I have just returned from 5 days in Seattle, USA where I had the opportunity to attend TESOL's annual conference. Can you imagine 6,000 teachers in one place? The highlight for me was connecting with many teachers from around the world but I'm always excited to attend presentations and learn more about our field (e.g. setting up English Clubs in Africa, teaching issues in Cuba and an upcoming conference there, and the latest on materials writing/publishing).
TESOL's President Dudley Reynolds opened the conference by reminding us of the role we play as teaching professions and questioned how we can elevate our profession: "We contribute to multilinguals. How do we make our profession a force in the world? How do we create a presence globally?"
What do you think? Do you feel that English language teachers need to create a global presence?
Cathy Raymond, Executive Director AIWR, TESOL Conference, March 2017
I had the pleasure of...
Online Conferences: A new trend?
Spring is certainly a popular time for TESL conferences. Have you noticed that more and more conferences are going online? A perfect example is the SkyTeach conference this weekend http://conference.skyteach.ru/ (30 speakers from around the world and more than 1,000 participants!).
Another online conference that I am thrilled to be part of is the Online Teacher Summit taking place from April 2 - 9.
There is growing interest in online language teaching so this free conference is timely. Technology allows us to teach a language from anywhere in the world. This 100% online event will provide information about the best tools and practices from experienced online teachers.
Click here to sign up! http://onlineteachersummit.com/dap/a/?a=57
A MUST-HAVE FREE ONLINE RESOURCE!
We all make them.
It's embarrassing especially as language teachers but we all make errors. I always say that when I win a...
Almost one year ago, I wrote about Amy Cuddy and her research related to the "power pose". If you didn't read that post, here is the link (http:// https://www.patricepalmer.ca/blog/the-super-hero-pose-fact-or-fiction).
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the "power pose", it means adopting a posture or stance like a "superhero" (hands on hips, standing tall and powerful). The idea is that we gain confidence from standing like a super hero!
Cuddy faced much criticism regarding her research and book - Presence Bringing Your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges (http://amzn.to/2mU6OmJ.
According to Cuddy, "the key finding is simple: adopting expansive postures causes people to feel more powerful". She reports that this effect has been replicated in at least nine published studies and in at least four unpublished studies from nine different labs.
In addition, Cuddy argues that "what’s absolutely clear from...
Do you feel drawing-challenged?
As teachers, we often use the board to "draw" a word or concept. I have always felt "drawing-challenged" and dreaded those moments when I realized that drawing on the board would be helpful for my students. My most recent "drawing disaster" was an attempt to draw an airplane which ended up looking like a sickly bird!
Have you also had drawing disasters?
Well, hopefully our drawing skills are about to improve! I was away last weekend and decided to make it a computer-free weekend. This meant spending several hours reading. While reading Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley (another great book), I learned about author Dan Roam and his wonderful books that help people become better visual communicators.
Dan has several books but the one that I think relates most to what we do as teachers is called Blah Blah Blah - What to do when Words don't Work http://amzn.to/2mDvlIn. We know as ESL/EFL teachers, sometimes our words "just...
Update on last week's blog post - Why Students' Cell Phones belong in a Shoe Bag! https://www.patricepalmer.ca/blog/why-students-cell-phones-belong-in-a-shoe-bag
There were a few responses on twitter. It appears that teachers have very strong views about the use of phones in the classroom.
Banning cellphones in an adult classroom - unnecessarily authoritarian
Wondering how #ELTs of adults would feel if asked to voluntarily surrender cell phones at conferences
No cph use inclass (including breaks-commoncourtesy) S/T pushback!
Good topic. My adult students are literally driving me insane with the use of cellphones. It’s not just texting, making and taking calls but some of them actually record the lessons being taught. This is very distracting.
The point I was trying to make was not a complete ban, but I would like to have at least the first 5 minutes of class so I can say hello to students, and introduce the lesson!
Coming Clean: Mental Health Issues...
Are cell phones a problem in your classroom? Do you find that students are easily distracted because of their phones? I accepted a 7 week EAP contract at a local college a few weeks ago. It has been more than a year since I taught young international students studying English in Canada. I am not sure if students are becoming more addicted to their cell phones (and can't put them away for even a minute) or I have less tolerance for the constant distraction of phone use and texting.
I spotted a former colleague in a classroom last week and popped in to say hello. I noticed a shoe bag hanging on the wall near the door and asked about it. She said that she set up a system of using the shoe bag for cell phones and it has worked like a charm. If I do return to the EAP class in the summer, I will be bringing my shoe bag with me!
She also said that she uses this Breaking News lesson plan ...
As teachers, we are always proud of our students when they are successful. Being an instructional coach for new ESL/EFL teachers is no different. I love seeing new teachers develop both their skills and confidence. Chris Kelly is a perfect example. Just over a year ago, Chris contacted me about providing instructional coaching before he headed off to China. We had a few Skype calls and off Chris went. It was great to hear from him after he completed his first year as a new teacher in China. (If you are interested in learning more about instructional coaching with me, click here https://www.patricepalmer.ca/pages/coachingforeslteachers
Chris can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am 26 year old new (1 year in) teacher from America. I hope to make international teaching my lifelong pursuit. I’m learning Chinese and how to cook. Both are going very slowly, but I will succeed! Eventually.
Where did you do your TESL/TEFL training?
I had another blog post prepared for this week but I felt that it wasn't appropriate given the events this week in my country of Canada and the ban in the United States. It is rare for me to voice my opinions about political matters but I felt that sharing the resources listed below is important.
Earlier this week, a person opened fire on a mosque in Quebec killing 6 people. This kind of gun violence is rare in Canada and our nation is shocked. I support the words of Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau.
As a member of TESOL International, I was proud to see that they took a stand this week and have been very vocal about the ban in the US. Several resources have been posted in one of the TESOL online forums. I wanted to share them with you as I believe that as teachers, we have a role to play in teaching not just tolerance, but inclusion and diversity. As an ESL teacher for the past 21 years, I have had the opportunity to teach students from all over the world....
On my last birthday, I received a wonderful book from my friend Ray. It wasn't a typical book that you read but a beautiful "colouring" book called Happiness, Colour Yourself Calm. The book contains blank pages of lovely mandalas (see one of my finished creations below).
Just to be clear, it isn't a colouring book for kids but a colouring book for adults! Perhaps you think this is odd but did you know that the New York Times has recognized a growing trend in the sale of adult coloring books? It seems that more and more adult colouring books are appearing on their best seller list.
I haven't "coloured" for a while, but when I feel like my heading is swimming and I can't concentrate on what I am doing any longer, I sit in my comfy chair, grab my pencil case and colour. It may seem strange but colouring for me is extremely relaxing. My breathing slows down and a sense of calmness washes over me. It is a wonderful...
"Self-Care is so important. You cannot serve from an empty vessel". Eleanor Brownn.
"I love this quote from Eleanor Brownn. I start my teacher well-being workshops with this quote. The relief on the faces of teachers is very evident when they hear it! It’s almost as if we need permission to give ourselves this self-care. However, we are the only ones who can give ourselves this permission!" Fiona Forman
Teacher burn-out is a serious issue. This post includes my personal experience and a wonderful interview with Fiona Forman, a teacher from Ireland, and Co-creator of the Weaving Well-Being Program.
Many of you know that I left classroom teaching after 20 years in December 2015. It was very hard to admit that I was burned-out so I jokingly told colleagues that I was retiring (even though I was years away from retirement). Being "burned-out" seemed like a weakness. In fact, this is the first time that I am actually admitting it.
So what caused my burn...