#CdnELTchat & #teslONchat Summary: Truth and Reconciliation in #ELT

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#CdnELTchat & #teslONchat summary for June 15 

By Bonnie Nicholas, Jennifer Chow, Vanessa Nino, and Augusta Avram

Like all Canadians, we were horrified by the confirmation of the graves of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops in May. Many of us did not learn about the tragic history of residential schools during our own school years. This part of Canadian history was not part of the curriculum.

Since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report in 2015 and its 94 Calls to Action, all of us working in ELT and particularly those of us who work in settlement programs know that we have the responsibility not just to educate ourselves but also to help the students that we are privileged to teach to learn about the history of treaties and residential schools. This is articulated clearly in Articles 93 and 94 of the Calls to Action. The confirmation of the graves in Kamloops and the almost certainty of more discoveries ahead has given urgency to this responsibility. 

On June 15th, #CdnELTchat and #teslONchat held a joint Twitter chat for English language teachers and admin. Our topic was Truth and Reconciliation in #ELT. This special joint chat was to find ways that we can move forward with the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and work for reconciliation. Because we are all mourning the little ones who lost their lives in Kamloops and elsewhere, and because most of us in ELT are settlers on this land, we started our chat with a reflective thread. We’ve included a slightly revised version of this thread here.

Before we begin, let’s take a moment of silence to remember the 215 children in Kamloops, the 104 children in Brandon, and the many others who were taken to school and never came home. We are greatly saddened by this confirmation and we mourn their deaths. Many of us live on Treaty territories; others live on unceded lands; all of us live on traditional territories of the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people who lived here on Turtle Island in harmony with the land before the arrival of settlers. We also invite you to join us in taking a moment to reflect on the land, the place where you live, work, and play. If you have a personal land acknowledgement and if you are comfortable sharing it, we invite you to do so. 

As ELT professionals, we (the #CdnELTchat and #teslONchat teams) recognise our responsibility to work towards reconciliation in our personal and our professional lives. The Calls To Action are everyone’s responsibility. Those of us working in settlement language programs have an additional responsibility to teach newcomers to Canada information about the Treaties and the history of residential schools, as outlined in Call to Action 93 of the #TRC. Karen Joseph, CEO of @ReconciliationCanada has said,  “This is not a time for shame. It’s a time for action. Keep showing up. We have the responsibility. Everyone has a voice. Being an ally means that it’s Indigenous People’s fight, but this fight belongs to everyone who lives in Canada.” 

We accept this responsibility and we recognise the privilege of our position in #ELT. We are grateful for the land that we live, work, & play on. We know that we still have much to learn about what truth & reconciliation mean for us in our daily lives. We know that we need to do this work ourselves and that we cannot ask Indigenous educators to bear yet another burden. We need to be not just allies, but co-conspirators. 

During this chat, we asked participants to share & amplify Indigenous voices, through links to social media, the arts (including videos, books, & music), websites, and other resources. These have all been added to our Padlet, https://padlet.com/CdnELTchat/TruthandReconciliationinCdnELT.  

We know that we must be mindful of our privilege as we do this necessary work. We are grateful to have had guidance & wise counsel from Sharon Jarvis (@romans1v17). Any mistakes we make will be our own, but we know that inaction is not a choice. 

During the hour-long chat, we posed a series of questions for discussion and further reflection.

Q1: What does reconciliation mean to you as an educator? How do you see your role in the process of truth and reconciliation? 

Q2: How “comfortable” or “ready” do you feel to embed the Calls to Action into your teaching? What do you need in order to be more prepared to do this? 

Q3: Can you share & amplify Indigenous voices, through links to social media, the arts (including videos, books, & music), websites, and other resources?

Q4: Take a moment to think about the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Which one resonates with you?  

Q5: Many of the Calls to Action are for governments and the legal system but also for everyone in Canada. The final two Calls to Action were written specifically for newcomers to Canada, so these are the two that impact our approach to indigenisation and classroom teaching. Neither Discover Canada nor the citizenship oath have changed. It’s our responsibility to honour the spirit of the calls to action as best we can with the tools and resources that we have. How can we honour these in our teaching?  

Q6: Call to Action #57: “We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations.” This will require skill based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism. What can we do within our organizations to advocate for mandated training in truth and reconciliation? 

And perhaps the most important question of all: We invite you to join us in reflecting on what actions we can and will take in our personal and professional lives to honour the Calls To Action of the TRC and work for truth and reconciliation.

We’ve collected the relevant tweets from the chat using Wakelet, Truth and Reconciliation in ELT. You can also search for the relevant tweets on Twitter using the hashtags #CdnELTchat and #teslONchat.

Jennifer Chow, @JenniferMChow, Augusta Avram, @ELTAugusta, and Bonnie Nicholas, @BonnieJNicholas on the #CdnELTchat team hosted the chat along with Vanessa Nino, @Vnino23, from #teslONchat. Thank-you to everyone who participated. We are especially grateful to the Indigenous educators and knowledge keepers that we have learned from and will continue to learn from. We encourage everyone working in #CdnELT to continue to listen & learn from Indigenous people. 

Thank you to all those who contributed resources to the Padlet, which we hope will continue to be a useful resource: June 15 #CdnELTchat & #teslONchat 

Even if you’ve missed the synchronous part of this #CdnELTchat and #teslONchat, it’s never too late to join the conversation. Please tweet your comments, replies, & resources at any time. This was the last #CdnELTchat before we take a break for the summer. We will revisit this important topic of truth & reconciliation again. 

 

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: Decentring Whiteness in ELT with JPB Gerald

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#CdnELTchat summary for May 11, 2021 with Guest moderator JPB Gerald

By Tanya Cowie, Jennifer Chow and Bonnie Nicholas

On May 11, the #CdnELTchat team along with #teslONchat welcomed JPB Gerald (@JPBGerald) as our special guest moderator for a live chat on the topic of Decentring Whiteness in #ELT. JPB Gerald is a doctoral candidate in Instructional Leadership. His scholarship focuses on language teaching, racism, and whiteness. Learn more at jpbgerald.com or by listening to the podcast, UnstandardizedE. We can also recommend his article in the BC Teal Journal, Worth the Risk: Decentring Whiteness in English Language Teaching, as well as his most recent co-authored piece (with @ScottStillar and @Vijay_Ramjattan) in Language Magazine, After Whiteness

Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow) and Tanya Cowie (@tanyacowiecowie) co-moderated the chat on this challenging and important topic. 

We’ve collected the relevant tweets in a new #CdnELTchat Collection, Decentring Whiteness. You can also follow the conversation (although in reverse chronological order) on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #CdnELTchat. Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas either synchronously or asynchronously post-chat as we explored what decentring whiteness might mean for all of us working in ELT. These are the questions that guided our discussion, along with some of the responses that were shared. 

Q1: What should we do when colleagues push back against confronting issues of #racism in language teaching?

  • Gerald suggests we start by asking questions about their resistance; build and strategize with colleagues; be willing to take risks in solidarity with others.
  • Ideas from participants: keep going; exemplify; keep learning and educating ourselves; keep the conversations open; talk to ally leaders;talk about why this is important; be aware of the space we occupy; make anti-racist work impossible to ignore.

Q2: What needs to be done in teacher education to prevent future educators from reinforcing #whiteness in #ELT? 

  • Gerald suggests looking for new voices and scholars in ELT, and challenging the assumptions that there is one standardized English. 
  • Ideas from participants: White teacher-educators need to acknowledge whiteness and what it means in ELT; hire more diverse teacher-educators; get rid of training materials that reinforce the white-dominant and white-default narrative; normalize examination of power structures in teacher education; revise the curriculum to include critical anti-racist approaches; go beyond the minimum requirements for certification; de-colonize the curriculum from within; educate ourselves by diversifying what we read and who we follow on social media; question everything; intercultural and anti-racism training.

Q3: What is the role of #ELT professional associations in decentering whiteness in this industry? 

  • Gerald says to start by diversifying conferences and publications (including social media); use “white” and “racism” where needed; bring in PD from racialized members.
  • Ideas from participants: have more racialized folks on boards (and examine why Black folds are not already there), have racialized folks speaking at every conference; ensure that our associations represent all sectors; recognize self-directed PD (including informal PD like #CdnELTchat).

Q4: Should (white) #ELT teachers try to convince their students that native-speaker Englishes are not a good goal to aim for? If yes, how can we facilitate that without marginalizing students’ perspectives?  

  • Gerald suggests framing their language as perfectly valid, deemphasizing required testing practices, and (long-term) eliminating the native speaker construct.
  • Ideas from participants: teach students that communication is the goal; show that we value who they are; include a variety of authentic voices in our classroom materials; eliminate discussion of native-speakerism from our classrooms; share statistics that show language diversity among Canadians.

Q5: How can racialized educators who work with mainly white colleagues and supervisors advocate for change in their organization and ELT? 

  • Gerald suggests finding people around the world who will support you, and then find white people who will actively support you by taking risks. 
  • Ideas from participants: Have a support group that can listen and heal together; white colleagues need to not take up the space for racialized colleagues; not expect those same racialized colleagues to do all the heavy lifting; organizational commitment to anti-racism work is essential.

Q6: Teaching ‘academic language’ is central to ELT, but some scholars have argued that the idea of academic language is racist. What are your thoughts about the role of academic language in ELT? 

  • Gerald suggests that yes, its role is to “pathologize the racialized and their language practices”.
  • Ideas from participants: ask whose language? and whose rules?; question the staticicity of academic language; redefine what academic language means today; introduce critical applied linguistics and critical EAP approaches in the curriculum.  

This was a challenging topic, and one that we need to reflect on and then revisit, more than once. #CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to connections, learning, and a more reflective practice for all of us involved in #ELT. Questions are collected in advance of each chat on Padlet, and then 5 or 6 are chosen for the hour-long chat. Our 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, remember to practice self-care. 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: Building Community in Online Classes

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#CdnELTchat summary for April 27, 2021
By Bonnie Nicholas

As we continue with online  teaching and learning, I think all of us have discovered the importance of building community in the online spaces that we spend so much time in. I suspect that we have all also discovered that it’s more challenging to build a community in an online environment than in a face-to-face class. #CdnELTchat hosted a Twitter chat to talk about this ongoing challenge.

During the one-hour conversation, we discussed the following questions. We hope that the questions and tweets will provide material for reflection, even for those who didn’t participate in the live chat or the asynchronous post-chat tweets. Our hope is always that #CdnELTchat will lead to more reflective practice for all of us. This is why we collect the tweets and share the summaries afterwards.

Q1: What does community-building mean?

Q2: What should we be mindful of when we design community-building activities for synchronous classes?

Q3: What considerations are important when we design community-building activities for asynchronous classes? 

Q4: What F2F community-building activities have you adapted for an online environment? Have they worked well in the online space?

Q5: How is building community online different (or the same) from the physical classroom? 

And a question for further reflection, that we didn’t have time to discuss: What advice might you give to your pre-pandemic self about building community? 

We talked about the importance of building trust, knowing our students, humanising our classes, and creating safe spaces for everyone. Here are some suggested readings and resources from the chat: 

This is the seventh year for #CdnELTchat. During that time, we’ve hosted almost 100 chats on a wide range of topics in ELT, as well as a number of informal check-ins since the start of the pandemic. We are always open to having guest moderators join a chat and share your passion for a particular topic in ELT. Fill in this Google Form, post on our Padlet, or contact us through Twitter: Jen Chow (@Jennifermchow), Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta), Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), or Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas). 

Use the hashtag #CdnELTchat anytime to connect and to share information of interest to the #CdnELT community. The best thing about using social media like Twitter for self-directed PD is that you can choose to actively participate or just lurk. Both are equally valid choices.

#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. 

Please join us for our next chat on May 11 with special guest moderator, @JPBGerald, to discuss Decentring Whiteness in #ELT. For links to his podcast, @UnstandardizedE and more of his scholarship on Whiteness, Racism & Language teaching, got to https://jpbgerald.com/. Please add your questions to our padlet.  

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: 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.