#CdnELTchat Summary for January 14, 2020 (Language Matters: Inclusivity in Language Choices )

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#CdnELTchat Summary for January 14, 2020
Language Matters: Inclusivity in Language Choices
by Bonnie Nicholas

While I was starting to work on this summary, this quote by Maya Angelou popped up in my Twitter feed:

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

These words effectively sum up the January 14 #CdnELTchat around the topic Language Matters: Inclusivity in Language Choices. Much of our discussion centred around our responsibility as language teachers to be mindful of the words that we use, how we can know better and how we can do better. 

We were very happy to welcome Lorisia MacLeod BA, MLIS (@LorisiaMacLeod) as our guest moderator. Lorisia is a member of James Smith Cree Nation, born and raised in Edmonton and an instructional librarian @norquestlibrary. Lorisia guided us through some questions and shared some resources for deepening our thinking about what it means to make inclusive language choices. 

We started by asking Lorisia Q1: how do you see your work as a librarian intersecting with your identity as an Indigenous person, and with the language that we use? Lorisia suggests that “libraries are starting to look at how  they have used language to define communities” and “how we can work with communities to improve these terms to better represent terminology we use for ourselves.”

Our subsequent discussion was guided by these questions:

Q1 is a good reflective question for all of us in #ELT: How do our intersecting identities impact the language choices that we make every day, both as speakers and as teachers?

Q2: What does it mean to be inclusive with our language choices?

Q3: How can we know if our language choices are excluding groups or individuals? 

Q4: How can we approach this subject with people who may not agree with the importance of making inclusive language choices?

Q5 (Part 1): What are some strategies to promote thinking critically about language both in our learners but also for ourselves as teachers

Q5 (Part 2): AND As language teachers, how can we teach language learners to be more mindful of their language choices?)

And two questions that we didn’t have time to discuss during the live one-hour chat: 

Q6: Language can take a long time to change, and habits can be hard to break. How can we proactively learn so as to avoid misappropriating words in the first place? 

Q7: What resources are available to help us make more inclusive language choices? Please share resources or connections that might help others be more inclusive in their language! 

You can read the collected tweets on Wakelet, but here are some key points from the participants in the conversation.

  • Think about what voices are not being heard; who is not at the table? We need to try and hear these voices. 
  • Listen to Indigenous voices on terms relating to their culture like spirit animal, chief, tribe, etc.
  • Listen to people talk about the effects that misgendering or exclusionary language has had on them, on Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, and blogs.  
  • Think about who has the power; whose voice is being amplified?
  • Language has power; language and relationships are connected. 
  • As professionals in #ELT, we need to educate ourselves on language choices.
  • Notice how we might be using sexist, racist, ableist, ageist, and LGBTQIA-phobic ways of speaking. 
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but learn and do better. And remember that we are not alone.
  • Nuanced attention to language is more important than ever. 
  • And a final comment from Lorisia: “It’s not about ownership of the words – it’s about respecting their context and the communities that are asking folks not to use them uncritically. I think that’s the key – it’s about respect.”

We’ve collected some of the resources that were suggested in a Google Doc, Resources for thinking about inclusive language choices. Thanks once again for Lorisia for bringing so many ideas and resources to the conversation, and reminding us that #LanguageMatters.

#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us involved in ELT. If you have any ideas for topics or have comments about #CdnELTchat, please send @StanzaSL, @EALStories, @Jennifermchow, or @ELTAugusta a tweet. We are also looking for guest moderators who are interested in leading a future #CdnELTchat. Send us a message with a topic of interest. 

Our Padlet, Questions and Topics for #CdnELTchat, is always open for sharing questions, ideas, and resources. We create our promo images using Canva and collect the tweets using Wakelet.

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie 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.

 

 

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for December 3 2019 (Talking about Holidays in #ELT)

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#CdnELTchat Summary for December 3, 2019
Talking about Holidays in #ELT
Jennifer Chow

December is a busy time of year, so we were grateful for the educators who made time to join us for the last chat of 2019 to talk about Holidays in ELT. Here are some of the main points that were discussed:

  • Sharing holidays gives students a chance to make connections and highlight commonalities 
  • Students can research/present holidays, which is good opportunity to teach students about reliable sources and cultural sensitivity
  • Students can interview each other
  • We need to be aware of voices and stories that are presented when we teach about holidays
  • Teaching about holidays is topical and connected to current events
  • Teaching about holidays provides opportunities to talk about appropriate social interactions, advertising literacy, responsible consumerism, noticing language forms
  • Instead of teaching cultural expectations, we can create a safe space for discussions about possible cultural expectations from certain groups

The five questions below were discussed during the chat. If you’re on Twitter, you can find the conversation by following the hashtag #CdnELTchat, but you can read a collection of the tweets on Wakelet: December 3 #CdnELTchat on Holidays in ELT. We encourage you to continue the conversation on Twitter using #CdnELTchat

Q1: Do you teach about/celebrate holidays in your classroom? How do you decide which ones to teach/celebrate? Do you teach about Diwali if you have no Hindu students, or Ramadan/Eid if you have no Muslim students? Or is looking at all holidays part of interculturality? #CdnELTchat

Q2: Holidays are often talked about in LINC classes, as learning about Canadian holidays is part of settlement. How do teachers in general EAL/ESL/EAP classes handle holidays? #CdnELTchat

Q3: How can we teach about and around holidays in a culturally-responsive way without giving a disproportionate amount of class time to this topic? #CdnELTchat

Q4: What learning opportunities can we bring to our teaching about holidays? For example, following instructions for recipes, sharing cultural traditions, critical thinking skills around consumerism, etc. #CdnELTchat

Q5: With the recent controversy over Remembrance Day, how much responsibility do we have to teach students about Canadian cultural expectations? And is wearing a poppy an expectation or a choice? What about saying “merry Christmas”? #CdnELTchat 

The #CdnELTchat team is always looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs, and shared with TESL NS. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat. See you in 2020! 

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for November 19, 2019 (Out & about: LGBTQIA2+ learners and teachers)

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#CdnELTchat Summary for November 19, 2019
Out & about: LGBTQIA2+ learners & teachers
Bonnie Nicholas

The #CdnELTchat team hosted a fast-paced chat on November 19; the topic was Out & about: LGBTQIA2+ learners & teachers. We were thrilled to welcome Tyson Seburn (@seburnt) as our guest moderator for this chat, and we thank him for sharing his expertise and insights. Participants discussed questions under the headings of barriers, key points, teaching, materials, support, and change.

There were many ideas and resources shared both throughout the hour-long chat and afterwards during the #slowburn format. We’ve added everything that has been shared to this document, Resources for Including #LGBTQ themes and people. This is an editable Google Doc, so we hope that ELT professionals will continue adding links and resources to facilitate our own growth and learning. 

Throughout the chat, certain themes emerged, and some reminders of what we might do as teachers:

  • There is a need for ongoing teacher development on inclusivity, diversity, and LGBTQ+ communities.
  • There is also a need for vetted, effective, inclusive learning materials for all language levels. 
  • Work to make our classrooms safe spaces for LGBTQ+ learners: think every day about our language choices, non-judgemental approaches, representation without spotlighting, and allyship.
  • Perhaps most strikingly, we have a responsibility as ELT professionals to educate ourselves about LGBTQ+ communities. We can’t wait for someone else to do this for us. 

The six questions below were discussed during the chat. If you’re on Twitter, you can find the conversation by following the hashtag #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets using Wakelet, #CdnELTchat summary for November 19, 2019.

  1. BARRIERS: What obstacles or barriers exist regarding LGBTQ+ inclusivity?
  2. KEY POINTS: What is important to understand to be an ally to both in and out LGBTQ+ colleagues and learners?
  3. TEACHING: What does LGBTQ+ inclusive teaching look? What does it not look like?
  4. MATERIALS: How can we avoid tokenism in our materials? Are there suitable materials for all levels and/or small centres?
  5. SUPPORT: How can we support colleagues uncomfortable with LGBTQ+ topics in class?
  6. CHANGE: How can we be agents of change towards inclusive, welcome, and safe environments at our institutions?

The #CdnELTchat team is always looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs, and shared with TESL NS. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie 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.

 

 

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for November 5, 2019 (Intercultural Fluency in the LINC Classroom)

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November 5 #CdnELTchat (Intercultural Fluency in the LINC Classroom)
By Bonnie Nicholas

On November 5, 2019, the #CdnELTchat team was happy to welcome Sandhya Ghai (@GhaiSandhya) of Mosaic BC (@mosaicbc) as our guest moderator for a discussion of Intercultural Fluency in the LINC Classroom. This chat was a follow-up to Sandhya’s Tutela webinar on the same topic. (Tutela members can log in to view the recorded webinar.) Thanks to Diane Ramanathan (@ramdiane), Tutela Community Coordinator, for facilitating this partnership between Tutela and #CdnELTchat.

Here are some key points raised by participants during the chat:A first step in developing intercultural fluency is to be aware of our own positionality and our own cultural identities.

  • Everyone has some intercultural experiences to draw on, even learners from countries that we might think of as being monocultural.
  • As instructors, we need to be mindful of our choices in learning materials and resources. 
  • Think about having an attitude of curiosity and cultural humility.
  • Several participants reiterated the importance of integrating inclusive intercultural practices into everything we do in the classroom. 
  • Create learning opportunities for learners to explore and share their culture.
  • Be kind to ourselves when we make mistakes.

Participants used these questions as a springboard for discussion during the chat.

  • What does it mean to be interculturally fluent?
  • What steps can instructors take to increase their intercultural fluency?
  • As teachers, we are always pressed for time. What are the most important concrete steps that we can take to make our classrooms more interculturally fluent?
  • How can intercultural fluency be embedded in the LINC curriculum?
  • Many of the students in our classes come from monocultural countries. How can we help them adapt to a multicultural environment?

If you’re on Twitter, you can find the conversation by following the hashtag #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets using Wakelet, #CdnELTchat Summary on Intercultural Fluency in the #ELT Classroom.

The #CdnELTchat team is looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs, and shared with TESL NS. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie 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.

 

 

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for October 22, 2019 (Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning)

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October 22 #CdnELTchat (Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning)
by Jennifer Chow

On October 22, enthusiastic #CdnELTchat participants talked about “Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning”. We were excited to have Rob McBride (@LearnIT2Teach) of New Language Solutions join us as our guest moderator for this chat. Rob is one of the project managers for the EduLINC courseware and LearnIT2Teach/Avenue.ca. Thank-you to all those who added their thoughts before, during and after the chat. 

It was a fast-paced chat with many conversation threads. Here are some of the key ideas that came out of the chat:

  • The definition of blended learning is flexible and may describe classes with face-to-face instruction combined with online teaching and learning activities, but could also include exclusively online teaching and learning environments with synchronous and asynchronous activities.

  • Blended learning may include “flex-time” models, where students can choose to attend in person or via remote conference services.

  • Blended learning is always changing, and instructors have to keep adapting and refreshing modes and methods.

  • Blended learning helps students build or develop multimodal literacy skills, digital literacy skills, learner autonomy, self-reflection, and online social engagement with other learners. 
  • Some of the challenges of blended learning include time management, lack of tools and resources, tech difficulties, equity in access, and isolation.
  • Some of the blended learning tips that were shared include engaging in better practices via a Community of Practice, consulting learners through classroom discussions and surveys, using interactive screencasts, creating a digital orientation, creating and sharing a style guide to support a program, developing “Transitions” classes to get students ready for blended learning and engaging in course design evaluation.

All the resources that were shared can be found here: Resources for Blended Learning. Please feel free to add resources to this live document. 

You can find the tweets by searching Twitter for our hashtag, #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the tweets from both the live and the follow-up asynchronous chat using Wakelet: #CdnELTchat Summary on Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning

These are the questions we used in the chat:

Q1: What is blended learning? Is there a single accepted definition? 

Q2: What are the benefits and challenges of blended learning? What are the unanticipated challenges – what do most instructors fail to plan for? 

Q3: What do teachers and students need to know before trying blended learning? 

Q4: What are some better practices for blended learning? How do we identify these? And how can teachers work together to support each other and share ideas and best practices?

Q5: What questions should we ask ourselves to evaluate the design of our blended learning courses? Are there any tools we can use to do this?  

Q6: How can we deal with questions of access and accessibility in blended learning? For example, students who do not have regular access to an internet-enabled device and a reliable, high-speed internet connection outside of class?

The #CdnELTchat team is looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for October 8, 2019 (Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Language)

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October 8, 2019 #CdnELTchat (Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Language)
by Jennifer Chow

My interest in graphic novels began when my oldest borrowed Shaun Tan’s The Arrival from the library. As she grew up, we read many more graphic novels together, including all of Raina Telgemeier’s insightful stories, Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese and most recently, the graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. That is why I was especially interested in how graphic novels can be used in the adult EAL classroom. 

On the night of the chat, we were excited to have a couple of first-time #CdnELTchat-ters join the conversation. We hope to have even more first timers join us next time. Thank-you to our moderators, Bonnie Nicholas and Augusta Avram, and all those who added their thoughts before, during and after the chat. 

Here are a few of the ideas that came out of the chat:

  • graphic novels offer opportunities for the development of visual literacy and multimodal skill 
  • although they are easier to read, they bring the benefits of reading a book
  • graphic novels are more conversational, so reading them aloud encourages pronunciation practice
  • webcomics may be more accessible because they are usually free 
  • they can encourage reluctant readers
  • they can be used as a scaffold for writing a coherent story
  • graphic novels offer opportunities for adult ELLs to explore new worlds from a safe space
  • they challenge  us to consider sources of knowledge and learning other than the traditional ones 
  • instructors should model making connections between the images and text and teach the order of reading the text
  • it’s important to pay attention to who the authors and illustrators are when using comics, especially when your goal is to introduce diverse perspectives and ensure representation
  • instructors need more training in how to use them
  • learners need access to them
    • online options are available
    • library outreach might be possible

All the resources that were shared can be found here: Resources for using comics and graphic novels to teach language. Please feel free to add resources to this live document. 

These are the questions that guided the chat:

Q1: Have you used graphic novels or comics in your classes? Which ones?  #CdnELTchat

Q2: What tools and resources are needed to start using comics and graphic novels in your classes?  #CdnELTchat

Q3: Because of the visual element, comics and graphic novels may be more accessible to ELLs, especially literacy learners. How can we use comics to enhance language learning in our classes?  #CdnELTchat

Q4: Fiction can be one way to introduce ELLs to different perspectives and to have a more inclusive representation in learning materials. How can we use comics in this way?  #CdnELTchat

Q5: What learning outcomes could be met by using graphic novels with adult ELLs? How can comics and graphic novels be used to develop skills besides reading?  #CdnELTchat 

You can find the tweets by searching Twitter for our hashtag, #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the tweets from both the live and the follow-up asynchronous chat using Wakelet: #CdnELTchat Summary on Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Language

The #CdnELTchat team is looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for September 24, 2019 (Self-care for teachers)

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#CdnELTchat Summary for September 24, 2019 (Self-care for teachers)
By Bonnie Nicholas

#CdnELTchat returned from our summer hiatus on September 24th with a timely discussion on teacher self-care. We were thrilled that Patrice Palmer (@positiveupside) accepted our invitation to be a guest moderator. Patrice is well-known for her work as an advocate, adult educator, trainer, and writer. As she writes on her website https://www.patricepalmer.ca, “Teachers need to put themselves first and adopt self-care strategies to reduce stress, build resilience, promote physical health and increase their well-being.”

As always, during the live chat, participants had a lively discussion responding to the questions posted by our moderator, Augusta Avram. And as always, people who couldn’t participate in the live chat added to the richness of the conversation afterwards through the #slowburn format. Thanks to everyone who participated! A couple of themes emerged from the ongoing conversation: #ELT can be stressful work, and we need to take care of ourselves and support each other. Some ideas that were shared included having an emergency self-care kit, remembering that “no” is a complete sentence, making  time and space to debrief, blocking off me time, advocating for ourselves as well as for our students, setting boundaries, and remembering the importance of exercise and physical health.

Patrice shared a favourite quote from Eleanor Brown, “Replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” Wise words! We’d like to thank Patrice for generously sharing her time and expertise with us. 

These were the questions that we used to ignite discussion during our chat:

Q1: What are some beliefs around what it means to be a “good teacher”  that impacts or impedes self-care? How can we challenge these beliefs to positively influence our well-being? 

Q2: Most of us went into ELT because we care and want to make a difference. Our work has a lot of inherent stress. How can we learn to set boundaries and say no?  

Q3: Many of us have stressful work environments, with ever-increasing demands. How can we advocate for ourselves? 

Q4: How can we carve time in our day for self-care? 

Q5: Many of us are once again back in the classroom after the summer, hoping to avoid the stresses and near burn-out that often happens as the term progresses. What’s one thing that we teachers can do to take care of ourselves?

You can find the tweets by searching Twitter for our hashtag, #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the tweets from both the live and the follow-up asynchronous chat using Wakelet: #CdnELTchat Summary on Teacher Self-care

The #CdnELTchat team is looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a love chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie 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.