Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation

In 2017, Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary. The following online resources must be useful to instructors in order to teach Canadian English and skills-integrated English language activities on this particular theme when the Wi-Fi is supported.

  1. Canadianism: 55 Canadianism you may not know or are using differently: https://geekdad.com/2013/12/55-canadianisms-1/ GeekDad offers this one page information about 55 Canadianism that can be asked with if the class is familiar. This webpage includes the information about different vocabulary used in the United States and in Canada. Writing up a short quiz for a warm-up activity would be a good idea.
  2. Ancestry Project: https://www.ancestryproject.ca/ Ancestry Project (Sharing Canadian Culture Creating Digital Stories) is a blog a team of two authors started writing in January 2017 celebrating Canada’s 150th Their courses and educational content will be continuously added throughout this year. For ESL instructors, Famous Canadians, Immigration Stories, Canadian Songs have been posted up until now.
  3. Chris Hadfield (YouTube videos): https://www.youtube.com/user/ColChrisHadfield/featured Christ Hadfield is the first Canadian astronaut to operate Canadarm, walk in space, and command the International Space Station. He also sings and records the videos of the songs that he writes and sings on YouTube. His videos can be good audial/visual materials for interactive or cooperative activities using songs, interviews, speeches or content-based lesson subjects.
  4. Canadian English, by Dane Jurcic (2003): http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~cpercy/courses/6362Jurcic2.htm This short article would be great for Stage 2 or 3 learners to learn Canadian Vocabulary, Canadian Pronunciation, Canadian Style and Syntax, and some more food for thought. It was written more than a decade ago but is still useful for ESL/EFL learners to learn which features in the English language make ‘Canadian’.
  5. Alone in Canada; 21 Ways to make it better; A self-help guide for single newcomers (PDF): https://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_information/Documents/english_alone_in_canada.pdf This is a kindly reminder that this resource can make a good reading material or for an activity as information gap, quiz, discussion points, presentation, or debate on the theme.
  6. Not to mention these two booklets:

          Discover Canada (PDF) http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/pub/discover.pdf;

          Welcome to Canada (PDF) http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/pub/welcome.pdf

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. It is the leading trend in distance education/open education and distance learning domain as a consequence of the openness movement. (Wikipedia)

The following resources are great examples of OER. With funding from Alberta Open Educational Resources, Bow Valley College and NorQuest College collaborated to create Open Educational Resources (OER) in the form of e-textbooks for both English language learners. They are designed to be facilitated by an instructor either in the form of an interactive e-textbook or of a printable textbook. The interactive e-textbook includes FREE audio, video, and interactive practice activities. The website provides absolutely in-class applicable Fillable PDFs (worksheets) under ‘Multimedia Files’. If it is too much learning for some, the textbook can be simply printed and used in class (downloadable and savable FREE).

  1.  In the Community: An Intermediate Integrated Skills Textbook (NorQuest College, 2016)

This CLB 5-6 appropriate integrated skills textbook consists of five chapters helping learners notice, learn, and practice English in their community: Reception, Respect, and Relationships; Requests and Responses; Permission, Prohibitions, and Obligations; Apologies and Excuses; Opinions, Clarifying, and Filtering. Each chapter includes four skill activities, intercultural skills, some important essential skills, discussion, reflection, and vocabulary list. It is highly recommended for ESL instructors. Check this out.

  1. In the Workplace: An Intermediate Integrated Skills Textbook (Bow Valley College, 2016)

This is also appropriate for CLB 5-6. It focuses on the workplace in Canada (Canadian workplace culture) and offers five objectives: Workplace Environment; Personal Management; Workplace Communications; Clients and Customers; Career Management. On top of all features mentioned above, Extension has been added to each chapter so that instructors can extend the lesson depending on her learners pace and needs.

Awesome e-textbooks!

Change isn’t easy but it is good (by Dan Stelter)

HOW I CAME BACK FROM PARALYZING SOCIAL ANXIETY TO LEAD A HEALTHY, HAPPY LIFE

by   @Possibility of Change

Instructors are human beings. They have their own life struggles and challenges. Profession is part of life. Life can get very messy.

I would like to research more on Reflective Methods and apply it to our day-to-day sharing life. Personally, journal writing is my favorite past-time activity and I enjoy reflections.

Happy professionals: I would like to be a happy person who is a professional; I would like to work with happy people who find ways to be content personally and professionally; I would like to build up the community where happy professionals share themselves and their stories.

Dan Stelter’s story shares how personal struggles can impact on our important areas of life as work, relationships, marriage, and performance in general. His specific actions to change his life style for a decade really speaks to me as a person.

Change isn’t easy but it is good for sure!

Mx. / LX users

Making the Native-Speaker Debate more Inclusive

by 

English Language Instructor At University Of Tennessee, Knoxville
Anthony Schmidt is editor of ELT Research Bites. He also has his own blog at anthonyteacher.com. Offline, he is a full-time English language instructor in a university IEP program. He is interested in all aspects of applied linguistics, in particular English for Academic Purposes.

 

One thing that I have always hated about writing letters is deciding between Mr., Ms., or Mrs. First names can be ambiguous, and even if you know they are female (or identify as female), then you must for some reason consider whether they are married or not. So, I was pretty happy to find the newish Mx. as a gender-netural and more inclusive title that is being more used and accepted in the English-speaking world. In a world where inclusiveness is becoming quite the norm (as it should), the -x suffix seems to be becoming more popular. For example, Latinx, as opposed to Latino or Latina, has been enjoying wide usage. In the field of language teaching and applied linguistics, Jean-Marc Dewaele introduces us to the inclusive term LX, which includes first language users but highlights second/third/foreign language users. This term is used as a way to move even further away from the native/non-native speaker dichotomy towards a more accurate representation of multi-competent language users.

Dewaele writes that the debate attempting to define native and non-native speakers is still alive and despite attempts to address it. The term non-native speaker is considered exclusionary, possibly racist, and downright strange – defining a person but what they are not (such as calling “blue-eyed people as ‘not brown-eyed’”). In addition, the native/non-native dichotomy is often conceived of in terms of monolingualism despite not being the norm.

The term L2 user has been an attempt to move away from the native/non-native dichotomy, but L2 seems to stand for all languages beyond the second, and it is used as a measure of comparison to the native speaker. This is despite L1 attrition, L1 variation (based on dialect or education), and L1 use (such as literacy, hearing, signing, etc.).

Dewaele introduces the “value-neutral” term LX (p. 3):

The term ‘LX user’ does not imply any level of proficiency, which means it could range from minimal to maximal and could very well be equal or superior to that of L1 users in certain domains.

Dewaele uses the term LX to shift the focus even further from native speakers towards one that looks at users of languages, which can be any combination of L1s and LXs. It shifts the focus from the monolingual native as a benchmark, abstraction, or goal and allows for more value-neutral comparisons. Dewaele offers an example of this sort of comparison: “We could compare quadrilinguals in their French L3 with quadrilingual French L1 users” (p. 4). What LX does is put both groups of language users on an equal footing without subsuming them to some native ideal.  By using the value-neutral term “LX users”, these people are no longer considered to represent a defective version of native speakers of that language.

The practical implications of LX are quite limited, but it does offer a way to reframe how we think of language use. It moves us even further away from value-laden comparisons to an elusive native speaker or L1.

Article

Dewaele, J. (2017). Why the dichotomy ‘L1 versus LX user’ is better than ‘native versus non-native speaker’. Applied Linguistics. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amw055.

Thanks to Dr. Jean-Marc Dewaele for reviewing my summary.

Jean-Marc Dewaele:

Why the Dichotomy ‘L1 Versus LX User’ is Better than ‘Native Versus Non-native Speaker

TED 4 ESL; English Lesson Ideas

I’ve come across this fantastic website today:

http://ted4esl.com/

It started this year on January 23 2017. The contact person’s info is Contact us here:
stan@ted4esl.com

In terms of levels, they use CEF Levels:

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF or CEFR) was put together by the Council of Europe as a way of standardising the levels of language exams in different regions. It is very widely used internationally and all important exams are mapped to the CEFR. (Source)

Currently, B1, B2, C1 level lessons are covered. These lesson plans organized by 4 themes: Business, Technology, Global Issues, Life. Worksheets are provided in 2 different versions: Student’s Version; Teacher’s Version.

A Fascinating work they’ve been putting online in terms of using TED Talks for ESL lessons. Worth clicking on them to print out useful worksheets for intermediate and advanced level ESL learners!

http://ted4esl.com/

Learning by Doing (Gibbs, 1988)

Learning by Doing

Graham Gibbs

Oxford Brookes University

(Oxford Center for Staff and Learning Development)

  • What is Experiential Learning Theory?
  • What does it mean in a lesson, in terms of an individual difference in learning and a curriculum?
  • What does it imply in support staff development?
  • How can it improve a program?

Will come back with my reflections soon.

learning-by-doing-graham-gibbs

Gibbs 1988 reflective cycle