Teaching EAL learners with Movie/TV Dialogues: A Report

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By Tanya Cowie

Watch the presentation recording from BC TEAL 2021 Image & Inspiration Conference at https://pheedloop.com/BCTEAL2021/virtual/?page=sessions&section=SESYISSN5ZWCWIGD5 (accessible for 2021 conferenece attendees)

The yearly BC TEAL conference is always inspiring, and this year I was especially excited about Jason Ji’s presentation on “Teaching EAL learners with Movie/TV Dialogues”. Jason packed a lot in his presentation as he went through the theories of why video and TV are so engaging for students, how to find clips on grammar issues/expressions and how to merge clips together.  

When Jason was young, an EAL learner himself, it was the bits and pieces of English in videos and movies that stuck with him. Then, when he did grad studies in Cognitive Psychology, he learned the theories behind this:

Interesting Theories

The Dual Coding theory (Clark and Paivio, 1991) says that when we process verbal and visual input together, we have two ways of internalizing the stimuli, and this helps us with recall. From a pedagogical perspective, if students are exposed to both visual and verbal, they will remember.

The Emotional Memory Theory or Flashbulb memory Theory (Kensinger, 2009; Lerner and Keltner, 2000) affirms that we remember better when we are emotionally activated. If something is funny or traumatic, we recall it better.

The Elaboration theory (Hamilton, 2004) states that adding plot elements makes it easier to remember. Stories in novels and movies are great for this.

How Jason uses video in class

Jason uses video in his class by showing clips to teach grammar tenses, modals, phrasal verbs, idioms, collocations and even the academic word list. He finds scenes in TV and movies that use a specific grammar point or expression, and then splices the scenes together, adding captions. Jason used “supposed to” as an example, spliced several scenes together, and this allowed students to see the specific uses in context. This can be housed on Moodle, Blackboard or Canvas.

Finding clips

These websites have great clips that make it easy to find specific teaching points.

  • GetYarn.io  (short clips and has a big data base)  
  • PlayPhrase.me (clips are longer, so more context)
  • Quodb.com (gives an expression in movies, and at what time it is used. Then, go to utube or Netflix to find it.
  • Pixabay.com (vector images you can use to overlay onvideos. For example, in Jason’s lesson, “on the house”, he had an image of a house on a video of him explaining the expression, then spliced it with other videos that used “on the house” in context.)

Video Editing

To splice videos together, go to:

Challenges & Concerns

Some of the clips are quite short, yet still activate prior knowledge and make it memorable. Pedagogically, the longer clips are better as show more context.

Bringing video into class is not only fun for students but gives them context, pronunciation and best of all, an effective way to recall new expressions. Jason did warn this whole process can be time-consuming and addictive! But fun for both students and instructors!  

To read more about memory and learning, read this article about Jason Ji’s work, Get smart better.

How do you help your students remember concepts? Do you use video in your class? Leave a comment below to shar your experience!

References

Clark, J. M., & Paivio, A. (1991). Dual coding theory and education. Educational Psychology Review, 3(3), 149-170.

Hamilton, R. (2014). The effect of elaboration on the acquisition of conceptual problem-solving skills from prose. The Journal of Experimental Education, 59, 5-17.

Ji, J. (2021, April 16). Teaching EAL learners with Movie/TV Dialogues [Recorded presentation]. BC TEAL Portal Access | Image & Inspiration. https://pheedloop.com/BCTEAL2021/virtual/?page=sessions&section=SESYISSN5ZWCWIGD5

Kensinger, E. A. (2009). Remembering the Details: Effects of Emotion. Emot Rev, 1(2), 99-1113.

Lerner, J., & Keltner, D. (2000). Beyond valence: Toward a model of emotion-specific influences on judgment and choice. Cognition and Emotion14(4), 473-493.

Author’s Bio: Tanya Cowie

Tanya has been teaching EAL for over 25 years and is currently teaching in the Pathways program at VCC. She is a lifelong learner and has interests in Intercultural Communication, Anti-racism, Film and EAL Pedagogy. Tanya has a certificate in Intercultural Studies from UBC, is an IDI Qualified administrator and a SIETAR BC board member.

Webinar on Webinars: a report

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By Azzam Premji

Beth Konomoto, a language instructor at Camosun College, provided a timely Webinar on how to run Webinars for all video conferencing platforms, such as BigBlueButton. This BC TEAL Webinar took place before the pandemic hit Canada, and many ESL programs went virtual. Apart from being a self-confessed music and computer geek, Konomoto also furnishes some useful nuggets of information on how to run a successful Webinar: namely team-work, overcoming technical obstacles and engaging the participants.

Team-work

In a face-to-face conference, the presenter is generally aided by a time-keeper and a technical support personnel. In a Webinar, the presenter works closely with a moderator and an ombudsperson. Konomoto elaborates that the moderator lets the participants into the Webinar, provides them with housekeeping rules, trouble-shoots some of their technical problems, introduces the presenter, keeps track of the presentation time and closes the Webinar. The ombudsperson monitors the participants’ text discussion while the presenter talks, and has the power to remove a disrespectful participant after being warned privately. Konomoto emphasizes that it is imperative that the presenter practices her talk with the moderator and ombudsperson before a Webinar session.

Overcoming technical problems

Although a face-to-face presentation has a few technical obstacles, Konomoto believes webinars can have a multitude of common technical glitches so expect them. Reassuringly, she says that participants could resolve most of their tech problems by leaving the platform and re-entering it soon afterwards. For those who wish to resolve their own tech problems, she recommends one copy and paste the error messages in Google to search for an answer. Furthermore, one can also seek support from the video conferencing platform being used. Clearly, there are technical challenges to holding a Webinar.

Engaging the participants

Many in-person presenters believe they ought to make contact with their audience and vice-versa. In Webinars, engaging with the participants is more challenging. As practical advice, Konomoto recommends the presenter and the participants’ video be kept on for a visual connection. She said, “I like seeing how people are reacting.” In addition, she adds that the audience members’ audio should be muted to prevent noise feedback. I can imagine someone listening to music on their speakers while taking part in a Webinar resulting in a disruptive echo for everyone.

Other ways of connecting with the participants is to engage them in real-time as well as afterwards. In a Webinar, this means using polls, answering some of the text queries in the Chat and having participants unmute themselves to ask verbal questions in a Q& A session. After the Webinar is over, the discussion can continue on social media, such as the ELT Chat on Twitter. According to Konomoto, audience engagement is paramount for a successful Webinar.

In conclusion, Konomoto has provided us with some wonderful ideas for making a memorable Webinar. Now that many of us have led video-conferences this past year, we may have some additional suggestions to share.

Question:

What are some Webinar tips you can share with others? (share your comments below)

Reference

Konomoto, B., & Hadwin, L. (2019, October 26). BC TEAL Webinar: Webinar on Webinars [Video file]. Retrieved March 16, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUIXrLXxct0

Author’s bio

Azzam Premji is an EAL instructor who has taught in Japan, Sweden, Poland, Canada, England and the United Arab Emirates. Currently residing in the unceded Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) and Tsleil-Waututh Nations territory, he passionately volunteers for the North Shore Multicultural Society and BC TEAL.

Building Anti-Racism in Ourselves and in the Classroom

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By Tanya Cowie

In our field, many of us strive daily to create a comfortable and safe classroom. We look at our biases, teach with empathy, and model cultural understanding. We want everyone to feel they are accepted and that their diversity is respected and worthy, but are we doing enough? 

Different perspectives and opinions make for wonderful discussions, but conflict still occurs. I have found by using respectful guidelines, like BC TEAL’s, to guide classroom discussions, as well as talking about accepting cultural differences, useful. However, we have to also look at historical factors that have led to racism, both for ourselves as instructors and for our students. Two recent online events brought this home to me.

Intersectionality

I participated in a twitter chat on intersectionality with #CdnELTchat that was really thought provoking. By looking at the parts that make up one’s identity, you can become aware of how you see yourself in the world and how you think others see you. I realized, by taking part in the intersectionality wheel activity, that I see myself as a teacher, mom, and west coast Canadian before I see myself as white. Many of the BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Colour) instructors saw themselves as their race first. This gave me huge insight into the privilege I have taken for granted. It also made me think more about my classroom and the part that race plays in it. 

Anti-Racist Education

One of the most meaningful webinars I attended this year was when BC TEAL hosted Ismaël Traoré on November 26th. The title of his talk was Beyond Celebrating Diversity: Basic Principles of Anti-Racist Education (click the title to watch). He gave us some great suggestions on how we can develop as anti-racist educators.  

Ismaël talked about how the theory of intercultural communication aims at teaching the differences in culture to help us understand each other. The belief is that the root of conflict is cross cultural misunderstanding. This is a good start, but the anti-racist paradigm suggests it is incomplete.

Ismaël said that a critique of the intercultural communication paradigm is that it does not take notice of the dominant power. It undermines disparities in social outcomes. Looking at things from an anti-racist lens allows people to recognize the unequal access to power and focuses on organizational equity.

He says racism in education, and all institutions, discriminates against racialized people. It does not allow for a feeling of belonging and, therefore, creates disparities in racial outcomes. 

We look at different cultures as “other” and the Canadian dominant culture as the norm, which can hold more power and have more agency. Even if we are sincerely working towards a classroom with equity, we cannot get there without considering the racism that is built into our society and institutions. We need to unlearn racism. Ismaël made many suggestions for teaching with this anti-racist lens. I invite you to read the suggestions (click on the button below) as we try to do more to make everyone around us feel they are accepted. Check in with yourself; are you really doing enough?

Come tweet with #CdnELTchat   

Bio: Tanya has been teaching EAL for over 25 years and teaches in the Pathways program at VCC. She is a lifelong learner and has interests in Intercultural Communication, Anti-racism, and EAL Pedagogy. Tanya has a certificate in Intercultural Studies from UBC, is an IDI Qualified administrator and is a SIETAR BC board member. Tanya currently works and resides on the lands of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Stó:lō.

What are you doing to be a more inclusive/anti-racist teacher?

Write your comments in the comments section!  

  References 

Navigating the New Classroom

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By Tanya Cowie

Let’s take a deep breath, be flexible

and find joy as best we can.

Tanya Cowie

As EAL instructors, we are used to dealing with intercultural challenges, such as students not wanting to work with each other and misunderstandings. This is stressful, and given we are now teaching and learning online, even more intense. Students are also dealing with tech stress and those with disabilities can have an even tougher time. I was fortunate to attend some online events that promoted mindfulness in intercultural communication and the realities of the new classroom, and wanted to share what I learned.

Being Mindful

Last October, BC TEAL/SIETAR BC’s Self-Studies in Language and Pedagogy included a webinar on Mindfulness and Intercultural Communication with Amea Wilbur and Taslim Damji. This was a great reminder to be mindful in all our interactions with students (and colleagues!). The key is to be aware of yourself and notice your physical sensations, your emotions and feelings, and your thoughts and behaviours. Follow this cycle in times of communication breakdowns: breathe, suspend judgement, take a step back, reflect on what happened, and then decide on a goal and how to get there. Many times, if we are mindful of our responses and find curiosity in the moment, we will handle things better. 

Handling Tech Stress

We especially need to be mindful of tech stresses involved with switching to online. Our students have not only had to learn new technologies, but getting the actual devices is also difficult for some. True inequalities are apparent. Some students can only use a phone to connect, some are without wifi, and many are without a video cam. In the webinar Digital Equity (a SIETAR/ Langara event), Dr. Suzanne Smythe recounted that the CTRC found that 31% of Canadians who earned less than $33,000 a year did not have access to the internet, and 37% did not have a working home computer. This includes many of our students.  I have to remind myself to assess English, not tech skills.  Being flexible helps. I give students multiple ways to submit assessments, such as sending videos via email or an app; I reset listening assessments if there are wifi interruptions and give extensions if possible. 

Learning Technology for Students with Disabilities

For students with disabilities, moving online can create even more difficulties with course materials and digital platforms. In another BC TEAL/SIETAR BC  self-studies webinar, Seeing Beyond Vision Loss, Anu Pala talked about students with vision loss navigating online platforms. Anu has complete vision loss, and due to this lived experience and her being tech savvy, she helps teachers and students learn what technology can be adapted. (Watch for Anu at our next BC TEAL conference!) 

Finding Joy

If you have not tweeted with #CdnELTchat you should! It is such a great platform for discussions about all things EAL and tech. While participating, I always feel inspired. Recently they had a twitter session on the stresses of teaching/learning online and we talked about finding joy in these difficult times. For me, teaching with my dog sleeping at my feet helps me to see some happiness in these times of the pandemic.

Surviving Covid

Acknowledging that we have extra stresses now, and being mindful of all our interactions, can build understanding. Let’s take a deep breath, be flexible and find joy as best we can.

Further Study

If you would like to take part in discussions on diversity and equity in the classroom,
come to the next BCTEAL/ SIETAR BC Self-Studies! 
Come tweet with #CdnELTchat.  

References

Smythe, S. (2020, April 21). Digital equity and community solidarity during and after COVID-19. Retrieved January 17, 2021, from https://www.policynote.ca/digital-equity/

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.a-nuvision.ca/

Author Jen, & Jen. (2019, October 04). #CdnELTchat Summary for September 24, 2019 (Self-care for teachers). Retrieved January 17, 2021, from https://bcteal.wordpress.com/2019/10/03/cdneltchat-summary-for-september-24-2019-self-care-for-teachers/

https://www.bcteal.org/bcteal_event/self-studies-in-language-and-pedagogy-october-2020/. (n.d.).

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/self-studies-series-2020-tickets-129064618749. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/self-studies-series-2020-tickets-129064618749

Bio: Tanya has been teaching EAL for over 25 years and teaches in the Pathways program at VCC. She is a lifelong learner and has interests in Intercultural Communication, Anti-racism, and EAL Pedagogy. Tanya has a certificate in Intercultural Studies from UBC, is an IDI Qualified administrator and is a SIETAR BC board member. Tanya currently works and resides on the lands of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Stó:lō.


Putting it to You

What are you doing to make your new classroom work?

Share your ideas in the reply section below! 


Celebrating 50 Years: BC TEAL 2017 Conference and Anniversary Carnival!

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by Shawna Williams

[This article was first printed in the Fall 2017 issue of TEAL News.]

FIFTY years is quite the feat, and so BC TEAL took the opportunity of its golden anniversary to celebrate that milestone with aplomb. In recent years, the annual conference has had a celebratory feel, but this year in particular we decided that it would be our main goal, opting for the theme of “Celebration”.

To keep with the festive theme of the year, the conference kicked off with the Anniversary Carnival. Jill Hadfield, a prolific author and scholar, was our Main Attraction. Having come all the way from New Zealand, Dr. Hadfield challenged Carnival attendees to think differently about motivation, imagination, and L2 identity. Following her keynote presentation, attendees were paraded from one end of VCC to the other by the aptly named Carnival Band.

Under the ‘Big Top’, attendees could try their hand at the fishing game, the balloon darts, and the TCF’s ring toss. A multitude of silly photos were taken at the Carnivalizer (a selection accompanies this article). Giggles and guffaws were heard during laughter yoga. Fortunes were proffered by Will Shall. The ‘butcheries of the English language’ were displayed in the Castle of Horrors. Many memories were rekindled in the Retro Room (OHPs! Sound Masters! Cassette Tapes!). Meanwhile, the craft beer kegs were drained dry, and appetites were sated with carnival fare, including cotton candy and popcorn. While there were many sentiments along the lines of “We should have a carnival every year!” perhaps we will wait for another milestone before recreating the magic of our first ever carnival. Many thanks goes out to everyone who made the Carnival possible and especially to our ‘carnie’ volunteers for keeping the festive spirits high and festivities on track!

While the main conference itself had a necessary tone of professionalism, the celebration theme carried over into the following days. Attendance on Friday was well over 500, and rooms were packed full. Penny Ur of Cambridge University Press, in a wonderful display of her generosity, gave a repeat session of her workshop when the room was filled beyond capacity. The workshop focused on applied teaching tips. Participants shared ideas about organizing group work, teaching a text, giving and correcting homework. On Friday, Andy Curtis inspired—and entertained—the attendees with his plenary talk 50/50: Looking Forward—To an Uncertain Future, not to mention the wayward red ball rolling to his feet. Saturday’s keynote was the aforementioned Penny Ur. What a delight to celebrate our 50th with big names from the EAL world.

We were delighted to partner with Vancouver Community College as our host institution. VCC itself has had a long history of offering EAL programming and has been a strong supporter of BC TEAL over the decades. The event space and new B-building housed most of the conference sessions, while keynotes were held in the auditorium in the older A-building, adding to the retro vibe.

Sessions were well attended, colleagues from across the province met and mingled and got caught up. The celebration dinner was catered by Tayybeh—‘a celebration of Syrian cuisine’ is their tagline, and a fitting one at that—a group of Syrian woman whose amazing food and stories were the perfect fit for a crowd of language teachers. The PechaKucha was again a major highlight. The meeting of many of our 50 at 50 was inspiring. And there were two recipients of the BC TEAL lifetime contributor award: I was humbled to be presented this award alongside Michael Galli. The celebration wrapped up with scrumptious anniversary cake and a performance by a group of LINC students from VCC, reminding us why EAL teachers do the work we do.

Preparations are now underway for the 50th Annual Conference (while 2017 marks our 50th anniversary, it was the 49th annual conference), and I suspect that some of the celebration will carry over to this event, which will be co-hosted by UBC’s Vantage College and will feature a day-long symposium from TESOL International Association.

Biographical Information

From the Fall 2017 issue of the BC TEAL newsletter:  Shawna Williams was recently awarded the BC TEAL Lifetime Contributor Award. She has served on the BC TEAL board for many years, and was conference co-chair for BC TEAL’s 50th Anniversary Conference and Carnival.

This article is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Original reference information:

Williams, S. (2017, Fall). BC TEAL 2017 Conference and Anniversary Carnival! TEAL News. Retrieved from https://www.bcteal.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/TEAL-News-Fall-2017.pdf

Refugee Rights Day—EAL Act!on

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by Taslim Damji

[This article was first printed in the Summer 2017 issue of TEAL News.]

On April 4th, 2017 BC TEAL launched a nationwide campaign in celebration of Refugee Rights Day. On this day in 1985, the Canadian Charter of Rights recognized refugees as having the same fundamental human rights as Canadians—the right to life, liberty and security of person.

This campaign connected the relationship between security of person to a sense of belonging and inclusion in our diverse communities—not just for refugees, but for all individuals. It included webinars and an activity package for teachers and was intended to highlight our commonalities and the importance of feeling safe and accepted for who we are. By applying an intercultural lens, activity participants were invited to explore and further cultivate these feelings.

Intercultural is a word we hear often these days, as are diversity, community, and inclusion. As increasing numbers of people arrive in Canada, our understanding of culture and identity shifts and evolves in noticeable ways. Sometimes we embrace the changes that greater diversity brings, but often discomforts and questions arise for both Canadians and newcomers.

How then do you apply an intercultural lens to Refugee Rights Day? It starts with how people identify themselves and how they identify others. Do we focus on how we are different or do we focus on how we are similar? Do we anticipate that we may have something in common with another person though, on the surface, they may seem very different to ourselves? How do we respond to that difference? Do we embrace, reject, or feel uncertain about it? How does difference shape our behavior towards others? How does this affect who we include in our communities? How do our thoughts and feelings about “others” impact our own ability to belong? All big questions!

The EAL classroom provides a primary community, and a good place to start strengthening that sense of community is by getting to know each other. We often don’t know much about each other’s cultural background, ways of doing things, or personal histories. Through lack of contact, media representation, or unsuccessful interactions, we may be unaware of stereotypes that exist in our classrooms. There can also be an underlying assumption that others have the same codes of interaction as we do. It can be challenging to interpret behaviors except by our own standards and norms. In a classroom context, teachers making time and space for the group to be curious about and open to each other is key to modelling and growing intercultural sensitivity as well as preparing learners to find greater acceptance in the community at large. This ability is as important as language if our goal is to promote healthy, inclusive, and diverse communities.

These themes seem weighty, but the activities provided in the activity package were intended to foster a feeling of commonality while at the same time acknowledging difference in an enjoyable way. They also aimed to raise awareness of what inclusion, community, and diversity mean to our students and to explore how we can “do” these in our daily interactions. It was great hearing from so many of you about your experiences doing the activities in the package. This article is to celebrate your class experience using the materials. I’d like to thank Augusta Avram, Jennifer Low, Debra Dahlberg, Tanya LeBar, and Leanna Inokoshi, all of whom teach a range of classes and levels, for taking time to share their experience using the materials, and here’s what they had to say.

Teachers talked about selecting activities appropriate to their groups and providing a safe space to explore…

Augusta: “Before doing the activities, in private, I asked the refugee students in my class if they were comfortable discussing the topic. My experience with refugees has taught me that I need to be careful because of possible issues around trauma. Also, I used the image of people holding hands around the globe as a starter, and not the pictures.”

Jennifer: “I gave the theme and the topic ahead of time and told the students that if anyone felt uncomfortable to let me know. I wouldn’t have done it if someone had told me they weren’t comfortable. I started with the tree visual to introduce a broader sense. Then, as I put each picture up I checked in. I like how the sequence led into more pleasant pictures, but the focus was really on community and diversity and inclusion”.

Teachers also talked about some of the conversations and activities that students had engaged in. They used different materials from the package including visuals, reflections, concept maps, value statements, and a total physical response (TPR) style activity to raise awareness and open conversations.

Debra: “Students talked about how they had come to Canada. Two had come as refugees. They were both comfortable telling their stories. One woman hadn’t been in her home country for over 10 years and had lived in so many different places with so many different people. The other man was comfortable telling his story as he’d told it so many times. Maybe he felt that he was educating people. We also looked at the photos of the camp, the boats, the people. They talked about how refugees are from all around the world and then I asked them why someone would flee from their country. But the activity that worked best was the “Walk across the room…”. That was so much fun. They really enjoyed it and the self-reflection, too. We tend to look at the obvious, the external”.

Tanya: “I did have refugees in the class and they were okay with the pictures. I felt comfortable because my parents were refugees also, so I talked about my parents living in a camp for 3 years. I thought it was nice to finish with an optimistic pictureWelcome to Canada! People in my class were absolutely sympathetic and empathetic. They knew what’s going on and were very willing to talk about it. They didn’t feel discomfort.”

I also did the Walk across the room…” activity. Things that they had in common were being afraid, worried, feeling lonely, missing home. We used the commonalities to springboard into diversity and inclusion. We then went to mind map. I used community instead of classroom –I wanted it to be as broad as possible. Diversity was easy. They talked about race, religion, sexuality. But inclusion was really hard. What does inclusion mean and how do you do that? Seeing difference is easy, but how to include is more of a challenge.”

Teachers had different reasons for choosing the activities they did. Some did a single activity and others worked their way through more of the package…

Augusta: “I like to get into culture, where they explore it on a deeper level. The refugee and newcomer experience have a lot in common, for example, identity crisis. I encourage them to explore their own biases, too.”

Jennifer: “It was an important topic and a great way to lead into the term. The idea of diversity and inclusionfeeling different/feeling the same; feeling included/feeling left out; appreciating diversity; making sure that everyone feels included so that they can participate more fully. How can we make it work?”

Debra: “I like to tie in topics like this to let students know that multiculturalism is fairly new to me too; 30 years ago it was different. We’re constantly evolving, new people come, there are changes.”

Leanna: “I used the visual photos of refugee experiences to elicit, teach, and share language around ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion’ with the end goal for students to create a poster board with visual images cut out from newspapers and magazines to express what they see as forms of social inclusion.”

Teachers told of student response to the materials…

Augusta: “They like to talk about what’s going on in their lives and about what makes one different from others. The cultural difference is there, and it helps if you discuss it. You celebrate the difference, yet at the same time you desperately want to belong. You end up questioning how you do things and what you believe. If you create a safe space to explore this, they like it, they enjoy the challenge. One of the students said: It doesn’t matter what our differences are, everyone has equal rights and should be treated respectfully.”

Debra: “There was lots of laughter and then sometimes surprise. It really pulled the group together and in the end everyone felt connected to everyone else in the room in some way. At some point everyone found they had at least one thing in common. You have to find a gate to open first. The package had a nice structure”.

Jennifer: “Initially, students wondered, ‘So why are we talking about this?’ Yes, it was Refugee Rights Day, but these are all broader themes. Students said ‘we’re really glad we’re learning this. It helps me think differently. It’s important to learn about’. It was neatthe next day we had a refugee student enter the class and is now part of our classroom community.”

And of their own response…

Augusta: “I like to share my own identity story as someone who came to a new country. It doesn’t matter what the reason is for you being here. You are here now and it’s a difficult time, but there are commonalities… I wanted this activity package to be about all of us.”

Tanya: “The class is really open and I try to normalize things. I see the students look to me for my response. They are watching me for how I will respond. Refugees often tell their stories and we just deal. We listen and sometimes there’s nothing to be said. We’ll have a moment of silence and then I’ll say, ‘Is it okay if we move on?’”

And overall, teachers reported…

Debra: “The whole experience was very positive… It gave a better sense of what diversity is and how we can be included because we do have things in common. It opened the door to other possibilities, to meeting new people and other Canadians. That we can see beyond what’s on the outside.”

Leanna: ‘The student’s especially liked being divided into groups to work on their poster board that reflected what they deemed as “Social Inclusion”. They liked the creativity, the visuals, the variety and freedom of choice, cutting, pasting and overall enjoyment of working together to create a positive message as a group.”

I asked instructors if they had any comments or advice for fellow teachers using the package.

Here’s what they shared:

Augusta: “It’s important how the teacher presents this because it models respect. Encourage learners to describe their own experiences.”

Tanya: “Know your class. Make sure you’re comfortable with it. And if you’re not comfortable with it, ask yourself why you are not comfortable. Be a little brave! Allow a little discomfort.”

Jennifer: “It was a great lesson and links well to every day. Creates a safe space to create more openness”.

Leanna: “This was my first time teaching a lesson on refugees, but I found it enlightening and educational. The lesson [was] easy to follow for an instructor and provided many choices/activities for different levels to accommodate multi-level classrooms.”

I hope that being able to hear about different instructors’ experience provides support and encouragement to keep using the materials in the coming months. Keep in mind that United Nations World Refugee Day is June 20th or you can apply these activities to any curriculum theme connected to growing community, celebrating diversity, and cultivating inclusion.

To access the materials discussed in this article go to:

https://www.bcteal.org/initiative/refugee-rights-day-take-action/

Good luck on your intercultural journey and, if you do use the materials, we’d love to hear from you. Post on our EAL Act!on Blog or share on Twitter or Facebook using #EALaction.

Biographical Information

From the Summer 2017 issue of the BC TEAL newsletter:  Taslim Damji is the developer of BC TEAL’s Refugee Rights Day package. She has an MA from King’s College, London and two decades of international teaching, teacher training, and research experience. At the time of this article, Taslim was the manager of Intercultural Trainings through MOSAIC Works.

cc

This article is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Original reference information:

Damji, T. (2017, Summer). Refugee Rights Day—EAL Act!on. TEAL News. Retrieved from https://www.bcteal.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/TEAL-News-Summer-2017.pdf

 

Upcoming Plenary for Interior Conference – October 27, 2018

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Developing Intercultural Capacity: What are Students Learning in Class? 

The demographics of our classrooms and campuses are rapidly changing. In the last decade, there has been a 119% increase in international student enrolment nationally. For 84% of institutions surveyed, “preparing internationally and interculturally competent students” is a top reason for internationalization efforts (UNIVCAN, 2014); yet, there does not appear to be much formal assessment or evidence of such outcomes beyond assumptions that structural diversity will simply result in intercultural learning. Kyra will share research findings from a BC study that explored students’ intercultural development and their perceptions of pedagogy and curriculum as influencers of their inter-cultural learning (Garson, 2017). The results demonstrate that merely inviting cultural diversity to our campuses may not result in substantive intercultural learning without intentional pedagogical and curricular considerations. Based on her research, Kyra will share strategies for planning and facilitating multi-cultural group work in ways that prepare students to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively and reflectively with culturally diverse peers (Reid & Garson, 2016).

Dr Garson

Dr. Kyra Garson is a member of the Faculty of Student Development at Thompson Rivers University. She is also an inter-cultural trainer and researcher who has developed and delivered professional development programs to educational institutions across the Canada and internationally. Her research interests include intercultural and global learning in higher education; her study “Are We Graduating Global Citizens?” received the Canadian Association for the Study of Higher Education’s dissertation of the year award in 2014. In 2011 she received the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s Internationalization Award for her work supporting faculty in interculturalizing the curriculum and in 2017 was awarded the British Columbia Council for International Education’s Distinguished Leadership Award. 

Haven’t registered yet? You still can! Click here: https://www.bcteal.org/bcteal_event/2018-interior-conference-at-okanagan-college/

BC TEAL 2018 Conference Keynote Videos Available

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If you were unable to come to the BC TEAL annual conference or if you want to watch the keynote speakers again, you are in luck!

Click below to find the keynote speeches from Nicky Hockly, Greg Kessler, and Ahmar Mahboob.

Nicky Hockly – BC TEAL 2018 Conference

Greg Kessler – BC TEAL 2018 Conference

Ahmar Mahboob – BC TEAL 2018 Conference

BC TEAL Webinars – Applying an Indigenous Approach to Language and Intercultural Learning

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Two wonderful co-presenters: Taslim Damji and Mish Elle

Michelle Paquette-Smith was born and raised on the West Coast. She lives, works and is raising her children on the unceeded and traditional territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations. Michelle is Cree and French from her father’s family and of mixed English/ Irish and Scottish ancestry from her mother’s family. Currently, Michelle works and volunteers on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side supporting other women and mothers. She is enrolled at Langara College and is a student of the Aboriginal Studies department

Thanks to Aaron Nelson-Moody for being a part of this project.

Register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RLHTRNY

Applying an Indigenous Approach to Language and Intercultural Learning BC TEAL Webinar Series