2015 Spring Conference Program

Slides and handouts for some conference sessions are available below!

Concurrent sessions A                                                      9:30 – 10:30
Try it out!  2 speaking activities for large groups

Paula Cheal

Participants at this workshop will partake in two speaking activities. We will be ‘doing it’, not ‘talking about it’.
Activity 1: 3-2-1 Speak! For fluency and concision. Tried and tested speaking activity suitable for a large group (minimum 9) of youth or adult EFL learners studying general, academic or business English.
Activity 2: Reader’s Theatre. For pronunciation, intonation and voice projection. Widen your comfort zone (perhaps) and introduce some drama into the classroom. (Yes, even the academic one).
Come to the workshop with an open mind, willing to play the part of the EFL student. Chocolate available.
Paula Cheal has a long and varied experience in teaching English and teacher training. She is currently tutoring for the GMAT (verbal), and teaching very young children through puppetry. She says, “ Thus my knowledge of extreme grammar and nursery rhymes is getting regular exercise.” Paula lives in Lunenburg county, and works for New Voice Language Academy. She also teaches at SMU Language Centre from time to time.
Semantics Analysis and Universal Meaning

Kris Mitchell

‘Meaning’ is the central pillar of language, culture and social behaviour, and it is what, why and how we communicate. Therefore, any attempt at semantic study must take this into account, in that; the analytical approach used should be transferable across all languages, and, most importantly, should remove the ethnocentrism found within the world of semantic discussion.
This session will examine the fundamental concepts of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach to semantic analysis. Some of the key concepts of NSM, such as universal meaning, semantic primes, reductive paraphrase, explications and cultural scripts, will be introduced using researched examples from various languages and cultures. Following this brief introduction, participants will engage in semantic analysis activities designed to highlight some of the challenges involved in understanding ‘meaning’, especially for those who wish to learn a second language.
Kris Mitchell currently works as an EAP instructor at Dalhousie University. He has almost 10 years of experience in the ESL/EAP classroom, including 4 years teaching ESL in South Korea, and holds a Masters in Applied Linguistics. His main areas of interest include Semantics, Critical Period Theories and Syntax.
Combined session:

1. The flipped classroom in ESL: Fergus Fadden

2. A Digital Curriculum:

Dan Compton

Part 1 will focus on the effective use and implementation of technology for language learning, giving an understanding of what is meant by flipping the classroom. Attendees will be invited to reflect upon their own experiences of using technology for self-directed learning and how we as teachers can seek to exploit this concept to enhance our own learners’ path to proficiency.

Part 2 will build on the idea of exploiting ICT (information & communication technology) in the classroom itself. As we live in an ever more digital age it is becoming more and more apparent that to resist the influx of technology into our classrooms is akin to resisting the installation electricity into our homes. Dan will go through some of the essential elements of a digital curriculum and share with you some lessons from his own experience before leading some workshops on how to deal with some of the pitfalls of going digital.

Fergus Fadden started his teaching career in France after finishing Law school. From there he returned to his native Ireland where he qualified as a teacher and went on to become a teacher trainer and ICT(information communication technology) enthusiast. He has overseen a number of technology based projects in Spain, Brazil, USA and South Africa. Fergus currently works at the International Language Institute as DoS and Director of Teacher Training.

Dan Compton has worked in ESL in various capacities for the last 15 years. He started his career in South Korea, spending seven and a half years working for universities from there he has also worked with universities in China and here in Canada. Dan first became exposed to ICT in the classroom during his time with UNBJ. Currently, he is working at the International Language Institute (ILI) helping to implement the new digital curriculum.

Concurrent sessions B                                                     10:45-11:45
Goodbye lofty sentence – Hello lowly paragraph: The true unit of meaning 

David Packer

While a sentence is a set of words that expresses one idea when arranged in a logical order with a subject and a verb, a paragraph is one idea that explodes with meaning, giving context and life to how (and what) we think. In this presentation, I will argue that we should not dwell on the sentence or on cohesive devices but view these as springboards to the logic and meaning derived when someone reads a paragraph. Furthermore, a paragraph’s inherent flexibility; e.g. length, register and complexity, allows writers of all genres to reach others’ minds, whether to elicit agreement or reaction. For teachers, the message is…. think in paragraphs, not sentences.

David Packer has lived and taught in seven countries over the last 30 years. Too old to be taught new tricks, David has a few ideas that he thinks are important: one is the paragraph – another is the comma! David is with Dalhousie University.

Google it! How to use Google Docs and Google Hangouts to Enhance Student Collaboration

Michael Landry

Many teachers know about Google Apps, but few feel comfortable using them as a regular part of their course. This workshops will show participants how they can make two Google Apps (Google Docs and Google Hangouts) part of their repertoire. Teachers will be walked through both applications. Content will focus on teaching how to use the technology and applying it classroom practice. Participants should leave the workshop with a solid grounding in how to use and incorporate the technology in their lesson plans.

Michael Landry is an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) instructor at Dalhousie University College on Continuing Education. He has over fourteen years of combined EFL/ESL teaching and academic management experience in East Asia and Canada. Although interested in many areas of teaching, Michael has spent significant time on exploring the use of online collaborative tools in language learning and the use of technology in the classroom. Michael also serves as Treasurer for TESL Nova Scotia.

PBLA (Portfolio Based Language Assessment) and EAL Literacy: What Works 

Setsu Crawford-Kawahara

With the recent implementation of PBLA into EAL classrooms across Canada, many instructors are struggling to incorporate PBLA into their EAL literacy classes. While challenging for sure, it is doable and able to be implemented successfully.
The focus of this workshop will be to highlight some of the approaches currently being used in EAL literacy classrooms and explore various practices that are fostering success in developing learner autonomy at these lower levels. As instructors we will collaboratively discuss challenges in the classroom, troubleshooting techniques and practical ideas for developing modules, lesson plans and materials. The aim is to empower instructors with tools to provide PBLA based instruction while not significantly taking away from instruction time.
Setsu Crawford-Kawahara has been a full time EAL literacy instructor with ISANS for the past five years and is currently the PBLA team lead. Overseas and in Canada, Setsu has nearly 20 years of teaching experience at all levels of second language learning and has found her passion in EAL literacy.
Concurrent sessions C                                                     1:00-2:00
TESOL Convention 2015: Highlights from a Halifax ELT 

Tony Rusinak

The largest professional organization for ESLTs held its 2015 international convention in Toronto this March. The TESOL Convention was a gathering of more than 6000 members from 156 countries consisting of academics, researchers, administrators, industry experts, and teachers. With enough presentations, exhibits, and lectures to fill a 250 page program guide, the amount of ELT ideas was overwhelming for individuals attending. This session will outline highlights from the conference. Some of the noteworthy observations range from current trends in ELT, language learning technology, language and identity, and cultural adaptations in the classroom.

Tony Rusinak, DELTA, has spent the last 14 years teaching in Japan, Taiwan, China, Ethiopia, Spain, Ireland, and now in his hometown, Halifax, at East Coast School of Languages. His focus is in teacher training, EAP, and Canadian immigration.

Think Tank for Listening

Carolyn Harnanan

Interactive 45 – minute workshop on developing listening skills at different levels and through quick activities.
The presenter will consider the challenges we face in teaching listening, talk about some activities she has been using, and use the talents of workshop participants to extend our repertoire of teaching strategies.
Carolyn Harnanan taught High School English, Advanced English Literature and Communication Studies for several years in Trinidad, where she also obtained an MFA in Creative Writing. She moved to Nova Scotia in 2011 and earned a Diploma in TESL/TEFL from Saint Mary’s University.Carolyn says, “After substitute teaching with the HRSB for about a year, I realized what I really wanted to do was to entirely change the focus of my teaching to EAL learners.
In 2013, I got the opportunity to do just that, at the amazing language school, CLLC!”
Mono-cultural versus Multi-Cultural Classrooms

Anthony Caldwell

Every learning organization and instructor faces a number of choices in approach that affect the learning environment. Will the program be communicative or audio-lingual? Test preparation or task-based learning? These choices greatly affect the content of the individual lessons and the management of the class in general. An additional important factor that is always present but not always explicitly planned for is the cultural make-up of the class. Different possibilities for learning are available depending on whether the class shares a single cultural background or has representatives from a number of different cultures.
The focus of this talk will be to highlight some of the differences in approach to the mono-cultural classroom and the multi-cultural classroom, differences in the management of these classrooms, and how to make the most of the learning opportunities offered by each of these learning situations.
Anthony Caldwell was an English language instructor in Japan for 12 years, where he specialized in planning and delivering business English language programs to corporations across Northern Japan. He currently resides in Halifax and teaches adult language classes at ISANS.