Category Archives: ESL

The Native Speaker Myth and re-storying oneself within a disempowering discourse

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It was in high school that I started toying with the idea of pursuing teaching as a career. Having not known much about what I needed to pursue for this career path initially, I assumed my plan to earn a university degree in literature would be enough. When I found out that teacher’s college was a necessity as well, I was somewhat surprised. I wondered, what about teacher’s college would make me a teacher per se, was not simply knowing the subject matter that I would be teaching enough? This is a topic which I continue to ponder to this day: What makes a teacher? To be more precise, what makes a competent teacher? Is knowing the subject matter simply enough or is there something more?  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Identity, Language, Teaching
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Professionalism in TESL

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Abstract

This paper presents a discussion of what professionalism means in the workplace and how it can shape the relationship between the employees and the employee-employer relationship. The paper also hopes to promote the professional attitude and the high standards of professional behaviour expected of employees in the multicultural and highly-competitive ESL environment. A multicultural ESL teaching environment, like the one in Canada, might create some unwanted and unwelcomed conflicts among ESL teachers. Unwanted because it does not make sense for the highly-educated professionals to voluntarily cause conflict. Unwelcomed because no employer by any stretch of imagination should be aspiring to create a toxic workplace. Assuming that all employers have the best of intentions, all employees might not necessarily.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Teaching
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The complex situation with prepositions in the English language: A tiny word with much importance

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Introduction

It is known that the English language is one of the most spoken languages in the world. With a large population speaking it as their L1, it has also become one of the learned languages as L2.  Whether it is for pleasure or need, the English language has acquired a high place on the podium of most spoken languages. Some people may learn it to be able to read their favourite English writers, or they may have been influenced by North American culture. Others may come to learn English due to having moved to an English speaking country. Whatever the case may be, there is no doubt that learning English is both a need and/or a desire to most.   Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Grammar
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Teaching the pronunciation of vowels on Zoom

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many previously in-person ESL classes to online learning.  Many of these online classes are taught synchronously using video conferencing software such as Zoom.  The exclusive focus in this article is on teaching ESL classes using Zoom, since that is the software that the author uses to teach with and am thus most familiar with. However, the same points that are made with regard to synchronous video teaching with Zoom could presumably also be made for Zoom’s competitors such as Microsoft Teams.

The use of video conferencing software such as Zoom for synchronous ESL classes has the obvious advantage of enhancing the safety of students and teachers from the COVID-19 virus.  The advantages of using Zoom appear to be particularly evident for ESL pronunciation classes.  Continue Reading →

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Lessons learned during COVID-19: Towards blended learning and teaching in LINC and ESL

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ESL and LINC teachers and programs were shifted abruptly to online and blended teaching as COVID-19 closed physical classrooms in March 2020. In this article, we look back at some of the resulting changes in ESL/LINC teaching and learning due to COVID-19. We examine the growing shift towards blended learning that occurred because of pandemic restrictions, as well as its significance for blended delivery and implications for ESL and LINC teachers, teacher training and education, students, programs, and further research. 

These findings were first presented and discussed with ESL and LINC teachers during our presentation (Cummings & Fayed, 2021) at the TESL Ontario Conference in November 2021. The findings came to light during our development of a publication project which led to the handbook Teaching in the Post COVID-19 Era (Fayed &  Continue Reading →

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Global opportunities in online English language learning

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This paper argues that distance English language learning, which enables economic opportunities for non-English speakers, has not been equally available globally. In this article, I will explain that there is a need to learn English remotely for people whose lifestyles and family obligations do not allow them to attend in-person language learning classes. Yet, they need to know the English language to have better opportunities financially and academically. The theoretical framework that I have chosen for this paper is world culture theory seeing the world and people becoming more similar and connected more than ever with technology. 

Significance of the subject matter

Inequality is increasing between countries and within countries, and the primary reason behind it is income and economic disadvantages (Hill &  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, online, Online teaching
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The application of word meaning expansion for teaching vocabulary

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The following essay is a condensed summary of a completed thesis for achieving a degree of Master’s of Art in Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

If we imagine language as a living entity framed and supported by structure/grammar and fleshed with words, this organism requires both to function. It is impossible to learn a language without vocabulary. There exists at least 500,000 words in English, while the average native speaker only knows about 30,000 words receptively and 3000 words productively (Allen, 1983). Teaching every last word to English language learners is out of the question. Still, a more sustainable and feasible approach to helping students develop their vocabulary repertoire is by teaching them techniques of self-learning.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Vocabulary
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Exploring elections and democracy with language learners

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Finding age-appropriate resources to engage language learners can be a challenge. Elections Canada provides educators with free classroom-ready resources to support literacy development. These resources support action-oriented approaches by providing tools and activities that engage language learners in meaningful conversations about elections and democracy in Canada.

Each resource includes teaching tips to support both oral and written language development. We provide several discussion protocols to develop students’ speaking and listening skills. For example, a think-pair-share protocol is suggested in Elections by the Numbers to help students develop their ideas individually and then share them with a partner before discussing in a small group or with the whole class. This gives language learners the time they need to think through their ideas and select their vocabulary before speaking.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
Canada, ESL
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TESL Ontario 2021 member survey report

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Abstract
This report summarizes key findings of TESL Ontario’s 2021 member survey, in which TESL Ontario members shared information about themselves, their work, and their views on member services and benefits. Members were employed in a variety of positions and contexts in Canada and internationally and engaged in ongoing professionalization through TESL Ontario’s wide variety of PD offerings. Members reported difficulties in finding stable employment and managing the switch to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Future directions for TESL Ontario include providing support to meet online/remote teaching and learning needs, additional employment resources, and member advocacy.

For 50 years, TESL Ontario has represented ESL instructors in Ontario and worked alongside them to provide resources and training to improve language learning for students and teachers in diverse learning and teaching contexts.  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Language, Survey
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iTEP International

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iTEP International is thrilled to announce its new membership and webinar sponsor partnership with TESL Ontario. Our iTEP Canada team looks forward to meeting members of the TESL Ontario community and continuing to service and support international students and educational professionals in Canada. Learn more about iTEP and our exams at: https://www.itepexam.com/about-itep/.

Who is iTEP International?
iTEP International is a Los Angeles, California-based company that provides English testing solutions to the international education community. In 2008, iTEP created a fully Internet-based all-skills English language assessment tool, the iTEP Academic-Plus exam. It was the first time that non-native English speakers could securely assess their English language fluency online and on-demand.

Since then,  Continue Reading →

Categories:
ESL, Testing
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An ESL immigrant teacher’s insight into languages

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As a recent immigrant to Canada, I involuntarily find myself in between-situations, driven by a set of choices that diverge me away while preserving bits and pieces of my natural habitus (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977). As a native speaker of Arabic and an ESL teacher who mainly spoke English and French back home, I never realized how liberating it is to be given the choice to use Arabic, my mother tongue, until that choice was no longer an option. When I was still in Lebanon, I barely used Arabic, except with family and friends. Despite being one of the most complex languages to learn globally (Wahba et al., 2014), speaking Arabic is considered unprestigious in Lebanon. The Lebanese context clearly distinguishes between standard and prestigious languages.  Continue Reading →

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Critical literacy and counter-narratives: Disrupting power and enhancing inclusivity in the LINC classroom

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Many immigrants come to Canada not understanding the long and complex history it has with its Indigenous people, colonization, residential school system, and the impact of this on Indigenous communities. As a result, many newcomers learn negative stereotypes about Indigenous people because of their representation in the media and literature. Therefore, there is a pressing need to educate ourselves and Canadian newcomers about the true Canadian history. It is important to examine it from different angles and a “need to learn to read again the exhibition of the world, to see the display of the civilized and the primitive” (Willinsky, 1998, p. 86) as history topics have only ever been taught from one point of view of the majority group.  Continue Reading →

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