at the TESL Ontario Conference in November 2020, we examine here the challenges, innovations, solutions, and opportunities in education that have grown out of the sudden disruption and constraints due to COVID-19. We first set the background in a global context; then report on the impact, challenges, and needs in LINC programs in Canada. We then discuss an in-depth case study of a LINC educator’s experiences based on her own teaching and teacher development work during this time. We conclude by discussing lessons learned from these COVID-19 experiences and recommend ways forward.

All settlement language training professionals were caught by surprise by the pandemic in mid-March 2020.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
LINC
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Creative assignments to help students connect English to the outside world and build confidence

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Abstract
Instructors at the Real Institute’s ESL Foundation Program are continuously working on designing assignments that allow their students to practice the language skills taught in class while at the same time engaging with technology and connecting with life outside of the classroom. Through careful consideration and research, two assignments were designed and successfully achieved these outcomes. The assignments were adapted to a virtual teaching context and were equally successful. This article includes a detailed explanation of the projects that were created, the steps taken for students to accomplish all tasks, and the outcomes that resulted from their completion. Further to this is a description of the success achieved from their adaptation to an online learning environment.

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Exploring the potential of MALL in teaching ELLs academic writing

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Abstract
As a consequence of the growing interest in digital technologies, a recent field of research has emerged, which investigates the use of recent technologies in language learning: Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL). Although research studies have demonstrated that mobile technology is an effective tool for improving different English language skills, the majority of MALL studies focus on vocabulary acquisition and speaking skills, whereas grammar learning and writing skills are underrepresented. As an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) instructor who seeks to engage her learners with the aid of MALL activities, especially given the current pandemic context, I was driven by the question: What is the potential of MALL in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) academic writing? In light of the theoretical foundations of MALL (e.g.,  Continue Reading →

Categories:
EAP, MALL, Writing
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The incredible vocabulary machine

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Abstract
Vocabulary is the heavy lifting in learning a language. With grammar, little meaning can be conveyed. With vocabulary, anything can, in a pinch, be conveyed. Yet vocabulary has traditionally been neglected: In part for theoretical reasons; in greater part because the obvious process to learn it, item-based memorization, has seemed so tiresome and time-consuming. The process can be automated with free tools available on the web. It can be handled outside of class time, efficiently and with a minimum of dull repetition. Learning vocabulary can be easy and fun.

Introduction
Vocabulary is the heavy lifting in language learning. It is most of what must be learned,  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Technology, Vocabulary
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Complexity Theory and translanguaging as pedagogy for ESL learner empowerment

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Abstract
Recent theories in second language education have highlighted the learner as a social being, who has agency and takes an active role in the language learning process. One recent theory of the social turn in second language education that is of relevance to ESL teaching is Complexity Theory (CT). In this article, we briefly explain how CT and the concept of affordance relate to the role of the teacher and the learners in the ESL classroom. We then discuss what teaching ESL through a CT lens inlvoves and argue that translanguaging as pedagogy can empower ESL learners and transform the ESL classroom into a more equitable and inclusive space.

Introduction
Second language education (SLE) has witnessed a significant shift in the past decades,  Continue Reading →

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Teaching the pronunciation of Business English multiword terms and loans to adult speakers of Romance languages

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Abstract
This article examines two features of the language of Business English, and it discusses teaching the pronunciation of these features in Business English courses or in General English courses in which Business English content is dealt with. Indeed, it refers to multi-word terms and loans, and it shows why teaching primary stress to adult speakers of French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish as a first language is linked to the former and why teaching English sounds to the same student population is related to the latter. This is done by referring to previous research in the case of loans and also by comparing the language of Business English with that of Business French,  Continue Reading →

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Corrective feedback in second language writing: From theory and research to practice

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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to discuss choices available to language practitioners in connection to corrective feedback in second language (L2) writing. Using the results of some empirical studies and prominent second language acquisition (SLA) theories on corrective feedback (CF), we will address the benefits and limitations of implicit and explicit feedback types, peer feedback and self-correction, reactive and proactive feedback, and finally focused and unfocused feedback. In each section, some practical recommendations are made to help L2 teachers better deal with CF in language learning classrooms.

SLA theories underpinning CF
Two theories that are widely used in L2 research on CF are Cognitive Approach and Sociocultural Theory (SCT).  Continue Reading →

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Idioms: The icing on the cake for advanced learners

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Abstract
This paper focuses on the problems that learners and teachers both face with idiom usage. The original submission was in part of the author’s Cambridge Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Learning Skills Assignment for which it received a Merit, but it has been modified to serve a general teacher audience. This essay examines examples from several advanced level coursebooks and draws on the author’s personal experience of teaching multi-lingual classes in Canada and England, as well as exam-preparation courses in Italy to assess the value of teaching learners’ idioms. By identifying the problems that learners have with idiomatic language and analyzing different methods to help circumvent them,  Continue Reading →

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Developing critical thinking skills in the ESL classroom

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Abstract
This paper presents a discussion of the importance of developing the critical thinking skills of ESL students. Critical thinking skills are sometimes overlooked in the ESL classroom which is problematic given that ESL students need to be equipped with the skills and thinking strategies necessary to perform in academic and professional arenas. ESL teachers can foster critical thinking in supportive environments in their daily practice by including activities that require students to challenge the self and activities that require collaboration and creativity. Several classroom activities that encourage critical thinking are presented and discussed.

Defining ‘critical thinking’
Critical thinking is an important area of interest in education and stems back to the Greek philosophers, including Socrates,  Continue Reading →

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The complexity of recognizing the ABCs for English language learners: More than twenty-six sounds

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Abstract
The purpose of this article is to support English language learners in the early literacy stages of English through raising awareness of more than one sound that may exist (or not) on certain English characters (letters). Having a character acquire more than one sound could add a layer of difficulty in learning how to read in English. Additionally, this could also be seen when two letters are placed together. Learning and memorizing the phonetics of each character would evidently allow for one to learn how to read. However, as a teacher, being able to recognize these characters, and then teaching vocabulary intentionally (by highlighting these characters, and the construction of new sounds), would benefit the learner, and may even speed up the language acquisition process.  Continue Reading →

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