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
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.
Jennifer 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