June 25 #CdnELTchat: Encouraging reflective practice for ourselves and our students

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#CdnELTchat summary for June 25, 2019
Encouraging reflective practice for ourselves and our students
Bonnie Nicholas

A small but mighty group of ELT gathered on Twitter on the last Tuesday in June to reflect and discuss questions around reflective practice. These are the questions that guided our discussion:

Q1: What does reflective practice mean to you? What does a reflective classroom community look like?

Q2: What are some ways to weave reflective practices into our daily routine? How much time should we spend in reflection? What’s the best timeline for reflection – daily? weekly? moments throughout the day? How can we find (or make) time for reflection for ourselves with all the demands being placed on us?

Q3: How can we guide students to become reflective learners? What are some strategies you use that help guide student reflection? What are some obstacles and possible solutions to student reflections in your class?

Q4: Is it best to do reflective practice individually (eg. keeping a journal to write reflections on our teaching practice) or with others (eg. debriefing with colleagues to reflect on our teaching practice)? Or, if one isn’t better than the other, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches?

Q5: What are two things in your practice that are working for you? Looking back, how did you grow as an educator this year?

Q6: Looking ahead, what is something in your practice that you think you should either change or let go in the following year? What professional activities, resources or relationships do you need to have access to in order to make these changes?

You can find the collected tweets on Wakelet: https://wke.lt/w/s/3hudfv. Thanks to Jennifer Chow for keeping the questions coming during the chat. Special thanks to Augusta Avram for finding and sharing some articles on reflective practice to get the conversation started. You’ll find the links in the archived tweets. 

The #CdnELTchat team will be taking a break during the summer months. @jennifermchow, @ELTAugusta, @EALstories, and @StanzaSL will be back in the fall with more Tuesday evening chats. In the meantime, please contact any of us if you have any ideas for topics or questions, or if you’re interested in helping with the chats.  As well, our Padlet is always open for comments: https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat. And of course, please continue to tweet your ideas and links using the #CdnELTchat hashtag. Happy summer!

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Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@LINCInstructor). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

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June 4 #CdnELTchat: Good Practice in Teaching Vocabulary

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Compiled by Bonnie Nicholas

On June 4, 2019, the #CdnELTchat community brought their best and briefest words to talk about good practice in teaching vocabulary. We chose good practice over best practice because what is best can change and can depend on context. Agree? Disagree? Tweet your comments using the #CdnELTchat hashtag.

Here are some brief highlights of the tweets for each question:

Q1. What does it mean for students to learn or know a word? What strategies do your students use to consolidate this knowledge?

  • form(s), meaning, use, pronunciation, collocations, colligations, connotation, context, register, theme, frequency, grammar, lexical chunks, pragmatics, regularity

Q2. What does the teaching of vocabulary look like in your classroom? What informs your decisions to teach specific vocabulary? Would you describe your approach to teaching vocabulary as more structured or more eclectic?

  • principled eclecticism
  • thinking about receptive and productive tiered vocabulary
  • strategies, modeling, scaffolding, interleaving
  • realia, surrender value, back to the well

Q3. What are some quick and engaging ways to review vocabulary in class?

  • lead-in phrases
  • Quizlet, vocabulary cards or notebooks

Q4. What websites or tools do you use with your students to help them learn vocabulary?

Q5. How do you utilize word lists, like GSL or AWL, or concepts, like tiered vocabulary? How do you  create vocabulary activities based on corpus analysis?

  • always in context
  • Think about receptive vs productive vocabulary

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow a Twitter chat by searching for #CdnELTchat hashtag, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets. All the questions and answers have been collected in this summary on Wakelet.

We collect questions and comments for each chat on this Padlet. There are always more questions than we can discuss in an hour-long chat, so we are sharing these extra questions for self-reflection or for tweeting your thoughts using the hashtag #CdnELTchat.   

  • How do you encourage vocabulary acquisition outside of class?
  • What are some misconceptions regarding the teaching or learning of vocabulary?
  • What have you found to be effective when teaching vocabulary? What have you found to be ineffective when teaching vocabulary?
  • How do you tackle spelling  when teaching vocabulary?
  • How do changes in society impact our teaching of vocabulary? (#SOGIE, #reconciliation, #settler, #Fakenews, etc. )

And our favourite final question, which we almost never have time to use:

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

If you’re new to Twitter or curious about how a Twitter chat works, you can check out this post on the BC TEAL blog, How to join a Twitter chat. The #CdnELTchat community on Twitter is always helpful, and the #CdnELTchat team can also answer questions. Just tweet or DM any of us: Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@EALstories), and Jennifer (@jennifermchow), or Svetlana (@StanzaSL).

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Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@LINCInstructor). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

BC TEAL Grab and Go

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BC Teal Grab and Go

Vancouver Island Regional Event

There were lots of laughs and fun interaction as teachers from UVIC’s English Language Centre (ELC) presented ideas to a gathering of BC Teal members and EAL teachers at The Grad House at UVIC on Friday, June 7th.  Teachers presented ideas on how to create greater success for students in speaking exams when answering abstract questions to injecting drama and music into your icebreakers and closers in the classroom.   Some brilliant ideas for vocabulary development were presented using student created vocabulary books, along with using relevant short films with worksheets from Ready to Go.   All four presenters created a fun afternoon of learning and discussion.

Snacks and finger food followed in The Grad House restaurant. It was a relaxing and informative mixer for everyone.

May 14 #CdnELTchat: Challenging Assumptions in ELT

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Compiled by Jennifer Chow

On May 14th, #CdnELTchat enthusiasts discussed assumptions that teachers and students had in #ELT. It was very useful to uncover and question our assumptions because they can impact the way we interact with our students, and the way they interact with each other. 

Here are the highlights of the tweets for each question:

Q1: What assumptions do students in your classes have about #ELT?

  • passive learning and active learning
  • ownership of learning
  • student learning
  • cross-cultural awareness

Q2: Have your assumptions about ELT changed since you began teaching? How so?

  • unpaid hours
  • PPP model (Presentation, Production, Practice)
  • English-only policy
  • the fun factor

Q3: What assumptions do teachers have about their students that may negatively impact their teaching practice? How can teachers avoid making these assumptions?

  • the best way to teach/learn
  • student behaviour, motivation and behaviour

Q4: What assumptions do students in your classes have about particular groups of people? What strategies do you use to challenge these assumptions?

  • intercultural perspectives
  • safe classrooms

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow a Twitter chat by searching for #CdnELTchat hashtag, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets. Because the conversation was so wide-ranging, all the questions and answers have been collected in this summary on Wakelet.  

We’ve created a Google Doc with ideas for further reading and resources: http://bit.ly/ChallengingAssumptionsinELT. Thanks to everyone who shared resources! Please add any additional links and resources that you have found useful; we will continue to update this Doc as well.

We collect questions and comments for each chat on this Padlet. There are always more questions than we can discuss in an hour-long chat, so we are sharing these extra questions for self-reflection or for tweeting your thoughts using the hashtag #CdnELTchat.   

  • What assumptions do administrators and other stakeholders have about #ELT
  • What are you going to differently as a result of our chat?

If you’re new to Twitter or curious about how a Twitter chat works, you can check out this post on the BC TEAL blog, How to join a Twitter chat. The #CdnELTchat community on Twitter is always helpful, and the #CdnELTchat team can also answer questions. Just tweet or DM any of us: Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@EALstories), and Jennifer (@jennifermchow), or Svetlana (@StanzaSL).

Jen Bio PicJennifer is passionate about learning how technology can empower her students. After experiencing how technology enabled her to stay connected as an educator, a parent and an active citizen, she is motivated to find the same opportunities for her students. Twitter: @jennifermchow

 

April 30 #CdnELTchat: Trans Canada: Making #LGBTQ+ Materials Accessible

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By Bonnie Nicholas

The April 30 #CdnELTchat was our second follow-up chat to a @TutelaCanada webinar. Participants from across Canada and the U.S. were joined by our special guest moderators, Rowan Furlotte (@rojfurlotte) and Kate Ross (@kate_ross_isans) of ISANS in Nova Scotia after their April 24 webinar, Trans Canada: Making #LGBTQ+ Materials Accessible to Clients and Instructors. Thanks once again to Diane Ramanathan (@ram_diane), Tutela Community Coordinator, for facilitating this collaboration. We hope to do more of these in the future.

Here are some key points from the chat:

  • LGBTQ rights are human rights.
  • Students/clients and staff/admin/instructors/managers need constant, normalized, embedded exposure to #LGBTQ+ people and themes.
  • Ask students to think critically about who is included and who is not in texts and classroom materials.
  • Use inclusive language (think singular they) and images (think non-binary).
  • Teacher training is a must; try to involve local community groups.

We’ve created a Google Doc with ideas for further reading and resources: http://bit.ly/LGBTQinELT. Thanks to everyone who shared resources! Please add any additional links and resources that you have found useful; we will continue to update this Doc as well.

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow a Twitter chat by searching for #CdnELTchat hashtag, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets. Because the conversation was so wide-ranging, all the questions and answers have been collected in this summary on Wakelet.  

Q1 What are some ways that I can open up a discussion around #LGBTQ issues in my classroom?

Q2 How can I be sure that I am using the right language, especially if I am not a member of the #LGBTQ community?

Q3 How can we tease out the difference between inclusion and belonging? In other words, what can we do in our classrooms to make sure #LGBTQ students really feel like they belong?

Q4 What strategies or resources can you recommend for instructors who may be uncomfortable talking about #LGBTQ+ issues with students?

Q5 What are some ways that someone who is not a member of the #LGBTQ+ community can be an ally to #LGBTQ+ coworkers and students, especially in the education context?

Q6 If I can just take one small step in my class this term, what is the most important thing to do?

We collect questions and comments for each chat on this Padlet. There are always more questions than we can discuss in an hour-long chat, so we are sharing these extra questions for self-reflection or for tweeting your thoughts using the hashtag #CdnELTchat.   

  • What are some ways that someone who is not a member of the #LGBTQ+ community can be an ally to #LGBTQ+ coworkers and students if they experience homophobia or transphobia?
  • What #LGBTQ+ resources can you recommend using with students, especially at lower CLB levels?
  • Can you recommend any online resources for up-to-date information for news and resources for integrating #LGBTQ+ information into our classes?
  • Many of us are already Indigenizing the curriculum, integrating #Indigenous ways of knowing into our teaching. What are some ways to seamlessly integrate awareness of the #LGBTQ+ community in the same way?

Our final question (which we rarely get to during the chat) is always the same:

  • What are you going to do differently as a result of tonight’s chat?

While I was preparing the summary, I came across #queer_educhat. The inaugural chat for this hashtag was held on May 1, and participants not only shared their ideas and stories but also some awesome resources. Read their chat summary here. As well, Tyson Seburn’s (@seburnt) plenary from #BCTEAL19, Our Materials Oxymoron and the Inclusion of LGBTQIA Narratives is now posted on the @bcteal YouTube channel.

If you’re new to Twitter or curious about how a Twitter chat works, you can check out this post on the BC TEAL blog, How to join a Twitter chat. The #CdnELTchat community on Twitter is always helpful, and the #CdnELTchat team can also answer questions. Just tweet or DM any of us: Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@EALstories), and Jennifer (@jennifermchow), or Svetlana (@StanzaSL).

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Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@LINCInstructor). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

April 16 #CdnELTchat: Advocacy in #ELT

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ELT practitioners gathered from across the country on April 16 to discuss questions around advocacy, including the importance of advocacy, who we advocate for, and how we advocate. As with most good conversations, this discussion raised as many questions as it answered. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the richness of the discussion, whether synchronously during the chat or by liking, retweeting, and commenting asynchronously in the days after the chat.   

You can follow the conversation on Twitter using the #CdnELTchat hashtag, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets and organized them by question below.

Q1 What does #advocacy mean to you? What does it mean to be an #advocate? Why is advocacy important in #ELT?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q1.

Q2 What does #advocacy look like in the #ELT classroom?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q2.

Q3 Who do we advocate for? Only for students or for ourselves (ever-increasing workload, rising expectations, etc.) as #ELT professionals as well?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q3.

Q4 How can teacher training programs better support new teachers to be advocates for themselves and students? How can professional associations support advocacy in #ELT?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q4.

Q5 How can we create a non discriminatory professional environment for all #ELT professionals?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q5.

Part of the discussion centred on using poetry to help ELLs find their voice in a new language. Tamara Fisher-Cullen (@tfishercullen) shared this resource on Padlet:

I Am From Poetry: “This project started with this tool kit. My colleague asked me to help gather poems for an on-campus poetry contest. As soon as I looked at the resource, I knew this was a perfect opportunity for me to showcase the incredible students I work with and all that they bring with them to offer their new campus, city, country. I also included a unit on figurative language, and a discussion on how to narrate with emotion. The end result was brilliant. I was moved to tears and a couple of senior management members also commented on how deeply moved they were by the poems.”

Before each chat, we collect questions on a Padlet. There are always more questions than we can discuss in an hour-long chat. We are sharing these extra questions for self-reflection or for tweeting your thoughts using the hashtag #CdnELTchat.   

  • Do you and/or your students use social media to participate in #advocacy?
  • Given all the pressures to meet outcomes in #ELT, how important is advocacy for teachers?
  • What does culturally responsive teaching look like?
  • Given the inherent nature of the language hierarchy in ELT, can advocacy be a flat structure? Should it be?
  • What are some ways you have advocated for learners as they search for a job or volunteer position?
  • What activities or events do you take part in in the community to create awareness about your programs?  More importantly , what events do you participate in that enable your students to showcase the value/strengths they bring to their communities?

If you’re new to Twitter or curious about how a Twitter chat works, you can check out this post on the BC TEAL blog, How to join a Twitter chat. The #CdnELTchat community on Twitter is also quick to answer questions and offer help. Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@EALstories), and Jennifer (@jennifermchow) of #CdnELTchat team were at the #BCTEAL19 conference in April. Here is Jennifer sharing some Twitter tips with Tanya Cowie (@TanyacowieCowie) and Taslim Damji (@DamjiTaslim) at the #edtechjam.

Twitter Chat Ed Tech Jam 2019

Compiled by Bonnie Nicholas
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Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@LINCInstructor). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

March 26 #CdnELTchat: Dealing with Sensitive Topics in ELT

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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 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.  

Compiled by Jennifer Chow

Jen Bio PicJennifer is passionate about learning how technology can empower her students. After experiencing how technology enabled her to stay connected as an educator, a parent and an active citizen, she is motivated to find the same opportunities for her students. Twitter: @jennifermchow