Tuesday, October 30, 2018


I'm still mulling over the five questions Geoff Jordan put to teacher trainers via Twitter about a month ago. After I wrote this blog post, he commented expressing an interest in hearing how my beliefs play out in my classroom practice. So I then spent two more blog posts writing about the rather special demographic that I teach each weekday morning for 2.5 hours and how I try to address their needs.

While my teaching style can seem a little loosey goosey, there are principles that guide me. Two of these concepts are closely related: comprehensible input (which obviously is followed by lots of output) and the idea that less is more, which has been a topic on which I've presented or co-presented six times.

Regarding Comprehensible Input (CI)
In my TESL course, we did spend a lot of time on what our prof called grading our language. Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) was mentioned only briefly, but without using the i +1 terminology, we were still dwelling a lot on this notion of not speaking over students' heads, of making ourselves understood, and of not giving our learners material for which they were not yet ready. When I walked into the LINC 2/3 class where I was to do my first practicum and addressed Tanya's learners for the first time, my mentor said I'd got it bang on. She said it was very unusual for a teacher in training to nail that from the very first utterance. Maybe I get this right because I've tried to learn ten languages and have traveled through areas of the world where it was a struggle for me to communicate my needs. Or maybe teacher-speak is one of my languages; slipping into it is akin to code switching, as I did Saturday when I received a phone call from a political candidate's father back in my home state of Arkansas. Without any conscious effort on my part, I found myself parroting the elderly man's deep southern drawl.

As long as I'm on this topic, I want to say that I believe there is a helpful way and a wrong way for us to grade our language, especially with literacy learners. Leaving out the function words, as if speaking to a dog or toddler, is not--in my opinion--a good idea. Examples: Bad dog. or Stove hot! That isn't natural language. For nine years I've been speaking in full, grammatical sentences with my literacy learners without any puzzled looks on their faces. When I make the content words long, slow and clear, the listener's brain filters out the (relatively) quickly uttered function words until they, the learners, are ready for them. I can say "My NAME is KELLY," where the words my and is are barely discernible. This maintains the natural rhythm of English while allowing the listener to easily focus attention on the words NAME and KELLY as I point to my name tag. By the end of a term in a program with continuous intake, that same learner will have heard me utter this sentence hundreds of times. Don't program unnatural language; that's what I'm saying.

But I do not feel we got a lot of explicit training in creating what Martina Bex calls the comprehensible classroom. That is to say, HOW exactly do we provide lots of aural and written CI and how do we then push the output? That's an area where I'm floundering and searching on my own.

Tangent over.

Called into Question
My blog post of October 15th left off with a note about pedagogical ideas that I'm still toying with but am not yet ready to write about. That's where I want to pick up today. Which principles or ideas am I leaving behind because their validity is being challenged in the literature, and which ideas are catching my attention these days?

Let's talk about the things we were taught that are being called into question. A few come to mind right away:

  • TTT-STT ratio (Teacher Talk Time / Student Talk Time)
  • No L1 in the classroom / how much value is placed on translation
  • The banning of devices
  • learning styles (visual learner, auditory learner, kinesthetic learner)
  • Everything we know about teaching listening
Although I have not yet arrived at firm beliefs regarding what's valid, I do feel it's important not to swallow what I was taught hook, line, and sinker. My responses to each point above are:
  • As long as it's for the right reasons, perhaps there are times when it's okay for me to talk for more than 20% of the class period. 
  • As for first language use, I have come to believe that it has a place in our classes and is a very valuable resource. Lately I've been paying attention to the TPRS movement that is getting a lot of traction in American K-12 language classrooms; translation to the L1 is an essential part of the method. 
  • I no longer ask students to put away their devices unless I see that they are texting friends or checking every Facebook like. If their device use is enhancing learning, I want to work WITH that, not against it.
  • I'm glad the notion of learning styles has been debunked lately. That being said, as far as I know, it is still true that learners do better retaining newly learned material or language in multisensory environments.
  • I'm questioning everything I was ever taught about the teaching of listening. Gianfranco Conti has made me aware of the need to stop giving short shrift to the bottom-up skills, such as the ability to recognize word boundaries.
I can't yet write about these things beyond saying that I'm discarding old notions and exploring new ones. When I feel more confident about my grasp on these ideas, I'll surely let you know.

How about you? What ideas from your TESL training have you come to question or outright reject? Why? How has such a realization informed your practice?

Monday, October 22, 2018


I was very pleased to be asked by my local TESL affiliate to present at their fall PD event this past Saturday. It was fun, and I got a bit more mileage out of some slides that I had put A LOT of time and energy into creating--slides that had only been shown twice before.
TESL Windsor Fall PD Event
As happens at so many of our PD events these days, the subject of PBLA came up. "Cover Less, Uncover More: the Transformative Power of Slowing Down" was the title of my talk. (I offer apologies to the late great Leo van Lier, whose words I've borrowed.) How can I possibly slow down, one attendee wanted to know, when my manager is breathing down my neck to do one module after another and get those artifacts into the students' binders? Had I not got us back on topic, might the entire 90 minutes have been swallowed up by venting and commiserating among frustrated and disillusioned educators?

The annual TESL Ontario Conference is right around the corner, and for the first time in nine years, I'm not going. I'll miss breakfast at The Senator and hopping on the subway to get to whichever restaurant I've decided to try that year. I'll miss wandering up and down Queen Street West, stopping to smell the Johnny Fluevogs. But when I look at the conference program and see workshop after workshop after workshop on PBLA, my heart sinks. I miss the field as it once was and wonder what is to come for our profession.

It's absolutely wonderful that Yuliya Desyatova is doing her PhD research on the impact of PBLA, but what will become of that? Will anyone listen? Will they care? Is there a light at the end of this tunnel? Speaking of that, I hope those who are attending the conference will attend her presentation. I certainly would support her in that way if I could go.
Seen on Queen St. West
In more ways than one, I feel I'm in limbo. Even my presentation felt a bit stale to me. I'm ready for something different. The conference used to offer that. Ken Lackman was always there with something to get my gears turning, like his C.A.T.: a Framework for Dogme. There were so many good workshops that I would lament not being able to clone myself in order to be in three places at once! I would return from Toronto on fire to try new things with my learners.

I'm sorry this isn't much of a blog post today, but I'm not feeling it.

How about you? Where are you at now?

Monday, October 15, 2018

My 'Principled Eclecticism'

My afternoon class is literacy--refugees either learning to read and write for the first time in any language or learning the Roman alphabet for the first time WHILE learning to speak and understand English. That is a whole other can of worms. I'm hoping to do an online class soon on what works for me with that group of learners. So let's not talk about them today.

Let's talk about an average week with the seniors, the group I blogged about here last week. In that blog post I mentioned some things that have not worked very well.

No more fighting the translators
Because so many of them have set-in-stone study habits when they emerge from forty years of grammar-translation style second language education, I have abandoned all attempts to pry the translators from their hands. I have read and heard a lot lately about the value of those electronic dictionaries, so now I am working with instead of against them. By compromising and allowing a lot of prep before activities designated as 'no pencils, no dictionaries,' I'm seeing much better levels of cooperation when I ask students to put the machines away just for a little while.

What Happened to PPP?
In response to this post, Geoff Jordan said he was happy to hear about some aspects of how we teach settlement English in Canada, but was "not so pleased to hear that [we] were given the PPP lesson plan as a model." You know what? I am feeling vindicated right about now because within about six months of landing my first teaching job, I was starting to feel like either PPP was unrealistic or I was a defective teacher. I remember trying to get students to the 'free practice' part of the lesson by the end of the class period, and in the case of my lunchtime pronunciation class, that meant get there in under an hour! I did it in the beginning, but it never felt quite right. When I landed the job as teacher of a class full of senior citizens who were always begging me to slow down, I made an executive decision to stray from that model.

So if I am not following Presentation Practice Production or Controlled practice, semi-controlled practice, free practice, then what am I doing every day? That's a good question. I'm not sure I really know or can articulate it well. I know that I am continually listening in on what other teachers do (such as by participating in #CdnELTchat on Twitter, being an active member of Global Innovative Language Teachers on Facebook, attending webinars, reading books, and listening to podcasts by people like Joe Barcroft and Scott Thornbury. I bring all sorts of ideas to the classroom and try them out. Some become part of our routine and others don't withstand the test of time. Following are some of the ideas and practices that have stuck, at least for now.

The Structure of a Module
Everything begins with a needs assessment. Not only do I conduct formal ones at the beginning of each five-month semester, but we often do impromptu votes to help me with minor decisions all through the module.

Secondly, I plan out a module on a particular topic that satisfies one of the needs expressed by the students. For example, students voted to study health. Topics voted for included talking to medical professionals, making appointments, etc. When I mentioned meeting a naturopathic doctor over the weekend at a How to Fair, students perked up. "Would you like me to invite him to speak to you?" They were keen. So we are now doing a module on naturopathic medicine as we gear up for his visit.

I decide what the objective of the module is: have the background knowledge and vocabulary to understand Dr. Oake's talk, to ask him a question or two, and to make an informed decision on whether to seek a consultation from an ND. From there I do task analysis: what skills do we need to build up between now and the presentation? That's what I try to give them over a period of one to two weeks. This particular group has requested no writing and grammar only as the need arises. So I plan some listening, speaking, and reading lessons.

For every module, we make a vocabulary acquisition plan. We keep an easel chart at the front of the class where that module's vocabulary is recorded--often colour coded and grouped by part of speech. We are mindful of which terms promise good 'surrender value,' as Gianfranco Conti calls it. We may quickly turn to COCA to check frequency of use and pencil a number next to the term.

A Lesson
Every lesson begins with a warm-up. Cognitive science tells us that it's helpful to prime the brain for the topic. I use a variety of activities to accomplish this. It could be a brainstorming session where I'm secretary with marker standing at white board, or it could be "think, pair, share" or a KWL chart. I like to activate prior knowledge. My class is made up of engineers, doctors, scientists, pharmacists, etc. They have a lot of knowledge to share with me and with each other.

I would say that from there, things get a little intuitive on my part. I have my very rough plan scribbled out in front of me, but it's not unlike me to completely scrap the plan if I start to feel that it's not going over well. I try to tune into the learners and get a feel for what they need next.

As for that old PPP model, I haven't forgotten it altogether. I loosely follow the idea behind PPP if you consider that early in the week I am asking students to do something with that week's text (audio or written) that is more 'controlled.' I'm trying always to be mindful of the cognitive load of a given activity. In his book Input-Based Incremental Vocabulary Instruction, Joe Barcroft points out that if we cognitively overload students during the initial phase of new lexis exposure, we can actually inhibit uptake / long-term retention of new language! Sometimes I just let students have a block of quiet time with translators. Often I give examples of usage; I pantomime, draw pictures, and pull up Google Images.

I would say that my teaching style is very activities-based. Once I know what is to be achieved in a particular stage of the module, I reach into my grab bag of activities and choose one that I think fits the need while matching the current mood and interest of the class. If we just did a Dictogloss last week, I probably won't repeat that one this week. Some of my go-to activities are:

  • Each one teach one (Divvy up new vocab two terms per partnership. Each pair produces a small poster with definition, pronunciation, example sentence, illustration. Partner A stays with poster while partner B circulates around room as a student, then As and Bs switch roles.)
  • Jigsaw
  • Dictogloss
  • Conversation groups with photo prompts
  • Extemporaneous speaking (E.g., Students line up As across from Bs; I give each A or perhaps both sides an index card with a topical question and they begin to chat. I ring the bell and Bs move clockwise.)
  • Read aloud with focus on good prosody (linking, phrasing, sentence stress, intonation), remembering that English is a stress-timed language a la Cows Eat Grass.
  • Back to the Well with graphic organizers I developed with John Sivell, Professor Emeritus, AppLing, Brock University.
  • Read or tell a short interesting story then do 'circling,' i.e., yes questions, no questions, which/binary questions, wh- questions
  • projects, presentations, posters
  • role plays
  • pair work
  • group work
  • guest speaker
  • one hour of computer lab per week (buffet-style choices, self-directed)
  • field trips
Team 3 - Teaching us how to fish
While I'm stitching together this patchwork of activities with more scaffolding at the beginning of a module, there are certain principles I'm attempting to adhere to. The whole thing might appear to an observer to be heavily influenced by dogme.  Even though it was just my undergrad minor, I feel confident when it comes to applied linguistics. Having studied ten languages and having aced advanced English grammar courses, I feel able to respond in the moment to intriguing questions about a grammar point or even a trivia question. I try not to let these raised hands hijack an entire 2.5 hour class, of course! I check in with the students to see if the majority want the tangent. If not, we may put it in the parking lot for a dedicated lesson. But if it's desired by the majority, I often give 'pop-up' grammar or pronunciation lessons.
field trip
Within the last year I've become aware of The Learning Scientists' website and materials. I've shared them with my students and together we've made it a goal to incorporate the six strategies for effective learning in my teaching and their practice. So for example, instead of three solid weeks of health, we did a week on reviewing parts of the body and organs followed by a week of their second chosen topic, Canadian culture (Thanksgiving), then a return to health. That's interleaving. We also have two fun games we play for big review, a way to revisit past pages of that big easel chart. Supposedly this is going to help us get new language into long-term memory!

You will notice that not once have I had to mention Portfolio-based Language Assessment. That's because I wrote a proposal asking for the seniors to be exempted, and this was granted. :) We still have the big white useless binders that I force the seniors to lug home over the summer break. We maintain the About Me section and sometimes even create artifacts--not an easy task since their abilities span CLB 2 to 8.

In putting together modules for my learners, I tend to create or find one simple audio or written text and use it in a gazillion different ways throughout the week. I long ago learned to, as Leo van Lier once said, "cover less, uncover more." That one text could be from the LINC 1-4 Classroom Activities binder/pdfs or from the Citizenship Resource. It might be a true story about me or a set of pharmaceutical labels. Sometimes, though not often, I do give an explicit grammar lesson, but it is always driven by a need that has arisen while we were using the language, and I always allow students to vote on whether or not to pursue the grammar formally with rules and exercises and all of that. I'd say we agree to that about twice a year. Otherwise, we focus on grammar in context.

Edited to add: I wrote this quickly without much revision or proofreading. Please point out my typos or errors. Also, I notice I didn't say anything under PRINCIPLES about comprehensible input or bottom-up listening activities. These concepts have made it onto my radar but are not yet a fully-formed conscious part of my teaching approach. I'm still studying. I will attempt to blog about emerging practices and principles very soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

This Teacher, These Students, What Hasn't Worked

Last week I said I would write about how principled eclecticism plays out in my classrooms. The more I thought about what to write, the more I realized that there is SO MUCH a reader has to first understand about my very special group of students. I think it's too much to try to talk about both of my classes since they are so different from one another. So for now I'll just talk about the morning class of seniors, not the literacy class.

Much of the reasoning behind what I do is based upon my discoveries of what did not work with my groups when I tried it. I suppose that while I'm at it, we should also look at the experience, perspective and biases I bring to the table. My beliefs about language learning and their way of approaching language learning both come heavily to bear on what my classroom practice ends up looking like on a given week.

First let's talk about me. When I was in high school, I discovered a facility for language learning. After raking in top prizes and awards in German, I decided to see if I had the same ability to master Spanish. Yes, I won blue ribbons in poetry declamation and extemporaneous reading in both languages at an annual state-wide foreign languages festival in the same year. I became a ravenous student of languages--studying French at university during the day and classical Latin, Demotic Greek, Italian for Business and Travel as continuing education courses at night. Portuguese I studied on my own using Berlitz records. Yes, vinyl LPs!

In each case, I did my best to find a friend who was a native speaker and then offered this person something in exchange for just hanging out with me speaking his/her mother tongue. In some cases I traveled to a country where I could practice. At the age of 21, I went to Japan where I lived for a year with a Spaniard. I insisted we have a completely traditional Japanese household without chairs or forks. In keeping with "when in Rome, do as the Romans," I offered my subway seat to any male I saw standing. I was all in, as they say. I wanted the experience of full immersion. Because Xavier was a graduate fellow at the University of Hokkaido, I qualified for free Japanese classes every week day. I was a student of the same sort of classes I teach today. The Japanese we learned was intended to help us learn to navigate life on campus. We learned to say things like, "Where is the cafeteria?" and "Go past the engineering building and turn right. It's just past the library." The text book was excellent. It came with a set of cassette tapes that I listened to over and over at night in the small apartment we rented on the low-income side of town.

In case you haven't guessed yet, my approach to language learning is obsessive. I want to listen to target language (TL) radio, watch TL television, and learn the lyrics to TL songs. If I run into compatriots in public, I refuse to speak our common mother tongue. That's me. I wonder what biases spring from this perspective and how those inform my approach!

And what about my students?

The LINC Seniors' class was mandated by the government to be one of the specialty niche classes warranting a lower student-teacher ratio--about ten students maximum per class instead of the 20-25 found in mainstream classes. In that way it's not unlike my afternoon literacy class.
Getting library cards
For the past four years, the class has been comprised of at least half immigrants from China with the rest being refugees from Iraq. The Iraqis tend to be risk takers with solid listening skills and good strategic competence; their weak area is often the mechanics of writing. The Chinese students arrive with set-in-stone study habits (such as a compulsive need to copy into their notebooks EVERY SINGLE WORD I write on the board and EVERY SINGLE IMAGE that I doodle next to any word). I suspect their English is the product of forty years of grammar-translation method. They can write well punctuated sentences with lovely spelling, though I note more than a little L1 interference--such as dropping of the copula or subject pronoun, or a sentence like, "The goes-everyday-to-Tim-Horton's man is my friend." They know their metalanguage inside and out and sometimes challenge me as they peer into their electronic translators. I'll say, "Yes, beyond can be a preposition, but in this sentence it's an adverb. Do you want me to explain why?"

Through a series of needs assessments, I have learned which settlement themes and topics they want us to explore. I've also discovered that the Chinese students do not want me to spend any class time on writing. "We don't need to know how to write a composition anymore," they tell me. "We don't need to write resumes," they add. It's why they've migrated here from another school where they were integrated with younger students.

What DO they need me for? The Chinese students want me to help them improve their listening skills and pronunciation. And the Iraqis? They seem content to build their vocabulary and gain the knowledge imparted during a typical semester of settlement English: how to use a bank machine, what is considered polite and rude in this culture, that sort of thing. The entire class enjoys daily opportunities for oral practice. Neither the Asian nor the Middle Eastern seniors want me to spend much time on explicit grammar lessons. About once or twice in a semester we do a sort of on-demand week of grammar. Last term it was a four-week course on the English article system woven in among topical lessons. This semester it was causative verbs and passive causative after one Dictogloss team had written on their chart paper, "M's uncle took his prostate out."

So my big challenge is helping the Chinese students improve their listening skills. Now before I tell you next week what I am doing in class these days, let me tell you what hasn't worked. My attempt at a "Listening Boot Camp" pretty much failed in every way. You can read about that using the following links:

The Listening Skills Dilemma
Listening Boot Camp - Week One
Listening Boot Camp - Week Two

Okay, well that's enough from me for one week! Next week I hope to share not which practices and approaches I've abandoned, but which techniques I'm now employing and how that's going.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Our Teacher Training

This morning my attention was drawn to a tweet by @GeoffreyJordan asking teacher trainers to read and respond to five questions at the bottom of this blog post.

The problem, Jordan says, is that the most prominent teacher trainers seem to be paying too little attention to the questions "what are we doing?" and "is what we're doing effective?"

He goes on to cite research supporting the importance of implicit as opposed to explicit learning. I'm thinking he means language being taken up as a result of buckets of comprehensible input as opposed to months of grammar lessons from a coursebook.

It's always interesting to me to follow these debates in global and British circles of English as a second (or additional) language teachers since almost all of these educators do teach from a coursebook. We settlement English teachers in Canada do not, as a rule--though many of us find useful coursebooks on Amazon Marketplace or at conferences when we steal away to browse the publishers' displays. Pages from those squirreled away books might end up being useful on occasion, but our mandate is to sculpt a syllabus where topics are drawn from regular needs assessments, objectives are task-based, and the approach is communicative.

Let's fast forward to the five questions at the end of Jordan's blog post and see if we can answer them from the perspective of teachers reflecting on our own training. How were we taught to teach? How might our trainers answer the five questions?

Q1. How did our trainers transmit their views of the English language to us?
Q2. How do we think people learn a second language? How was language learning explained to us?
Q3. What types of syllabus did our trainers discuss with us? Which type was recommended to us?
Q4. What materials did our trainers recommend?
Q5. What methodological principles did our trainers discuss with us? Recommend to us?

Okay, so I'll get the ball rolling and others can chime in using the comment box below.

A1. My principle trainer went to great lengths to maintain a poker face and not reveal her biases, if any, as we undertook a survey of the most prominent SLA theories. I got a distinct feeling, however, that she agreed with Chomsky on the existence of a universal grammar and looked down on Krashen and the Krashenites. It was made clear, however, that I was to survey the literature and draw my own conclusions. One of the essay questions on our final exam dealt with this very thing. Which theory did I believe and how would that inform my teaching? I remember responding that I didn't feel able to conclude that one theory was 100% valid and the others rubbish. I said I would use an eclectic approach and hope that something might hit the mark.

A2. It was explained to me that L1 acquisition is different from L2 acquisition in that there is a window of plasticity that ends at around the age of puberty. If you don't get to the child with the L2 exposure by that age, then the child will never achieve native fluency. That's what I was taught. I do NOT recall getting a lot of information about any of the comprehensible input streams. That I've had to find out about on my own.

A3. We read a book about syllabus design and discussed it in class then took a quiz on it, I think. I remember it was a slender little green and black book, but that is all I remember. I kept the book and referred back to it after landing my teaching job, but I could not tell you right now any of the contents. We were taught how to build a unit / module backward from the objectives by doing task analysis. That's what I've had to know how to do. Everything in LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) starts with the needs assessment. Every semester is different.

A4. My trainer brought in a variety of books for us to examine and discuss--some more communicative in their approach than others. I remember seeing the Azar grammar books at one end of the spectrum, Grammar Dimensions, and a few others. We were tasked with choosing one to use in a class and defend our answer. With our trainer's heavy emphasis on communicative methods, most of us concluded that Azar made a nice supplement for assigning grammar homework, but that it wasn't appropriate for daily use. In the end, we all knew we would have to make each lesson and the materials from scratch.

A5. My trainer really drove home the obsolescence of the grammar-translation method while ensuring we understood the Canadian Language Benchmarks. My training (beyond the bachelor's degree) consisted of around 360 classroom hours. Half of those were theory and half practical. We learned how to create a PPP lesson plan and how to divide the allotted time among the three stages: presentation, practice, production. We learned how to let students learn inductively or deductively--what each of those lessons might look like. We learned how to create and conduct listening, speaking, reading and writing lessons that follow one another and how to assess using a rubric. When it comes to assessment, I learned some principles that are very important in assessment creation, such as face value.

I'm so glad that Geoff Jordan has raised these questions because the area where I feel my training and teaching has been most lacking is the area of effectiveness and the link between current / emerging SLA research and my practice. I feel as if I've sort of been thrown to the wolves. It's up to me to sift through all the journals, books, and articles and figure out what is likely to give my students the biggest SLA bang for their buck (time spent in class).

I have purchased MANY books with my own money and have read them with highlighter in hand and tried then to apply some of the ideas in my practice. These include but are not limited to:

  • Teaching Unplugged by Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury
  • Uncovering Grammar by Scott Thornbury
  • Teaching Lexically by Hugh Dellar and Andrew Walkley
  • The Language Teacher Toolkit by Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti
  • Input-Based Incremental Vocabulary Instruction by Joe Barcroft
  • Fluency through TPR Storytelling by Blaine Ray

Yes, blog readers, I owe you a lot of book reviews!

In all of my reading of both the books above and countless scholarly articles, I have one question in mind: what really works? What is the most effective way for my students to acquire second language in the time we have together, and how can I help them?

I also spend a lot of time reading about and listening to podcasts about cognitive theory in general and how it informs teaching of any subject. For example, I'm following the Learning Scientists and have begun to share their principles with my morning class as well as employ such things as spaced practice and interleaving in my teaching.

Thanks, Geoff Jordan, for bringing this up!

NB: This is blog post #2 of 2 today. Scroll down for the first one.

Leading Research on PBLA Addendum

This is blog post one of two today.

Last week I gave an update on the work of Yuliya Desyatova, but I left out an important date. That's an upcoming webinar on Tutela open to members of TESL Ontario, I assume.

Here is the text of an email Yuliya sent out this week to update us all on her activities:

Dear Colleagues,
I hope you are enjoying what September has to bring.

Here is a brief update on the research project you contributed to.

New season of conference presentations is ahead, and I hope some of you will be able to join one of the events:
  1. Oct 3, 2018 – TESL London Annual Wine & Cheese, where I will be the invited guest speaker this year – PBLA Implementation: Did we achieve what was intended? Thank you TESL London for your interest in current PBLA research!
  2. Oct 24, 2018 – TESL Ontario Tutela Webinar on a similar topic
  3. Nov 2, 2018 – TESL Ontario Annual Conference, where I will be presenting on Teacher Learning in PBLA: a critical analysis.
The last paper is currently being peer-reviewed by an open-access Canadian academic journal, and I am optimistic about being able to share the link to the published article with you by the end of the year. More papers and conference proposals are in progress with the goal to ensure that all your voices are present in both the academic and policy-making circles.
I will also be sending an invitation to join me in submitting a proposal to present on whatever issue you find pertinent to language learning and teaching in Canada for the Metropolis Conference in Halifax in March 2019. The goal of this conference is to facilitate dialogue and exchange between researchers, government, and non-government (community and private) sector partners”, which might be a very good place for the conversation on PBLA and LINC/ESL in general. If you think you might be interested in presenting there, please let me know.
Last, but not least, the significance of this research project has been acknowledged by the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, which means that this year I will be able to extend my invitation to your learners to participate and share their perception of PBLA. More details to follow.

Best regards,

In addition to my bringing you this update from Yuliya, a commenter on last week's post wants everyone to be aware of a Q and A on Tutela for cohort two administrators. It's on October 4th at 11:00 a.m., ensuring that teachers cannot listen in.

Ciao --KM