June 25 #CdnELTchat: Encouraging reflective practice for ourselves and our students

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#CdnELTchat summary for June 25, 2019
Encouraging reflective practice for ourselves and our students
Bonnie Nicholas

A small but mighty group of ELT gathered on Twitter on the last Tuesday in June to reflect and discuss questions around reflective practice. These are the questions that guided our discussion:

Q1: What does reflective practice mean to you? What does a reflective classroom community look like?

Q2: What are some ways to weave reflective practices into our daily routine? How much time should we spend in reflection? What’s the best timeline for reflection – daily? weekly? moments throughout the day? How can we find (or make) time for reflection for ourselves with all the demands being placed on us?

Q3: How can we guide students to become reflective learners? What are some strategies you use that help guide student reflection? What are some obstacles and possible solutions to student reflections in your class?

Q4: Is it best to do reflective practice individually (eg. keeping a journal to write reflections on our teaching practice) or with others (eg. debriefing with colleagues to reflect on our teaching practice)? Or, if one isn’t better than the other, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches?

Q5: What are two things in your practice that are working for you? Looking back, how did you grow as an educator this year?

Q6: Looking ahead, what is something in your practice that you think you should either change or let go in the following year? What professional activities, resources or relationships do you need to have access to in order to make these changes?

You can find the collected tweets on Wakelet: https://wke.lt/w/s/3hudfv. Thanks to Jennifer Chow for keeping the questions coming during the chat. Special thanks to Augusta Avram for finding and sharing some articles on reflective practice to get the conversation started. You’ll find the links in the archived tweets. 

The #CdnELTchat team will be taking a break during the summer months. @jennifermchow, @ELTAugusta, @EALstories, and @StanzaSL will be back in the fall with more Tuesday evening chats. In the meantime, please contact any of us if you have any ideas for topics or questions, or if you’re interested in helping with the chats.  As well, our Padlet is always open for comments: https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat. And of course, please continue to tweet your ideas and links using the #CdnELTchat hashtag. Happy summer!

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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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June 4 #CdnELTchat: Good Practice in Teaching Vocabulary

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Compiled by Bonnie Nicholas

On June 4, 2019, the #CdnELTchat community brought their best and briefest words to talk about good practice in teaching vocabulary. We chose good practice over best practice because what is best can change and can depend on context. Agree? Disagree? Tweet your comments using the #CdnELTchat hashtag.

Here are some brief highlights of the tweets for each question:

Q1. What does it mean for students to learn or know a word? What strategies do your students use to consolidate this knowledge?

  • form(s), meaning, use, pronunciation, collocations, colligations, connotation, context, register, theme, frequency, grammar, lexical chunks, pragmatics, regularity

Q2. What does the teaching of vocabulary look like in your classroom? What informs your decisions to teach specific vocabulary? Would you describe your approach to teaching vocabulary as more structured or more eclectic?

  • principled eclecticism
  • thinking about receptive and productive tiered vocabulary
  • strategies, modeling, scaffolding, interleaving
  • realia, surrender value, back to the well

Q3. What are some quick and engaging ways to review vocabulary in class?

  • lead-in phrases
  • Quizlet, vocabulary cards or notebooks

Q4. What websites or tools do you use with your students to help them learn vocabulary?

Q5. How do you utilize word lists, like GSL or AWL, or concepts, like tiered vocabulary? How do you  create vocabulary activities based on corpus analysis?

  • always in context
  • Think about receptive vs productive vocabulary

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow a Twitter chat by searching for #CdnELTchat hashtag, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets. All the questions and answers have been collected in this summary on Wakelet.

We collect questions and comments for each chat on this Padlet. There are always more questions than we can discuss in an hour-long chat, so we are sharing these extra questions for self-reflection or for tweeting your thoughts using the hashtag #CdnELTchat.   

  • How do you encourage vocabulary acquisition outside of class?
  • What are some misconceptions regarding the teaching or learning of vocabulary?
  • What have you found to be effective when teaching vocabulary? What have you found to be ineffective when teaching vocabulary?
  • How do you tackle spelling  when teaching vocabulary?
  • How do changes in society impact our teaching of vocabulary? (#SOGIE, #reconciliation, #settler, #Fakenews, etc. )

And our favourite final question, which we almost never have time to use:

  • What are you going to do differently as a result of our chat?  

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 always helpful, and the #CdnELTchat team can also answer questions. Just tweet or DM any of us: Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@EALstories), and Jennifer (@jennifermchow), or Svetlana (@StanzaSL).

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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.

 

April 30 #CdnELTchat: Trans Canada: Making #LGBTQ+ Materials Accessible

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By Bonnie Nicholas

The April 30 #CdnELTchat was our second follow-up chat to a @TutelaCanada webinar. Participants from across Canada and the U.S. were joined by our special guest moderators, Rowan Furlotte (@rojfurlotte) and Kate Ross (@kate_ross_isans) of ISANS in Nova Scotia after their April 24 webinar, Trans Canada: Making #LGBTQ+ Materials Accessible to Clients and Instructors. Thanks once again to Diane Ramanathan (@ram_diane), Tutela Community Coordinator, for facilitating this collaboration. We hope to do more of these in the future.

Here are some key points from the chat:

  • LGBTQ rights are human rights.
  • Students/clients and staff/admin/instructors/managers need constant, normalized, embedded exposure to #LGBTQ+ people and themes.
  • Ask students to think critically about who is included and who is not in texts and classroom materials.
  • Use inclusive language (think singular they) and images (think non-binary).
  • Teacher training is a must; try to involve local community groups.

We’ve created a Google Doc with ideas for further reading and resources: http://bit.ly/LGBTQinELT. Thanks to everyone who shared resources! Please add any additional links and resources that you have found useful; we will continue to update this Doc as well.

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow a Twitter chat by searching for #CdnELTchat hashtag, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets. Because the conversation was so wide-ranging, all the questions and answers have been collected in this summary on Wakelet.  

Q1 What are some ways that I can open up a discussion around #LGBTQ issues in my classroom?

Q2 How can I be sure that I am using the right language, especially if I am not a member of the #LGBTQ community?

Q3 How can we tease out the difference between inclusion and belonging? In other words, what can we do in our classrooms to make sure #LGBTQ students really feel like they belong?

Q4 What strategies or resources can you recommend for instructors who may be uncomfortable talking about #LGBTQ+ issues with students?

Q5 What are some ways that someone who is not a member of the #LGBTQ+ community can be an ally to #LGBTQ+ coworkers and students, especially in the education context?

Q6 If I can just take one small step in my class this term, what is the most important thing to do?

We collect questions and comments for each chat on this Padlet. There are always more questions than we can discuss in an hour-long chat, so we are sharing these extra questions for self-reflection or for tweeting your thoughts using the hashtag #CdnELTchat.   

  • What are some ways that someone who is not a member of the #LGBTQ+ community can be an ally to #LGBTQ+ coworkers and students if they experience homophobia or transphobia?
  • What #LGBTQ+ resources can you recommend using with students, especially at lower CLB levels?
  • Can you recommend any online resources for up-to-date information for news and resources for integrating #LGBTQ+ information into our classes?
  • Many of us are already Indigenizing the curriculum, integrating #Indigenous ways of knowing into our teaching. What are some ways to seamlessly integrate awareness of the #LGBTQ+ community in the same way?

Our final question (which we rarely get to during the chat) is always the same:

  • What are you going to do differently as a result of tonight’s chat?

While I was preparing the summary, I came across #queer_educhat. The inaugural chat for this hashtag was held on May 1, and participants not only shared their ideas and stories but also some awesome resources. Read their chat summary here. As well, Tyson Seburn’s (@seburnt) plenary from #BCTEAL19, Our Materials Oxymoron and the Inclusion of LGBTQIA Narratives is now posted on the @bcteal YouTube channel.

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 always helpful, and the #CdnELTchat team can also answer questions. Just tweet or DM any of us: Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@EALstories), and Jennifer (@jennifermchow), or Svetlana (@StanzaSL).

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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.

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.

March 12 #CdnELTchat: Teaching Intercultural Awareness and Communication

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On March 12, ELT practitioners from across Canada and the U.S. connected on Twitter for #CdnELTchat to talk about the challenging topic of Teaching Intercultural Awareness and Communication. 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.

Yecid Ortega (@OrtegaYecid) as our special guest moderator for this chat. Yecid is a PhD candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Learn more about Yecid and his research interests on his website, AndJustice4All.

This #CdnELTchat was a follow-up to Yecid’s very engaging Tutela webinar on this same topic. Thanks to Diane Ramanathan (@ram_diane), Tutela Community Coordinator, for facilitating this collaboration.  

This was an intense discussion, with many shared ideas and resources. There were so many excellent resources that we’ve collected them in a separate document. This is a living document, so you are welcome to add to the list. 

Click here to access the collection of resources.

We’ve also collected the discussion around each question using Wakelet. Click to read the questions and replies. You can also search for the hashtag, #CdnELTchat, on Twitter to read the full discussion and to continue adding to the conversation.

Q1: What is culture? Do we need a common definition of culture before we can start talking about intercultural competence?

Click here to read the conversation around Q1.

Q2: What is the relationship between intercultural awareness, diversity, and inclusion?

Click here to read the conversation around Q2.

Q3: How can we as teachers be sure that we ourselves are interculturally aware and interculturally competent?

Click here to read the conversation around Q3.

Q4: What elements of intercultural awareness / intercultural competence should be in a curriculum for adult newcomers?

Click here to read the conversation around Q4.

Q5: If we can only do one thing with our classes each term to increase intercultural awareness, what should that be?

Click here to read the conversation around Q5.

#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.

  • Dialogue and understanding take time. How do we go deeper into time-crunched learning contexts?
  • How is multiculturalism different from interculturalism?
  • Many EAL teachers have heavy workloads and prescribed learning outcomes. What are some low-prep classroom activities to increase intercultural awareness?
  • Where does intercultural communication fit into teaching ELLs? Is our goal to improve the intercultural awareness of our students? or do we want to try to help them reach some level of intercultural competence?
  • Do you have a favourite resource that you use to help newcomers raise their cultural awareness?
  • What are some ways to seamlessly integrate intercultural awareness regularly into our classes?

We always have this final question ready, although we rarely have time to post it. This is something that I use for my own reflective practice after our chats have ended:

  • What are you going to differently as a result of our chat?

#CdnELTchat is 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, and please continue adding to the conversation.

And 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.  

Compiled by Bonnie Nicholas and Jennifer Chow
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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.

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

 

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!