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Overcoming the theory and practice divide: A perspective from the TESOL Plus program

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Certificate programs such as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) have burgeoned in our globalized world. They are usually offered and/or accredited by reputable educational institutions, such as University of Cambridge, University College London, Michigan University, as well as sanctioned by government bodies (e.g., TESL Ontario and TESL Canada in Canada, National ELT Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) in Australia, New Zealand Qualification Authorities (NZQA) in New Zealand, & Accreditation UK in the United Kingdom). These accredited programs vary enormously in their design, ranging from short certificate courses to higher education degrees. The former have historically been known as teacher training courses, with the British ELT industry as a pioneer in the field,  Continue Reading →

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OCELT Advances ESL teaching standards in Ontario

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If you are a TESL Ontario member, you have a new designation to add to your name. The Ontario Certified English Language Teacher (OCELT) designation has been awarded to all TESL Ontario accredited members in good standing. It is intended to be a symbol of professionalism in adult language education. But what exactly does this mean for ESL teachers and their careers?

Professional licensure and any accompanying professional designations have two main purposes: first, those within the profession may be able to use them to extract economic rents (payment in excess of the minimum required to provide the service) by limiting the competition and increasing their perceived quality,1 and second, employers and consumers may be able to reduce search costs and risk.  Continue Reading →

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Lessons from Western’s symposium on teaching and learning vocabulary in another language

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 →

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Manipulating online video resources to enhance learning

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 →

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Teaching Canadian history for English language learners

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 →

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Teacher to teacherpreneur: How to monetize your professional skills

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 →

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“Please look at me!”

Cross-cultural competence in the ESL classroom

Our understanding of theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and more speci cally teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) has traditionally been grounded in linguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and more recently in pragmatics and speech acts. I would like to argue that in order to do the most effective teaching of ESL, especially in light of the many recent newcomers to Canada, we must also have a stronger sense of the theories and best implementation of cross-cultural communication1.

How often have we been in a classroom, intent on being as helpful and constructive as we can, only to nd that some students are resistant or silent or respond in totally unexpected ways? Even when we fully intend to respect the diverse cultures of our students,  Continue Reading →

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Supporting Blended Learning in an EFL Teaching Environment

Supporting blended learning at a college with a face-to-face classroom model can be a challenge, particularly in an EFL learning environment. Faculty need clear guidelines about the institutional definition of blended learning, a strong sense of why they should “blend” technology and face-to-face methods, as well as the know-how for tools and resources amongst a range of other considerations. In order to better support faculty, our Learning Technologies team offered a Blended Learning Workshop Pilot Series to support a culture of learning starting with basic technology tools and resources freely available to faculty. The following describes how we went about creating and delivering the series, and provides insights into what we learned from the experience and feedback from faculty.

Blended Learning

We have decided to use the definition from the University of Central Florida’s Blended Learning Toolkit for the purposes of our pilot series,  Continue Reading →

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Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in a Disciplinary Context

Critical thinking (CT) is a fundamental defining concept of a Western university education (Barnett, 1997) and it lies “at the heart of EAP” (de Chazal, 2014, p. 12). However, there is  a  discrepancy  between  the  findings  of  several  experimental  studies  that  show  CT to be particularly suited to a content or theme-based approach, and how it is currently conceptualized  and  taught  in  many  English  for  Academic  Purposes  (EAP)  programs. Some EAP foundation programs tend to regard it as a discrete transferrable skill- one not necessarily embedded within a particular theme or subject.

This article aims to answer one question: how can CT best be taught to EFL/EAP students? It will argue that integrating the teaching of CT within a discipline or subject is particularly effective for EFL learners.  Continue Reading →

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Linc Field Trips in the Post-Funding World: Five Changes

Arms laden with Food Basics groceries, we trudged south west across snowy Victoria Park Avenue and Sheppard Avenue East and took shelter kitty corner in the iconic Johnny’s Burgers in Scarborough before heading for Round Two of grocery shopping, a multicultural one at Hong Tai Supermarket.

Just one of dozens of field trips in recent years to places far and near to help my students not only to learn and use the language but also to settle in their new home of Canada. Looking back, it’s hard not to notice how different field trips have become in the post- funding world. Gone are end-to-end, fully paid for rides in yellow school buses and padded seats to subsidized tourist destinations up the CN Tower or over at the zoo.  Continue Reading →

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Viva La Lingua Franca: On the Art of the Apology

My father is a fan of an Italian-dubbed, German soap opera called Tempesta D’Amore, saga television at its very best. Set in a five-star hotel with characters who cheat, lie, and connive like cousins at a Trump family-reunion picnic, it would occasionally pull me into the vortex of daytime viewing, spending the entire episode trying to figure out the Byzantine plotlines of complicated relationships.

“I don’t get who these people are.”

“They brother and sister-in-law,” my father would explain, “but his wife, her sister, was die. Now she’s love him and she’s pretends she sick so he’s no leave.”

“But why is she ‘remembering blood’? I don’t get what they’re arguing about.”

“They was kill and bury somesbody together.”

“I can’t believe you called this a ‘family’ show.”

In the end,  Continue Reading →

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