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.

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