Category Archives: Research

Disrupting the English-only status quo: Using home language as a vital resource in the classroom

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Abstract
An extensive and growing body of research affirms the value of using students’ home language (L1) in both second language (L2) and content learning in the classroom. In spite of this, instructional policy and practice continue to operate as though English-only approaches are axiomatic and essentially common sense. This article appeals for action at the classroom and program levels to close the gap between research and practice in relation to the use of home language in learning. This shift aligns with a move toward rejecting deficit narratives that focus on what students are lacking rather than what they bring to the classroom. If we recognize that our students possess rich cultural and experiential funds of knowledge, we must also begin to value the language(s) in which that knowledge is encoded.  Continue Reading →

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Highlighting highlighters: A simple but effective ESL literacy teaching technique

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Abstract
This Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) funded adult ESL Literacy Project of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board is in the midst of piloting a new delivery model of adult ESL Literacy instruction based on the 2016 ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ESL for ALL) document. The Literacy Researcher guided four team members through intensive ESL Literacy training in the first year of the project. Now, these instructors are running specialized classes that target specific learning strategies ESL Literacy learners need in order to be successful participants in their classes, with PBLA and in their daily lives.

Our TESL Ontario Conference poster presented the learning strategy of highlighting specific information required to answer WH-questions.  Continue Reading →

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Differentiated instruction in English language teaching: Insights into the implementation of Raza’s teaching adaptation model in Canadian ESL

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Abstract
The purpose of this article is to discuss the teaching adaptation model proposed by Raza (2018). This will be done with the support of fresh explanations and examples that show how different strategies suggested by the model can be utilized to develop and implement materials that can assist in adapting teaching strategies to English language learners’ needs in Canadian ESL classrooms. Driving their roots from significant language teaching and learning theories, the strategies included in the model are specifically relevant to language classrooms that comprise students from multilingual, multiethnic and multi-educational backgrounds. Starting with a brief introduction to the model, the article discusses the strategies in detail with the support of tasks and activities that can be used in Canadian ESL contexts to facilitate the language learning experience of diverse student population.  Continue Reading →

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Classroom action research on the effects of pronunciation teaching on listening skills

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Abstract
The twentieth century was marked by the publication of a plethora of books on new methods and approaches to teaching English as a second or foreign language, few of which were based on empirically tested claims (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). Pronunciation instruction is perhaps the area of ELT that is most lacking in empirical studies to support its practices, with calls for research to investigate its effects and efficacy constantly made by ELT and second language acquisition specialists (Derwing & Munro, 2005). The recent resurgence in the interest for pronunciation has led to a small increase in the number of experimental studies being conducted on the subject. However, research is still limited to how teaching pronunciation affects learners’ spoken production,  Continue Reading →

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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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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 →

Categories:
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 →

Categories:
Curriculum, Other, Research
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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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