February 12 #CdnELTchat: Supporting Teachers New to the #ELT Profession

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On February 12, ELT practitioners from across Canada and the U.S. connected on Twitter for #CdnELTchat on the topic of Supporting teachers new to the #ELT profession. Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) kept the conversation moving by posting questions, while Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) helped out by replying and retweeting, and Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) and Svetlana Lupasco (@stanzasl) provided background support. 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.  

During the chat, we shared stories about what we know now and what we wish we’d known then. There were lots of great ideas by and for both new and experienced teachers. The conversation was a good reminder for me that everyone struggles when they first start out teaching, and that the struggles can continue even if you are an experienced teacher. We’ve collected the discussion around each question using Wakelet. Click to read the questions and replies.

Q1: Where are you in your career? What was the biggest challenge you had as a new teacher?

Click here to read the conversation around Q1.

Q2: If you could write a letter to yourself at the start of your career, what advice would you give yourself?

Click here to read the conversation around Q2.

Q3: How do you overcome the nerves of teaching your first few classes?

Click here to read the conversation around Q3.

Q4: How can continuing teachers mentor and help each other, as well as those new to the profession?

Click here to read the conversation around Q4.

Q5: What is the best way to transfer what you’ve learned to actual practice in the classroom?

Click here to read the conversation around Q5.

Q6:  What role do professional associations play in supporting teachers new to the #ELT profession?

Click here to read the conversation around Q6.

#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.

  • What kind of support can you offer teachers new to the #ELT profession? What kind of support do you need from experienced #ELT teachers?
  • How can we mentor each other throughout our careers?
  • How can experienced teachers be encouraged to support new teachers?
  • How can new teachers support each other?
  • What kind of mentoring do new teachers need?
  • As a teacher new to the #ELT profession, what is your greatest worry?
  • As a teacher new to the #ELT profession, what questions do you have for more experienced teachers?
  • Is there a best practice/structure when transferring what you’ve learned to actual practice in the classroom (such as grammar)?
  • How do teachers stay motivated?
  • What do you wish you had known when you started teaching?
  • What is your top tip for new teachers?
  • How can continuing teachers mentor and help each other, as well as those new to the profession?
  • What do you wish you had known when you started teaching?

#CdnELTchats are 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.

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.

January 29 #CdnELTchat: Balancing language and #Edtech in the classroom

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The creative tension of #edtech and language instruction was the topic of the January 29 #CdnELTchat. Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) and Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) co-moderated this chat, which saw participants sharing ideas and resources.

#CdnELT chats are held about every two weeks from September to June. Topics are posted in advance, and we collect questions and ideas on our Padlet wall, Questions and Topics for #CdnELTchat. Everyone is welcome to participate, or simply to follow along. Summaries of our chats are posted on the @BCTEAL and @TESLOntario blogs.

You can read the discussion around individual questions here, or search for the hashtag #CdnELTchat on Twitter. Many #CdnELT professionals tweet and retweet articles, links, and resources between chats using the #CdnELTchat hashtag.

Q1: How has technology changed the way you teach?

Click here to read the conversation around Q1.

Q2: How do you determine which #edtech tools to use in your classroom? Do students have a say in this?  

Click here to read the conversation around Q2.

Q3: What are some #edtech tools or resources you couldn’t do without? If you were to choose just one to recommend to a novice teacher, what would that be?

Click here to read the conversation around Q3.

Q4: What strategies do you use to stay informed about the latest #edtech tools and their relevance to your teaching context?

Click here to read the conversation around Q4.

Q5: Should we teach digital citizenship skills, or should we just focus on using #edtech tools to help students improve language skills?  

Click here to read the conversation around Q5.

As always, there were some additional thoughtful questions posted on our Padlet that we just didn’t have time to discuss. We’ll continue the topic in a future #CdnELTchat.  In the meantime, here are the questions for reflection:

  • How can we address the inequity in tech resources and support in programs across the country? Is there an advocacy role for EAL instructors in thIs?  
  • It’s not just language and #edtech that need to be balanced; tech skills are also part of the equation. How do we decide where to focus and place our time and energies in the classroom?
  • What tech tools make a teacher’s life easier?
  • With all the pressures on ESL/EAL teachers (especially in LINC) how much time can we reasonably allot to teaching tech skills?
  • Is there one digital skill that students need more than any other?
  • In foundational classes, should we be teaching tech skills as an end in themselves? or should we just be using edtech tools to help students improve their language skills?
  • What are some ways you use technology in your day to day life that you feel the students in your class should also use?

Thanks to all the participants from across the country who shared their ideas in this chat. #CdnELTchats are held about every second Tuesday on Twitter. Please join the conversation!