Category Archives: Teaching

The role of grammar in ESL and EFL courses

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Abstract
The teaching of grammar has been a controversial issue in second and foreign languages. On the one side, one can find those who oppose teaching grammar in language courses, and on the other side, one can also find many language teachers and applied linguists who favor teaching grammar in the same said courses. This paper deals with some issues related to the teaching of grammar, how teachers should teach, and when is the best time to introduce it in second and foreign language courses. While many language courses focus on grammatical forms, other courses, such as those adhering to the communicative language teaching approach, try to exclude the explicit treatment of form from the syllabi. It is known that native speakers of any language acquire their native language without grammar explanations;  Continue Reading →

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Individualized program plans for adult ESL literacy learners

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*For all footnotes, refer to the PDF version of the article.

Abstract
Adult ESL literacy teachers are often perplexed when instructing pre-, non-, and semi-literate adult ESL learners due to their L1 literacy level, age, and possibly traumatic experiences. Classroom instruction and assessment should be carefully planned and strategically implemented because of the underlying financial and social ties connecting literacy to socio-economic status. How might instructional practices be modified to better meet the needs of adult L2 emergent readers? This paper examines the use of Response to Intervention (RTI) tier 3 plans in adult English learning in an L2 context. For twelve weeks, several evidence-based reading diagnostics assessments were administered to help develop individualized program plans for a group of emergent readers.  Continue Reading →

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Possibilities in decolonizing English language learning

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Abstract
Racism in education has a long 500-year history with colonial roots that situates knowledge production as a Western prerogative. Colonizers intentionally created an educational system based on Eurocentric epistemologies that promoted White supremacy. Pieterse & Parekh (1995) argue that in the 20th century, capitalism and industrialization enabled global oppression and resurgent nationalism which undermined social justice initiatives. Over the last thirty years in Canada, despite increasingly diverse students, inclusive curricula, and equity policies from elementary schools to universities, the teacher and administrator workforce has remained racially homogenous. Learning English has become an intrinsic part of a global post-colonial legacy in which many continue to perceive the ideal educator to be White males. Currently, microaggressions among ESL teachers and exclusion in decision making reflect ongoing racism.  Continue Reading →

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Student-centred games and activities

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Introduction
Are you interested in games in the classroom? Do you like video games but do not know how to make it happen? This article aims to use creative problem solving to help you come up with interactive games for your students that incorporate the skills and systems in your lesson plans. All this can be achieved with some creativity, gumption, and some PowerPoint tips and tricks. You will gain new skills from an old tool to reinvent your tech skills without learning how to code. When you are ready to play, start the game, and enter player one!

PowerPoint is much more than your elementary school presentation nightmare―it is all the fun of a game without all the frustration.  Continue Reading →

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Idioms: The icing on the cake for advanced learners

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**For footnotes, please view the PDF.

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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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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Informed Use of Learner L1: Plurilingualism as a Macrostrategy for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

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Abstract
The use of learner L1 in TESOL contexts has emerged as an effective, if controversial, teaching strategy. This strategy is validated by the notion of plurilingualism. Plurilingual practices serve a variety of classroom aims and offer a range of pedagogical and intercultural benefits. However, there are several challenges impeding the adoption and application of plurilingual pedagogy. In response to these challenges, I draw on a postmethod framework and my own teaching experiences to offer several ideas for plurilingual classroom activities, developed with Spanish and Portuguese-speaking students. A plurilingual perspective can help ESOL teachers to recognize, respect, and make use of their learners’ diverse linguistic and cultural resources.

Introduction
Views of monolingualism, native-speakerism, and subtractive language acquisition still dominate TESOL learning and teaching contexts.  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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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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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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