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TESL Canada Takeaways

  • TESL Canada Takeaways

The following blog post was written by Julie Clements, a faculty member at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. This blog post is part of our Conference Reflection blog series. The blog series is an opportunity for Centre faculty to share a key finding or teaching technique learned at a conference.  

Teaching EAP Students Academic Behaviours, presented by Diane Tyers & Christina Musa

Six academic behaviours were discussed – academic honesty, collaboration, respectful communication, responsibility, time management, self-efficacy and participation in seminars or workshops. The importance of explicitly teaching skills to achieve these behaviours was highlighted. Too often we assume that learners have an understanding of what good academic behavior looks like.

  • To promote academic honesty, take time to teach learners how to paraphrase, summarize, and synthesize information.
  • To model good time management, work backwards as a group to set due dates and break down tasks.
  • To promote self-efficacy, include checklists to be submitted with learning tasks.
  • To promote participation in seminars and workshops, bring guest speakers into your classroom.

Finally, a great starting point shared was the question, “What does a successful language learner need to do?” This can lead to an enlightening class discussion. Understanding where learners are coming from can help us to draw attention to desired behaviours creating awareness but also tailoring our focus on specific behaviours. 

Tips for Using Technology, presented by Joe Dobson

When you are incorporating technology, start with desired outcomes. What do you want your learners to learn? Be purposeful in how you use technology rather than using technology just for the sake of using technology.

Choose one home base (e.g. D2L, Edmodo). Pull your learners there; don’t push them. Post interesting videos, quotes, thoughts of the day, etc. to bring them in.

Remember that although learners are often immersed in technology on a daily basis they don’t always know how to use it well. Teach them etiquette. This works better when you elicit rather than just tell. As an example, teach how to write an email by looking at various examples, both good and bad.

Block Listening Activities, presented by Janet Khan

One great idea shared was the daily dictation. For this activity learners keep a small notebook. Half a Hilroy notebook works well! 

  • The teacher reads a list of six items for dictation. Items are telephone numbers, postal code, licence plate number, names and street addresses with numbers. When choosing items, consider minimal pairs and numbers that are difficult to differentiate (e.g. 13/30). 
  • The dictation is read only once to simulate a more authentic real life situation.
  • The learners record the answers in their notebook.
  • The teacher collects notebooks for correction.
  • Answers may be given on the board following the activity. 

This activity can be easily modified depending on level. Over the course of the term the activity can be extended by building up to a voice mail message for an interview. Learners are listening for the same information but it is in a more challenging context.