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Despite the wealth of research that purports the benefits of a cross-linguistic approach, many learners and teachers are operating in an environment where the L1 is used with trepidation and as a last resort if it is used at all. Why is it that teachers and learners are hesitant to take cross-linguistic and multilingual approaches on board, despite the value of these tools for language learning?

The Communicative Language Teaching Approach

The ongoing rejection of the L1 in the EFL classroom can be partially attributed to the influence of a communicative language teaching (CLT) approach, which became a dominant force in the 1980s (Kumaravadivelu, 2006). When using a CLT approach, the focus is on building oral communicative competence, with limited attention to form, and maximizing usage of the target language (TL). Omission of the L1 is a natural product of this type of approach. Even though TESOL is, on the whole, shifting away from a CLT approach towards alternatives such as task-based learning, the nature of such shifts is neither instantaneous nor is it uniform across all contexts. A CLT-informed approach where teachers are expected to instruct in the TL remains the preferred approach in many EFL language schools. CLT is further proliferated because it is the approach that is taught to teachers in well-reputed TESOL teacher training courses such as CELTA (British Council, n.d.).

CLT and Teacher Beliefs

Beliefs associated with the CLT approach are tied up with some teachers’ reluctance to use the L1. A study by Copland and Neokleous (2010) exemplified this relationship. The authors found that EFL teachers often underreported their usage of the students’ L1 due to feelings of guilt about not conducting all aspects of their lessons in L2 English. The tension between what teachers felt they should do and what they actually did was clear in the difference between the observation and interview data; all of the teachers who took part used the L1 for reasons such as translating for meaning and responding to learners’ affective needs, but 80% criticized L1 use as a teaching strategy in the interview session and said that they saw the L1 as a hindrance to teaching English. Here, the teachers’ actions clearly showed that they saw value in using the L1, but that they simultaneously were inhibited because using the learners’ L1 as a pedagogical tool did not fit in to their understanding of what it means to be a ‘good teacher’.

Teacher Confidence

A second factor that prevents teachers from making use of cross-linguistic approaches in the classroom is that they may be poorly equipped or lack the confidence to do so. Horst, White, and Bell (2010) encountered the issue of lack of teacher confidence in their initial feasibility study regarding introducing cross-linguistic awareness interventions for young L1 French L2 English learners in Quebec. They found that one reason why a French teacher of young learners was reluctant to add cross-linguistic activities was that she was worried about making mistakes in English (Horst, White, & Bell, 2010). When teachers have been educated in a way that has not prepared them to take a cross-linguistic approach, and when they do not have high proficiency in both the L1 and L2 themselves, they may feel uncomfortable about adopting such approaches. 

Fear of Excessive L1 Use

A third factor that may inhibit teachers’ use of the L1 in the EFL classroom is the fear that by inviting students to use the L1, they will be opening a ‘floodgate’ of uncontrollable and excessive L1 use by students (Turnbull, 2001). Although research where cross-linguistic pedagogies have been implemented has not shown this fear to be warranted (Horst, White, & Bell, 2007), it is a natural and common fear to have when one’s previous understanding of best practices was that the L1 should not be used at all for EFL teaching.

Taken together, negative beliefs about L1 use, the uncertainty and lack of confidence regarding how to use it, and the fear that it could lead to general chaos are not conducive to teachers’ use of cross-linguistic strategies.

In the third and final part of this series, I will provide activities and ideas for experimenting with a cross-linguistic approach.

Marie Apaloo is an MA candidate in applied linguistics at Concordia University. Her current research focuses on the effects of cross-linguistic awareness on the acquisition of L2 English morphosyntax.

References

British Council. (n.d.). CELTA. Retrieved from https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/teacher-training/celta

Copland, F., & Neokleous, G. (2010). L1 to teach L2: Complexities and contradictions. ELT Journal, 65(3), 270–280. doi:10.1093/elt/ccq047

Horst, M., White, J., & Bell, P. (2010). First and second language knowledge in the language classroom.  International Journal of Bilingualism, 14(3), 331–349. doi: 10.1177/1367006910367848

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TESL Ontario Blog by Toronto Public Health - 1d ago
image source: Toronto Public Health

Can you feel spring in the air? I sure can! If you are like me, you probably cannot wait to be basking in the warm sunlight. As spring approaches and the sun starts to warm us up, it is important to consider how we can enjoy the warmth and stay sun safe as well.

What’s the risk with ultraviolet (UV) rays?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada, and the UV rays that the sun emits are known to be cancer causing. UV rays can also cause sunburns, skin damage, early aging of skin, and eye damage including cataracts. Indoor tanning devices are also a source of UV rays and can be harmful to your health in the same way as the sun.

Who Is at Risk?

Anyone, regardless of skin type, can get skin cancer. Those who have light-coloured or freckled skin, spend long periods of time in the sun, have a history of sunburns, or have a history of indoor tanning are at an increased risk for skin cancer.

What Can Be Done to Protect Your Skin and Eyes from the Sun?

The sun’s UV rays tend to be the strongest between the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Time in the sun should be limited during these hours.  Shade is a great way to protect yourself from the sun. Try covering up as much of your skin as possible with clothes and a wide brimmed hat that covers the head, neck, and ears. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that are labelled with UV 400 or 100% UV protection. This is especially important near reflective surfaces such as snow, water, and sand as the UV rays reflect off these surfaces.

All Sunscreens Are Not the Same

Choose those with Sun Protective Factor (SPF) 30 or higher, labelled broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) and water resistant. Sunscreen should be reapplied after swimming, sweating, or towelling. Sunscreen lip balms are a great way to keep your lips protected as well.  Remember that no sunscreen provides 100% protection. Use sunscreen with other protective measures to be as sun safe as possible!

If you forgot the sunscreen, don’t worry! This summer, you can enjoy free sunscreen in locations across the city! Visit #besunsafe for locations and more information.

Talking about Prevention in the Classroom

Although skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada, it is also the most preventable type of cancer. The start of warmer weather is a great time to get your students to think about the risks of UV exposure and what can be done to reduce their risk of skin cancer.  Students can complete an online personal risk assessment at   https://www.mycanceriq.ca/Cancers/Melanoma. Once the assessment is completed, students will be provided with a personal action plan. Encourage students to think of one small action that they can take to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.

Instructions for this computer lab activity as well as other activities related to sun safety can be found in Toronto Public Health’s curriculum here.

If your school is planning any outdoor events or BBQs, this is the perfect opportunity to practice being sun safe. Include sun safety messages on promotional flyers and ensure there are shaded areas available.

A little note to keep in mind: We might not be experiencing cloudless blue skies just yet, but the UV rays can penetrate through clouds, fog, and haze, so every time is a good time to #besunsafe!

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Can you name all of the Kardashians? What is Fortnite?  Are fidget spinners still a thing? What’s a meme?

Do you use pop culture references in your ESL lessons? I do! Let’s explore some of the disadvantages and advantages of doing so.

Disadvantages:

1. You Might Accidentally Alienate Students By Using Pop Culture:

One time, for a grammar lesson, I used “sports” as the context. I realized too late, when I was delivering the lesson, that all my sports references were to sports and athletes that I liked and knew. The lesson made references to the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Raptors, and to athletes like Jose Bautista and Demar DeRozan.  My students were newcomers to Canada, and had little to no knowledge of these teams and athletes. The lesson alienated and bored them. When you try to make pop culture references in your lessons, be careful not to make the same mistake I did.

2. You Can Fall Victim To Stereotypes When Using Pop Culture:

As teachers of students from various countries and cultural backgrounds, we can fall victim to making stereotypes about what pop culture they might enjoy. Not all students from India like Bollywood; not all students from South Korea like K-Pop; and not all students from Panama like Reggaeton. Don’t fall victim to stereotypes by assuming that your students only enjoy pop culture from their countries of origin. I am Canadian, but I don’t watch hockey.

3. You Aren’t Cool:

When we, as ESL teachers, make pop culture references in our lessons, we run the risk of looking like an out-of-touch square who is trying desperately to be hip and cool with the youth. I am embarrassed to admit that I once referenced the dance craze The Nae Nae in one of my ESL lessons. Cringe! When we use pop culture references in our ESL lessons, we need to be careful not to appear like we’re trying too hard to be cool.

Advantages:

1. Pop Culture Can Help You Tap Into Your Students’ Interests:

You don’t have to use pop culture that you like and know; you can use pop culture that your students like and know. Early in the semester, I like to poll my students to get an idea of what movies, TV shows, websites, social media apps, music, etc. they like. Then I can integrate these interests of theirs into my lessons. For example, through polling students, I learned that a lot of my students played a game called League Of Legends. This allowed me to integrate references to League Of Legends into some of my lessons, and the students’ ears would perk up whenever I did.

2. We Can Use Pop Culture To Get Our Students Talking:

If you are trying to help your ESL students increase their communicative competence, pop culture can act as a good starting point for discussion. A couple of years ago, my students and I had a debate about whether or not it was OK for Justin Bieber to punch a fan who got too close.

3. Pop Culture Can Add Flavour To A Boring Lesson:

I love grammar. I love teaching grammar. However, my students don’t always love grammar. That being said, I have found that integrating a little pop culture into a grammar lesson can liven it up a bit. Maybe you can make your students use the present progressive to add a caption to an Instagram picture of a celebrity like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. For example, “I am lifting weights. He is eating chicken and broccoli.” You might get them to practice the simple past by having them research the pop culture of a past decade: “People wore bell bottoms in the 1970s. They listened to disco music.” If you know the material is going to bore your students, adding a little pop culture can help. As that Mary Poppins song goes: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

What are some other disadvantages and advantages of using pop culture in our ESL lessons that I haven’t covered here?

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TESL Ontario Blog by Carol Blake - 1w ago
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Does grammar make you nervous?  Do you wonder if you know enough to be able to help your students with their grammar?  Let’s take pronouns, for example.   Can you explain when to use  who or whomYou and I  or  You and me?  You can Google these issues fairly easily and find helpful explanations, or you can find good ESL grammar exercises and worksheets online, or you can use a good textbook. 

The bigger question is what grammar should we teach? 

Two terms used in the field of Linguistics are prescriptive and descriptive.  A prescriptive grammarian teaches the ‘right’ way to do things.  A descriptive grammarian observes the way things are done in ‘real language’.  Should our students be taught to speak ‘correctly’ or ‘naturally’?

Real Language

Someone could easily ask “But what IS real language?  Whose language is it?”  Teen-speak is almost always different from the norm.  Should we teach that variety?  What about CBC-speak?  Just in the last week in the national news broadcasts, I heard “Troops are laying low” (instead of lying), and “The man that …” (instead of who), and, referring to the same man, “They said …” (instead of he said).  Sometimes I talk back to the radio or TV and ‘correct’ the grammar, and other times I remind myself that these are ways 21st-century Canadian English is naturally changing. By the way, have you also noticed that many people no longer distinguish the difference between the verbs bring and take? These are not errors, but variations, which are more and more accepted. 

In addition, most native speakers actually use a variety of forms of language and automatically vary their grammar, vocabulary, intonation, and even rhythm.  One small example: I very rarely use the word whom in speech, but always use it as prescribed when needed in more formal writing.  A larger example: My grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation differ when I’m speaking to a large group or chatting with my kids.  The ideal practice in ESL would be for us to teach our students both to recognize and to master all these various degrees of formality which depend on situations, target audiences, and language format. But is this practical? 

Variety

What should we do?  I recommend that you help students achieve the standard, semi-formal grammar of everyday language (unless you’re teaching a class in academic writing).  Go ahead and teach who and whom, but also teach your students how these forms are commonly used today.  Teach the grammatical rules but don’t prescribe the older, ‘correct’ forms without also mentioning the generally accepted variations in form that are frequently heard.  Don’t label these variations as errors but as examples of how English is developing, as do all languages. 

Asking your students the following questions will help them understand.

Regarding language change:

How has your first language altered since the time of your grandparents?

Do you use different words?  Different sentence structures?

Different pronunciation?

Regarding formality:

Does your first language have various forms that you use when talking to people of different social groups?

Even if there are not any distinct words that are altered, would you speak to a king the same way you would to your best friend? 

Language is always changing and naturally has many levels of formality.  Teaching these two concepts as part of our grammar lessons will help our students learn how to communicate effectively. 

On Another Note

Do you realize that there are similar arguments for differences in pronunciation?  Should we teach our students to say been as bean, or bin?  Or February with the first ‘r’ or not?  Or comfortable with 4 syllables or 3?  What do YOU do?

Carol Blake OCELT graduated with a Masters degree in Linguistics and a TESL certificate from the University of Toronto in 1982.  For the last 35+ years, she has been involved in teaching various aspects of English and language learning in first language, second language, and foreign language situations.  Currently, she lives and teaches in Kitchener.

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TESL Ontario Blog by Jennifer Hutchison - 1w ago
Copyright: Jennifer MacKenzie-Hutchison. All rights reserved.

Last week, I read over my students’ poems and was reminded how much I love my job. As teachers, we need to savour these pleasures and summon them during the more tedious moments. My students, mostly from Asia, are in a year-long EAP foundation program at Ryerson University. I asked them to write a poem based on “Where I Am From,” by George Ella Lyon.

The scholastic objective was to get my students to explore their identities, but my personal objective was to learn more about their families, their ambitions, their countries…their lives. In class, we went through the author’s life, stanza by stanza. We examined the details, the imagery, and the metaphors. Then my students went home and wrote their own versions.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all, the assignment didn’t count for anything. Despite what we tell ourselves, it’s hard to motivate our students without the almighty grade. And yet, to my surprise, they delivered (most of them, anyway!).

Some of the verses were downright breathtaking. Could it be that second-language learners can generate creative, almost quaint turns of phrase that native speakers wouldn’t dream of uttering in the concise vernacular of modern day? Maybe.

Here are some samples of my students’ work:

                “I’m from the kapok’s blossom…it looks red and tastes like happiness.”

                “I’m from shrimp dumplings, Osmanthus cake, and fried radish patties.”

                 “I’m from these memorable moments that swing and seesaw from that lost innocence.”

                “I’m from summer, from the carbon monoxide that fills the air and the rains that fall frequently.”

                “I’m from rock, paper, scissors; from hide and seek and paper folding; from hopscotch in the playground.”

                “I’m from the northeast, from the Manchurian tiger.”

                “I’m from luxuriant aquatic products…from limited resources and polluted nature.”

                “I’m from the setting sun in the afternoon…from the tall fence, watching children,

                same as me; we look at each other, dreaming the future,

                where are we gonna be?”

Have you used poetry in your classroom? How did it go? George Ella Lyon’s poem makes for a great activity in more ways than one. If you use this model in the classroom, please let us know how it went.

Reference

Lyon, George Ella. nd. Where I’m from. Retrieved from http://www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html

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I get asked this question a few times every year. My answer is always the same, “We don’t have one”. It’s true, we don’t have one. We have the Curriculum Guidelines, a badly named book that provides class activities of varying quality for different CLB levels. We also have CLB criteria for assessments, and, of course, PBLA, another assessment tool, but nothing to tell us how to achieve these outcomes such as what grammar to teach or what pronunciation to focus on at specific levels. That would be really helpful, especially if you are a new teacher or switching levels.

Even more annoying is that the Center for Canadian Language Benchmarks says, “Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA) is a teaching and assessment model designed to enhance nationwide consistency and standards of quality in English as a Second Language…” How can a series of tests that we are all creating individually standardize the material being taught? It is the role of a curriculum to provide a systematic structure. It would mean that Susan in BC is introducing gerunds in Level 3 and so is Mahdi in Ontario. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

Why didn’t the government spend money on a curriculum first rather than PBLA? We could implement the ‘how’, then later follow up with tests to see how effective it was.  Does it make sense to start at the finish line and work your way back?

In order to create a curriculum, they would have had to hire a few professors, knowledgeable in communicative theory, and invite some teachers and students to participate. It would have been something that really added value to our classrooms and established a degree of standardization that the government says it wants.  I can’t say for sure, but I also suspect it would have been a lot cheaper than PBLA, not to mention gratefully received.

It’s all very mysterious. How can people involved in education miss the curriculum? It’s like when my mother stopped to ask for directions. The man she spoke to offered to show her the way as he was going there himself. He turned left and then right, weaving in and out of the numerous side streets with my mother’s car following closely behind. Finally, about ten minutes in, he stopped his vehicle and got out. She rolled down her window and he said to her curtly, “I don’t know where it is!” He marched back to his car without so much as an “I’m sorry”, and drove away.

We are like my mother, stuck in the neighbourhood, without a GPS, and only a blurry photograph of where we are supposed to go. No wonder so many of us are upset.

Reference

Center for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2019). Retrieved from on PBLA: https://www.language.ca/resourcesexpertise/on-pbla/

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The role of critical reflection is very important in action-based approaches to problem solving. Reflecting allows us, as researchers and educators, to think about what can be done after an observation of a particular method and how action can be taken to fix or alter the process of the method to make it more effective. “Being able to explain what you are doing and why you are doing it also enables you to be clear about its significance for your field, which is important when it comes to saying why your research should be believed and taken seriously by others, especially peers” (McNiff, 2011, p. 10).

If we ask questions, we learn what we do know and what we do not know, according to Marquardt (2011). We cannot take action and change something unless we reflect on it first and think about how we can build that change. In groups, critical reflection allows us to see diverse perspectives as well as whether ideas would be effective to implement into action. When we reflect, we gain valuable learning of the research project through inquiries and reframing of problems. Also, we can provide honest reactions through professional interactions among group members to initiate and foster a sense of openness within an organization (Marquardt, 2011).

I do not believe that effective change can come about without the incorporation of reflection among individuals participating in action-based approaches to problem solving. Without sharing insights of certain issues that have come about, we cannot change those issues successfully because we do not know all sides of each issue. We are all knowledgeable in different aspects of an issue due to our tacit and explicit knowledge that we have acquired throughout our life experiences and training at work, so we all bring diverse and valuable knowledge to the table to solve a problem productively.

What do you think is the role of critical reflection in action-based approaches to problem-solving?

References

McNiff, J. (2011). What is action research. In All you need to know about action research. New York, NY: Sage.

Marquardt, M. (2011). Building the learning organization: Achieving strategic advantage through a commitment to learning. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Martina Finnegan, being a former ESL learner from
Bosnia, truly enjoys teaching ESL students! She has been teaching at Niagara College for 9 years and when she isn’t in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family, going for walks, watching
movies, and reading a good book!

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TESL Ontario Blog by Paula Ogg - 1M ago
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Do you ever teach CLB 5 narrative paragraph writing? Do your students usually write something with pencil on paper that they later discard? Have you ever thought of using Storybird to engage and enhance writing skills or create a class anthology of stories?

Publish it

Alan November says, “Teachers should stop saying ‘hand it in’ and start saying ‘publish it’ instead.” Usually projects written with pencil on paper are later discarded. Have you ever thought of using Storybird instead, which allows students to choose from beautiful artwork to either inspire or enhance their written work? Personally speaking, I find that student confidence, pride, and engagement in their language skills goes up when using tech instead of paper. Once students have chosen a narrative event, established the chronological order of the story, and added some descriptive language and connectors, they are ready to write and publish their narrative.

Consider this writing task

I asked students to choose an animal from the Toronto Zoo. Using the zoo map, their chosen animal had to make four stops to visit other animals. Students used a storyboard to establish each stop on the journey answering the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the setting, characterization, and plot. Then, they wrote simple sentences. Further, they included the purpose of the journey in the topic sentence as well as the result in the concluding sentence. Finally, they added descriptive words and even connectors like suddenly, quickly, and cautiously to make the story more interesting to read. When their narrative was ready to publish, they choose artwork from Storybird. Afterwards, the students embedded the viewbook of their story as an eportfolio entry, connecting the CLB outcome and reflecting on their writing skill and process. They used a personal reflection technique called head-heart-hands-feet – what did they think, feel, do, and what are their next steps.

Exemplar: Sample student viewbook and eportfolio entry

For CLB 5, I wrote a narrative paragraph about an animal at the Toronto Zoo, chose some artwork on Storybird, and published a viewbook. Usually, I like writing, but it is hard to write in another language. Truly, I enjoyed this activity because we got to publish on Storybird. Next, I plan to work on my grammar.

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Why is it important for our higher education learners to receive positive reinforcement? Do adult learners have this need? In what ways can instructors provide their adult learners with positive reinforcement?

Sharp (2011) lays it down beautifully, explaining that as we grow up we receive incentives, prices, stickers, and encouragement for the most mundane actions such as making our beds. However, as we grow and become more self-motivated, the amount of positive reinforcement declines exponentially by the time we pursue higher education.

Unfortunately, our higher education settings are geared to a more impersonal approach, decreasing the possible room for positive reinforcement. Sharp suggests “we are much less likely to praise or reward students for their efforts when we feel distant from them—when they’re simply part of a massive, faceless group rather than distinct individuals” (p. 52). Additionally, Williamson (2018) states that our adult learners, who are sometimes “mature” students, lack confidence, are often shy, and seek approval.

So, what is positive reinforcement and how can we achieve it in higher education? Williamson (2018) describes positive reinforcement as a practice that increases the probability of the desired student behaviour being repeated. She suggests reinforcements should be given to adult learners as they get closer to the defined goal through verbal and nonverbal cues by the teacher. She believes that this practice makes the “learning process faster and more efficient”. It can also result in increased self-esteem, motivation, and gratitude. How can we bring more positive reinforcement into our classrooms?

Strategies to increase student ability and confidence:

1. If teaching a writing class, Sharp (2011) suggests bringing in a good exemplar from a student and sharing it anonymously with the rest of the students, pointing out the factors that have turned the writing into a great piece.

2. Offer bonus points for achieving a certain level or completing an additional activity.

3. Encourage students to ask questions or express ideas and praise them for taking initiative.

4. Allow learners to design the next challenging level to keep them motivated, responsible, and autonomous. This will reinforce a positive classroom atmosphere.

5. Allow adult learners to take on a leadership role and guide a discussion, questionnaire or an activity in smaller groups.

6. Offer an additional additive grading system. In an additive system, students will start accumulating from 0 and work their way up, which is opposite to the traditional subtractive grading system.

7. Set up weekly/monthly goals and a questionnaire and allow students to self-reflect and write a report to you on their performance, and then provide a quick feedback on their reflection.

8. Conduct competitions on a variety of activities and combine them with bonus points. You could use platforms such as Kahoot.com, Mentimeter, or Socrative.com for carrying out quick quizzes or questionnaires.

8. Conduct competitions on a variety of activities and combine them with bonus points. You could use platforms such as Kahoot.com, Mentimeter, or Socrative.com for carrying out quick quizzes or questionnaires.

What are some strategies you use to increase confidence in your students?

References

Sharp, S. (2011). A New Look at the Interactive Writing Classroom: Methods, Strategies, and Activities to Engage Students. R&L Education.

Williamson, J. (2018, October 10). Develop Reinforcement Techniques. Retrieved from https://owlcation.com/academia/Reinforcement-Techniques-for-Vocational-Adult-Instructors

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If you’re on Twitter, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, April 16th –
Advocacy in #ELT.  Below is a recap of the March 25th chat from the #CdnELTchat moderators.

Dealing with Sensitive Topics in ELT

On March 26th, ELT practitioners from across Canada and beyond connected on Twitter for #CdnELTchat to talk about Dealing with Sensitive Topics in ELT. Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) kept the conversation moving by posting questions, while  Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) helped out by replying and retweeting, and Svetlana Lupasco (@stanzasl) and Jennifer (@jennifermchow) provided background support.

We’ve also collected the discussion around each question using Wakelet. Click to read all the questions and replies. You can also search for the hashtag, #CdnELTchat, on Twitter to read the full discussion and to continue adding to the conversation.

Having diverse students in our classrooms means that there are usually diverse perspectives, especially when it comes to sensitive topics. Discussing sensitive topics can be a minefield, but it can also be a rich educational experience. Click below to read the conversation around each question.

Q1: What are some examples of sensitive topics that you have encountered in your classroom? How did you deal with them?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q1.

Q2: Do you try to avoid all things PARSNIP (politics, alcohol, religion, sex, narcotics, -isms, pork)? What do you do if a students brings up one of these topics?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q2.

Q3: Do settlement teachers have different responsibilities with regards to sensitive topics than teachers in general ESL or EAP programs?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q3.

Q4: Is it better to wait for students to raise issues or is it an expected part of our work in ELT?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q4.

Q5: How do you handle disagreements among students about sensitive issues?  

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q5.

#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us. We collect questions in advance of each chat on Padlet, and then choose 5 or 6 for the hour-long chat. Our Padlet, Questions and Topics for #CdnELTchat, is always open for comments. Here are all the great questions we received but didn’t have time to use.

  • In a multicultural class, many topics need to be handled with sensitivity. Are there any resources that you can recommend  to help teachers navigate difficult conversations?
  • In your class, how do you handle tragic world events like the cyclone in Africa, the airliner crash in Ethiopia, or the mosque shootings in New Zealand?
  • Do settlement teachers have different responsibilities with regards to sensitive topics than teachers in general ESL or EAP programs?

We always have this final question ready, although we rarely have time to post it. This is something that I use for my own reflective practice after our chats have ended:

  • What are you going to do differently as a result of our chat?

#CdnELTchat is held about every two weeks during the school year (we take the summers off) on Tuesday nights at 6 Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central, 9 Eastern, and 10 Atlantic. We encourage you to continue the #slowburn conversation after the live chat. Check out the hashtag if you’re on Twitter, and please continue adding to the conversation.

And please contact any of the team members if you have ideas for chats or if you’d like to help out, maybe by co-moderating a chat or collecting the tweets for a summary like this one.

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