This year, we were pleased when a family from our Monday night ESL class decided to join our church. They were from a Catholic background but seemed comfortable at our Anglican church. The children quickly fit into Sunday School, and the family said they enjoyed the service. After a few months, I asked them if […]
About this time of year, we often feel that we could use some new ideas for our conversation classes. Here are four of them. The first, is a great idea I learned from my teaching partner, Cindy Hubert. Adjective + Occupation Activity Cindy handed out a set of cards with occupation titles such as: policeman, photographer, […]
What is Christmas? In many places in the world, Christmas is the most popular holiday in the year, especially for Christians. It is very nostalgic for many people—the sights, the sounds, the smells—and time spent with family and friends. Since Canada is in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas comes in the winter season. Thus, we associate Christmas […]
Sometimes we tell our students not to worry so much about how accurate their writing is, but to just take risks and write. Then we fall into the trip of correcting their grammar or spelling and we wonder, are we sending the wrong message. While many of our students care about writing correctly, it can […]
Sometimes I think the Professional Development (PD) Day means, for me as a teacher, a day to relax and text a bit, while people talk incessantly about the latest teaching fads, or what the government is currently doing, or which way the pendulum is swinging in our field. But I was recently rebuked for my disinterest in […]
I attended an interesting conference recently on Comics and Contemporary Literacy http://werklund.ucalgary.ca/ldlp/schedule . The speakers were all people who write and draw comic books or graphic novels and the purpose of the conference was to raise awareness as to the strengths of comics as a type of literature that has its own unique characteristics.
When we meet with adult English learners, questions around employment are always near the surface. Those who do not have a job, know they need to get one. Those who have jobs, want to move beyond their “survival” job, to one that better uses their qualifications and experience.
My ESL class has been studying the Canadian Food Guide. So, we’ve been learning that there are four food groups: Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk & Alternatives, and Meat & Alternatives. Tricky situations do emerge. Why are nuts meat? Why are eggs meat? Why are lentils meat? Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Aren’t potatoes […]
“L-is for the way you look at me”. I heard Michael Bublé serenading our adult beginner ESL class the other night and I thought to myself “what is up?” When I went in, I discovered that our creative and adventuresome teacher had decided to work with a Valentine’s theme and bring in songs for students […]
Many groups are responding generously to the call to sponsor Syrian refugees. This is wonderful because these people will need this support, guidance and friendship for many years. CESLM can help with this process because we have a wealth of experience and resources to offer. All refugees will be eligible for free LINC classes, unless […]
“Full sentences, please.” Have you ever been in a language class where the teacher reminded students to speak in full sentences? Have you ever thought about how odd that request actually is? I recently went to a workshop for English as a Second Language teachers where the presenter, Jane Willis, reminded us that spontaneous speech […]
Two weeks ago, I was listening to several excellent speakers at our Reaching Out With English course. I was inspired by the content and the well thought out presentations. But I also sensed that some of the participants were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and the realization of how much in involved in […]
While many of us have a keen interest in issues facing adult newcomers in Calgary, children of immigrant parents have their own set of struggles. In the September 2015 issue of Albertaviews, an article entitled “Language Limbo – The urgent need for more ESL instruction in school” by Marcello Di Cintio, called for more attention […]
It’s helpful to discuss religion in our ESL classrooms because so many of our Canadian celebrations have roots in the Christian or other religious traditions. If we are to be cultural interpreters,
Have you ever heard the saying “A smile means the same in any language”? While this statement may be true, it might be one of the few generalizations a person can make about gestures or facial expressions being universal. Gestures are given meaning by the culture in which they are used and since they have […]
From the vault: this article originally ran in our May 2013 newsletter. Here are ten tips to help you deal with late students in your ESL class: Start with a bang! Use a mini-lesson or a quick comment based on the front page of the newspaper, so that if students come in late they have missed […]
Very often Church or library based ESL classes are conversation-based. These are very easy to start, and are good for leaders who do not have a strong ESL background. Even though learners say they just want conversation, we need to talk about something. The learners often find it difficult to say what they want to […]
I have been tutoring ESL and English composition in the Calgary area for the last six years, in addition to my contracts with CBLA and university programs. For a while now, this has been the only way to work fulltime in ESL. Having tutored high school students, university students, and corporate foreign professionals, I have […]
When sociolinguistics speak of language and power, they refer to a large area of research into how people use language in ways that give certain people, groups, languages a higher status or more privilege than other people, groups and languages.