This article is based on observations from a workshop conducted at the 2021 annual TESL Ontario conference presented by language training professionals and experts in learning technology solutions from the Avenue–LearnIT2teach Project. The onset of COVID-19 in March 2020 was a crisis in immigrant settlement language training. Many teachers and learners were forced to rapidly pivot from conventional face-to-face learning to remote learning. Teachers and learners who had previously practiced blended (or hybrid) learning were well positioned with technology and skills. Teachers and learners who had not were forced to rapidly respond with Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT). Observations from the workshop panel and the participants uphold the need for continued sector engagement with learning technology to support the development of digital skills among newcomers, Continue Reading →
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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 →
Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) aims to advance both newcomers’ English language learning and their settlement skills and goals. Canada’s official languages, cultural awareness, and employment and settlement skills are essential drivers of settlement and a core part of the LINC curriculum. In response to these needs, Blended Learning (BL) LINC programs combine face-to-face (f2f) LINC classes with online activities beyond the classroom and integrate technology and settlement skills with English language learning. BL provides learners with essential opportunities for developing their English skills while learning the digital skills necessary for effective settlement in Canada.
The nature and effects of PBLA were investigated. I examined LINC program evaluations, government-solicited assessment reports, PBLA research, and other PBLA-related documents. I discuss the features of PBLA and its reported effects on language outcomes and teacher and student attitudes. I found that the government did not provide a rationale for PBLA and that the results of research did not support the introduction of PBLA. I also found that PBLA is neither standardized nor portfolio-based as claimed. It is costlier, more time-consuming, and appears to have more teacher pushback than the approach it replaced. Regardless, there is no evidence that the LINC program has improved students’ language skills before or after the implementation of PBLA
In 2010, Continue Reading →
Since 1980, the number of university-bound students has more than doubled. The expectations that parents and youth have around attaining post-secondary credentials has become a taken-for-granted reality. No doubt that you have heard that “a university degree is the new high school diploma.” Extensive university and college expansions have occurred in all areas across the country to accommodate this growing desire. The 2016 Federal Census revealed that Canada has the highest proportion of university and college graduates in all of the OECD countries, with more than half of adult citizens between the ages of 25 and 64 having such a credential (Statistics Canada, 2017).
There is widespread perception that it is only possible to get a good job by attaining post-secondary education. Continue Reading →