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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are the questions that guided our discussion: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

 

 

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

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

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

These are the questions we discussed:

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

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

Q3: What resources are available for instructors in ELT? 

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

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

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

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

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

#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us involved in ELT. If you have any ideas for topics or have comments about #CdnELTchat, please send @StanzaSL, @BonnieJNicholas, @Jennifermchow, or @ELTAugusta a tweet. We are also looking for guest moderators who are interested in leading a future #CdnELTchat. Send us a message with a topic of interest. 

Our Padlet, Questions and Topics for #CdnELTchat, is always open for sharing questions, ideas, and resources. We create our promo images using Canva and collect the tweets using Wakelet

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

 

 

#CdnELTchat Summary for January 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 January 14, 2020 (Language Matters: Inclusivity in Language Choices )

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#CdnELTchat Summary for January 14, 2020
Language Matters: Inclusivity in Language Choices
by Bonnie Nicholas

While I was starting to work on this summary, this quote by Maya Angelou popped up in my Twitter feed:

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

These words effectively sum up the January 14 #CdnELTchat around the topic Language Matters: Inclusivity in Language Choices. Much of our discussion centred around our responsibility as language teachers to be mindful of the words that we use, how we can know better and how we can do better. 

We were very happy to welcome Lorisia MacLeod BA, MLIS (@LorisiaMacLeod) as our guest moderator. Lorisia is a member of James Smith Cree Nation, born and raised in Edmonton and an instructional librarian @norquestlibrary. Lorisia guided us through some questions and shared some resources for deepening our thinking about what it means to make inclusive language choices. 

We started by asking Lorisia Q1: how do you see your work as a librarian intersecting with your identity as an Indigenous person, and with the language that we use? Lorisia suggests that “libraries are starting to look at how  they have used language to define communities” and “how we can work with communities to improve these terms to better represent terminology we use for ourselves.”

Our subsequent discussion was guided by these questions:

Q1 is a good reflective question for all of us in #ELT: How do our intersecting identities impact the language choices that we make every day, both as speakers and as teachers?

Q2: What does it mean to be inclusive with our language choices?

Q3: How can we know if our language choices are excluding groups or individuals? 

Q4: How can we approach this subject with people who may not agree with the importance of making inclusive language choices?

Q5 (Part 1): What are some strategies to promote thinking critically about language both in our learners but also for ourselves as teachers

Q5 (Part 2): AND As language teachers, how can we teach language learners to be more mindful of their language choices?)

And two questions that we didn’t have time to discuss during the live one-hour chat: 

Q6: Language can take a long time to change, and habits can be hard to break. How can we proactively learn so as to avoid misappropriating words in the first place? 

Q7: What resources are available to help us make more inclusive language choices? Please share resources or connections that might help others be more inclusive in their language! 

You can read the collected tweets on Wakelet, but here are some key points from the participants in the conversation.

  • Think about what voices are not being heard; who is not at the table? We need to try and hear these voices. 
  • Listen to Indigenous voices on terms relating to their culture like spirit animal, chief, tribe, etc.
  • Listen to people talk about the effects that misgendering or exclusionary language has had on them, on Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, and blogs.  
  • Think about who has the power; whose voice is being amplified?
  • Language has power; language and relationships are connected. 
  • As professionals in #ELT, we need to educate ourselves on language choices.
  • Notice how we might be using sexist, racist, ableist, ageist, and LGBTQIA-phobic ways of speaking. 
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but learn and do better. And remember that we are not alone.
  • Nuanced attention to language is more important than ever. 
  • And a final comment from Lorisia: “It’s not about ownership of the words – it’s about respecting their context and the communities that are asking folks not to use them uncritically. I think that’s the key – it’s about respect.”

We’ve collected some of the resources that were suggested in a Google Doc, Resources for thinking about inclusive language choices. Thanks once again for Lorisia for bringing so many ideas and resources to the conversation, and reminding us that #LanguageMatters.

#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort that we hope will lead to more reflective practice for all of us involved in ELT. If you have any ideas for topics or have comments about #CdnELTchat, please send @StanzaSL, @EALStories, @Jennifermchow, or @ELTAugusta a tweet. We are also looking for guest moderators who are interested in leading a future #CdnELTchat. Send us a message with a topic of interest. 

Our Padlet, Questions and Topics for #CdnELTchat, is always open for sharing questions, ideas, and resources. We create our promo images using Canva and collect the tweets using Wakelet.

zAB6NaOy_400x400Bonnie Nicholas (@EALstories) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@LINCInstructor). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

 

 

 

#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