Monday, August 21, 2017

What's Your Philosophy?

After my first seven-week session (full time) at CCLCS, the Standard I students had their TESL Canada certificates and all the practical tools under their belts that they would need to teach English at local "visa" schools or in places like Thailand, South Korea, and Costa Rica. After a seven-week break, I returned to Toronto for the remaining seven-week session that would--if I passed--make me an Ontario Certified English Language Teacher. We settled in to learn in more depth the history of the teaching of second languages, the various second language acquisition theories--from Krashen to Chomsky. We wrote research papers peppered with our newly gained lexis of the field: L1, L2, interference, comprehensible input, ZPD. We had heated classroom debates on whether the existence of certain words in a native language allowed the speakers to entertain the concept while NS of languages without the words were unable to think in the terms provided by the existence of the word itself.

I still remember how I answered an important essay question on an exam. The question dealt with which SLA theory or theories I found to have the most merit and how that might inform my classroom practice. I answered that I did not feel able to conclude with absolute certainty which theory was the "right" one, nor did I find them to be mutually exclusive. I found some merit in bits and pieces of many of them, and therefore I planned to take an eclectic approach to classroom practice.

And so I have.

I enjoy delving deeply into certain pedagogical works and authors more than others, but always like to make time during summer break and--to a lesser extent--throughout the school year for reading that (hopefully) makes me a better informed instructor.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading books whose target audience is comprised mainly of teachers of English as a second or additional language? If not, why not? Are you an auditory learner who prefers attending workshops or webinars and watching videos on YouTube? What other ways do you enjoy expanding your knowledge and improving your teaching skills and repertoire?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Playing with Flipgrid

At the end of Tony Vincent's six-week course in Google Classroom called Classy Graphics with Google Drawing, I was the lucky winner of a year of Flipgrid premium! I truly enjoyed using Flipgrid as a student in his class and am eager to see how I can use it with my PLN and with my students this fall.

I find Flipgrid to be very intuitive and easy to learn to use. If you would like to play around on one of my Flipgrids, leave a comment here or email me. So far I have recorded one introduction and have invited three teachers. One of those teachers has already recorded a video and I have recorded a response to her.

Want to try it?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

My First Blog Needs Assessment

I am really feeling at a loss this week regarding what to write about in this space. So let me ask you, my readers, what you would like to read about here, what information you wish ELT bloggers would share, what you feel is lacking in what you are getting from your network of fellow teachers.

Just to help you start to think about it, I will start the brainstorming.

Your turn!