What does confidence and courage have to do with teaching?

About two hours ago, I did something that I have never done before!  I was a webinar presenter on http://www.tutela.ca!  I presented a one hour webinar called "Planning Your Professional Development" to ESL teachers in Canada, including a teacher working in China.  In the last few years, I have signed up and watched many webinars but I have never been in a presenter role.  Was I nervous? Yes, but I was more excited than nervous. Why? Two reasons - confidence and courage.

When I decided to leave classroom teaching after 20 years last December,  I needed confidence because I had to believe that I could make a living using my skills outside of teaching ESL.  There is a certain comfort that comes from doing a job for many years but the downside for me was that there were few opportunities to challenge myself or have a creative outlet.  So trying new things as a teacherpreneur (e.g. learning how to use social...

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Growth Mindset and its Role in Second Language Acquisition

For the past two years, I have been very interested in grit, growth mindset and second language acquisition.  I have published an article in Contact (TESL Ontario) http://www.teslontario.net/uploads/publications/contact/ContactSummer2015.pdf and presented on this topic at four different TESL conferences (including in Moldava via Google Hangouts - the slideshare is available at http://www.slideshare.net/PatricePalmer/mindset-presentation-p-palmer-tesl-toronto-may-2015.  I am very excited to be in Costa Rica in July talking to teachers about growth mindset and SLA.   A few weeks ago, Brainology published blog post on their website http://community.mindsetworks.com/blog-page/home-blogs/entry/growth-mindset-and-second-language-acquisition.. You can click on the link to read the post or it is published below. 

 

Growth Mindset and Second Language Acquisition

If someone told me that it would take between three to ten...

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Do you Practice "Mindful Listening" with your Students?

empathy listening May 25, 2016

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you were really being listened to and truly felt heard?  I believe it is rare but when it happens, it is can be a powerful experience. 

Last weekend, I attended a two day training session on coaching based in positive psychology.  My biggest take-away from the week-end was learning about “mindful listening” (and actually practicing it).  I had heard of "mindfulness" and “being mindful”, but hearing mindful together with the skill of listening intrigued me.

There were 50 people in the training session.  When the facilitator asked us if we practiced mindful listening, no one put their hand up.  Sadly, we all agreed that we do not listen well, and certainly do not practice mindful listening.  

 

Would you agree that you could be a better listener?  How often have you had a conversation with student and thought that you were paying attention only to realize...

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Six Ways to "Report Back" after Brainstorming

Last week, I wrote about brainstorming (if you missed that blog post/interview with Hall Houston & Gerhard Erasmus, click here https://patrice-palmer.mykajabi.com/blog/what-teachers-need-to-know-about-brainstorming). I learned some interesting things about brainstorming from my interview with them despite 20 years of teaching!  It just goes to show that being an ESL/EFL teacher can never get boring if you like learning, and want to continue to develop your teaching skills.  

So what happens after students have brainstormed?  A common teaching technique is to have students report back to the whole class.  As a teacher or trainer, do you know more than one way to have students report back or do you use the same technique again and again?  In order to keep things interesting for our students (and for us as teachers), it is important to try new techniques. 

Here are 6 different techniques for reporting back: 

1. The most...

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What you Need to Know about Brainstorming

brainstorming May 13, 2016

Having students "brainstorm" is a very common activity in the ESL/EFL classroom and in training courses/workshops.  However do you really know how to use brainstorming as an effective teaching and learning tool?  This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Hall Houston and Gerhard Erasmus about their e-book - Brainstorming.  I have included several links at the end of the interview so you can purchase a copy.  It is important to support teacherpreneurs!

Thank you for doing this interview.  Let's start with information about you.  Where do you teach now? How long have you been teaching?
 
Hall Houston: I currently teach at Kainan University, located in Luzhu, Taiwan. I have been teaching EFL for over 15 years.

Gerhard Erasmus: I am the Director of Studies at a language school in Taipei, Taiwan and I do quite a bit of teacher training. My favorite has to be tutoring in Delta Module 2, mostly because of how clearly you...

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Are you part of a "Teacher Tribe"?

teacher tribe May 05, 2016

The idea for this week's post was inspired by the new teachers who attended my workshop last Saturday (TESL Peel in Ontario, Canada) and by Sylvia Duckworth - a very creative educator.  The Teacher Tribe graphic is one of many examples of Sylvia's brilliance (see more of her talents at https:[email protected]

 

According to my Gage Canadian dictionary, tribe has several meanings but the meaning that I want to use in this post is as follows:

 tribe (n): a group of people having a common interest, profession, etc. 

Maybe you haven't thought about being part of a "teacher tribe".  I never did until last weekend.  This is how it happened.

Last Saturday, I presented at a TESL Conference.  My workshop was entitled "How to Survive and Thrive as a New ESL Teacher".  In the first activity, I asked teachers to complete the following sentence "Being a New Teacher is"...

Before you read their answers, what do you think they...

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How a Facebook Message changed Childrens' Lives

refugee children syria Apr 22, 2016

Imagine receiving a message on Facebook from a stranger working in a refugee camp in Syria asking you for help?  What would you do?  Delete it, ignore it or respond?  Julie Pratten, a teacher/writer in the UK had the compassion to respond to Kaniwar Ali’s request to help Syrian children living in Domiz refugee camp near Dohuk, Iraq.  It was a Facebook message that would change many childrens' lives.

Last Fall, Kaniwar was working as a logistics officer in the camp.  He was desperately looking for outside help so that the children in this camp could have a safe space to play and learn. The civil war in Syria has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. Although many governments have set up camps and international aid organisations are providing food, healthcare and clothing, children need a place where they can play and learn.

Julie quickly mobilized people to help and after the first round of crowd funding, there were enough...

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What I Learned from Watching my Son Play Basketball (for 10 years)

Uncategorized Mar 26, 2016

 

 

My son just finished his last season of playing basketball.  Next year, he will be away at university so it is unlikely that I will be able to watch him play his favourite sport again. It is also my favourite sport as well and I have loved watching him play and develop his skills during the past 10 years.

Reflecting back on hundreds of hours of practices and games, there are a few things that I have learned that relates to sports and life off the basketball court.  

Here are a few insights:

1. You can’t pick your coach or teammates. You also can’t pick your boss or your colleagues so it is important to learn how to get along with many different personalities.  Participating in team sports provides an opportunity to do this. 

2. If you want to develop and improve a skill (and not just basketball skills), it requires hard work, hours of practice, and grit. I remember in the early years, the kids were always bunched up under the net with...

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The Super Hero Pose - Fact or Fiction?

confidence power pose Mar 10, 2016

The night before my TESL course was to begin I had serious doubts as to whether or not I would actually make it to the first class.  The thought of standing up in front of a classroom full of people just seemed too frightening.  I know I am not alone as the fear of public speaking – or glossophobia – is ranked as the number one fear.  Glossophobia has its roots in social phobia, and comes from the fear of being judged (which stems from all of the attention that people place on us when we are speaking). 

I obviously made it to the first class and completed my course mainly because a TESL graduate/friend was teaching in Greece.  The lure of international travel was just too enticing.  

When I finally started teaching, I wrote absolutely EVERYTHING on my lesson plan. And I mean everything!  “Good morning class.  How are you today?  How was your weekend”?  It looked more like a movie script than a lesson...

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A Teacher is Also a Student

Uncategorized Mar 06, 2016

This week my blog post ended up being two posts - the one below and also The 5 W's for Using Photos in the ESL/EFL Classroom.

Last weekend, my blog post in Wisdom from 20 Years in the TESL Trenches was inspired by my current class of impressive TESL students.  Just as I was to post my blog for this week,  I realized that something was missing. (A good teacher always reflects so I thought more about the 4 hours that I spent with these teachers-in-training).

Even after 20 years, I still have things to learn about teaching.  I may have "wisdom" because of my knowledge and teaching experience, but it doesn't mean that I don't have anything else to learn.  It certainly doesn't mean that I can't learn from my students (one teacher in particular but you will have to read the whole blog post below for the details). A special thanks to the students in TESL005 for teaching me an important lesson.  

"A teacher is also a student".  

 

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