#CdnELTchat Summary: Reflecting on One Year of Pandemic Teaching & Learning

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#CdnELTchat summary for March 16, 2021
By Bonnie Nicholas

A little over a year ago, on March 11, 2020, our lives were upended when the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Most schools and learning institutions in Canada closed to in-person learning soon afterwards, and many of us found ourselves teaching online classes for the first time. As we left our workplaces, I suspect few of us thought that we would still be in the midst of the pandemic a year later.

#CdnELTchat has continued throughout the pandemic, though not just as usual. During the first weeks of the pandemic, we held chats on emergency remote teaching, as well as weekly check-ins for people to drop by and stay connected. As living in the pandemic and teaching online became our new normal, we returned to chatting on a variety of topics. Now, as we enter the second year of pandemic teaching, we took some time to reflect on what this past year has meant to us and and think about the direction of ELT in the future. 

We used Wakelet to collect and archive the evening’s chats, Reflecting on one year of pandemic teaching and learning. You can also find the tweets by searching for the hashtag #CdnELTchat on Twitter. As always, we collected questions in advance of the chat on our Padlet and Jennifer Chow tweeted them regularly throughout the hour of our chat. Jennifer Chow posted questions and those participating in the live chat tweeted their replies. 

Q1: Do you recall when the WHO first declared that COVID-19 was a global pandemic?  Do you remember what your initial reaction was when you first heard that you would be pivoting to online teaching? 

Q2: What is one experience that has impacted you the most during this past year? Q3: How has this year changed your teacher identity and/or teaching practice? How has the pandemic changed the student experience?

Q4: What have you been doing to maintain your learners’ and your own wellness? 

Q5: How do you feel about returning to the classroom in September? What are you worried about? What are you looking forward to? How do your students feel about possibly returning to the classroom in September? 

We remembered how fast we all had to shift to a new way of teaching. Some people are finding that they enjoy online teaching, while others are waiting for a return to a F2F or blended option. All of us have felt some physical and mental strain from the long hours being “on” and on our devices. We discussed the compassion we feel for our students who were forced into a new way of learning, fraught with uncertainty. Most of us felt the stresses of that uncertainty and fear in our own lives as the pandemic continued unabated, while at the same time we felt gratitude to the support offered by our employers and workplaces. Being offered empathy has meant that we are better able to meet our students with that same compassion. While the online environment has opened up spaces for students (especially those who have young children and no childcare), the shift to online has also highlighted issues of equity and access. These are important issues that cannot be forgotten. Working from home has also blurred the boundaries between the workplace and our home lives. Self-care will also be an ongoing issue.

We didn’t get to our final question, but this needs to be addressed, both at a local and a global level. It also invited a larger discussion, what will be the future of #ELT? 

Q6: What guidelines should be in place as we start thinking about returning to the classroom in September? 

#CdnELTchats chats are held about every second week, usually on a Tuesday evening. Please let us know if you have an idea for a topic, a suggestion for a guest moderator, or if you’re interested in moderating a chat on a topic in ELT that you’re passionate about. Reach out to a member of the #CdnELTchat team: Jennifer Chow (@Jennifermchow), Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta), Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), or Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas). We hope that growing your #PLN and connecting through social media will lead to more reflective practice for all of us. 

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

#CdnELTchat & #teslONchat Summary: Designing Inclusive Pedagogies

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#CdnELTchat summary for February 25, 2021
By Bonnie Nicholas

#CdnELTchat and #teslONchat hosted a joint chat on February 25 on the topic of designing inclusive pedagogy. The impetus for this chat was a webinar offered by Jesse Stommel (@jessifer) earlier that day. The event host, the Institute for Humanities Research at Arizona State University (@ihr_asu) welcomed a global audience to the session, and they have also generously shared a recording of the livestream, Designing for Care and Embracing Ungrading. Dr. Stommel has also generously shared his slides. If you missed the opportunity to hear Dr. Stommel live, the #CdnELTchat and #teslONchat teams highly recommend taking the time to listen to the recording. Dr. Stommel offers a clear and practical vision of how we might create inclusive pedagogies in our teaching, as well as some recommended readings. There is much to reflect on in his words and ideas. 

During our post-webinar chat, we discussed these questions:

Q1: What does it mean to have an inclusive pedagogy? What would an inclusive pedagogy look like in your teaching and learning context? 
Q2: Teaching with compassion and designing for care are more important than ever as the disruption caused by the pandemic continues. What does this mean in practice in our classrooms? How can we humanize online teaching and learning? 
Q3: Many of us work in publicly-funded programs. How can we as teachers work within the strictures of our programs to build more inclusive classrooms? 
Q4: How is inclusive pedagogy related to culturally responsive teaching? What could this  look like in #ELT? 
Q5:  How can we advocate for change and for a more inclusive pedagogy for the students we are privileged to teach? 
Q6: What is one thing you will take away from @Jessifer’s webinar and tonight’s chat? 

We’ve collected the tweets from the chat in this Wakelet; you can also read them on Twitter by following the hashtags #CdnELTchat and #teslONchat. Inspired by Dr. Stommel, chat participants shared ideas for building a pedagogy of care, beginning with trusting students. 

  • Welcome learners, starting with the correct pronunciation of their names and their pronouns.
  • Treat learners as individuals, and get to know them.
  • Advocate for and with students.
  • Reflect on our own biases.
  • Model inclusivity in our classrooms; we need to be the change we wish to see.
  • Be mindful about representation in our materials. 
  • Be flexible with deadlines.
  • Apply UDL principles in design; give options wherever possible; attend to accessibility.
  • Continue to connect, reflect, stretch, and learn.   

#CdnELTchat is held about every two weeks; #teslONchat is held monthly. We occasionally get together for a combined chat. Everyone is welcome to participate during the live chat or contribute to the conversation asynchronously.  We hope #CdnELTchat can provide the space for #ELT educators across Canada and beyond to continue to reflect on what we’re learning, what we’re finding challenging and what solutions we’ve tried, especially during this time. 

If you are interested in joining the #CdnELTchat team, or have any ideas for topics, please send Jennifer (@Jennifermchow), Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@BonnieJNicholas), or Svetlana (@StanzaSL) a tweet. We are always interested in bringing in guest moderators! Our Padlet is also always open for your questions and comments. Contact Vanessa (@vnini23) for queries about #teslONchat.

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for January 26, 2021 (What should we leave behind in #ELT?)

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#CdnELTchat summary for January 26, 2021
By Bonnie Nicholas

What should we leave behind in #ELT?

Whether we were ready or not, since last spring COVID-19 has forced almost all of us to become online teachers. For many of us working in ELT, the move to online teaching was a giant leap out of our comfort zone. As the pandemic enters its second year and mostly-online teaching and learning continues, we have an opportunity to think critically about our practices and to reflect on what we should maybe leave behind. This was the theme for the January 26 #CdnELTchat; the follow-up chat is on what we should keep going forward.

These are the questions that guided our discussion: 

  • The pandemic has been called “the great pause”. As we pause many of our habitual activities what have you learned? What don’t you need as much as you perhaps once thought you did?
  • With many of us working from home, we may have abandoned our work spaces. What have you perhaps left at your workplace that you now realize you don’t need to be an effective teacher?
  • Are there any teaching practices that you have left behind? Were you surprised that these practices weren’t as effective as you thought and that you really didn’t need them?
  • Are there things that you would like to leave behind but can’t because of program or funding requirements? How can you reconcile this?
  • Are there attitudes towards learning that you will leave behind after the pandemic ends and we return to a new normal (whatever that looks like)? 

You can read the collected tweets from this chat on Wakelet or by searching Twitter using the hashtag #CdnELTchat. Here’s a list of suggestions that were offered during the chat for what we can think about leaving behind when the pandemic is over:

  • the need to control everything
  • all the paper we thought we needed – and all the photocopying!
  • working so many long hours
  • a physical classroom / a physical workplace
  • rushing to “finish” a course or “cover” the curriculum at the cost of learning
  • the worry that we are not teaching students enough tech skills for workplace success
  • Sunday 11:59 deadlines
  • widespread proctoring and the belief that students must be trying to cheat
  • forcing students to have cameras on
  • teaching without sensitivity or compassion for students’ lived experiences

Do you agree or disagree with this list? What would you add or take away? What is something you know you should leave behind but find difficult to let go? What habits do you need to change? 

Our hope is that connecting through a social medium like Twitter will lead to more reflective practice for all of us. We invite anyone to continue the conversation asynchronously by using the hashtag #CdnELTchat. We hold chats on a wide range of topics every couple of weeks, usually on Tuesday evenings. We’re always looking for people interested in sharing their passion for a particular topic in #ELT by co-moderating a chat or by joining the team. Reach out to Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), Augusta Avram (@ELTaugusta), Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), or Bonnie Nicholas (@bonniejnicholas).

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for December 8 (Intersectionality in ELT)

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#CdnELTchat summary for December 8, 2020
By Bonnie Nicholas

#CdnELTchat chose intersectionality in ELT as our final topic for this tumultuous year, a fitting topic since the pandemic and the resulting shift to remote learning has highlighted many of the inequities that have always been present in ELT. Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) was joined by guest moderator Tanya Cowie (@tanyacowiecowie) for this Twitter chat on December 8. Tanya has been teaching EAL for over 25 years, currently at Vancouver Community College. She is especially interested in intercultural communication, anti-racism, and EAL pedagogy. Tanya holds a certificate in Intercultural Studies from UBC and is a qualified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). 

With Tanya’s guidance, participants shared their understanding of intersectionality. The term “intersectionality” itself was coined in 1989 by American critical legal race scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. Tanya explained intersectionality as a way to help “show identities that hold power and those who are marginalized in society. It shows the combinations and complexity of identity.” Tanya also shared this identity wheel, sketch-noted by Sylvia Duckworth (@sylviaduckworth, sylviaduckworth.com), adapted from the Canadian Council for Refugees.

Wheel of Power

Throughout the chat, we dug a little deeper into what intersectionality means for us working in ELT and for the learners that we are privileged to serve. Jennifer Chow commented that “we need to put in the work to identify privilege and be aware of how we frame what and how we teach our students.” We’ve collected the tweets from this chat using Wakelet; you can also search for them on Twitter using the hashtag #CdnELTchat. As well, Jennifer has collected and curated the many resources that were shared during the chat and afterwards: Resources for Intersectionality in ELT

During the chat, we discussed these questions.

Q1: What is #intersectionality?
Q2: Why is #intersectionality  important in #ELT?
Q3: How should #intersectionality inform classroom materials and curriculum?
Q4: Why is it important to examine #intersectionality in our classrooms? How does it affect your interactions with your students?
Q5: How does #intersectionality affect teacher identity?
Q6: What can you do to work on understanding your power and privilege? Why is it difficult for some people to see their privilege? 

The consensus was that there is ongoing work that we all need to do in understanding intersectionality and the power structures inherent in our profession. But understanding is not enough. We (and especially those of us near the centre of the identity wheel) also have a responsibility to work for change and to do everything we can to reduce the marginalisation of others that our power and privilege gives us. Challenging the power structures in our profession is part of our work. It’s telling that this topic brought out our first Twitter troll, in five years of #CdnELTchat. As ELT professionals, we have an added responsibility to learn about critical race theory and to challenge systemic racism wherever and whenever we encounter it. 

There were also questions that we didn’t have time to discuss during the hour-long chat. Anyone can contribute to the conversation asynchronously by tweeting and using the hashtag #CdnELTchat. 

  • How can intersectionality help us become anti-racist educators?
  • Do you think intersectionality is important to consider when communicating with teacher colleagues?
  • What is the difference between positionality and intersectionality?

#CdnELTchat is a pan-Canadian chat, usually held about every second Tuesday. We are always looking for guest moderators willing to share their passions on a topic in ELT. Check out our past #CdnELTchat topics, and contact one of our team members if you are interested in co-moderating a future chat: Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas), or Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL). We’ll be there to support you!

Thanks to all our participants in this chat and over the past five years. #CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us. The #CdnELTchat team wishes everyone a safe and healthy holiday break. We look forward to reconnecting in the new year.

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for September 15, 2020 (Welcome Back)

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#CdnELTchat summary for September 15, 2020

By Bonnie Nicholas

The #CdnELTchat community returned from our summer hiatus with a Welcome back! informal chat. 

These are the questions that guided our conversation during the hour-long chat:

Q1: What did you do in the summer to recharge?

Q2: What have you learned from the COVID pivot in March/April? How has that changed your approach to this school term/year? 

Q3: What challenges do you anticipate facing this year? What strategies can you use to manage these challenges?

Q4: What is something that you are looking forward to trying out this term/year? What is something that you want to stop doing this year?

Q5: How are you planning to develop your classroom community this school year?What professional learning are you planning to participate in this year?

We’ve collected the tweets in a collection on Wakelet (You’ll be able to read all the tweets from the evening’s conversation, even if you don’t have a Twitter account). 

Our conversation revolved around the challenges of finding work-life balance in the current situation. We talked of the challenge and importance of separating work from home life when work is at home, and of the increased workload because of the switch to online. Experienced online teachers confirmed that prepping for online teaching takes more time than for classroom teaching. We talked about how the shift to online has highlighted inequities in ELT. We also touched on the importance of teacher and social presence in online environments, and the very real phenomenon of Zoom fatigue. In these uncertain times, staying connected with our colleagues is more important than ever.     

There is a scheduled #CdnELTchat usually about every two weeks, with a posted topic and often a guest moderator with a special interest or expertise in the topic. Please let us know if you’re willing to be a guest moderator for a one-hour chat on a topic that you are especially interested in.

You can also reach out to the #CdnELTchat team: Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta), Jennifer Chow (@JennifermChow), Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), or Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas). Our Padlet is also always open for your questions and comments. 

Use the hashtag #CdnELTchat anytime to connect and to share information of interest to the #CdnELT community. 

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for May 12, 2020 (eLearning Essentials: Using Instructional Design Principles for Online Language Training)

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#CdnELTchat summary for May 12, 2020

By Bonnie Nicholas

The #CdnELTchat community was happy to welcome Linda Manimtim, MEd (TESL) as our guest moderator for our chat on eLearning Essentials: Using Instructional Design Principles for Online Language Training. Linda (@lindamanimtim) is based in Winnipeg and is an Instructional Designer at Red River College in Winnipeg and an EAL Specialist with the Professional English Group (PEG) Canada. She is currently working on developing eSkills, a digital literacy course for newcomers.

These are the questions that guided our conversation during the hour-long chat:

Q1: In your mind, what is (or what isn’t) instructional design? 

Q2: How is instructional design implemented in your context? How can instructional design be injected into current practice as painlessly as possible?

Q3: Especially with the immediate and necessary push to e-learning, teachers must often assume the roles of instructional designer AND instructor; what challenges does this present and how can we approach them? 

Q4: The primary purposes of any instructional designer are to analyze learning needs and to systematically improve learning experiences. What best practices are key to improving the e-learning language learning experience? 

Q5: UDL or Universal Design for Learning, is a way of teaching and learning that seeks to give all learners equal opportunity to succeed, by varying representation, engagement, and expression. How can we incorporate UDL for our online language learners?

Q6: How has your experience been with e-learning so far? What else do you want to know about e-learning? What resources do you think are essential?

The consensus was that instructional design is more important than ever, as #ELT around the world continues online for the foreseeable future. Thanks to Linda and to all the participants for being willing to share ideas and promising practices for designing online learning environments. Here are some highlights from our hour-long chat:

  • Instructional Design simply means analyzing current and future needs and improving learning experiences.
  • #ELT professionals are likely already intuitively using instructional design (ID) in their teaching, but there is value in using the ADDIE model to explicitly identify and apply Merrill’s principles, Gagne’s events, Bloom’s taxonomy, or Garrison and Anderson’s community of inquiry.
  • The shift to emergency online teaching and learning has made instructional design more important than ever. There hasn’t been a focus on ID in #ELT, but that is changing.
  • Good ID means using outcome-driven activities that will drive learning. ID is like the framing of a house: it holds everything up but you don’t see it. ID informs decisions, supports content, and builds consistency.
  • Use check-ins to help keep learners on track; focus on building community, making connections, and nurturing a positive learning environment in your online space. 
  • Build courses for those with low bandwidth and limited access, but ensure keeners have extension activities to challenge themselves. Focus on accessibility and readability. 
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) suggests having multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression. Having choices is important, and shifts responsibility to the learner.
  • Remember that we are still in emergency mode as we transform to online teaching and learning. We need to be patient with ourselves and our learners. Go slow and low. Stay connected with colleagues in your workplace, your #PLN, and your #CommunityofPractice.

We’ve collected the tweets from the chat using Tweetdeck; you can view the collection on Twitter (You’ll be able to read all the tweets from the evening’s conversation, even if you don’t have a Twitter account). We had many more questions than we had time to discuss, so we’ll be asking Linda back for round two in the fall. 

There is a scheduled #CdnELTchat, usually about every two weeks, with a posted topic and often a guest moderator with a special interest or expertise in the topic. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also been having weekly drop-in check-ins. We will start our summer hiatus in mid-June, but please continue to use the hashtag #CdnELTchat to connect and to share information of interest to the #CdnELT community. You can also reach out to the #CdnELTchat team: Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta), Jennifer Chow (@JennifermChow), Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), or Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas). Our Padlet is also always open for your questions and comments. We’ll start regular chats again in the fall; please let us know if you’re willing to be a guest moderator for a one-hour chat on a topic that you are especially interested in.

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

 

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for April 7, 2020 (The Digital Divide: Equity and Access in Emergency Online Learning)

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The Digital Divide: Equity and Access in Emergency Online Learning
#CdnELTchat Summary for April 7, 2020
By Bonnie Nicholas

Teachers across Canada and around the world have been asked to pivot at short notice to online classes as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed teaching and learning for the foreseeable future. John Allan (mrpottz) recently hosted a couple of well-received Tutela webinars on on Coping with COVID-19 using online instruction and generously offered to follow up by guest moderating a #CdnELTchat on The Digital Divide: Equity and access in emergency online learning

All of us who have moved to emergency online teaching and learning know that not all students have the tools and resources to continue their learning online now that schools and other service-providing organizations have closed their physical spaces. This chat was an opportunity to begin the conversation around these important issues of equity and access. We’ve collected the tweets from the chat using Wakelet.

There were some common themes that emerged from the evening’s conversation:

  • We know that not all students have devices or reliable internet, and may be working in small shared spaces.
  • We need to be aware that students did not ask to be in an online class, and that there may be children in the room while parents are trying to learn.
  • Many students are accessing online course materials on the small screens of their smartphones; teachers need to be aware of this and check what course materials look like on a phone.
  • There is a need to advocate for equitable access to learning tools and resources, and to find alternate learning paths for students who are unable to participate in synchronous online classes.
  • Transitions classes could help students make the leap from face-to-face to online classes.
  • At this point, self-care and meeting the emotional needs of students are more important considerations than curriculum. 
  • We all need to lower our expectations as we work through this crisis. 

And some positive outcomes:

  • Teachers are working hard to improve their digital skills to be able to meet students’ needs in this new fully-online environment. 
  • Service-providing organisations have stepped up to support learners and teachers. 

These are the questions that guided our discussion. 

Q1: What percentage of your learners do not have access to appropriate internet and hardware? Is it affecting your instruction? 

Q2: What ways are you and your institution remedying this disparity? 

Q3: How can we ensure that our courses materials are accessible to all students? 

Q4: What distance learning strategies, activities, resources are you using to include and engage students with limited access to the internet? 

Q5: Are you altering your assessments to accommodate students without WiFi or devices?  How are you doing this?  

#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us. Questions are collected in advance of each chat on Padlet, and then 5 or 6 are chosen for the hour-long chat. The Padlet, Questions and Topics for #CdnELTchat, is always open for comments. If you have any ideas for topics or have comments about #CdnELTchat, please send @StanzaSL, @BonnieJNicholas, @Jennifermchow, or @ELTAugusta a tweet. Please connect with the team if you are are interested in guest moderating a future #CdnELTchat. 

And in these challenging times, take care of yourself and your loved ones. Let’s stay connected with each other and support one another. Feel free to reach out and check in anytime with your colleagues in #CdnELTchat.

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

 

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for March 17, 2020 (Emergency Preparedness: Moving a F2F Class Online)

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Emergency Preparedness: Moving a F2F Class Online
#CdnELTchat Summary for March 17, 2020
By Bonnie Nicholas

In mid-March, with concern deepening about the coronavirus pandemic, the #CdnELTchat team decided to offer a special chat for instructors who were looking at being forced by these emerging circumstances to pivot to online teaching and learning. Most of us had very little time to prepare for this unexpected change. Almost overnight, new phrases like social distance and flattening the curve have entered our lexicon. Teachers and learners were suddenly looking at their Learning Management Systems (LMS) not as a useful addition to their classroom, but as their virtual (and only) classroom and meeting place for students. Thanks to Nancy Van Dorp (@NancyVanDorp) for stepping up and agreeing to bring her expertise in online and distance learning as our guest moderator. 

Thanks as well to all the participants for their openness in sharing their worries and their hopes. Many ELT professionals with experience in online and blended learning shared advice, resources, and tips for instructors who were new to remote learning. We’ve collected the tweets using Wakelet, so they’re easier to read if you’re not on Twitter: Emergency Preparedness: Moving a F2F Class Online. (There are over 350 tweets!) We’ve also created a resources list; this is an open, editable Google Doc, so please continue adding links to useful websites and resources: Resources for Emergency Preparedness: Moving a F2F Class Online

If there was an overarching theme to the discussion, it was this: 

  • Lower your expectations. We are all just trying to make the best of an emergent situation. We are not trying to create the perfect online class. We will make mistakes. Technology will fail. This adjustment will take time.

Other suggestions from experienced online instructors that emerged during the chat:

  • Start by making sure to maintain connections with your students.
  • Think of the learning curve for students as they prepare for online learning.
  • Use the tools and resources you have and that your students know how to use.
  • Think about access and accessibility; some ISPs may be offering free or increased data capabilities during this challenging time.
  • Keep it simple; now is not the time to try everything. 
  • Reconsider mandatory synchronous sessions; explore asynchronous options instead. 
  • Plan but be flexible; circumstances will change and plans will need to be adjusted.
  • Maintain a strong online teacher presence but set clear boundaries.
  • Practice good self-care: exercise, eat well, spend (virtual) time with family and friends.

These are the questions that guided our discussion: 

Q1: What are the primary things we have to think about in relation to our ELLs and moving a F2F class online?

Q2: How can I prepare myself and my students to teach/learn remotely on short notice?

Q3: What are some good ways to make remote learning accessible for our ELLs?

Q4: If I can do only one thing well in online teaching, what should it be?

Q5: I’m going to be using online teaching/learning tools for the first time. What do you recommend?

Q6: There is a massive amount of information here on Twitter and elsewhere about moving from F2F to online / remote / distance learning. What is the best advice for teachers who are new to this kind of teaching and learning?

#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort on Twitter, with a goal of leading to more connected, reflective practice for everyone involved in English language teaching in Canada. Are you passionate about a topic in ELT? Interested in being a guest moderator? Contact one of the team members: Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas), or Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL).

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

 

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for February 11, 2020 (Ways to Bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom)

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#CdnELTchat Summary for February 11, 2020
Ways to Bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom
by Bonnie Nicholas

On February 11, #CdnELTchat community gathered on Twitter to talk about Ways to bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom. Sharon Jarvis (@romans1v17) was the guest moderator and shared her perspective as a Metis educator. In her words: “Sharon is a Métis from Mânatow Sakahikanihk (Spirit Lake in Nehiyaw- Lac St. Anne) who has been an educator for over 15 years. She has a MEd from UBC with three concentrations. Her work mainly focuses on an Indigenous framework that emerged while completing her graduating paper: wâhkôhtowin (all my relations), otipemisiwak (selves governing) and ekichinantak (respectfulness) (2017; 2018; 2019).”

These are the questions we discussed:

Q1: As non-indigenous people working in #ELT, how can we bring an authentic Indigenous perspective into our classes, without appropriation or presuming to speak for Indigenous people? 

Q2: Are there specific themes or topics that could be introduced at each level in settlement language classes? 

Q3: What resources are available for instructors in ELT? 

Q4: What are the First People’s Principles of Learning, and how can we use these in our teaching?

Q5: How important is it that international students and those studying in #EAP programs learn about Indigenous history in Canada?

The tweets from this conversation are collected here using Wakelet, Ways to bring Aboriginal Perspectives into the Classroom. Here are some key takeaways from the chat:

  • Know on whose land we reside: nativeland.ca
  • Consider incorporating First Peoples Principles of Learning in our teaching.
  • Choose reputable resources; be aware of representation and misrepresentation. 
  • Remember that bringing Aboriginal perspectives into our classrooms is about social justice and reconciliation.
  • Some specific topics recommended by Sharon include “loss of identity and affirmation of identity, tradition, healing, role of family, importance of Elders, connection to the land, the nature and place of spirituality as an aspect of wisdom, the relationships between individual and community, the importance of oral tradition, the experience of colonization and decolonization.”

Thanks to Sharon and our participants for sharing so many useful resources. These have been collected these in a Google Doc, Resources for Indigenous Education in ELT; there are resources for exploring many of the specific topics listed above. 

#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, @BonnieJNicholas, @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 (@BonnieJNicholas) 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 (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

 

 

#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.