What's Grit Got to Do With It?

Uncategorized Nov 13, 2015

In the last year, I have been trying to find ways to motivate my international students. Attaining the level of English required for post-secondary studies requires language learners to invest a significant amount of time and effort over a lengthy period. Research in the area of second language acquisition suggests that it takes between three to seven years to reach a level of language competency in order to study at a post-secondary level (Collier, 1987).

My quest to understand learner motivation lead me to research in the field of positive psychology. A non-cognitive trait known as “grit” can contribute to student motivation and lead to attaining language learning goals, achievement and success. In the field of positive psychology, GRIT is defined as “perseverance and passion for long term goals” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007, p. 1087). Having grit means “working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure,...

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Reducing the Risk of Diabetes in our ESL Students

Uncategorized Nov 13, 2015

When my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes three years ago, I started reading everything I could about the disease. I did find information that was useful for us however what I discovered both shocked and compelled me to take action as an ESL teacher.
What I learned is that immigrants from South Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa have a 2 to 3 times greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than Western European or North American immigrant populations (Creatore, Moineddin, & Booth, 2010). When I thought of my ESL students, the majority were from these parts of the world. I felt that I needed to share this information with them.
The first thing I did was search the Internet for a lesson plan. ESL teachers often share resources so I thought that there had to be something already developed. Unfortunately I could not find anything that was appropriate for ESL learners and certainly nothing geared to intermediate level learners so I decided to develop my...

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Future CEOs (or CDOs)?

Uncategorized Nov 13, 2015

My son Andrew is the young man seated on the left, with the ear-to-ear grin. After 3 years as a camper at Camp Huronda, he is now a camp counsellor (or CDO – Chief Diabetes Officer). He is responsible for 4 to 6 young campers, all with type 1 diabetes, who will spend two weeks in the beautiful Huntsville area. If you haven’t heard of D-Camps or Camp Huronda, or know anything about type 1 diabetes, it is because this disease has not impacted your life as a parent, the life of your child (or children), and your entire family. The Canadian Diabetes Association generously funds D-camps across the country so that kids can have the opportunity to develop their self-esteem and provide experiences for their personal growth. Campers learn how to manage their life-threatening disease surrounded by experienced counsellors and medical staff while having fun and unlimited adventures.

I had no idea that D camps even existed before Andrew was diagnosed at age 13. I am grateful that kids like Andrew...

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A Lesson in Religious Acceptance

Uncategorized Nov 13, 2015

One of my part time jobs at a local college is to recruit internationally trained professionals for free language courses. During the summer months, I load up my car with flyers and drop them off at appropriate locations. A few weeks ago, I decided to drive to the local Gudrawa (Sikh temple). When I arrived, there were several cars in the driveway, and I could see a group of men inside. I turned the car around and headed back out. Yesterday, I tried again. This time the parking lot was empty. I drove by the large windows slowly to gaze inside. The coast was clear…or so I thought. I got out of my car and made my way to the door. I pressed my face against the window and to my surprise, a man who appeared to be praying, looked up. Oh no! I had been seen. He came to the door and I explained why I was there. While I was speaking, he was looking down at the flyers, and nodding his head. Our eyes did not meet. I thanked him for his time and just before I turned around, he looked up and...

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