#CdnELTchat summary for September 29, 2020 (Supporting the Continuation of Learning and Teaching during COVID-19)

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#CdnELTchat summary for September 29, 2020
Jennifer Chow

For many of us, we are in our second term of remote learning. What are the successes and unique challenges #ELT instructors have had? How can we create and maintain a sense of community with our colleagues and students during this time? What kind of support do we need in order to foster a sense of well-being?

Thank-you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in #CdnELTchat’s discussion on Supporting the Continuation of Learning and Teaching during COVID-19. 

We’ve collected the tweets from our chat in Wakelet, but here are some of the highlights from our discussion: 

  • It’s important for teachers and instructors to think about our mental health and sustainability, especially since the future is still uncertain. Creating online content while teaching is exhausting for many teachers, so we don’t need to perfect. Good enough is good enough.
  • Equity is still a big problem as some students don’t have access to the necessary technology and/or digital skills to engage in online learning. 
  • Focus on building relationships to establish trust between teachers and learners. Start with essential digital skills and add to them slowly over the term. 
  • Use ready-made online materials that are available on @TutelaCanada. Many teachers have embraced using @H5PTechnology
  • Respect student privacy by not forcing them to turn their cameras on. Use polls and breakout rooms to foster interaction. Provide prompt feedback, virtual office hours, and use Q & A forums to increase engagement.
  • Provide weekly drop-in times for colleagues to connect and socialize. Organize online reading or research groups for professional development. 

We encourage everyone to continue the conversation using the hashtag #CdnELTchat. Here are the questions that we used to guide our chat. 

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

During the chat, @KraseNetzel shared with us how @DawnTorvik started a WhatsApp teachers’ group and regularly inspires colleagues to share victories and problems. We hope #CdnELTchat can provide the space for #ELT educators across Canada and beyond to do that too. We’ll be doing some informal chats between our scheduled chats as a way to check in and support each other. 

#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us involved in ELT. If you are interested in joining our team, or have any ideas for topics, please send @StanzaSL, @EALStories, @Jennifermchow, or @ELTAugusta a tweet. 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. 

Jen Bio Pic

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for March 10, 2020 (Fake News? Misinformation and critical information literacy in #ELT)

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#CdnELTchat Summary for March 10, 2020
Fake News? Misinformation and critical information literacy in #ELT
Jennifer Chow

The mainstream media is not our only news source anymore. The way we consume information has changed. Many of our students get their news from Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, WhatsApp, YouTube news shows etc. On top of that, political leaders warn against trusting the mainstream media making it even more difficult to distinguish between real and fake news. With events such as the coronavirus outbreak, the result of misinformation or fake news can provoke serious consequences. What skills and tools do students need in order to evaluate the reliability of news sources? 

These are the questions that guided our discussion:

Q1: How important are information literacy skills to English language learners?
Q2: What skills do students need to become information literate?
Q3: How can we embed information literacy skills into the curriculum?
Q4: Many students get their news information from sources in their L1. How can we teach them information literacy skills that transcend language? 

You can read all the tweets from the chat on Wakelet, Fake News? Misinformation and critical information literacy in #ELT. I highly recommend reading the tweets because there were a number of useful resources that were shared. Thank-you to everyone who participated and shared resources. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the chat:

  • critical thinking is in the Essential Skills framework and is a key part of information literacy
  • information literacy skills are required for full participation as an active citizen
  • it’s a skill for everyone, not just ELLs, but some key indicators might be harder for them
  • better information practices lead to better immigrant settlement outcomes
  • teach students how to use a tool like the CRAAP test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose) to evaluate sources as a starting point
  • help students look at the design, spelling, grammar, bias, motivation etc.
  • critical information literacy could be embedded in the curriculum, but it could also be an explicit unit and then tied in to any theme/topic 
  • the fundamental information literacy skills are language independent 
  • humour and satire can also be used to teach information literacy in a way that transcends language

We encourage everyone to continue the conversation using the hashtag #CdnELTchat. Here are all the great questions that we didn’t have time to discuss during the live one-hour chat: 

Misinformation Extra Questions

#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

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for February 25, 2020 (Practical Gamification in the Classroom)

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#CdnELTchat Summary for February 25, 2020
Practical Gamification in the Classroom
Jennifer Chow

Recently, I downloaded a fitness app that tracks my steps, gives me encouragement when I reach my daily goal, rewards me with badges for reaching milestones, and challenges me to beat other participants in my group. Gamifying exercise motivated me to be more active and reach my fitness goals. I was excited to learn how I could do something similar in my classroom.

On February 25, Cindy Leibel (@CindyLeibel) joined us to talk about Practical Gamification in the Classroom. Cindy has been exploring gamification and how to use it effectively in an ELT context since she started teaching EAL over 11 years ago. Thank-you, Cindy, for sharing your gamification expertise with #CdnELTchat! 

These are the questions that guided our discussion:

Q1: What does gamification mean?
Q2: What are the benefits of gamification?
Q3: What are the challenges of gamifying? How do we change perceptions that learning shouldn’t be gamified?
Q4: What are elements of gamification that I can easily apply in my classroom?
Q5: What guidelines should we follow to gamify learning in the ELT classroom?
Q6: How can you assess if your gamification is working? 

You can read all the tweets from the chat on Wakelet, Practical Gamification in the Classroom

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Gamification can mean making minor tweaks to an activity by using the mechanics that make games engaging. It doesn’t require a radical transformation in the way you teach. 
  • Use research by game developers who know how to motivate players to complete “boring” tasks and apply these principles to our lessons. 
  • We can introduce some of the more engaging elements of gamification into our teaching without making a big announcement, and just gauge learners’ responses.
  • Elements of gamification that we can easily apply in our classrooms include providing choice, making social rules, adding a chance element, providing time constraints, restrictions and scarcity, rewarding achievements, and using challenge to modulate flow. 
  • Guidelines to consider include increasing one mechanic at a time, using elements that appeal to your teaching style, creating a safe environment, and embedding reflection and self-assessment.
  • Ways to assess gamification include evaluation of learning outcomes, assessing student immersion in the task, and gathering student feedback. 

We encourage everyone to continue the conversation using the hashtag #CdnELTchat. Here are all the great questions that we didn’t have time to discuss during the live one-hour chat: 

Gamification questions

#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

 

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for January 28, 2020 (Authentic Listening Materials)

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#CdnELTchat Summary for January 28, 2020
Authentic Listening Materials
Jennifer Chow

Happy 75th to #CdnELTchat! When Nathan Hall (@nathanghall) and Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL) started #CdnELTchat (also known as #LINCchat) in 2015, I taught evenings as a LINC instructor, and I had been feeling a bit isolated at the time. #CdnELTchat gave me a chance to connect with other Canadian ELT educators. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of the #CdnELTchat team and community of practice. 

I would like to echo my gratitude to #CdnELTchat enthusiasts by quoting Claudie’s (@thespreadingoak) tweet, “Thanks ALL the dedicated generous participants who made this a viable authentic place 2 share EAL/ELT/ESL knowhow, enhance practice, give moral support.Onward and upward.”

If you are interested, take a look at the topics #CdnELTchat has covered in the previous 75 chats: #CdnELTchat Topics (2015 to present). What topics are you interested in discussing for the next 75 chats? Help us out by sharing your ideas on our Padlet: Questions and Comments for future #CdnELTchats

We were fortunate to have Nathan Hall (@nathanghall) join us for the 75th edition of #CdnELTchat to talk about Authentic Listening Materials. Nathan is an EAP instructor and teacher trainer at Douglas College (@douglascollege). Visit his fantastic website (https://nathanghall.wordpress.com) for a variety of resources and ideas. Nathan started the discussion by sharing Morrow’s definition of an authentic text: “a stretch of real language, produced by a real speaker or writer for a real audience and designed to carry a real message of some sort.” (Morrow, 1977). 

Here are the questions we used to guide our discussion:

Q1: What are the advantages of using authentic listening materials? #CdnELTchat

Q2: What guidelines should we follow when we choose authentic listening materials to use with our class? For example, what should the optimal length be for an authentic audio or video clip at different proficiency levels? #CdnELTchat

Q3: What kind of tasks work well with authentic listening materials?  #CdnELTchat

Q4: How can we use authentic listening materials for assessment? #CdnELTchat

Q5: What specific listening strategies should we teach students before we use authentic listening materials?  #CdnELTchat

It was a busy chat with participants from across Canada and beyond sharing almost 200 tweets. You can read all the tweets from the chat on Wakelet, but here are some highlights from the discussion:

  • Advantages to using authentic materials: exposure to messy language that learners will encounter in their lives including reductions, connected speech, different voices and accents, natural interruptions, unfinished thoughts etc., reinforcement that language is for real communication
  • When using authentic listening materials, the length and complexity depends on the task. Longer listening texts can be used for tasks such as getting the gist or familiarizing students to the rhythm and flow of English. Shorter listening texts are better for bottom-up tasks. Scaffolding is needed to build confidence. Another option might be to slow down the audio and provide learners with options.
  • Suggested tasks for authentic listening materials: decoding natural streams of speech and connecting that to pronunciation, recognizing turn-taking signals, interruptions, and functional language, following recipes, reacting to and applying what you hear; for EAP – note-taking, summarizing, and synthesizing, comparing how media platforms report the same news story
  • Suggested ways to use authentic listening materials for assessment: note-taking tasks and group discussion on main points, assessing summarization skills over a period of time, assessing based on the type of listening, assessing specific skills/strategies (inferring from tone, inferring intent, summarizing, selective attention), avoiding summative testing and focusing on progression, observation of student ability instead of formal assessments
  • Suggested listening strategies: exposure to certain types of skills with guided questions, strategies that help them cope with anxiety, strategies to help determine essential information, noticing tone of voice and speech patterns, recognizing purpose

We encourage everyone to continue the conversation using the hashtag #CdnELTchat. Here are all the great questions that we didn’t have time to discuss during the live one-hour chat: 

Jan 28 extra questions

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for December 3 2019 (Talking about Holidays in #ELT)

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#CdnELTchat Summary for December 3, 2019
Talking about Holidays in #ELT
Jennifer Chow

December is a busy time of year, so we were grateful for the educators who made time to join us for the last chat of 2019 to talk about Holidays in ELT. Here are some of the main points that were discussed:

  • Sharing holidays gives students a chance to make connections and highlight commonalities 
  • Students can research/present holidays, which is good opportunity to teach students about reliable sources and cultural sensitivity
  • Students can interview each other
  • We need to be aware of voices and stories that are presented when we teach about holidays
  • Teaching about holidays is topical and connected to current events
  • Teaching about holidays provides opportunities to talk about appropriate social interactions, advertising literacy, responsible consumerism, noticing language forms
  • Instead of teaching cultural expectations, we can create a safe space for discussions about possible cultural expectations from certain groups

The five questions below were discussed during the chat. If you’re on Twitter, you can find the conversation by following the hashtag #CdnELTchat, but you can read a collection of the tweets on Wakelet: December 3 #CdnELTchat on Holidays in ELT. We encourage you to continue the conversation on Twitter using #CdnELTchat

Q1: Do you teach about/celebrate holidays in your classroom? How do you decide which ones to teach/celebrate? Do you teach about Diwali if you have no Hindu students, or Ramadan/Eid if you have no Muslim students? Or is looking at all holidays part of interculturality? #CdnELTchat

Q2: Holidays are often talked about in LINC classes, as learning about Canadian holidays is part of settlement. How do teachers in general EAL/ESL/EAP classes handle holidays? #CdnELTchat

Q3: How can we teach about and around holidays in a culturally-responsive way without giving a disproportionate amount of class time to this topic? #CdnELTchat

Q4: What learning opportunities can we bring to our teaching about holidays? For example, following instructions for recipes, sharing cultural traditions, critical thinking skills around consumerism, etc. #CdnELTchat

Q5: With the recent controversy over Remembrance Day, how much responsibility do we have to teach students about Canadian cultural expectations? And is wearing a poppy an expectation or a choice? What about saying “merry Christmas”? #CdnELTchat 

The #CdnELTchat team is always looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs, and shared with TESL NS. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat. See you in 2020! 

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for October 22, 2019 (Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning)

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October 22 #CdnELTchat (Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning)
by Jennifer Chow

On October 22, enthusiastic #CdnELTchat participants talked about “Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning”. We were excited to have Rob McBride (@LearnIT2Teach) of New Language Solutions join us as our guest moderator for this chat. Rob is one of the project managers for the EduLINC courseware and LearnIT2Teach/Avenue.ca. Thank-you to all those who added their thoughts before, during and after the chat. 

It was a fast-paced chat with many conversation threads. Here are some of the key ideas that came out of the chat:

  • The definition of blended learning is flexible and may describe classes with face-to-face instruction combined with online teaching and learning activities, but could also include exclusively online teaching and learning environments with synchronous and asynchronous activities.

  • Blended learning may include “flex-time” models, where students can choose to attend in person or via remote conference services.

  • Blended learning is always changing, and instructors have to keep adapting and refreshing modes and methods.

  • Blended learning helps students build or develop multimodal literacy skills, digital literacy skills, learner autonomy, self-reflection, and online social engagement with other learners. 
  • Some of the challenges of blended learning include time management, lack of tools and resources, tech difficulties, equity in access, and isolation.
  • Some of the blended learning tips that were shared include engaging in better practices via a Community of Practice, consulting learners through classroom discussions and surveys, using interactive screencasts, creating a digital orientation, creating and sharing a style guide to support a program, developing “Transitions” classes to get students ready for blended learning and engaging in course design evaluation.

All the resources that were shared can be found here: Resources for Blended Learning. Please feel free to add resources to this live document. 

You can find the tweets by searching Twitter for our hashtag, #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the tweets from both the live and the follow-up asynchronous chat using Wakelet: #CdnELTchat Summary on Technology, Organization, Blended Learning and Online Learning

These are the questions we used in the chat:

Q1: What is blended learning? Is there a single accepted definition? 

Q2: What are the benefits and challenges of blended learning? What are the unanticipated challenges – what do most instructors fail to plan for? 

Q3: What do teachers and students need to know before trying blended learning? 

Q4: What are some better practices for blended learning? How do we identify these? And how can teachers work together to support each other and share ideas and best practices?

Q5: What questions should we ask ourselves to evaluate the design of our blended learning courses? Are there any tools we can use to do this?  

Q6: How can we deal with questions of access and accessibility in blended learning? For example, students who do not have regular access to an internet-enabled device and a reliable, high-speed internet connection outside of class?

The #CdnELTchat team is looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat

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

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for October 8, 2019 (Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Language)

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October 8, 2019 #CdnELTchat (Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Language)
by Jennifer Chow

My interest in graphic novels began when my oldest borrowed Shaun Tan’s The Arrival from the library. As she grew up, we read many more graphic novels together, including all of Raina Telgemeier’s insightful stories, Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese and most recently, the graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. That is why I was especially interested in how graphic novels can be used in the adult EAL classroom. 

On the night of the chat, we were excited to have a couple of first-time #CdnELTchat-ters join the conversation. We hope to have even more first timers join us next time. Thank-you to our moderators, Bonnie Nicholas and Augusta Avram, and all those who added their thoughts before, during and after the chat. 

Here are a few of the ideas that came out of the chat:

  • graphic novels offer opportunities for the development of visual literacy and multimodal skill 
  • although they are easier to read, they bring the benefits of reading a book
  • graphic novels are more conversational, so reading them aloud encourages pronunciation practice
  • webcomics may be more accessible because they are usually free 
  • they can encourage reluctant readers
  • they can be used as a scaffold for writing a coherent story
  • graphic novels offer opportunities for adult ELLs to explore new worlds from a safe space
  • they challenge  us to consider sources of knowledge and learning other than the traditional ones 
  • instructors should model making connections between the images and text and teach the order of reading the text
  • it’s important to pay attention to who the authors and illustrators are when using comics, especially when your goal is to introduce diverse perspectives and ensure representation
  • instructors need more training in how to use them
  • learners need access to them
    • online options are available
    • library outreach might be possible

All the resources that were shared can be found here: Resources for using comics and graphic novels to teach language. Please feel free to add resources to this live document. 

These are the questions that guided the chat:

Q1: Have you used graphic novels or comics in your classes? Which ones?  #CdnELTchat

Q2: What tools and resources are needed to start using comics and graphic novels in your classes?  #CdnELTchat

Q3: Because of the visual element, comics and graphic novels may be more accessible to ELLs, especially literacy learners. How can we use comics to enhance language learning in our classes?  #CdnELTchat

Q4: Fiction can be one way to introduce ELLs to different perspectives and to have a more inclusive representation in learning materials. How can we use comics in this way?  #CdnELTchat

Q5: What learning outcomes could be met by using graphic novels with adult ELLs? How can comics and graphic novels be used to develop skills besides reading?  #CdnELTchat 

You can find the tweets by searching Twitter for our hashtag, #CdnELTchat, but we’ve also collected the tweets from both the live and the follow-up asynchronous chat using Wakelet: #CdnELTchat Summary on Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Language

The #CdnELTchat team is looking for people who would be interested in facilitating one of our bi-monthly chats.  Please let a member of the team know if you are interested in co-moderating a live chat, or in collecting and writing the summaries which are posted on the BC TEAL and TESL Ontario blogs. Other provincial #ELT associations are also welcome to share. If you would like to volunteer, or have ideas for chats, contact any of us: Jennifer @jennifermchow, Augusta @ELTAugusta, Svetlana @StanzaSL, or Bonnie @EALStories.  Post ideas anytime on our Padlet, https://padlet.com/BonnieJean/CdnELTchat

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

 

May 14 #CdnELTchat: Challenging Assumptions in ELT

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Compiled by Jennifer Chow

On May 14th, #CdnELTchat enthusiasts discussed assumptions that teachers and students had in #ELT. It was very useful to uncover and question our assumptions because they can impact the way we interact with our students, and the way they interact with each other. 

Here are the highlights of the tweets for each question:

Q1: What assumptions do students in your classes have about #ELT?

  • passive learning and active learning
  • ownership of learning
  • student learning
  • cross-cultural awareness

Q2: Have your assumptions about ELT changed since you began teaching? How so?

  • unpaid hours
  • PPP model (Presentation, Production, Practice)
  • English-only policy
  • the fun factor

Q3: What assumptions do teachers have about their students that may negatively impact their teaching practice? How can teachers avoid making these assumptions?

  • the best way to teach/learn
  • student behaviour, motivation and behaviour

Q4: What assumptions do students in your classes have about particular groups of people? What strategies do you use to challenge these assumptions?

  • intercultural perspectives
  • safe classrooms

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.  

We’ve created a Google Doc with ideas for further reading and resources: http://bit.ly/ChallengingAssumptionsinELT. 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.

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 assumptions do administrators and other stakeholders have about #ELT
  • What are you going to 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).

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

 

March 26 #CdnELTchat: Dealing with Sensitive Topics in ELT

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On March 26th, ELT practitioners from across Canada and beyond connected on Twitter for #CdnELTchat to talk about Dealing with Sensitive Topics in ELT. Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) kept the conversation moving by posting questions, while Augusta Avram (@LINCinstructor) helped out by replying and retweeting, and Svetlana Lupasco (@stanzasl) and Jennifer (@jennifermchow) provided background support.

We’ve also collected the discussion around each question using Wakelet. Click to read all 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.

Having diverse students in our classrooms means that there are usually diverse perspectives, especially when it comes to sensitive topics. Discussing sensitive topics can be a minefield, but it can also be a rich educational experience. Click below to read the conversation around each question.

Q1: What are some examples of sensitive topics that you have encountered in your classroom? How did you deal with them?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q1.

Q2: Do you try to avoid all things PARSNIP (politics, alcohol, religion, sex, narcotics, -isms, pork)? What do you do if a students brings up one of these topics?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q2.

Q3: Do settlement teachers have different responsibilities with regards to sensitive topics than teachers in general ESL or EAP programs?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q3.

Q4: Is it better to wait for students to raise issues or is it an expected part of our work in ELT?

  • Click here to read the conversation around Q4.

Q5: How do you handle disagreements among students about sensitive issues?  

  • 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.

  • In a multicultural class, many topics need to be handled with sensitivity. Are there any resources that you can recommend  to help teachers navigate difficult conversations?
  • In your class, how do you handle tragic world events like the cyclone in Africa, the airliner crash in Ethiopia, or the mosque shootings in New Zealand?
  • Do settlement teachers have different responsibilities with regards to sensitive topics than teachers in general ESL or EAP programs?

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 Jennifer Chow

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

 

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