Are you Growing as a Teaching Professional?

My interest in professional development (PD) in the ELT field was renewed after attending the IATEFL conference in April 2016.  Many of the workshops that I attended explicitly mentioned PD and the presenters effectively linked their topics with our development as teachers.  At the conference, I also discovered teacher competency frameworks developed by Cambridge English and the British Council.  These types of frameworks are not used in Canada, where I teach, so I was very interested in finding ways to use them as a TESL Trainer. Finally, I reflected on how the frameworks could help teachers plan and assess their own professional development and this resulted in an 8 Step Process for Planning our PD. 

Just last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to present on this topic at TESL Canada.  (I am happy to share my PowerPoint slides).  I strongly believe that all teachers can and should continue to develop their professional skills...

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Reflections from the Field: ACPI-TESOL Costa Rica

I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the ACPI-TESOL National Conference in Costa Rica last week.  Although it was a relatively small conference (under 80 participants), the organizers were able to attract presenters from the U.S., Panama, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and UAE (and me from Canada). A special thank you to Ana Madrigal Rímola.

I believe that teachers can always learn something new no matter how many years we have been teaching.   This conference was no exception in that there were many new insights from the presentations about teaching English.  However before I provide some of the conference highlights, I wanted to talk about my experience trying to navigate in a Spanish-speaking country as a non-speaker of Spanish.  (I did take some lessons a few years ago but I didn't have enough language skills to function!)  I forgot how it feels to be unable to communicate – even a simple request!  The last time I...

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CPD - another ELT acronym!

I am now back in Canada after attending IATEFL’s 50th Conference in England.  There were about 3,000 teachers from all over the world in attendance.  Although I would have liked to have met more teachers, the sessions/workshops were insightful and interesting.  I think what really struck me when I spoke to teachers or attended sessions is that as English language teachers, we share a love of learning and passion for teaching.  

One of the conference highlights was a presentation by David Crystal.  He talked about how the English language has changed over the past 50 years.  Yes – he has been in the ELT field for that long!  I also attended a session by Andrew Wright on the final day. He has also been teaching for more than 50 years and still continues to teach!  (For free recordings of many sessions, click here http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org)

It is hard to imagine teaching for 50 years however what I have learned about English...

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Post CELTA/TESL Grad? Now What?

Last weekend, I took part in a 2 day online global professional development event that featured 40 teachers answering a pre-determined question.  This epic event was organized by Rob Howard and Dr. Nellie Deutsch from EFL Talks  http://www.efltalks.com  

Each teacher had 10 minutes and a maximum of 10 slides to present his/her topic to ESL/EFL teachers who were logged in from around the world.    

Here is a summary of my 10 minute talk - What training do you recommend for Post CELTA grads?

There are many options such as DELTA, TESL Diploma, M. A. TESOL, or PhD. however I have provided a step by step approach. 

Step 1 - Identify what you really LOVE about teaching English

  • Linguistics?
  • SLA?
  • Adult learning?
  • Curriculum Development?

 (For me personally, I always loved writing lesson plans e.g. reading, researching, and going online to find the right clip art.  This is not surprising given the amount of freelance work I do now as a...

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How to Survive and Thrive as a New English Language Teacher

Are you a new ESL/EFL teacher working in your home country or abroad?  Do you still have questions about teaching English?  Do you often feel unprepared for the challenges in your new career?  

I know exactly how you feel!  Twenty years ago, I was in your shoes.  I had just graduated from a TESL program so I thought that I was ready for the classroom however I quickly discovered that I was unprepared for the complexity of language teaching.  I had so many questions but I was afraid to ask my more experienced colleagues!  I wasn’t sure how to continue to learn and grow as a new teacher.

Based on my own personal experience as a new teacher in 1995, as a TESL Trainer, and the experience of other new ESL/EFL teachers, completing a TESL program does not necessarily mean that we are all ready for the classroom. 

I love to share my “wisdom” from 20 years in the TESL trenches as an Instructional Coach to help new teachers improve...

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