Sunday, May 20, 2018

An Open Letter to IRCC

Just now an interesting comment came in on the post I wrote two weeks ago, Dave Has an Idea.
I hereby invite every reader and visitor to this blog to leave his or her response to this comment in the comments below THIS, today's post.

Here is my own personal response. I represent nobody but myself in saying what follows.

First of all, who am I speaking to? The IRCC people or person reading this blog knows my name and face, where I work and my every thought and feeling on this subject going back at least two years. Could I please know your name(s) and see your face(s)? We would very much like some transparency around this pan-Canadian mandate.

ONE: My first request is to have the entire misstep retracted. Please watch professor Norm Friesen's video, listen to Yuliya Desyatova's findings, compare this project with the Belgian roll-out of task-based learning, and do some investigating into how a broad imposition of AfL models have worked out (or not) in the UK.

TWO: If you are not willing to entertain recalling this edict, then I beg of you: at least put a moratorium on making it a requirement for SPOs' funding and teachers' employment until such a time that all supports, resources and materials are in place. By making PBLA optional, those few teachers I've encountered who actually like doing it can fill their boots. Those of us who were more effective as teachers before being hobbled by this paint-by-numbers formula can go back to what we were doing before.

THREE: Apologize for the damage already done. Seriously. An apology would go a very long way toward reuniting us as one big team so that we can go forward together once more. Apologize not only for the hours we have donated shoring up a half-baked initiative, but also for the way employers contracted by you and under directions from you have, in not just a few locations, weaponized PBLA and abused employees. You must not only apologize but also take steps to put an immediate stop to all the ways that misinterpretation of the guidelines is resulting in miserable work conditions, divisiveness among team members, and violation of labour standards.

FOUR: Replace the train-the-trainer model. If you want to know what works better, talk to Yuliya Desyatova. She has studied the Belgian model in great depth.

FIVE: Forget about those bulky, heavy two-inch binders. They are a complete waste of taxpayer money, especially the Language Companion. If you must issue binders for portfolios, give our students one-inch binders with the portfolio dividers only. If you must continue to publish the Language Companion, bind it separately. But really? Ditch it. That money could be so much better spent.

Okay, dear readers, I hand it over to you. If someone with any power at IRCC really is reading this, what do you want them to do? Can you encapsulate it in five points? Please give yourself a nickname so that we don't end up with twenty people all named anonymous. How about the way Google handles it? Anonymous Aardvark, Anonymous Marmot, ...

Have a good Sunday. NB: Teachers are writing to officials at MCI and IRCC, pointing them to this post. For that reason, I have changed the publication date to a future date, which is the workaround in Blogger to pin a post to the top. Scroll down if you want to read other weekly posts.


used to love my job said...

I started to put together a list that so closely resembled yours, Kelly, that I thought I was reading my own words. When I tried to think of how PBLA might be altered or improved, the only thing I could think of was, it doesn't work. It has to go. My points are (sorry to be so unoriginal) the same. a) do some research - interview teachers - sit in on some classes and see what we're dealing with on a day to day basis (our successes, our failures, our wants and needs -do a needs assessment!!! ) Then start all over again, if you must, but in reverse - us first. Our input. Let us tell you what works and doesn't work. Let us tell you, because we are experts, exactly what we need. Look at how much $$ we make, how many hours we put in. Consider us first. b) lose the binders. Plain and simple. No binders. They are cumbersome and an incredible waste of money and time c) Get rid of the notion of PBLA leads and let us all get back on equal footing d) Stop the testing so that we can go back to teaching the language as we have always known how to do. Remove the 'tasks' and let us test at our own pace if and when we see the need . e) After PBLA has been removed (or at the very least made optional) reward us in some way. We feel disrespected and bullied, many of us after years of teaching - making so much less than 'regular' teachers make. Bring in the trucks that delivered the boxes of binders , load them back up with binders, let us celebrate and get back to doing the job we love.

claudie said...

“Improvements”? This sounds like PBLAspeak.

Can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.
Can’t improve something that is rotten to the core.

1. I want an independent group of academics to review the “principles” and weigh in on the authenticity, validity, practicality, wisdom of the PBLA doctrine and its validity as a SLA methodology. (preferably academics who were not paid to do “studies” for PBLA or consultants for CCLB.) I want education theory and policy experts to weigh in on the logic of the practice of using a “binder”/“portfolio” reviewed by a third party as the sole Progression tool. And I want an accounting of how damaging to real language learning this restricted view of SLA IS. I want an ethics review board to weigh in on the ethics of the implementation process and procedures, including the use of fear and intimidation, blackmailing SPOs, as well as the mandated aspect of the ill begotten experiment.

2. I want the Train the Trainer model disbanded immediately. All activities of the two co-administrators, the Regional Coaches, Lead Trainers and Trainers should be ceased and desisted immediately.

3. I too want a public apology from IRCC and CIC first to the newcomers for not providing them with a tried and tested language delivery model and for using them as guinea pigs - insulting them by implying they are “disorganised” unwasheded bunch of yahoos. Then to the teachers and instructors for the shabby treatment, inhumanity, and the disrespect shown to us.

4. I want a full explanation of the history of this abortive attempt to control a sector of the Canadian workforce and a description of all the hidden agendas. I want an accounting of the moneys spent on this. Not only of the amounts sent to CCLB - but also the amounts SPOs had to dedicate to this.
IF this were a business the principals involved would be fired. I’d like that but I’ll accept a mea culpa.

5. Well, I’ll hang back for now for #5...

DON’t talk to me of more wasted money, more “paid time”...more “resources” (created by amateurs). If the premise is false...the resources will be too. I saw the “RWT” - proposed by Bow Valley. They don’t cut the mustard. Just recall the whole vehicle.

used to love my job said...

I wish you were a union rep, manager, supervisor or the person in charge here. I wish you were the boss of our school. This is how I've been feeling since day one. Yes, it sounds like PBLA speak. I honestly think some teachers get so confused by and overwhelmed with the gibberish and jargon used that they just don't know how to teach anymore - not to mention the students and the mess that's in most of their binders , trying to understand rubrics, artefacts and tasks. They even call the binders a language companion- not much of a 'companion' that the students can just walk away from them and leave them behind. Some of the binders left behind in my classroom (there are nearly 40 now and I am not responsible for this and am running out of storage space in my classroom) are from visitors who had to shell out for them too, but that's another story. I've always taught my students about clarity and simplicity. How to be clear is one of the basic tenets of language learning and teaching, and yet everyone is so burdened with this muddled mess that no one can make sense of anything anymore, including the students. No one can see the trees through the forest. Someone needs to step back and look at the big picture and the end result , which is that students are no longer learning English, teachers can't teach and are taking sick days and retiring and finding other occupations, and our ESL programs have become a tangled mess in which no one is happy, no one is learning and co-workers are snapping at each other. Unless something drastic is done soon, ESL programs are simply going to collapse right along with the instructors.

Anonymous PBLA Survivor said...

Kelly, thank-you for courage and your leadership while I hide behind anonymity, afraid for my job. I agree with all the recommendations that have been posted thus far. Here are my top 5:

1) Stop the failed experiment that is PBLA. PBLA has not brought the promised standardization to LINC programs; if anything, it has led to varying interpretations and quality of assessment across the country.

2) Lessen the draconian interpretations of PBLA and the PBLA industry. Respect us as teaching professionals. Who rolls out a national program without resources in place? Stop expecting LINC instructors to create and share curriculum on their own time. Pay for experts in curriculum development to develop learning resources. Any national resources we do have are so outdated and Toronto-centric as to be useless. Stop throwing money at PBLA enforcement and spend the money on materials development instead.

3) Apologize for the many mistakes that have been made in this failed national experiment. Acknowledge the untenable workload that PBLA has placed on teachers across the country.

4) Yes, get rid of the binders. Despite what we have been told, students don't like using them. They don't want to carry them back and forth to class. The information in the binders is already outdated and can be found more easily online.

5) Disband the train the trainer model. Stop the PBLA industry that seems to exist largely to guilt teachers into spending all our free time trying to comply with the demands of PBLA, at the expense of our students, our families, our relationships, and our health. Stop telling instructors that, if we can't handle the requirements of PBLA, then maybe teaching in LINC is not for us.

I want to love my work again.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous...I didn't drink the koolaid, and neither should you.

I would suggest that my employer should put the PBLA leads into the classroom. That's right, where I work the PBLA leads don't actually have to do the work of PBLA...can you believe it? Our SPO has 4 PBLA leads that haven't been in the classroom fulltime for years and years but somehow they qualify as PBLA leads. Can you imagine how humiliating it is to work in a SPO that doesn't have PBLA leads that actually teach?

CAN ANYONE ADMIT THAT MISTAKES WERE MADE OR ARE YOU TOO PROUD? ARROGANCE IS RAMPANT IN THE SPO WHERE I WORK. I copied the following from above : "Who rolls out a national program without resources in place? Stop expecting LINC instructors to create and share curriculum on their own time. Pay for experts in curriculum development to develop learning resources. Any national resources we do have are so outdated and Toronto-centric as to be useless. Stop throwing money at PBLA enforcement and spend the money on materials development instead." Dear me, someone has goofed up and should admit it.

There are some mean people out there who don't like ESL instructors to have a life, time away from work and healthy families or good mental health, or positive self esteem. STOP IT

DITTO: Yes, get rid of the binders. Despite what we have been told, students don't like using them. They don't want to carry them back and forth to class. The information in the binders is already outdated and can be found more easily online.

OH YES! Disband the train the trainer model. Stop telling instructors that, if we can't handle the requirements of PBLA, then maybe teaching in LINC is not for us. IF the WRONG people are chosen they can make the workplace incredibly hostile. They start out mildly arrogant and turn into megalomaniacs with the name PBLA Lead. Ours are full time megalomaniacs.

Anonymous #2 said...

Hi Anonynmous April 16,
I can top your 4 PBLA leads who haven't been in the classroom full-time for years. I've talked to someone who works for a large SPO in XX province, and they don't have any PBLA leads. They have supervisors who have control over employment, are not in the classroom at all, and who have not completed the PBLA lead teacher training, yet they are reviewing modules, tasks, and binders. I have no reason to disbelieve this person.

PBLA has become like a poker game - with high stakes for our students' learning, and for our workload and mental health. There's bluffing going on because PBLA is being done differently in every jurisdiction. We already know who is losing this game.

Anonymous said...

No Koolaid Here

These stories need to be revealed. This could be what outs the SPOs and CIC and IRCC.

Forward this to your MP and MPP and ask them what they are going to do about it? Ontario election coming up.

Share your wackiest PBLA stories here.

LEADS where I work have written things like "weird" and "why would you think that?" on assessments they have reviewed...but why are they "reviewing modules, tasks, and binders"? Where is that in the EMERGING PRACTICE GUIDELINE?

Another Fallen Soldier said...

How many of us does CIC/IRCC want to retire before they back off? Just wondering if I can take another day of this.

1. Please halt the implementation until there are resources. I would like to see samples of what is expected. My workplace uses punitive tactics to humiliate rather than show us what has to be done. Maybe this is so because "it" can't be done.

2. Fire the people who have made the mess.

3. Get rid of the binders. Really. Use the money to buy useful materials. By the way, we taught using the Oxford Picture Dictionary resources for years and people learned English, got jobs and some have even retired worked. PBLA doesn't

4. IF you like PBLA, then please demonstrate how it is working at your workplace because where it isn't working, it is destroying people. Mature people crying at work should be taken as a bad sign by employers but ours laughs and says, "suck it up"

5. If the Emerging Practice Guidelines are truths, then please when administrators ask for exemptions, changes in their favour, I believe those should transparently be reported. I think games are being played to protect administrators who have harmed their staff by being TOO ENTHUSIASTIC about implementing PBLA. Give us a break.

AND 6...let me work my paid time and then leave me alone so that I can have a life. How does CIC/IRCC expect me to teach, care for and support immigrants if my "well is dry"

I have fallen and I can't get up without help. Please if you are reading this and you have power-fix it. IF you don't have power, please write your story so that I don't think that I am alone in this.

Against it said...

I do not like PBLA. It is counterintuitive and is not better than what we had before. We are producing people who go for the short term gain instead of people who are learning to speak and read and write English. And when they can't complete the tasks they cheat. Then they pass by cheating. How is that better? It isn't. PBLA is a bad idea. Let's stop this foolishness.

ESL as we knew it is Dead. said...

PBLA is flawed; for sure. I believe that everyone knows that there are serious problems with the management of PBLA and that these problems have forces some people out to their jobs. I believe that the push back and denial of the true issues stems from the fear that IRCC and CIC have abused workers with their PBLA scheme, and that they will be held to account for the abuse. CIC and IRCC have set out to make managers out of people without management training, and have stretched coordinators/administrators beyond their abilities. I believe that a class action suit started by those impacted heavily would result in reinstatement of roles, changed circumstances and increased compensation.

How do we find the people impacted most grievously?

PBLA is not just a bad idea; it is an incomplete thought. Whenever something is designed without complete engineering failure should be expected. It was impossible task to expect a pan-Canadian experiment to create a system that allowed students to flow from one province to another without hiccup. Our beer and spirits can't even cross provincial borders without an accounting. We can't expect the difference between provinces and the people in them to be ignored. I have lived in many communities across this beautiful country; we are different. Period. One language system for all will not work unless the materials and resources are neutered, and based on imaginary communities. I spend hours and hours creating materials to satisfy the ever changing realities of PBLA at my workplace only to have the needs that my learners present REJECTED as not being a RWT. Really, I think PBLA has turned into an opportunity for the employers to harass their employees. My workplace looks like a graveyard. Empty classrooms, missing colleagues, "Do not Disturb" signs on PBLA lead door and a supervisor who won't accept that PBLA can't be accomplished in the paid work time.

It is sickening to think that CIC and IRCC has allowed the systemic bullying in the workplace to continue. When will CIC and IRCC announce that they hear the victims of PBLA speaking and that they are addressing the problems? They can't in wilfulness be ignoring us as this opens them up to many lawsuits. They must be ignorant to the truth ; this leaves the employer vulnerable to lawsuits. Please, someone be honest. Consider that damage that not listening to the employees has done. Cruel, and unmanageable PBLA has destroyed ESL. Sorry, but that is the truth.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with all of the above. Our school is the same. Sad that we all have to write anonymously. Everyone fears for their jobs; that's how bad the intimidation has gotten. How has this gotten this far?

Request For a CIC/IRCC Interview said...


There seems to be a problem in your sponsored programs that has been created by your PBLA project.

I would advise a process whereby frightened people are asked why they are frightened. Please find a way to listen to the truth. Your project is ruining lives.

What are you doing to fix the problems? You have created private forums for administration and for PBLA leads. This is wrong. All questions and answers should be clearly posted somewhere. Your inability to do this means that your process is flawed and co-opted by your site administrators. Very rarely has a program been as vilified as your PBLA process.

I wonder if you will "get it" before someone self harms. I have seen seriously mental health issues occurring as a result of lack of rest, sleep and peace. Self esteem is at an all time low with very talented and well educated people questioning if they can teach their first language to others...people who have spent their lives doing just that. CIC/IRCC if you don't act responsibly I atleast hope your sleep is as disturbed as mine. I am eaten alive by self doubt and nervous anxiety because you have created expectations beyond my paid time, have given unprecedented power to my employer to "do what they need to" and you have not provided supports in form of promised resources. I am appalled by how I have been treated, and am sick every Sunday night before returning to work.

I blame CIC/IRCC. I feel that MPs and MPPs need to help us. I have contacted Michelle Rempel. I am waiting to hear back. I am going to speak up and ask for her to investigate PBLA and the service provider organizations. I can't be quiet anymore because CIC/IRCC are not listening. I am crushed. I need help. And no one is listening.

claudie said...

Anyone with a concern about this government blunder should call ir write to the Hon. Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees and to - the Chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. And to their own M.P.

And probably to their provincial government officials - especially Ontario- to ask for an accounting of the ROI of taxpayer money sent to the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. ( From what I can see - millions).

It is painful to think that we need to take valuable time away from the important work of these officials to deal with what looks like an inhouse squabble and the complaints of a few teachers.

However the implications of the disaster that is PBLA and its destructive effect on language delivery to newcomers is serious. It has ramifications beyond our small sector. Apart from the dreadful waste of money and effort there is the degrading of a service that is significant for newcomers’ integration into Canadian society. Flawed though it was before it is now disintegrated. It is not just that experienced teachers are quitting. New teachers are leaving. Learners are short-changed, essentially the government (us) is being cheated.

Learners who come in to get basic language skills or upgrade skills because their survival jobs have melted away, who need to learn labout Canadian culture and society, and get some emotional support during the process of adapting to a new life are unwitting guinea pigs.

Any business knows that for good customer service you have to have HONEST dealings with your clients AND you need to look after your resource people. For the second week in a row my students were told to stay home, class was cancelled so we could be subjected to the questionable “module building” exercise - under conditions of great stress. My biggest problem was when the trainer said that the processes had been researched and proven to be effective. (paraphrase). I’m sure she believed that but it is not true.

Those that petitioned for funding for this project were either hoodwinked by the proponents or willingly complied with its continuance in the face of mounting evidence that it is a blunder, bogus.

Those that are charged with overseeing IRCC and CIC AND the CCLB - please do your job. Look at the flaws. Decide if you should support this. And if you say ”yes”, then tell us WHY. What IS the proven benefit, where IS the evidence that this makes ANY sense, that it is sustainable? And show me the Return on Investment.

Leads claim that it will take another year for us “to get used to it.”. Really?

To “Request for an Interview” - tell Michelle that you are also writing to the Minister fir Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada. I spoke to Rob Olifant. MPs need to discuss this together. I know other MPs have been briefed. That’s how bad it is. (Including the deplorable antidemocratic no-negative-feedback and intimidation tactics.) They need to talk to each other. These are not isolated complaints.

Anonymous said...

"20+ years LINC teacher"

1) Respect teachers experience and expertise and make PBLA optional. Constant AfL is antithetical to the low stress environment we aim to create in language learning classrooms.

2) Offer students an alternative way to move up to the appropriate level besides artefact collection, like exit tests! What a waste of taxpayer money and a disservice to students to force them to remain in an unsuitable level for longer than they need.

3) As has been done in the past in LINC, give teachers a retroactive bonus. Unpaid work that has been done to date to meet PBLA requirements must be compensated at least to some extent. Such a gesture would make an apology a lot more believable and, as others have said, an apology is needed.

4) Eliminate the binders. Students do not want them and they are too cumbersome for seniors and moms with children in tow. Allow digital portfolios as an option.

5) Remove the gag order and allow open communication at our workplaces, with no threat of dismissal if we disagree with PBLA, by sending a very explicit letter to our employers, asking them to hold a meeting announcing this new Glasnost era.

replying to Claudie said...

Re: cancelling classes for module planning: When we cancel classes for module planning (or anything other than legislated holidays), we are told to record our students as present, "for IRCC reporting". To me, this is another dishonest aspect of PBLA, asking us to say that our students are there when they are not. The result is that we appear to have that we have more teaching days than we actually do, increasing the pressure on teachers to produce results (and by results, I mean artifacts).


I thought that I would search TUTELA and find overflowing choices but no...only a few in each Level and skill and some Levels and skills almost empty.

Will someone admit that after all this time PBLA is a failed experiment?

IF TUTELA is evidence, then the evidence proves that there are tonnes of attempts to confuse or convince the "funder" that PBLA is working yet, the resource bank is empty of any usable, valuable aids.

This would be funny if it wasn't my life that I was giving up to "do PBLA right" as my employer is creating it. I talk to friends who teach is other cities, and their PBLA is not my PBLA. The differences are greater than ever before BUT now there are many more factions:

The Funder ( whoever they are )
The Creators (whoever they are )
The Regional Coaches (whoever they are )
The Coordinators ( Hope that you have a kind one)
The PBLA Leads ( They pull the strings by influencing the Coordinator by reporting emerging issues...whatever they want to report true or not )
The Instructors who are heavily burdened with creating many, many documents daily that they haven't been trained to do.

Then you have the PBLA Cheerleaders...who are hoping to become PBLA Leads or Coordinators or Regional Coaches who sell their friends down the river all in the name of PBLA.

Sorry, all I really wanted to say is that there are no good resources, because PBLA is flawed and broken and failing to live up to its promises.

Anonymous Too said...

Interesting comment re: exit tests, since I've read here and elsewhere that, in some (but not all) SPOs, students are absolutely not allowed to move up until they have the magic 8 tasks.
What happened to the Milestones test that we used to hear so much about? According to the CCLB March 2015 newsletter, the Milestones project which started in 2011 was completed in 2015: "The Milestones Test is a highly secure, valid and reliable standardized tool with the flexibility to evolve based on future goals and needs." How many tax dollars went into the development of this test over the four years of the project? Is it being used anywhere? Was it abandoned when PBLA was adopted? If so, why? If such a tool exists, why can't we use it?
Here's a link to the March 2015 announcement in the CCLB newsletter.

SAM: Summative Assessment Manual Vol. 1 (CLB 1 - 2)  SAM: Summative Assessment Manual Vol. 2 (CLB 3 - 4) said...

Even SAM was put out of business. There are 118 available on the CLB website.

Whatever happened to

SAM: Summative Assessment Manual Vol. 1 (CLB 1 - 2)
 SAM: Summative Assessment Manual Vol. 2 (CLB 3 - 4)

E-30 | SAM: For CLB 1-4

SAM provides made-for-classroom assessment tools and supports for CLB-based programs at CLB levels 1 – 4 in four universal themes:

Food & Nutrition
Health & Safety
Home and Community
The tools have been field tested for reliability and validity and include user-friendly rating scales and marking schemes for speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Category : Assessment.

Code : 3F036540.

Availability : 118 Available

Welcome to CLB-OSA said...

What is this? Only one assessment, not 8?

The CLB-OSA is an online self-assessment tool for people who are interested in assessing their English as a Second Language (ESL). These tests are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) and will assess your language proficiency in reading and listening.

Who is Anne Senior Expert Consultant, CCLB said...

...and why aren't SAM and MILESTONES usable if she has put it in this powerpoint to CESBA?

Knowledge is a powerful tool:
CLB/NCLC tools
Anne Senior
Expert Consultant, CCLB

Kelly said...

Dear 'used to love my job,'
Thank you for taking the time to come here and share that. I think we are getting closer to knowing whom to address. It helps to have many willing to come here and share their stories. --KM

Kelly said...

Exactly, Claudie. Over and over they ask us for our feedback, but not just any feedback. They try to shoehorn us with language like, "make it sustainable," and "help us improve it." Until we get an acknowledgement of the wrongdoing and mistakes and an apology, there are hundreds of us with no interest in helping make PBLA "better" or "sustainable." Now if you are willing to go back to the drawing board and start with us, asking us what we want and need to best serve our students, asking us what good research shows to be effective, I'm sure we could fill volumes with good ideas. --KM

Kelly said...

Anonymous Survivor,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. The more voices, the better. --KM

Kelly said...

Dear Anon April 16,
When I learned process re-engineering with Tatham Group, one thing they taught us about is 'tribal processes.' A good process is one that any worker can pick up and do consistently. It doesn't fall apart when one key employee is sick or leaves. What we have in PBLA is an open door for tribal processes to not just crop up but dominate. If you have good admin, you can survive PBLA. If you have incompetent admin, who knows what you'll be asked to do. If you work under someone who is power hungry or incompetent or both, PBLA ends up being a weapon used to humiliate, demoralize and exploit you. This must end. --KM

Kelly said...

Fallen Soldier,
Thank you for sharing your story. I hope I can get someone with a degree of power to come read it here and help us. I'm trying and so are others. --KM

Kelly said...

Good points, Against It. --KM

Kelly said...

Yes, it does seem that the ones unafraid to speak out are far fewer than those who do not feel free to sign their names to their stories. This in itself should ring the alarm bells to high heaven. --KM

Kelly said...

See Claudie's answer below. Let's all do that this week at the latest. --KM

Kelly said...

Thank you for these links. I have a letter I've sent to my local MPP that I will send also to these people this week. --KM

Kelly said...

Dear 20+ Years LINC Teacher,
Brilliant. These are EXCELLENT ideas. Yes, as I think Yuliya's study will bear out, you cannot achieve better student autonomy by taking away teacher agency. --KM

Kelly said...

Anonymous Too,
Thank you for that link. I have not even heard of the Milestones Test. --KM

claudie said...

It is the willingness of our colleagues (whether they be RCs, LTs, Ts, SPO administrators and comply with the punitive demands of the IRCC overseers that astounds and frightens me. They all have free will. Yet each hides behind the mantra “the funders want it”, “What can we do? We have to do what the funders want.” Where have we heard that before? Oh, yes: “We were only following orders”.

This is the/our Canadian government. Supposedly the shining beacon of light to the world, the leader in the compassionate and humane treatment of refugees; the promiser of better, freer, more democratic life to would be immigrants. A government composed of intelligent people, reflecting the will of a generally openminded and compassionate populace. I guess the reality is, scratch a little deeper and we will see our institutions are not as great as we want to believe.

PBLA should be a wake up call. Not the least to those enforcing it. What injustice can be done to others can be done to you.

To those that begat this chosing the pernicious “no negative feedback” of the “Change Cycle” - you are sowing the seeds of YOUR own undoing. This will one day be how you are treated if you do not reassess, reconsider, review. YOUR voice will be stifled, your rights trampled on.
Train the Trainer? Why do good people do evil things? Maybe look to the Stanford Prison experiment for answers.

Well, let me end on a slightly lighter note.
To those RCs, LTs, TS, wannabe RCs, LT, Ts.....
One of my favourite business “jokes”.

“I worked and struggled, and did everything I was asked to do to support the cause and slowly made my way up the corporate ladder with great effort and determination......only to find it was resting against the wrong wall”.

PBLA IS the wrong wall. PBLA is on the wrong side of history.

We understand. At the end of the day you were caught up in believing that this would bring benefits, you were dazzled.
As a PBLA sceptic I try to remember to criticise the process, not the people. But at some point the people need to look at that process and understand that they ALL are accountable for the excesses and failures of the process- and when the process has SO MANY flaws and is hurting so many people (even if you feel YOU and YOUR PBLA may not is unconscionable to continue supporting it. We all have our day of reckoning.

claudie said...

Oh - and the CELPIP TEST for those that need the certificate proof of Canadian Language Benchmark required to APPLY for citizenship but can’t stop working to come to a LINC class? No artefacts there. No stupid binder with inane “artefacts” there.
Government Canada - maybe the problem is the Canadian Language Benchmark “model” of language. CCLB claims it is a “reference”? I think not. A CLB is NOT a “scientific” reference point - like a litmus test. BUT Gov Canada has spent a lot of money developing this wordy, confusing, at times incomprehensible, thin, scatty “document” and by golly, we’re going to get our money’s worth - or at least pretend we are getting our money’s worth. Noteworthy. K-12 - beginning to use CEFR. Yesterday on TESLOntario webinar there was a reference to B1,B2. I asked in backchannel...if this was CEFR (knew it was..) Someone answered “Yes. Equivalent to CLB 5/6.”
Where’s evidence? Why don’t we just use CEFR as seems other educational frameworks are. Why all this amateur effort to develop a Canadian “framework” - that has led to the befuddled inconsistent draconian PBLA to try establish it as “true”. GAH!

claudie said...

I’m adding the Hon Laura Albanese to this list - Ontario Minister of Immigration and Citizenshiip.

Other provinces? Please add .

The silence is deafening said...


Please post here to support your friends that have been abused by PBLA. It is time for all to band together so that IRCC can see that PBLA has caused harm. I support and agree with the other posters. I hope that IRCC will take us seriously.

5 of my friends at work have been off or are off because of PBLA abuses. PBLA is causing mental health issues. There is too much work to do. The work doesn't fit into the paid day. I feel like an indentured servant fearful that I will lose my job so I sacrifice my unpaid time to do the job. I AM A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE IN CANADA AND I AM BEING EXPLOITED

Supporter #1 said...

I have asked my union to investigate why PBLA has been allowed to harm the three colleagues that are off work now with illness related to PBLA. It is time to fix this. If your union won't investigate, then it might be time to move on to a labour lawyer or the labour board.

I have done what I can to support my colleagues. I now work my paid hours only, and when asked why things are not "ready" or "done" I ask, "When would you like me to do that, and what should I exclude from my day?"

CIC/IRCC the shoddy and hostile PBLA needs to be abandoned.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what "harm" has this caused? Please be more specific and not discuss generalities. I believe in the PBLA and the expertise of those who have developed it. I used a similar approach in the past and it was extremely effective. The task based assessments are effective in giving learners the skills to apply the language to the real world. Old traditional teaching that focuses on grammar and fun topics that only serve the teacher's interests are long gone. The training in PBLA has brought the standards of ESL teaching up a few levels and justifies being able to call ESL teaching a profession. Look at the K-12 curriculum that teachers need to follow and build their lessons around. The curricula are based on standard competencies and create standardized teaching to build the same skills of students at each grade level. K-12 teachers are considered professionals. So if ESL teachers want to be considered professionals, they should embrace a system of teaching such as the PBLA that is comprehensive and effective. The only recommendation that I would bring forward is to compensate ESL LINC instructors as fairly as other professionals in ESL programs that are in government institutions are paid and to build in more hours that create a sustainable wage so that they have time to learn and apply the PBLA. It is more a matter of being treated like professionals and not the PBLA tool that is at fault. This way if an ESL teacher does not want to be bothered with teaching to a higher standard then they can choose to teach where the qualifications and expectations are much lower. Then they can perpetuate the perception that if you speak English, you can teach it and those teachers can just walk in and teach without well thought out lesson plans and can then just give them final grammar tests that have nothing to do with real world tasks.

Kateryna Tereshchenko said...

Hi there, I just found a Pilot Module on CCLB site, it is 26!!! pages in total. Presented as a Pilot Module, it was created by a group of individuals who actually copyrighted it, as, presumably were paid for it. Do they expect every instructor create similar Modules?

Kelly said...

Dear 11:21 a.m.,
Lord help me. All of these erroneous points have been disproven and set to rest many times over the life of this thread. Sigh. And why, if your opinions are not ones that can get you fired or blacklisted, are you posting here anonymously? --KM

Anonymous said...

Call me tired and anonymous if you need to distinguish this post.

These are my requests:

1. With PBLA in place, as it exists currently, you need to pay a teacher at least 1 hour of prep/admin time for every 1 hour in the classroom.
I do not know how teachers in the classroom all day do it - i.e. find and prep materials related to tasks, etc.
And I do not know how teachers NOT in the classroom all day survive. They are living below the poverty line if their income is not somehow supplemented.

2. Alternatively, prepare a full set of modules for all levels, all skills with all support material in place so that we don't have to spend unpaid hours and hours doing the same. Don't forget to keep these materials up to date and to change the tasks regularly.

3. Clarify immediately where PBLA is pointless or impractical, for example mixed level senior groups, evening classes where continuity is a huge challenge, etc., and stop expecting compliance for such groups.

4. Do not expect any class to be 100% PBLA based. Reduce the amount of tasks. Then there will be time for other activities. Some students learn best when they are having fun!
That's how I learned another language most effectively, coupled with routine reviewing on my own time. I certainly did not leanr by having lessons anchored to a "real world task". Years later, I still recall the novels, the radio programs, the t.v. shows, the songs. Is that really so terrible to have in the mix? Don't forget games!

I've wondered about concerns with expenditures (federal government) of public money on refugees. I’m trying to understand this very controlled approach to language training.

Kelly said...

Dear Tired and Anonymous,
I absolutely agree with you, especially on these points:
2 - YES! Before we are expected to "do" PBLA, we need complete modules with all the materials for every settlement topic and every level. I have found such resources for health topics on Tutela, but not for the other settlement themes. When I use those materials, PBLA is do-able. But that brings us to another of your points. All good TEAL professionals need time for principled eclecticism. What is the point of going to these conferences and staying up to date on the most current research in SLA theory if we have no time to try the ideas in our classes? I liken PBLA to the Brown-headed Cowbird. She lays her eggs in another bird's nest and leaves. Then the warbler stays so busy trying to keep that huge nestling fed that her other babies die. Being forced to do all PBLA all the time is WRONG and worse than foolish. We are robbing our students of all our other knowledge, robbing them of the variety we were once free to give them--healthy variety. No, I don't want to go back to grammar translation, but that doesn't mean we should banish metalanguage.
And you make another very important point. IRCC and MCI need to send out an urgent memo to all SPOs letting them know that seniors, foundations literacy, mom and tot programs, and a few other specialty classes need to be free to drastically modify PBLA so that we are indeed executing a student-centred model, not imposing something burdensome from above that does not take into account their special needs. --KM

Anonymous said...

That post has to be a plant (government infiltration? manager? lead PBLA?) Not one teacher I know of likes it - and I know a lot of ESL teachers in many schools. PBLA DOES NOT WORK and is the worst thing that's happened to my chosen career in my many years of teaching, and that includes the waste of time that was 'creating (mostly fake) term plans' (now trashed - time I will never get back from my life). If PBLA is so great why have nearly 700 teachers signed a petition to get rid of it? Every student I have taught since the onslaught of PBLA has entered my class with lower language skills (because they aren't learning any grammar any more - which is the basis of language learning) than before and this is not about demographics. Also, why are you posting anonymously? Ask me the same question. I'm posting anonymously because I fear for my job and still need to work. Also, did the pro PBLA poster above actually say this: Old traditional teaching that focuses on grammar and fun topics that only serve the teacher's interests are long gone.
and this: The training in PBLA has brought the standards of ESL teaching up a few levels and justifies being able to call ESL teaching a profession.
and this: Look at the K-12 curriculum that teachers need to follow and build their lessons around. The curricula are based on standard competencies and create standardized teaching to build the same skills of students at each grade level. WE'RE NOT TEACHING K-12! We are teaching seniors and mothers and refugee claimants and we have continuous intake and people who can't read and write and people who have in some cases had no formal education!!!! How can you even begin to compare ESL with 'real professionals' . How insulting to suggest that the hard work ESL teachers have been doing not only teaching but counselling and juggling and creating fun and interesting lessons in which they not only learn but have fun is less than professional!? I am so offended. I can't write anymore. seriously. A higher standard!?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

PBLA sucks. There is no amount of compensation that can make up for that fact. Here are some examples of specific 'harm' it has caused: students aren't learning the language, teachers are exhausted and ill , teachers are squabbling, money has been wasted, binders have been left behind, paper has been wasted, students are bottle necked on waiting lists in classes unable to move until the required number of tasks are done, in-fighting, uncomfortable staff rooms, angry students upset when they fail, hostile teachers insisting students pass or else, students dropping out, programs in disarray, managers checking up on teachers, ESL programs falling to pieces, and nobody has any fun anymore. What kind of teacher is anonymous above who thinks that 'fun' should not be a part of learning? I'm glad you're not in my school or classroom. We used to smile and laugh a lot Now all we do is gripe and complain.

Anonymous said...

I only have a second but I've been reading. One thing I want to say is "Keep the binders" I like that the students have somewhere to organize their tests etc. My students keep them at school. Gotta run, might write more later.

Kelly said...

I agree. That is a beautiful resource that someone was paid to create. I think we can all agree that PBLA can possibly be part of a balanced approach if such resources are provided. But each of us should not be expected to produce module plans and materials ourselves with this level of detail. Yet some administrators, supported by trainers and leads (or vice versa) ARE requiring the creation of huge, detailed module plans to be done before the start of every module. My team rebelled against that and won because it is not one of the non-negotiables of the funder. Rather we have been allowed to go back to just doing our monthly reports, which are detailed enough to give the funder a clear idea of what is happening in our classrooms, what the objectives of each module were, which techniques and resources we used to get students to the end goal, how we arrived at the decision to teach that topic, etc. I mentioned to my team lead that the same information is also available on my daily lesson plan, which we do not submit. I would happily photocopy it for them if need be. --KM

Binder reply said...


Do you mean keep the expensive learning companion binder? or do you mean keep the checklists? All of the content information is available on line therefore accessible for free. The binders are part of the wasted money...there could have been many excellent classroom resources purchased with that money.

I like the checklists too. I agree with the checklists but we always had checklists and always used checklists. I disagree with keeping the expensive binders. Too heavy.


The average Linc Instructor salary in Canada is $68,006 per year or $35 per hour. This is around 2.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $48,000 while most experienced workers make up to $95,000. These results are based on 44 salaries extracted from job descriptions.

Related jobs Average salary
Linc Literacy Instructor $70,938
Linc Instructor $69,962
Citizenship Instruction Instructor $62,179

The average Linc Instructor salary in Ontario is $68,601 per year or $35 per hour. This is around 2.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $48,000 while most experienced workers make up to $96,000. These results are based on 30 salaries extracted from job descriptions.

Gross Salary68,601.00 $
Federal tax deduction- 9,031.79 $
Provincial tax deduction- 4,418.77 $
CPP deductions- 2,593.80 $
EI deductions- 858.22 $
Total Tax- 16,902.59 $
*51,698.39 $
In Ontario, Canada, if you make 68,601.00 $ a year, you will be taxed 16,902.59 $. That means that your take home pay will be 51,698.39 $ per year, or 4,308.20 $ per month. Your average tax rate is 24.64% and your marginal tax rate is 29.65%.

ESL contract are $25 per hour and 25 hours a week on average.

Do the math. Maybe this explains why LINC likes PBLA? They get extra pay per day at a higher rate.

The rest of us go to the food bank because PBLA is so much work that we have had to quit our second jobs that allowed us to eat fresh and healthy foods.

This is all shite. CIC and IRCC need to make a common salary for anyone delivering PBLA and supply the resources. They must know that ESL teachers are exploited and have not done anything to fix it. Maybe now.

Friday night and I am working on PBLA instead of being out with friends but I am broke anyways so couldn't afford it even if I had the time.

PLBA is FLAWED said...

PBLA has pretty much taken over my life. It is like an obsession. An obsession to complete the task of delivering PBLA. But there is no RWT assessment for the Instructors that are tasked with PBLA. And it must be remembered, people who deliver PBLA are instructors; not teachers. Our pay was not designed to accommodate the strict curricular requirements that CLB/CIC/IRCC have demanded in PBLA. I am trying my best but I can’t complete everything that my employer asks me to do in my paid time and now my employer has visited my classroom to tell me that I haven’t achieved PBLA...that I am in a performance review program...that even though I work more hours than I am paid for, that I take work home every day, that I work 4 -6 extra unpaid hours and day , that I work 10 hours on the weekend...that I am deficient. That the fluid nature of the CLB is not reflected in my work. That the tasks my students chose are not CLB aligned. All this from people who have not taught in years.

CIC/IRCC you are responsible for giving the employers this power to abuse. Have you considered looking at the impact your decision to allow employers to design their own inhouse PBLA rules. It has ruined my workplace. PBLA has ruined every workplace.

Coordinators, PBLA leads and head supervisors like managers and principals in schools can abuse their employees at will. Expectations can be set at any level because all they have to do is appeal to CIC/IRCC and the changes will be made. You know, maybe CIC/IRCC need to poll the instructors on the floor before they allow a SPO (service provider organisation) to make the changes because instructors have been hurt by the changes that have been allowed.

If changes are to be made CIC/IRCC should be responsible to send the asked for change to each instructor impacted and then listen to the instructors. My workplace has been steered by a small group of PBLA lead instructors and administration to a level of work that is exhausting instructors. Something has to give.

CIC/IRCC your experiment has failed many of your “employees” yet the biggest victims are the learners. Before PBLA my students learned more. They were learners. Now they collect artefacts. They are worried about the numbers. TASKS, HOURS, PAPER. Hmmmmmmm. A full day is lost each week doing administrivia. Another full day each week contorting activities to fit into the PBLA model. The students are frustrated that so much time is lost managing a system rather than learning. By the way, I teach people who have achieved university success in their first country and worked as professionals. They do not understand why CIC/IRCC think that they are idiots. Their word.

CIC/IRCC please if you are reading this. Talk to the instructors that are hurting. Maybe there are good SPOs with no problems but maybe the people there are just so frightened to lose their jobs that they are silent. WE are mostly women. Protect us.

ME TOO. US TOO. Save us from PBLA injustices.

Anonymous said...

I'm still "tired". I'll probably spend about 10 hours more this weekend prepping for next week's classes.

By chance I just came across this:

From the link above: said...

Reflections on Teaching LINC in Toronto & Vancouver (under PBLA)
I taught LINC full-time at a LINC centre in Toronto for just under two years. Now that I’ve moved to Vancouver, I have also taught as a supply teacher here. In Toronto, I earned $30 dollars an hour at one centre and $40 at another. In Vancouver, I earned $33 dollars an hour.

My conclusion: Due to the implementation of PBLA, the wage provided by LINC schools does not justify the effort, which is to say, the job is no longer (financially) worth doing. (This is probably not a shocking conclusion to anyone trained in PBLA.)

Let me explain. Firstly, I’ll start with something positive.

If you want to read the rest click here:

claudie said...

$68,006 a year?

We are LINC. We get $36.99 an hiur. 5 hours in classroom. Prep time is included in $36.99. We are laid off for two months in summer. You do the math. An additional two hours a week is given for thise implementing OBLA pro tem - but we have been warned this will probably nit continue ( extra two hours..nice, BUT probably not enough for extra thinkwork and paperwork and creatingwork ( on top of the extra hours for teaching materials work, field trip arrangements, project planning etc..regular school administrative work...)

Did you get the number from a jobpostongs board? Notoriously unreliable.

Kelly said...

Where are you getting your data for the average LINC salary? I agree that the average hourly rate is probably around $35/hour, but how many LINC instructors work 40 paid hours per week? At my agency, 25 hours per week is considered a full load (two classes per day). Some of my colleagues with families or thinking of trying to buy a house do also have an evening class or have a side gig as a test invigilator, something of that nature. I don't know how they do it.
As for me, I was making less per hour in the private sector before changing careers to this, my calling, but my annual salary was 30% more before, not to mention the excellent benefits that I gave up to pursue teaching settlement English. I did not get into this for the money. In fact, I did not even know what the pay rate was when I went off to Toronto to get my TESL.
For me, one of the most dangerous narratives circulating is the idea that PBLA can be "fixed" if we just throw more money at it. I do not agree with that at all. I do NOT want to spend my entire weekend and every evening drowning in prep and marking. That does not allow me to have a healthy life with time for my relationships, exercise, cooking healthful meals, and just mental downtime. When we the instructors are burdened with coming up with all the assessment tools and marking all of them, we go around stressed out all the time. Having PBLA leads and trainers constantly peering over your shoulder destroys morale. No amount of money solves any of these problems. Having resources at our fingertips does solve SOME of the problems, though other issues would remain. --KM

Kelly said...

Dear "Still Tired,"
Thank you for pointing us all to that article. I agree with some of what the author says, but some of it is dangerously misleading. The part I have the biggest beef with is his citation of students dissatisfied with teachers who just had them sit around reading the newspaper. We need to be very careful about such anecdotal evidence. Do we have hard numbers from any surveys to show us what percentage of nationally or provincially funded settlement English teachers were, before PBLA, conducting classes in such a way? I myself have indeed encountered unprofessional, lazy, burnt out teachers who should have gotten out of the field, but in my experience, they represent/represented a tiny fraction of the professional body. I believe it was the responsibility of the SPOs to weed out such deadwood and the responsibility of the funder to reward SPOs doing good human resource management and audit, survey students, etc. in order to flush out those horrendous teachers. If they are the reason PBLA has been foisted upon us all, then congratulations, government. You have brought a nuclear bomb to a knife fight. What about those of us who are devoting ourselves to being the best in the field, constantly attending conferences and webinars and reading professional journals and books in order to bring the most principled approach to our classrooms as we possibly can? Many of us bring invaluable gifts to the table, and we are being shackled by PBLA. I offer the example of my former colleague Maria Margaritis. She brought a wealth of professional knowledge, education and expertise on PTSD and more to her classroom of 10 or so foundations level refugees with a variety of special needs. They needed Maria. TESL Ontario trusted her professionalism enough to have her train the rest of us on the topic of PTSD in our classrooms. They trusted her enough to publish her articles. And yet she was not trusted to teach those vulnerable clients in the way she believed was right. She was forced to administer PBLA in that class with those vulnerable clients. She reached burn-out in ONE term trying to protect her students from PBLA. So as long as we are going to talk about the deadwood in our profession, let's also talk about the gems and what PBLA does to their morale. --KM

Kelly said...

Dear "Keep the Binders,"
Did you know that some teachers do not have a brick-and-mortar permanent space in which to shelve those binders daily? Have you watched a mother of three try to get back and forth to school on the subway with a stroller? Before these 2" binders--made heavier by a reference book contained next to their portfolios--all students could either pick up a 1" binder at the dollar store or I would provide a used one (recycled from other departments at my agency) to those who were recently arrived and too overwhelmed to go get a binder. I feel very strongly that the 2" monster binder must go.
At my school, there is only one teacher who does not allow students to keep their binders in a classroom cabinet. So what do I see her students doing? One elderly lady puts hers in a handled shopping bag and hangs it from our chair rack in the hall hoping it's still there the next morning. Another hides his on some rarely used stairs. Still others come to my door begging to be allowed to stash it in my cabinet. Back when they had slender binders, I was dead-set against allowing students to leave their binders at school. I emphasized the importance of reviewing papers once at home in order to increase the chance of retention, in order to show ownership of learning. But when the binder weighs what these do, I no longer preach to them but rather give them a compassionate sigh and try to work out a solution so they do not have to tote the monstrous thing back and forth daily. These are not credit courses!!! We are supposed to be HELPING these people, not making their lives more difficult! --KM

Kelly said...

Yes, some schools have negotiated X number of paid PBLA prep minutes per teaching hour, but that does go down over time. I think it's highest when you're in the training phase, but is intended to be phased out to nothing as you become accustomed to implementation. --KM

Looking for answers. Easy to find. said...

While googling "PBLA problems" I found this link:

Who did this to us, when and why? Here's the answer.

Joanne Pettis
2011 TESL Canada Conference
Halifax NS

Thanks for sharing said...

Yes, read this description of PBLA from 7 years ago:
"There is access to sufficient and appropriate
assessment tasks, tools, and other resources.
(Slide 4)
Where did the experiment go so badly wrong? Would things have been different if "assessment tasks, tools and other resources" had been developed and tested first instead of expecting instructors to develop these each and every term?

Disappointed in Pettis said...

Slide 4

• Programs display a constructive and positive
assessment culture.
• Assessment is related to students’ learning goals.
• There are clear standards, required protocols and
appropriate resources to conduct assessment.
• There are rigorous procedures for quality assurance
and quality control of teachers’ judgments.
• There is access to sufficient and appropriate
assessment tasks, tools, and other resources.
• There is professional development for teachers and
supportive monitoring of assessment practices.

Too bad that they emphasise "required protocols " and "required protocols for quality assurance
and quality control of teachers’ judgments." but haven't supplied the resources.

"monitoring" is closer to hazing from my university days. The mentors are brutal.

WHY is there "access to sufficient and appropriate
assessment tasks, tools, and other resources" as promised.

CIC and IRCC should be outed for the abuse they are implicated in. People should not have to sacrifice their lives to be ESL teachers. Could it be that CIC and IRCC are in the middle of an affirmative action process whereby they are trying to eliminate the native speaker, Canadian born teacher so that they can hire a more diverse workforce who are willing to work unpaid hours without complaining. If that is so, we need to work even harder to protect these vulnerable workers.

Really, CIC and IRCC you have gotten it wrong and you have unleashed a terrible scourge in the world of ESL. Please poll the teachers independently away from the SPOs. People are exhausted and fearful.

Quality control of teacher judgements? said...

I can't understand how they can quality control my judgements other than by undermining the teacher autonomy of each instructor. Why would they want this? Have they hired people who are not qualified? Even if that is the answer, you cannot quality control someone's judgement without causing a demeaning of people and crushed self esteem.

Pettis, what a mess? Did anyone else know that she is the main voice behind this disaster?

Kelly said...

Dear "Thanks for Sharing,"
I think this experiment would have gone a lot more smoothly had we instructors been valued as the experts that we are (of our own classes) and had been consulted at every single step of the way, as was done in Belgium during roll-out of Task-based Learning--which, by the way, almost all of us were ALREADY DOING in Canada before PBLA came along.
As for Joanne Pettis, I thank her for trying. I'm sure she means well. I hope she means well. But an encounter I had with her sums up for me one of the biggest pitfalls of this roll-out. It was in Toronto at a PBLA sharing hour. I told her that I did not believe PBLA was appropriate for my morning class, a multilevel class for seniors, folks over 55. She made her arguments and I came back with mine. I explained that these retired engineers, doctors, university professors, etc., did not need to be taken back to kindergarten to learn how to organize their work in a binder, their study habits were already working for them and were set in stone. They are self-starters. They don't need the LINC classes for citizenship or future employment. She said that they sounded like a 'special' group. I said, "They ARE special! VERY SPECIAL!" And she said, "Well, the government is putting a lot of money into this, so they had better get with the program." I kid you not.
THIS is the patronizing attitude that is at the root of so much of the divisiveness we are experiencing. A skilled project promoter knows when to acknowledge a flaw in the model. She had a huge opportunity in that moment to say, "Really? I hadn't realized there might be groups like that out there. I need to go back to my team and let them know. Are there other demographics who might not benefit from this one-size-fits-all model? Really? Foundations literacy? Refugees suffering from PTSD? Oh, thank you for telling me. We may have to go back to the drawing board on some of this." And I would have walked away happy to have contributed to making PBLA sustainable instead of feeling disempowered and frustrated. --KM

Kelly said...

Dear Quality Control,
This is one of the main points that I hope was uncovered by Yuliya Desyatova's recent and ongoing study: what happens when you take away teacher agency. A friend of mine who is on the CLB Board shook his head and wondered aloud why it is that this field (TESL) does not avail themselves of what other branches of the social sciences can teach them when it comes to rolling out a big project like this one. Agency is HUGE. The PBLA inventors and promoters skipped a very crucial step. Consult us, honour our feedback. Listen instead of dismissing and patting us on the head or labelling us as resisters and saboteurs. --KM

claudie said...

#5 Don’t produce any more “resources” until you check the validity of the PREMISE and the every “pedagogical” requirement. If I see one more “ model” module - whether brief/cryptic - or so overblown ( PBLA Pilot modules) I shall scream. They are ALL useless to the teacher. Each cohort we teach is different. Generic Modules that are just exercises in the mechanical act of patching in RWT (snort), competency area, etcetc are USELESS unless they include resources and detsiled lesson plans. They do not take into account the make up of different classes, the AVAILABILITY (OR NOT) of appropriate teaching resources AND teaching spaces nor have they calculated the time required to “do the module” properly. (PBLA inventors and followers have obviously never heard of time and motion studies.)
Modules created by others are USELESS TO ME AND OTHER TEACHERS....( Maybe lowest levels if resources and lesson plans attached). Administrators trying to help their teachers by spending time designing “drop down” menus to lesson preparation time? Gimme a break.
Dulplication of work, inefficient use of teacher time, insufficient
evidence that all the “make work” truly benefits the learners is the hallMark of PBLA. I have spent 11 hours on Module 4b. And still not finished. Am I an incompetent teacher? Not at all. Neither are those who spend hours complying. So we will produce good modules to satisfy the powers that be. Which I
predict I will NEVER USE. Let me go back to planning long term and lesson plans in MY way, calibrated to the learners I need to teach, my available and class appropriate resources, my teaching style, my learners’ needs. Not someone else's over or underestimation of the class in front of me. Or simply to fill CCLB’s need to show funders “CLB” application...One size dies not fit all. Don’t throw away any more taxpayer miney.

SPO refuses to accept resources from TUTELA said...

You are right, there are resources. Yet, the resources that are available are not allowed by a certain SPO that is making their employees sick. Every little thing needs to be created by the employee to look exactly like the "model"...hours and hours of busy work that exhaust the teachers, rip of the learners, and make a mockery of professional judgement. My SPO has many,many excellent teachers that are being brainwashed and water boarded into clones of the PBLA MENTORS who are not required to teach. How does this bring a picture of what it means to be Canadian? It teaches newcomers that if you don't conform you will be canned all the while our country promotes diversity, self expression, creativity and a relaxed, safe lifestyle. I don't lock my house most of the time, because I feel safe there yet I am constantly looking over my shoulder wondering when the Gestapo will arrive for a walk through. Heaven forbid I don't have the scaffolding right or my students will be held back. Really, this is hurting the students because PBLA is not what Canada is.

I am Canadian, born here, schooled here but married to someone from a former Soviet country. They see the same fear in my eyes and they worry for me. They ask where the creators of this disaster are from wondering if they realise the hostile environment that has grown up around their experiment. SPOs have absolute power and have the ability to sic the PBLA leads on staff."Sic semper tyrannis" as my partner says.

I want joy to return to ESL. I need peace in my workplace. My students need to laugh. They need to heal. They need to grow. They don't need a white binder full of artefacts that mean very little when they are in the real world. I have learned by partner's first language without RWT binders, and I have taught my children the same langauge. I am fluent in Canada's two official language. My students have taught me Spanish and a lot of Arabic all without RWTs.

The experiment needs to be packed up, boxed up and put in a time capsule.

Please and thank you.

Specifics for the Administrator who doesn't want to believe that the experiment is hurting people said...

Reply to April 26, 2018 at 11:21 AM

"Please be more specific and not discuss generalities"

I need to work 12 hours a day to deliver PBLA. I am face to face with students for 5 paid hours and have 5 mins per hour of paid preparation time. So I work 6.5 hours for free daily. Is that specific enough? This has been a rapid escalation of work duties and increased responsibility that has not been compensated by the employer, cic or ircc.

Then the work that I do is analysed by peers who report any thing they "feel" is wrong (emerging issues) to my boss who takes it to her boss who then can "fire" me according to a document that is included in the PBLA prescriptive from CIC and IRCC. The document is called The Chance Cycle.

IRCC and CIC have endorsed a process to encourage SPOs to fire people:

I think this is poor form.

I don't know what you want to know. There are no created resources that take an instructor from Skill building to skill using/ RWT the way where I work skill using has been forced to not count as a binder assessment so to get to a RWT assessment we need to skill build several items then skill using with peer and self assessment and THEN only THEN can we administer a RWT assessment...all of this needs to be marked, and given feedback...all the while in a system created by our SPO to fail instructors because the process is so onerous. By the way, the people who help the employer "monitor/mentor" us DON'T HAVE TO TEACH. Yes, you read that right! Our PBLA leads don't have to teach so they can't really advise us on how to do PBLA because they haven't delivered it in a continuous intake 30 student, 4 skills and 4 competency environment. Our PBLA leads did "PBLA LIGHT" in an early cohort and even then only for half a day, and I know of one who had a supply instructor teach the class and she parachuted in to do her "tasks" after the supply instructor delivered the training. How does that make someone an excellent mentor of PBLA?

I am sorry but I am writing way to much to justify my opinion to someone who may not even care to support changes. BUT, PBLA is BAD in the SPO where I work. I suggest that CIC and IRCC survey the instructors using an independent agency because where I work anonymity is needed to protect ourselves from negative consequences; think CHANGE CYCLE.

Something has to change. For the workers. At this point it is not about the students as I am worried about the terrible working conditions of 12 hour days, increased responsibility and irresponsibe SPOs that demand work without the promised resources.

So, if you want more info than this, you can post your name and contact info and I will send you more sensitive information that would identify my SPO. I don't want to do it publicly. I can tell you that my SPO was lead down the garden path taking us with them. It didn't end well for us.

May Day said...

" May Day is a May 1 celebration with a long and varied history, dating back millennia. Throughout the years, there have been many different events and festivities worldwide, most with the express purpose of welcoming in a change of season (spring in the Northern Hemisphere). In the 19th century, May Day took on a new meaning, as an International Workers’ Day grew out of the 19th-century movement for labour rights and an eight-hour work day in the United States."

An 8 hour work day. I would give my teeth for an 8 hour work day. I feel that CIC and IRCC and my employer are exploiting me. I am being abused. I am being forced to work unpaid beyond my paid time. I am not being provided the resources to do my job. I am be threatened with being initiated into an "improvement program" if I don't read my employers mind as they harshly review my work when comparing it to the CLB. CLB has provided no fulsome examples of what they want yet they allow my employer to critique my work harshly even though they haven't had to do the 12 hour days , 6 days a week to meet the victimizing requirements of PBLA as designed by my employer.

Sad thing is, my bosses supervisor does not think 6.5 unpaid hours a day is a bad thing and they support each other. The supervisor, coordinator and PBLA leads sit for days behind "do not disturb signs" critiquing best efforts of myself and colleagues driving their workforce to distraction and tears.

Please, how do I celebrate May Day? With 6.5 hours of unpaid work.
If you ever wondered why people don't like PBLA, you now have your answer.

A trusted source told me. . . said...

A colleague told me that they heard Joanne Pettis say (with pride) at a conference that PBLA is her legacy.

Class Action Suit Against Joanne Pettis said...

Reply to A trusted source told me. . .May 1, 2018 at 7:05 PM

I guess we now know who to file the Class Action Suit Against.

Anonymous said...

I've been teaching ESL for 8 years and using PBLA for almost 2. I just read a few posts here and some of the comments. I'm surprised at the vitriol towards it. If PBLA is so difficult, I wonder how were you assessing your students previously? Using exit assessments from the SAM? If so, is that at all accurate, or does it privilege students who grew up taking standardized tests and punish those who didn't? Is photocopying and marking those worth $40 an hour? Or did you give out new CLBs by observing and using your intuition? If so, how did you back up your reports?

I don't think PBLA is great, or terrible. I think that needs assessment, task based teaching and teaching what students want are all great. Creating assessment tasks is a lot of work but, done correctly, it gives more accurate results than other methods that instructors across Canada used to use. A lot of smaller programs in my city used to have very inaccurate CLBs before they learned to align their assessments to the CLB document, and this led to a lot of disappointed students who received CLB 7/8 but then failed college or university English tests.

What I don't like is the goal setting, it's not very useful for stage 1 students and my class has never seemed very interested in it. The binders, I could take or leave them. I don't like the focus on 8-10 tasks per skill, when four strong results in the four skill areas can often show us that a student has earned a CLB.

At least PBLA is evolving and some are looking for ways to make it easier. Check out the new rubrics from ISSBC on tutela. I use them now and it takes me about 5 minutes to create a new rubric and 1-2 minutes per student per task for my marking.

I saw a few people mention on here that their program will not allow students to move to a higher class until they have completed 8 artefacts. This is not correct, they should be able to move up but should not be issued new CLBs. Have your LTs ask their regional coach about it. At my college we move students periodically if they are exceeding the expectations of the class that they are in.

In the end, PBLA is like gravity. You might like it, you might not, but either way it exists and is probably not going away. You can learn to live with it, and life will probably be easier. You can fight against it, but this will be really stressful and you probably won't win. Or, you can move to another planet. ;p

I don't make $40 an hour said...

I have taught for 3 decades. PBLA has brought several unpleasant truths into the spotlight. Change exists; true. Yet, change should include the stakeholders who will carry the largest burden of change. The implementation of PBLA has not included the burdened voice of the classroom instructor;nor have the promised resources been delivered.

I don't earn $40 an hour.

You have posted something that you don't like. I would like to make $40 an hour, earn and work 8 hours pay a day and then be free to live my life. Unfortunately, some SPOs are implementing PBLA in a manner that brings hardship onto their employees. If we band together, we can fix the unfortunate circumstance.

Please remember that colleagues should work together in solidarity to make all workers environments safe. Mental health is deteriorating for some workers as posted some are working 12 hour days under threat of dismissal if their work isn't "sanctioned" as CLB aligned. There are indeed true hardships. I support your dislike of goals, may we support the hardships of others.

Kelly said...

Thank you, "Don't Make $40," for your show of solidarity with those who do not have a voice. For the benefit of "Teaching 8 Years" and others, I want to offer a couple of scenarios that have led to what she perceives as vitriol, as well as help explain how students are getting trapped in lower levels than they should be.
Eight Years, I agree that we had a problem with some schools not adhering to the CLB before. I used to get students from a certain other school coming to me with CLB 4s and 5s in the system who could not function at CLB high 2, low 3. I can only guess that perhaps that other school promoted them too quickly because they needed warm boties in their dwindling upper level classes. That's wrong, I agree. But now let me share with you what is happening at a different SPO in my city. The CLB 4 teacher is not allowed to give "achieved 4" (that magic benchmark that allows students to apply to take the citizenship test) until all 32 to 40 artifacts are collected. Because she is overwhelmed with stacks of marking, those students are not moving up and out. That means she has no open seats in her class for the level 3 teacher to promote into. So those students are frozen in time waiting for seats to open up so they can move. The same is true for the level 2 teacher (he's waiting for 3 to have open seats) and the level 1 teacher, on down to the literacy teacher. So why don't some of those students come over to my agency? We are only two blocks away. Some do, actually. But the majority of our newcomers, as you know, bond with their teachers. They have been through so many changes, having been uprooted, having lived in refugee camps. They don't like unnecessary change, most of them. And so they are spinning their wheels at this other school where a corrupt owner is using a very strict interpretation of PBLA to keep his seats filled and the money flowing in from IRCC.
Eight Years, I am going to try your suggestion re having our LT contact the regional coach because even with all the common sense decisions at my SPO, they still are forcing the foundations literacy teachers to collect 32 to 40 artifacts per 250 classroom hours, which does not make any sense when you consider that these people do not fall into that category of "the average learner with 8+ years of prior formal education" who are expected to change a benchmark about every 250 hours of instruction. I believe we need to give these learners closer to 750 hours to work their way up through the literacy levels and finally into the mainstream. So I will try your idea and let you know how that goes.
But here is my issue: why should 100 teachers at 100 schools have to prod their LTs to go back to their RCs, especially considering that some, such as those at the school managed by the corrupt person I mentioned earlier, are terrified to make waves?
I suggest rather that IRCC and MCI admit that communication and training have been insufficient. I suggest that they acknowledge the labour standards violation complaints and issue an urgent memo listing all the illegal and unethical practices currently being used by SOME SPOs that must immediately cease. --KM

used to love my job said...

I too have been teaching for nearly 30 years. I am not at all surprised by the vitriol expressed towards PBLA. I'm interested in knowing how you think the PBLA 'tasks' present an accurate view of the students' skill levels and language abilities. Teachers were not given standardized tests to use; we have had to develop the curriculum from scratch - a ridiculous concept. Every teacher's ideas of what a level 5 'task' looks like is different. There is no consistency in the tasks from teacher to teacher, school to school. There are hard working teachers, lazy teachers, teachers who are focussed on the English language (grammar, sentence writing, paragraph writing), teachers whose idea of a task might be filling in an application form or some banking document (online banking anyone?) Students are sent through to the next level because they 'passed' 8 tasks, and pass and fail where I work, has become the sole focus of the students; many don't bother coming to class if there's not going to be a test. Before the disaster that is PBLA, and I don't feel that the word 'disaster' is hyperbole, teachers DID use their intuition - indeed we did - and we did needs analyses as we were all taught to do in our teacher training. We made judgement calls to avoid situations such as this: student A has been incorrectly assessed and will be held back because he or she has to do 8 tasks in all 4 skills (since all teachers work at different speeds - it might take them an entire year to move out of a level 5 class simply because they haven't completed the tasks which makes absolutely no sense and is so very punitive ) Eventually he or she will just give up and quit. Creating, delivering and marking tasks does not give us a more accurate result of what students can do. The task results - aka test results - are skewed and much less accurate than our previous intuitive assessments and evaluations. Students cheat. Tasks don't 'match' from level to level, teacher to teacher. Also given the fact that most of the teachers are creating 'real life tasks' based on silly modules such as finances and banking (my students complain constantly about the fact that they're no longer learning English - they already KNOW how to do banking, so I don't do it) students are arriving at the higher levels, because they've 'passed the tests', much less prepared than they used to be. They're not getting any grammar or learning any language structure. They don't know how to read or write a simple paragraph. They don't know how to write a sentence or spell. They do know how to copy and cheat though, and the result of that is that teachers who enjoy punishing students (and many do) become even more punitive administering different tests in class for different students, going on about cheating in the staffroom (I caught another student cheating! There is NO WAY he is ever moving!) nice. I recently heard a teacher brag that only 40% of her students pass her tests. Since when did pass / fail become the sole criterion for language learning? Also, if students are planning to go on to college or university as you suggest in your comment about how they are failing tests, how are they ever going to be prepared if they are no longer learning how to read and write? If the only speaking they're doing is to prepare for tasks, where will they ever develop the spontaneity and fluency that they need?

used to love my job said...

I"m not finished yet: continued:
They get to level 7 by filling out application forms and doing repetitive 'real life' tasks from 'modules' created by teachers who enjoy jargon and making charts and rubrics, but seem to have little natural instinct about how to actually teach students the language. Language is acquired through many different methods. PBLA restricts and inhibits teachers from using their instincts!! It also ensures that everyone is focussed all the time on the binders and filling them up, rather than actually teaching students how to use the language. PBLA is not evolving, it is devolving and stressing people out and the students' language skills are going down the tubes too. They are no longer focussed on anything but pass and fail, and will cheat if they have to in order to race to the next level and be done with it all. In nearly 30 years of teaching I have never seen such a mess. The only connection I can make between PBLA and gravity is the fact that the gravity of this situation is beyond the pale. Our students are a vulnerable population. They have no voice, so we have to advocate for them. Blind acceptance is what got us into this mess in the first place. I for one refuse to accept the fact that it is not going away. Sometimes people make bad decisions; smart people retract them, apologize and choose a different route. If you're lost in the bush are you going to keep on walking in circles until you collapse in frustration, or sit down, be sensible, and make yourself a shelter and a fire? I choose the shelter, and refuse to believe that I just have to learn to live with it. It's not gravity, which is essential to life. It's an ill conceived plan that needs to be taken down.

claudie said...

Dear May 2 Anonymous Teacher of 8 years. I think the most important element needed for students to succeed and flourish is to have the teachers love them. Don’t you agree?
Do you love your students? I hope so.
I wonder how many languages you have learned. Did you collect “artefacts” for promotion? Do you think that if you had your language learning would have been more successful?
I have learned six languages. No portfolios. No rubrics. Just common sense and motivation and joy. The only artefacts I saw were those in a museum (to which we were taken to marvel at history, enjoy creativity, learn about the country I was in.) No “assessments”

You see the sun shone, the world turned, gravity kept us humble. and millions of people learned languages very successfully. All this before PBLA. And in the close to 20 years I have been teaching I saw some of those teachers you criticise for not assessing “correctly” (presumably you did a longitudinal study) achieved miracles and make a difference in the lives of their students.
Proof of the pudding was when the students returned and shared their achievements in work, academia, life, with those same teachers. I wonder how many “PBLA” graduates will have the same successes? (btw - Today I (sadly) showed a young woman who had “achieved CLB 6 in all skills and who arrived with a burgeoning binder that her writing was about high Level Four. I promised her I would help her catch up to the rest of the class.
Your flip tone, your superficial understanding, your confused logic insensitive remarks do not reflect well on you - maybe you ought rethink them. I was impressed with your honesty about not liking this ir that part of Pbla (actually seemed just about everything except the assessments!) Please extend the same tolerance to your colleagues who criticise the assessmentcreation and artefact collection. And if you were able to just learn to live with it to make your life easier there are those of us who can’t because we have to speak out when we see injustice, and when we see perverted pedagogy and fraudulent behaviour that harms the profession, the learners and us
(We’re speaking out for you too.)
In solidarity. In TESL.

Work Related Illness said...

Even Coronation Street has it figured out:

watch 9:00 to 9:25

Work Related Illness

Too Much Responsibility
Too Little Time
Too Little Pay

21st Century Killer

Oh, and this is what CIC/IRCC/CLB want to do to their employees.

I hope that they are ready for the lawsuits.

May 2 2018

Anonymous said...

I get paid $30 per hour. What I'm paid for prep time is a token amount. If I were paid for all my work, I'd be satisfied. As things stand, I know I'd make the same or a bit more in Ontario at a minimum wage job. Possibly with a lot more free time, less stress. It's too bad that I love teaching ESL! I want to be paid what regular public school teachers get paid (not supply teachers). That would be appropriate.

Make sure to fix the problems said...


A Sneak Peek at TESL Ottawa's Spring PD Event --Workshop D: TESL Administrators Forum - moderated by Giselle Leduc

In this session, Giselle Leduc from World Skills will moderate an informal forum for administration to discuss issues, solutions, and best practices.


I support this idea. I hope that unions get access to the surveys that administrators have done. I hope that unions get a hold of Yuliya Desyatova
University of Toronto
Yuliya is pursuing her PhD at the University of Toronto with a focus on pedagogy-oriented research on language learning. Her experience includes teaching LINC and TESL.

I hope that all of this misery ends soon. I can't do it much longer. My family is hysterical with me. My husband wants me to quit my job and go work at Tim Hortons.

Make the bad PBLA implementation processes go away. Give us resources. Then leave us alone and please oh please give us our lives back.

Anonymous said...


I work for a Southwestern Ontario school board and the PBLA needs do not teach full time. I believe that if all PBLA Leads, who were chosen because they are perceived experts, should teach full-time so that they can share all the excellent work that they create in their classrooms with the rest of us. This would solve many problems regarding workload and resources if the PBLA leads had to teach full-time. They would fully understand what the workload was so that they could share emerging issues with the employer. As it stands, the PBLA leads cannot possibly understand the workload, cannot advise or create resources that fit PBLA reality because they don't do the job. PLUS the PBLA leads don't teach part-time either. They don't PBLA at all.

The employer recently did a survey, that I believe is required by "the funder" and most, if not all surveyed suggested that the PBLA leads must work full-time classroom hours as the Emerging Practice Guidelines say is the way to deliver PBLA.

Does anyone else have PBLA leads that don't teach full-time? Our PBLA leads don't teach part-time. They don't have students. They cannot possibly understand the reality of the PBLA workload to represent our needs/issues to the employer.

Let us all know if your PBLA leads teach full-time or part-time or not at all like the ones where I work.

Please if you have any other issues that go against the Emerging Practice Guidelines please post them here! Everyone needs to know what is going on. We all need to work in fair working conditions.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone approached the Labour Board? Or considered a class-action la suit?

Anonymous said...


claudie said...

The young woman held the 2012 CLB document up and declared we should all carry this book with us at all times. She cradled it to her face and said we should sleep with it. Everything begins and ends with this document. This confirmed my belief that CCLB (Canadian Centre for Language Benchmarks) is the Party and PBLA (“Portfolio Based Language Assessments”) is its political arm
That was one of my takeaways from the “Getting Down to Brass Tacks on PBLA Assessments “ presentation given by PBLA Regional Coach Lisa Herrera at BCTEAL’s 2018 conference yesterday.
I had hoped to find detailed evidence based information on “what really needs to be in an assessment tool and why” and to “learn or review the basics of CLB-aligned assessments”. Instead we got Ikea type instructions - (as in Some - um, more than some - assembly required) and very confusing directions: DO NOT say “good” but say “”OK”, and DO NOT to give percentages but 70% is a “pass”.

Yes 45 minutes is a short time but something is either “true” or “false”. I came away more than ever convinced that “PBLA” Is false. YOU CANNOT RELIABLY ASSESS LEARNER’ TRUE LANGUAGE ABILITIES USING TEACHER CREATED ASSESSMENTS IN AN ARTEFACT COLLECTION IN A “MY PORTFOLIO “(misnomer). (Whew) (Btw - have learned six languages. I have been teaching ESL successfully for 17 years 4 months)

This type of “assessment creation” is neither valid nor consistent and is just a “Test” of compliance to the Party ideology.
Totalitarianism and Evangelism alarm me equally. The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks should not be underestimated. The desperation with which the ideology is being promoted “because the Government has spent so much money on this it is NEVER going to go away” should be taken seriously.

And as this is a Federal initiative Provincial governments should be very concerned.

We all should be.

Anonymous said...

"The young woman held the 2012 CLB document up and declared we should all carry this book with us at all times. She cradled it to her face and said we should sleep with it. Everything begins and ends with this document."


The Labour Board must hear about this is your union won't act after this infringement against worker rights. I am saddened by the suggestion that we sleep with a book. I can't believe the irresponsible behaviour of the funder to allow this exploitation of vulnerable workers is precarious employment.

It is time to push the unions and worker groups to act. This is now 100$ untenable and even Cintia Costa et al should object to being told to sleep with a book. My bed is for sex and sleep. To suggest that I should do other Lisa Herrera has crossed a line. This is a very sad day.

claudie said...

Ag, probably Lisa Herrera was trying to inject some “humour” into an otherwise not funny subject but was not suggesting we literally sleep with the 2012 CLB document!

But that we should study study study study it as it is the prime authority for ESL/LINC English language delivery in Canada.
I had heard the “sleep with the CLB book” (with a haha) expression from another Lead - so maybe that is how the PBLA Training script suggests the message that the CLB 2012 Document is THE BIBLE should be hammered home.

I have never seen an independent peer review of the 2012 CLB Document. Has anyone?

Please read the two posts by “used to love my job” May 2, 2018 3.59 and 4.02...They are astute. They speak truth.

Anonymous said...


Regional Coach Lisa Herrera What is going on?

"DO NOT to give percentages but 70% is a “pass”.

An Ontario ESL department just posted that we need :

General Comments,
Next Steps,
and Percentages,
Rating Levels:
1( 0 to 49% ) Beginning
2( 50 to 69% ) Developing
3( 70 to 79%) Completing
4( 80 to 100%) Mastery


BTW is Mastery even a politically acceptable term? People don't say MASTER BATHROOM anymore because it is an insulting term. Can we not do better than this? It is offensive to me.

Regional Coach Lisa Herrera you said that we DO NOT give percentages but 70% is a “pass”. So what do you expect implementers to do? What do we do? I can't take any more confusion.

And Regional Coach Lisa Herrera you are being irresponsible when you say that we should sleep with the CLB. You are suggesting that we exhaust ourselves. You are suggesting that we must work beyond our paid time. You are suggesting that our employers violate employment law. You are causing the problem. Thank you for admitting it.

Lisa, do you think that I deserve a life? I don't even make $30,000 a year. I walk or take a bus to work. I use the library for internet to do school work so I am tied to their hours. I can't afford internet at home. Lisa, how much money do you make each year? Do you have a car? Can you afford internet at home? Stop being flip about our circumstances. It is bad form.

You are out of order. Bad form.

I don't want to sleep with a book. If it was a joke, then it was in poor taste. I am sure that you are aware that instructors are under a lot of pressure and are stressed. Maybe instead of joking about the CLB you could make some phone calls and find out why some employers are not supplying resources, nor accepting other agencies PBLA resources and why they are cherry picking the most onerous aspects of PBLA to enforce.

Anonymous said...

A bad dream.

Could it be that there is a spectrum of expectations? That CIC/IRCC expect different things from different programs and that they haven't explained it well?

University, college, trade school, adult education and community programs all attract different kinds of students that have different needs. Has this been lost in the translation of the PBLA. I hear threats from some anonymous administrators, warnings not to sign petitions to ward off negative "implications", peers thrashing peers. All of this can be avoided if CIC/IRCC/CLB sit down and think about the hardship their silence, not surveying the instructors, and allowing the SPOs to free wheel. Please step back and look at the mess you have made.

Everyone is tired. All stake holders from administrators to students, instructors and their friends and family. Someone f@#ked up seriously. Fix it please.

Non credit ESL is a joke now. 1000's of teachers creating assessments without proper training is causing a lot of student distress.

Anonymous said...



May 7, 2018
Written by - Sridatt Lakhan

Kelly said...

Dear "Stay Out,"
I agree that we should not be joking about something that is destroying the field as we knew it, and our morale along with it. Someone at the London annual conference this past weekend made a PBLA joke and I could not laugh. It's not a laughing matter to me. Not at all. --KM

Zsuzsana said...

I hear you and agree with you, Fallen Soldier. This entire PBLA prison is a farce on some days and a nightmare on others. Shaking my head...

All posts by Sridatt Lakhan said...


I love your blog posts on TESL ONTARIO

Everyone should read them. They speak loudly about the ineffective and inefficient PBLA. Many have written in support of SRIDATT

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have the know-how or desire to start up a non-PBLA ESL school in Ontario? I'm ready to quit my job, but it seems like this mess is everywhere and I can't afford to not work. Unions for the most part can't support us because of course union reps are afraid of losing THEIR jobs. It's so utterly disheartening. The job I put my heart and soul into for many years is no more, and yet I still want to help the students and offer them some real language training. But how? I don't like how I feel. It goes against my principles and all that I know about language learning to force this on my students, or 'fake it' to management (or risk being reprimanded or lectured by someone who knows nothing about how to teach a language). I don't know what to do anymore. Feeling sad. Losing the will to teach.


Good Morning,

You must approach your local MP and MPP with this story of yours. You can also contact your local labour board for advice. You can talk to OSSTF Provincial and CUPE Provincial rep. You must keep asking for changes. The fear is keeping people quiet.

Please know that any school without PBLA is not a government funded school. There are very few non government ESL schools. If a student attends a non government school they don't get the "magic" level 4 certificate for applying for citizenship. I have openly wondered to my MP and MPP about possible collusion in the decision to implement the Benchmark 4 level, the INVISIBLE Milestones TEST that was supposed to be the gatekeeper for level 4, and the now implemented FAILED PBLA. If their was collusion, without teacher buy in , then the government has failed to do their due diligence.

People. LISTEN TO ME. Contact the people that are listed in this blog and your own MP and MPP. This has to stop. Sign the petition.

There has been a threat by, I am sure an administrator at some level, someone who said there would be consequences if people signed the petition. They can't fire us all. Let's all sign this petition today:

They can't fire us all. Really.

You know that we need to band together and throw this thing out. PBLA/TUTELA/et cetera who have thrown their name into the public eye thinking that they will get kudos are scared to lose their plum jobs and are pretending to create resources but they are all for LEVEL Three, mostly about health and all come from the same source documents and are just being TWEAKED. There is no GOOD PBLA. There is only BAD PBLA. BECAUSE PBLA is BAD. I work at a small school and we all say PBLA is bad except the supervisor who doesn't have to teach using PBLA. And we need to remember that PBLA isn't a teaching method. It is a way to gather information. It is a teacher driven process that doesn't represent what learners really can do. True assessment happens when a proficient speaker of English models and supports the acquisition of language in a manner where the learner develops transferable language skills. It doesn't happen when nervous students are hounded to pass 32 tests in 65 days.

That is right. 32 assessments in 65 days. Tell your story. Where I work PBLA has been a destroyer off all things good.

Anonymous said...

I am a manager of a department that includes LINC as one of the programs. I have been in the ESL field as an instructor and an administrator for more than 25 years. I was around when the CLBs were in the development stage and have seen the evolution of the CLBs and other documents and research that the CCLB has been developing since the first document release of the CLBs. There has always been dissatisfaction by ESL instructors about the CLBs and now about the PBLA that has evolved from the CLBs. I have taught in ESL programs and have also incoroporated task based assessment methodology in my teaching. So, I do know what I am talking about through my experience teaching, training and being an administrator. Consequently, " I know of which I speak" and I fully support the PBLA.
I can also reassure you that the instructors and the coordinator also see the value in using this methodology. It is based on sound research and is proving to be effective in the results of our students. I can also attest to the fact that the skills of the instructors and the quality of teaching has improved greatly. No one is in danger of losing their job if they are having challenges in learning the PBLA and integrating it into their teaching practice. Everyone is at a different skill level when they start teaching in LINC so we are patient and provide a lot of support so that instructors build their skills without the stress of losing their jobs. I was so shocked to hear in other posts that instructors feel they may lose their jobs if they don't progress in their learning and application of the PBLA.
I hope that we can separate the issues about PBLA; equitable compensation is the issue, not the PBLA itself. Perhaps if the training could be made available in a course outside of the workplace and before looking for employment as a LINC instructor, then instructors would not be as stressed out on the job with learning at the same time as having to teach.
I hope that we can all approach this in a non confrontational manner. Please be aware that your program administrators and IRCC do understand the concerns of LINC instructors. Your voices are heard. Solution focused recommendations, patience and gentle persistence in the message will move the agenda forward, not reactive and unkind comments.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your balanced point of view and your assessment of your experience with the PBLA.

Anonymous said...

Instructors are not the only ones working 12 hour days. Do not disturb signs are the same as your closed classroom doors. Too many assumptions about how the other half lives and works is unfair and shortsighted.

Anonymous said...

Your comments and call to action is unfair and unconscionable. How can you suggest a class action suit against an individual who is only doing her job. Do you realize that you are liable for slander if you promote such a law suit against an individual who has nothing to do with the decision to implement PBLA? If an organization or individual does not want to use PBLA then they can choose not to offer LINC or choose not to work in an LINC program. There are plenty of other programs that one can offer or choose to work in as an ESL instructor. It is your choice.
This post may not be approved because of the biased approach in the comments on your blog, but I would like my comments at least viewed and acknowledged.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher in an ESL classroom and have also been around since the beginning of the CCLBs, and for more than 30 years. I do know what I am talking about as I teach full time and have been doing so for many years. I have had , literally, thousands of students over the years. I see no value in using this 'methodology'. I hear the inside complaints, deal with the stress on a daily basis, see the pain on teachers' faces, hear my colleagues talk about quitting their jobs on a daily basis. I hear the students' complaints, and by the way, our students are intelligent, educated individuals. Their opinions are also valid. Very few of my students like the binders. The students I see are not learning like they used to. Testing and testing and testing simply to fill a binder is not an effective way to teach. There is no consistency in this program. There is too much paper, too much marking, too much work for teachers, too much testing of students. None of the students have looked at the information in their binders which are a colossal waste of money and cumbersome too. I don't think it is unkind but rather honest, to say that I believe that PBLA is a great failure. I don't want to integrate PBLA into my classroom. I disagree that equitable compensation is the only issue. PBLA itself, in my opinion is deeply flawed. I don't want more training. I've already lost dozens of teaching hours to be trained in a 'methodology' which I believe is ineffective. There is nothing unkind about stating my truth from the perspective of someone who has been on the front lines since day one. Gentle persistence simply means more of the same. Teachers are posting anonymously on this post because they need to vent and they do NOT feel supported by management, particularly if their opinion - such as my own -is that PBLA does not work. We all know the funders are requiring this. We hear this mantra on a weekly basis. Even our union tells us to suck it up because it's what the funders require (and our union heads are teachers too so there you go) . Many of us feel forced to do something which we strongly disagree with. We do fear reprisal and reprimands and that is a fact. If there has always been dissatisfaction with the CLBs and now PBLAs then why is this not being addressed? Shouldn't teachers have a say in what they are teaching their students? Are we not the front line here? I think teachers know more than anyone what works and what does not work. Our opinions should be considered before anyone else's because we truly know.

Replying to "Anonymous" of May 15 said...

Yes, we are all anonymous here because we are afraid. This is such an unhealthy work climate.

I've taught in post-secondary, and teachers there are considered SMEs - subject matter experts. A huge problem with PBLA is that we are not considered SMEs. No one respects us or believes that we have any expertise to offer.

As you say, we are testing to fill binders with the required number of tasks. I've become a bean counter.

Anonymous said...

and to the manager above nearly 700 teachers have signed a petition to get rid of PBLA. That is not an insignificant number. I believe more would sign it if they were NOT afraid for their jobs and reprisals. What a strange and indeed, unhealthy climate to be working in . No not gentle persistence. I too have become a bean counter. Summer's coming. I wonder if I'll have the energy or desire to go back in September. Maybe not. IT's not easy to say good bye to a career and change directions but many of us are doing just that.

Anonymous said...


I would like to make a retort to your claim that "There has always been dissatisfaction by ESL instructors about the CLBs and now about the PBLA that has evolved from the CLBs."

I respectfully disagree with your assessment of teachers regard of the CLBs. The CLBs have been embraced since the idea was first floated in 1992. I remember because I had been teaching since 1985 without a guide. In 1993, solid work was being done to create the CLBs, and I was interviewed as a veteran teacher to help create a fulsome process of guiding ESL. It took until 1996 for the document to be published, and teachers loved it. What was missing were resources and the document soon became the basis for curriculum created by school boards (think Toronto, London, Ottawa) instructional lesson plans (think LINC, materials development and assessment tools. Resources were quickly available.

If you are a manager, supervisor, coordinator et cetera please use your influence to push for the needed resources to be created and made available. If I want to build a house, I need more than blueprints. Capisce? I need hammers, nails, wood, housewrap, concrete, power tools, music, food, laughter. You do understand that management has dropped the ball.

If management had acted to pursue resources, I know that we present situation would have been avoided. The problem sits at your feet. Now you may say that you are being victimised. I understand that may be your reaction but before you react, pause and consider how your influence can impact the reality of the instructor who is struggling to complete their assignment because there are not enough "generic" resources aligned with PBLA requirements.

Manager, please use your influence in the PBLA Administrators forums to stop talking about "emerging issues (usually us whiny instructors-right?) and PUSH, DEMAND, HOLD OUT for resources for your staff. That is what you need to do. That is your solution focused recommendation from me.

I was able to succeed in my chosen profession from 1985 up to the implementation of PBLA because there were resources. There have been so many changes implemented so quickly, and so many documents demanded for use in the binder that no one has been able to manage a full iteration of PBLA. If ANYONE says that they have, maybe you should measure their nose because they may be the second Pinocchio.

We have been patient and persistence as we have asked for resources for YEARS and it has been 4 years. Isn't that cute? 4 years of PBLA implementation without an accumulation of resources. Something is seriously wrong. If you feel that my comments are reactive and unkind, then you may need to rethink your definition of those words. I am exhausted. I can't work 60 hours a week and be paid for only 25. That is not kind. Kind would be finally having a full days pay, 7.5 hours with benefits, and a reasonable pay according to the credit structure of the program. I would say non-credit ESL Instructors in Ontario should all be paid $38 per hour.

So there are three solution focused recommendations:
1. CIC/IRCC need to mandate a 7.5 hour paid day for non-credit ESL Instructors
2. Ontario wide rate of pay $38 per hour with benefits
3. Create content for the 10 subject areas of PBLA including classroom material, content area resources (books, videos, magazines) and assessments.

If the three recommendations are implemented, then let's reboot PBLA. BUT let's take a breather until then. And when we start up again, get rid of the binders and inserts because they are an expensive. waste

Reply to Anonymous May 15 at 1225 PM said...

Can you please provide the evidence for these statements:

1) That PBLA "is based on sound research and is proving to be effective in the results of our students." These are two separate statements and I am very interested in seeing the evidence for both.

2) "[T]he skills of the instructors and the quality of teaching has improved greatly." How have you measured this? Anecdotal evidence is not robust evidence.

Anonymous said...

Job posting: Coordinator, Adult ESL for TDSB, deadline May 25. I've been told that outside applicants are being considered.

Anonymous said...

Dear Manager,

There's so much to address in your post. Where to start? Perhaps with a question: Have you taught a full-time class (particularly a Stage II class where the assessment development and marking requires MUCH more time) with the required number of a minimum of 32 CLB & PBLA aligned assessments that you had to develop along with all other course content (as resources that are CLB aligned are few and far between)? No? I thought not. And THAT is the problem. Teachers were NOT consulted in any meaningful way. Most have not been asked for their input at all. The message we are receiving is that there is a complete lack of respect for our skills and expertise. Honest teacher feedback is not only not welcome, it is stamped out. You are to be a "champion" of PBLA, lest you be labeled a "laggard" and let go. Good people are BURNING OUT. Families are suffering. Students, particularly those who have suffered not only the trauma of all the losses involved in emigrating, but also the horrors of war, are stressed by the constant testing (call it what you want, it's insulting to think they can be fooled into thinking it's anything else) and are being harmed by the very people whose role is to provide support.

Even if the results were as wonderful as you say (and I also ask --what evidence do you have of that?) it CAN NOT come at the cost to students' and teachers' health, family and personal lives.

This thing is not sustainable. It's a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

A dark day for the TDSB. One of job posting’s requirement items is “Demonstrated understanding and knowledge of effective program and assessment/evaluation strategies (i.e. Portfolio Based Language Asessment PBLA)”
However many problems (e.g. poor management, class killers, shifting demograohics) there have been in TDSB Continuing Education for ESL this PBLA just adds to them and takes away the good stuff. EFFECTIVE assessment/evaluation strategy? This is not a real world way to “measure” progress and it is not useful to learners. It only produces meaningless data to send to Ottawa.
TDSB what are you thinking? CUPE 4400 - why don’t you stand up for workers’ rights?

Where is CUPE 4400 in all this?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous So Happy that I found this page.

I don't have 5 suggestions as I am too burnt out to think but I want to say that being kind is not only the most professional and effective approach, it also saves time and human wear and tear. PBLA is not kind. It leaves no time for rest or recuperation and makes self-regulation very difficult.

PBLA has to halt until things can be fixed. Nothing will make it better until things are fixed.

Kelly said...

Dear "So Happy,"
Welcome. You know, it makes me want to scream when someone comes on this page and comments anonymously criticizing US for criticizing PBLA, telling us to be specific when we claim damage is being done in the name of PBLA. Well, speaking of KINDNESS, here's some specific damage for you. Maria Margaritis came along into the world of LINC teaching. She was a gift from heaven. She had her psych degree with a specialization in trauma and she had worked with kids and young adults with behavioural issues. She took our foundations literacy class at a time when we were able to open up several other literacy classes at the same time. So she voluntarily took all the hardest cases: the one with acquired brain injury, the old man who after three years can barely print his name, the one with visual impairment, the young woman whose PTSD I mistook for ADHD who after three years in high school ESL had not learned to read a simple 3-word sentence or properly print her name. Maria took them all. She transformed her room into an oasis of calm with a quiet nook in one corner, a bit of carpet, a music player, paints. With expertise and patience the likes of which I've never seen before or since, she managed to get that trauma stricken young woman to stop acting out and start focusing on sound-symbol relationship. She worked MIRACLES in that sacred safe space of hers...all while trying to comply with PBLA's insane artifact quotas. Not being able to do anything about the demands of PBLA drove her to burnout in one term. That is damage, damage I will never forget or forgive. --KM

Anonymous said...

What teacher is allowed to close their classroom door during working hours? None that I know of.

Anonymous said...

Admire everyone's honesty on this blog. This is the way to move forward. I knew something was seriously wrong during the training. No resources or web sites. They got the cart before the horse. No matter how many times we asked at our agency to be shown a complete module........the request was denied. That's very poor training. It always came back has to be customized to the level and the class. That was an excuse.

I also found the handouts & readings knocked the traditional approach to teaching a language. That was a turnoff.

Teachers were never opposed to an update in the curriculum.

PBLA is a disaster for language learners and teachers.

I think a well crafted letter up the chain of command on Walker Road to the highest levels in Ottawa is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

Since when do ESL instructors follow a prescribed curriculum with class texts? You are referring to very old traditional ESL teaching. PBLA is based on a lot of research and it is working at our school. There are too many complaints with very few specifics about what are the issues. Do you have any proof that the old methods work better than PBLA. Those involved in developing the PBLA practices are highly informed and have developed it based on solid research. It would be better to teach in an International school for those who aren’t ready, willing or able up to work to the standards required by PBLA.

Anonymous said...

What exactly are miracles in terms of language acquisition and literacy skills? It is possible to follow PBLA with literacy classes and we have proof in terms of data and PBLA assessments that PBLA works. There has always been burn out in teaching. It is not a new phenomena.
If you don’t like the anonymous option, why would you make it an option. You and others who are defiant towards PBLA and individuals who represent CCLA and PBLA are also very reactive and accusatory so I would not appreciate your ire being slung at me if I were not anonymous.

Kelly said...

Dear June 29 11:45,
Have you even bothered to take note of Yuliya Desyatova's research project? She has some details for you to chew on. --KM

Anonymous said...

Hello Anonymous June 29,

If you think “it’s working at your school”, I guarantee you’re not doing it the way the CCLB wants you to—which, by the what, varies WIDELY, depending on which CCLB coach you’re talking to.

As for research, that was one of my first questions and I was told by my coach that the research was COMING! Incredible.
There’s plenty of good research on formative assessment (and teachers have been doing FA since the dawn of time), but as for PBLA as it is being implemented by the CCLB, there is NO research that supports it. Please cite your research sources.

People have been very specific about the many serious issues with PBLA on this forum and elsewhere. Consider reading before responding. Your DISRESPECT for your colleagues is showing and it’s OFFENSIVE.

iv said...

Dear Anonymous,
Please help me understand your assertions. Please cite some of the "a lot of research" PBLA is based on. By this I mean specifically PBLA in the LINC context, not formative assessment or assessment for learning. Like any funded projects, PBLA should now be able to provide some concrete accountability. You also mentioned that "it is working at our school." What are the indicators? How do you know the positive data are the direct result of PBLA and not...say...good teaching? There must be data out there, somewhere, to justify the existence of PBLA. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to access this information from the relevant agencies and organizations. I am a strong believer that teachers are addicted to making a difference for their students. However, like any best-practices in education, a great idea can negatively impact those we serve if we focus only on its promotion. When you look at all the PBLA requirements, can we honestly say that they are necessary for the learning of English, help students contribute as a member of society, and adjust to the Canadian culture? Or have the PBLA requirements become an additional barrier to teaching and learning?

Anonymous said...

To: Reply to Anonymous May 15 at 1225 PMMay 17, 2018 at 6:28 AM

My questions exactly! Thank you.

I came to this blog this morning to find a particular older post that I wanted to reply to, and as I have scrolled through the comments, particularly the anonymous posts defending PBLA and the powers that be, I have a sickly feeling of brainwashing and corporate control washing over me. It's exactly this feeling that prompted me to leave my ESL teaching position as of this term. I just can't be in that type of environment any longer.

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to reply to this post for a while. (Does anyone have the know-how or desire to start up a non-PBLA ESL school in Ontario? )

I started and operated a private ESL school in the Toronto area which I ran for about 2 years before moving to Windsor. Now that I have left my LINC teaching position here in Windsor, I am toying with the idea of starting up again. There are a lot of ins and outs to running a private school, the main issue being it's a private business with zero funding or acknowledgement from the government. However, I do see a need and a market for for this type of educational institution. Pondering things as we speak LOL. I'd be happy to communicate with anyone or share my experience with those who might be interested in pursuing this stream of thought.

Anonymous said...

Good questions. I do think the Labour Board would be a good place to start, but ultimately, it seems to me that there are too many different employment contracts and situations to find a consistent answer. In the case of my most recent employer, for instance, teachers were working under a contract system, until they decided 2 years ago to simply forego the contract. So basically, the institution holds all the reins while the instructors are effectively disempowered.

penny said...

If you watch an episode of employment hour in 30' on global channel Toronto, you will realize exactly what violations are being committed and exactly what course of action all Linc teachers need to take in order to rectify this situation. If multiple teachers took action for themselves, then ircc and its service providers would take notice. None of the anonymous decision makers or pseudointellectuals are interested in our experience or professional insight regarding Pbla. Especially Linc teachers who are not union members would be relieved to know that they are not in fact powerless or that they have to resign to hopelessness. We can in fact take back our power and stand up for our professional integrity. We have a duty to ourselves and to our students, who we are expected to teach about employment standards in the Canadian workplace.

Anonymous said...

When I complain about pbla around pbla true believers, they always say things like, "Well, it's better than what we had before. We need accountability." But the fact remains that pbla is less effective than the old way. A study by a researcher named Watts from about 10 years ago, claimed that it typically took 250-300 hours to move from one benchmark to the next. Nowadays, it takes 400-500 hours or more for benchmarks to change, thus requiring students to remain in each level for 2 or 3 semesters. I also find that students now are much weaker in the levels they are in than before (my school used to do TOEFL readings in CLB5-absolutely impossible now). That sounds like failure to me. It cannot be 'fixed'. It needs to be scrapped and teachers need to be able to teach as they know how. I have never in my life learned anything 'the pbla way'.

Anonymous said...

"Exactly what "harm" has this caused?"

Thanks for insulting professional teachers the country over. You make dubious claims about how pbla makes teachers 'professional' as compared to in the past when they supposedly weren't 'professional'. Wow, ludicrous crap! Filling out documents and following checklists does not make a good teacher! I have seen many of the materials made by pbla 'professional' and though some is merely ok, a lot is mediocre garbage. Teaching is not following a formula, it is engaging with the students on an on-going basis allowing for flexibility and going on tangents and following the flow of the class. Such things are much harder to do in pbla because teachers are so frazzled from trying to keep up with the mountain of requirements, from documents to modules to everyday materials-it's neverending. It is exhausting so how can you truly be 'in the moment' in your classroom when doing pbla? I know I can't. I am also doing some real teaching in other areas and it is like night and day. I am engaged with the students in my non-pbla classes. I get to focus on the students instead of worrying all the time about fulfilling all the silly requirements of bureaucratic-minded pencil-pushers. I have never in my life learned anything 'the pbla way'! What does that tell you? That it is untested or if it has been used, few can recommend it. My students learned a lot more when I taught in the private sector using good textbooks chosen as a foundation for the curriculum. We supplemented the textbooks, but the focus was always on the students. It is almost impossible to truly focus on the students with pbla. It is not 'professional' teaching, I'm sorry to say. My previous 20 years of teaching at a wide range of schools was real teaching and far more professional than the fake teaching required of pbla. After all, students are NOT LEARNING as much in pbla as they did before. Are you going to claim that that makes pbla teaching more professional?!? Hah, I think most of my students will take the 'unprofessional' style of real teaching over the bureaucratese of pbla anyday. And they will learn more and have more fun, too!

Anonymous said...

Great comment Kelly. We have been insulted so often by those who have drunk the koolaid claiming that we were all just 'playing in the classroom' before. I would expect that perhaps 10% of teachers were time-wasters before, but at least most students learned because probably 90% of the teachers were pros. Now, it doesn't matter. As they claimed, we would only be able to cover 60-70% of the material covered previously and yet by the magic of pbla they were supposed to learn more! When I heard this, I knew right away that the numbers wouldn't add up. If in the past students only learned 60 or 70% of the material we covered and yet with pbla they were only to cover 60/70% of the material, it was almost impossible for pbla to increase how much students would learn. If reduced outcomes is a sign of increased 'professionalism' then I think most teachers and students would rather go with the old way of 1 poor teacher in 10. Pbla is an abject failure and those who insult the real professional teachers in or no longer in our field should wake up and realize that their self-righteous claims are laughable in light of what is happening in classrooms on a daily basis. Students are not learning and pbla's bureaucratic methods and implementation are not compatible with the art of teaching.

Anonymous said...

Great points Kelly! My students have often complained about having to bring the binders every day and the administrators have ordered that they MUST bring the binders every day. They love me because I tell them to only bring the binders when we're going to use them on a particular day. Of course I do not tell anyone this, as I would be crucified for doing this (they hate me anyway because I have voiced very mild concerns in the past).

Anonymous said...

What a joke! I have never made anything near that as a LINC instructor. Who can possibly teach 40 hours a week doing pbla when they workload is so immense? Even 22 hours of contact hours requires massive amounts of preparation time, far more than they pay for.

Anonymous said...

The link no longer exists. And no thanks for this monstrosity foisted on us.

Anonymous said...

"Assessment is related to students’ learning goals."
No, it isn't. I have students all the time begging to learn more grammar and the administration yells at us if we teach more than a minimal amount.
"There are clear standards, required protocols and
appropriate resources to conduct assessment."
Sorry, but that's a joke. There are almost no resources. And clarity is not something I would attribute to pbla.
"There are rigorous procedures for quality assurance
and quality control of teachers’ judgments."
Hah! What a crock! Pbla has no validity nor reliability. A system that is administered as haphazardly as pbla is, has no real quality control. I also work in the field of 'testing' and pbla has no reliability nor validity. It is a joke to claim otherwise.
"There is access to sufficient and appropriate
assessment tasks, tools, and other resources."
More bs talking points.
"There is professional development for teachers and
supportive monitoring of assessment practices."
Hah! The training I have received was extremely amateur. For example, the lead teachers spent an hour of staff training time arguing over what constituted a 'turn'! Don't tell us how to teach by introducing games for learning. Just give us the basics of what needs to be done and time to do it. The training I had was amateurville.
"How can you suggest a class action suit against an individual who is only doing her job."
Wow, what a pathetic excuse. I also do my job, and very well, I might add (my reviews are always kick-butt, especially when I am not doing pbla). If she cannot see the holes in the claims and practice of this debacle...

Anonymous said...

Are the CLBs more accurate than before? I beg to differ. Now, if they are more accurate, the students just learn at a slower rate. Rather than spending inordinate amounts of time assessing and assessing, why not spend more of that time learning? The claim that things are better now does not make sense to me. I used to teach at a private school and the students (if they actually showed up and made even minimal effort) learned more than they did in the linc program (I know because I was teaching both at the same time and would tell the students that if they really wanted to learn listening and speaking to go to the private school-if they had to pay at either). This was before pbla and things are far worse with pbla. I used to use some materials in CLB3 that I now can only use in CLB6. Students now learn slower and are weaker overall than they used to be and many teachers at my school said the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Great points 'used to love my job"!

Anonymous said...

"In nearly 30 years of teaching I have never seen such a mess."
Absolutely! Another teacher who worked for a large company for many years said that the implementation of pbla has been shockingly amateurish. He said that in the private industry, if such a program were so poorly implemented, heads would roll. As another pointed out, if those in charge of implementing pbla were running Tim Horton's, the place would be bankrupt in 6 months!

Anonymous said...

My school also gets all teachers to do surveys, claiming that they are anonymous. Yet, you are to send them in using your school email, so the anonymous aspect is bunk. So of course, nobody says anything of importance in the survey, except those that are trying to score points. They always say they want comments and criticism, but they don't. In staff meetings, we've had instructors attacked from all sides by administrators and leads just for asking inconvenient questions about pbla.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the CLBs have little relevance outside government schools. Companies don't take the benchmarks seriously. What they do is they interview candidates and within 5-10 minutes they know if they want to hire the person or not. That is the real world, not the fake world of 'real world tasks'.

Anonymous said...

"1000's of teachers creating assessments without proper training"
Bingo! And they keep claiming that this system is valid and reliable. What a pathetic joke!

Anonymous said...

"Your voices are heard."
Sorry, that is false at the schools I have taught at.
And I disagree that pbla is backed up by sound research. Researcher Norm Friesen and others claim otherwise. And what I and many others have seen is a weakening of student abilities with the implementation of pbla. For example, my CLB6 students struggle with basic verb tenses-present and past simple! How is this an improvement? It is not at all. We used to teach TOEFL materials in CLB5 and 6 at my school. With pbla it is impossible.

Anonymous said...

As teaching is truly an art, I think pbla is antithetical to this idea. It is much more a bureaucrats dream. This system may have cleaned out a few lazy teachers, but it has cleared out many of the best, most creative teachers. It is not a system for creativity, humour, interaction and enjoyment while learning. It is teaching in a box. Why do people pay lots of money to learn at a place such as Berlitz? Because it works. Who would pay to learn English the pbla way? No one.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but Kelly is right. Teaching is an art. Pbla is bureaucracy. And I do not believe there is proof that pbla works any better than what was there before. In fact, from what I've seen and see on a daily basis, it retards student learning.

Anonymous said...

"Do you have any proof that the old methods work better than PBLA."
Yes, in fact there is proof. A researcher named Norm Friesen looked at some of the research and said that it used to take students about 300 hours to move to a new level. Now it takes 400-500 hours to do the same. That sounds like failure to me.

Kelly said...

Thank you for adding this testimony!