2018 Fall Conference Program

Conference Slides and Handouts

  • Brian Hotson. Plurilingualism Can Do Some Work: How Academic Writing Support Responds. [Link to slides and resources]
  • Carmen Celina Moncayo. Building Healing Learning Spaces: Introduction to Trauma-Informed Approach [Slides].
  • Paula Kristmanson. Opening doors to possibilities: Preparing EAL teachers for diverse teaching contexts. [Slides]
  • Rachael Bethune. Paraphrasing with Purpose. [Slides and handouts]
  • Sarah Sampara. Using CLBs to Design Curriculum.[Powerpoint][Handouts]
  • Monideepa Chowdhury, Lianjing Li, Huan (Lucy) Lu, Ruolin Zhang, and
    Sandra Powell. A visit to Halifax, or a visit in Halifax? Opening doors to language through learners’ dictionaries and corpus-based resources. [Powerpoint][Handouts]
  •  Rowan Furlotte and Kate Ross. Trans Canada: Making LGBTQ+ resources accessible for EAL students and instructors.[Slides, handouts, lesson plans]
  • Julie MacDonald and Shawn Wilcox. Opening tabs in the computer labs. [Slides]
  • Emel Beit Sayah. Social and Interactive Activities, Tasks and Games for Teaching Past Perfect Tense. [Slides]

Schedule in PDF

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Schedule in HTML

Below is a version of the program you can scroll through; it may display better on small screens such as cell phones. Click on the session description to read the abstract and speaker bio. [Click to jump to Saturday’s schedule].

Friday, Nov. 16 @ Grawood Pub, Dalhousie University
Workshop on Teacher Knowledge and Practice

7:00-9:00pm ‘Swap Shop’ Back by popular demand! In this speed-dating-style activity you will swap teaching ideas with fellow teachers and leave with a host of new material to bring to class on Monday. Come armed with something practical to swap, be it your favourite warmer, a lesson, activity, game, or handout.
Book Exchange Declutter your teaching library! Bring any books or materials you no longer need and pick up something of interest.
Pub Quiz TESL NS’s own Alex Trebek, Gerry Russo, will be quizmaster for this ELT-themed trivia night. Compete in teams for the title of TESL NS teaching trivia champions!
This event will feature a cash bar and light snacks will be provided.

Saturday, Nov. 17 @ ISANS

8:30-9:00 am Registration and Welcome

Book display will be available all day in Classroom 1.

9:00-10:00 am · Keynote: Carolyn Whiteway. Wide and Deep: How Understanding the Broader Context of Settlement & Integration in Atlantic Canada Can Strengthen our Collective Work. [Classroom 18]

Concurrent Sessions A 

· Rachael Bethune. Paraphrasing with Purpose. [Classroom 12]

· Natalie Burgoyne. Exploring the Importance of a Growth Mindset in Learning. [Classroom 11]

· David MacLellan. Humour in the ESL Classroom. [Classroom 10]

10:15-11:15 am · Keynote: Brian Hotson. Plurilingualism Can Do Some Work: How Academic Writing Support Responds. [Classroom 18]

Concurrent Sessions B 

· Rowan Furlotte and Kate Ross. Trans Canada: Making LGBTQ+ resources accessible for EAL students and instructors. [Classroom 12]

· Julie MacDonald and Shawn Wilcox. Opening tabs in the computer labs. [Computer Lab]

· Anne Benson and Jennifer Palmer. Creating a Dynamic One on One Classroom. [Classroom 11]

11:30 am-12:30 pm Concurrent Sessions C

· Rowan Furlotte and Kate Ross. Follow up Roundtable to Trans Canada: Making LGBTQ+ resources accessible for EAL students and instructors. [Classroom 12]

· Marijke Geurts. Gamification in e-learning. [Computer Lab]

· Sarah Sampara. Using CLBs to Design Curriculum. [Classroom 11

· Sandra Powell, Monideepa Chowdhury, Liangjing Li, Huan Lu, Ruolin Zhang, and Yunqi (Lori) Zheng. A visit to Halifax, or a visit in Halifax? Opening doors into language through learners’ dictionaries and corpus-based resources.  [Classroom 18]

12:30-2:00 pm · Lunch [Atrium, Classrooms 2, 3, 4]

· TESL Film Fest


2:00-3:00 pm · Keynote: Dr. Paula Kristmanson. Opening doors to possibilities: Preparing EAL teachers for diverse teaching contexts. [Classroom 18]

Concurrent Sessions D

· Nicki Kim and Jane Roycroft. Bringing Current Events to Emergent EAL Learners: What works? How does it work? [Classroom 12]

· Denise Herman and Vanessa Lent. Integrating explicit learning strategy instruction into classroom practice. [Classroom 11]

3:15-4:15 pm · Keynote: Carmen Celina Moncayo. Building Healing Learning Spaces: Introduction to Trauma-Informed Approach. [Classroom 18]

Concurrent Sessions E

· Emel Beit Sayah. Social and Interactive Activities, Tasks and Games for Teaching Past Perfect Tense. [Classroom 12]

· Tony Caldwell. QR Code Initiative. [Computer Lab]

4:15-4:30 pm Closing remarks and Book Draw [Classroom 1]

Keynotes and Concurrent Session Descriptions

Return to main conference info page.

Keynote Talks

Opening doors to possibilities: Preparing EAL teachers for diverse teaching contexts

While the world is opening up to more and more employment possibilities for new graduates of teacher education programs, our own local communities have a growing need for caring teachers who possess competencies to teach in culturally and linguistically diverse environments. From international schools in exotic locales to EAP programs at colleges and universities in large cities, to settlement language classes for adult newcomers in small towns, the possibilities for EAL educators seem endless. Opening the doors to these possibilities is a goal of instructors in teacher education programs as well as mentors working in these types of learning settings. Ensuring that future EAL teachers have both the theoretical and practical tools to begin their careers is essential, but it does not come without challenges. Scholars in teacher education have underscored that internships have been widely recognized as a key element that enables preservice teachers to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of the classroom (e.g., Darling-Hammond, 2006). Ideal field experiences should be situated in environments that align with student teacher’s view of future self. Opening doors to possibilities also means that teachers adopt a mindset of ongoing professional learning. As opportunities present themselves and life situations and interests change, so might the need for expanding the knowledge and experience repertoire. In this talk, I will share my own experiences in EAL teacher education as well as the voices of interns and teachers working in a variety of contexts that stem from my qualitative research related to this topic.

Paula Kristmanson is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at UNB Fredericton and a member of the research team at the Second Language Research Institute of Canada (L2RIC). Her research focuses on field-based studies in additional language learning settings as well as Teacher Education. She is also the co-editor of the Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics and the President of TESL Canada.

Plurilingualism Can Do Some Work: How Academic Writing Support Responds

In 1838, then Dalhousie president, Thomas McCulloch, challenged educators to use vernacular English, and to dispense with Latin and Greek, as these were a “waste of human life adapted neither for the circumstances or the prosperity of Nova Scotia” (Hubert, 1994, p. 31). In 1959, Thomas Fogarty, Dean of Education at Saint Mary’s University, challenges educators to “broaden” the aim of writing and rhetoric, “until it no longer confines itself to teaching the art of formal persuasion but includes formation in every kind of symbol-using, from political speeches to a kitchen conversation” (Graves, 1994, p. 27). From a 1974 Conference on College Composition and Communication position statement, “We affirm the students’ right to their own patterns and varieties of language—the dialects of their nurture or whatever dialects in which they find their own identity and style” (CCC, Fall, 1974, vol. XXV). The CEFR 2018 challenges instructors to teach and support students from a ‘Can Do’ position, asking “What does the student need?” (CEFR, 2018, p. 26).

These have been and continue to be the key questions for higher education educators and academic support practitioner: What best suites the learner? How do we teach and support the learners in our office, classrooms, and writing centres? How does language fit, what is its use in academic writing?

Brian Hotson has been an education professional for more than 20 years, working in universities, educational publishing, and educational television and multimedia. He is active nationally and internationally, as a board member of the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA), Past-President of the Canadian Writing Centres Association (CWCA/ACCR), and founding member of the Atlantic Canadian Writing Centres Association (ACWCA). He is also the editor of the international blog, Connecting Writing Centers Across Borders (CWCAB), and a member of the editorial board for Inkshed Publications. He has a BA in History from Lakehead University and a Master’s of Theological Studies from Queen’s University, Kingston. He is currently the director of Academic Learning Services at Saint Mary’s University.

Building Healing Learning Spaces: Introduction to Trauma-Informed Approach

Settlement services, including language-learning programs, can be spaces of healing for clients who have not just experienced traumatic events but that have encountered new sources of stress during the settlement process. Acknowledging the impact of trauma in individuals, all of us can create relationships and opportunities for enhancing resilience and facilitate growth. This presentation will offer a basic introduction on how traumatic events might affect individuals in their learning and settlement process and an overview of the trauma informed approach principles that could guide the development of practical strategies for support from a holistic and collaborative framework.

Carmen Celina Moncayo is the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) Newcomer Community Wellness Program Coordinator. She has a masters degree in Community Psychology from Colombia. She has been working in different positions at ISANS for 17 years, promoting a more inclusive environment for immigrants especially in the area of mental health and wellness and highlighting a trauma informed approach.

Wide and Deep: How Understanding the Broader Context of Settlement & Integration in Atlantic Canada Can Strengthen our Collective Work

Since beginning her role as the first ever executive director of the Atlantic Region Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (ARAISA) in January 2018, Carolyn Whiteway has tried to quickly get up to speed on the issues, challenges and successes within the settlement and integration sector. She will share with us some of the highlights of what she has learned, and how the broader context in which we work is important to service delivery and client support. As an organization supporting the agencies that provide direct services, including fundamental language programming, to immigrants and refugees, ARAISA looks to be responsive to the needs of the sector. A part of this session will be about sharing plans for future directions and how regional umbrella associations such as ARAISA can strengthen our collective work in settlement and integration in Atlantic Canada.

Carolyn Whiteway is the Executive Director of the Atlantic Region Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (ARAISA), an umbrella organization providing a collective voice and regional forum for member agencies in the four Atlantic Provinces since 1994. Carolyn has worked in the not-for-profit sector for many years, primarily in the field of international cooperation with other regional and member-based organizations. She is excited to have joined ARAISA at a time of growth and looks forward to increasing ARAISA’s capacity to contribute to the settlement and integration sector.

Concurrent Sessions

9:00-10:00 concurrent sessions

Paraphrasing with Purpose

This is a sample lesson plan for introducing paraphrasing to EAP students in the context of essay-writing. This is a writing lesson that assumes the students have already been briefly introduced to in-text citations. This lesson will be demonstrated and available for any teachers who are interested in using/adapting it.

Rachael Bethune graduated from the University of King’s College in 2013 and has been teaching at East Coast Language College since 2015.
Keywords: EAP, Writing

Exploring the Importance of a Growth Mindset in Learning
Is being a so-called language learning natural all it’s cracked up to be? Some believe that language learning abilities are largely due to natural talent while others, those with a growth mindset, believe in the power of trying. In this session, we will explore this question by discussing research on the fixed and growth mindsets in relation to learning success. Following this, ideas for fostering a growth mindset in the classroom will be shared and discussed.

Natalie Burgoyne is an EAP instructor at Dalhousie University. After spending the first few years of her teaching career in Taiwan and Hong Kong, she returned to Halifax to complete a Masters of Education in TESL.
Keywords: Psychology of Learning

Humour in the ESL Classroom
This presentation hopes to provide an overview of the use of humour in the ESL classroom. This overview includes when humour is a useful tool for ESL learners, but also, when it can become inappropriate or even hostile. Humour will be studied based on its functions, but also on the backgrounds of the students that we teach and how context can be related to the subjectivity of humour. Research and video will be used to give the ideas expressed credence but participation and feedback from attendees will also be valued to create a more well-rounded presentation. This is a topic that is meant to be inclusive as regardless of the level or program being taught, the use of humour is an important aspect of instruction to be considered.

David MacLellan instructed EFL in South Korea for 1 year (2008-2009) to children, and ESL in Halifax for 6 years (2010-2016) to adults. For the last 4 months David has instructed EAP at Dalhousie University. He earned a MED in TESL (2015) and recently obtained a BED (2018), both from Mount Saint Vincent University.

10:15-11:15 concurrent sessions:

Trans Canada: Making LGBTQ+ resources accessible for EAL students and instructors
As EAL teachers who are in the LGBTQ+ community, we have noticed a gap in the education for newcomers. We have witnessed significant verbal expressions of homophobia and transphobia in the classroom. Some clients are not aware of the laws and values in Canada surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. Furthermore, the resources we found resources are considerably inaccurate or outdated.We successfully created and piloted lessons that focus on the defining terms and respectful language use. We aimed to dismantle stereotypes, education both newcomers and teachers and promote respect despite differences. Unlike other LINC LGBTQ+ lessons that we found, ours is rooted in the law and written from a perceptive inside the LGTBQ+ community.We want help teachers feel confident and support teacher training. We look forward to engaging and collaborating with instructors across the country to help newcomers understand these aspects of Canadian culture and integrate into the community.

Rowan Furlotte works at ISANS and loves it most days. Kate Ross plays roller derby and is currently fostering a dog. Kate grew up in England, but you’d never know it.

Opening tabs in the computer labs
We’re going to the computer room! Come to this hands-on workshop on using digital literacy with lower CLB or literacy learners. We started taking our classes to the computer lab occasionally, focusing on daily routine work. As our students loved using the computers so much, we started implementing it weekly. In the lab, students independently work on typical daily routine activities and new theme vocabulary. The computer time focuses on students’ independent learning and the explicit teaching of learning strategies.In this session we will showcase the main websites we use with our Foundation and mixed level literacy classes. We will also model the lab set-up we use with our students. Finally, we will give you time to try out the websites and online games to see what could be a good fit for your literacy or low-level mainstream CLB class or even one-to-one learner instruction.

Shawn Wilcox and Julie MacDonald are both EAL Literacy instructors at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). Shawn graduated with a MEd in TESL from Mount Saint Vincent in 2017, and has been teaching EAL since then. Julie has worked with newcomers since 2013 addressing financial literacy, English instruction, and settlement.
Keywords: computer lab, literacy, CLB 1, CLB 2, independent learning, explicit strategies

Creating a Dynamic One on One Classroom
Whether you are a tutor, resource instructor, outreach teacher, volunteer or with English in the Workplace (EWP), you know that teaching one on one is a unique experience for both client and instructor. It is an opportunity for intensive language practice in a personalized environment, providing specific opportunities that can create amazing learning dynamics. In this session, we will offer some innovative ideas on how to engage clients through various technologies, movement, and the environment at hand, to optimize the learning experience and create a dynamic one on one classroom.
In this interactive workshop, participants will have the opportunity to cycle through different stations to experience the techniques first hand, offer feedback and share ideas on how to create a Dynamic One on One Classroom.

Jennifer Palmer is Head Instructor at ISANS as well as a PBLA Lead. She has a B.E.D and 20 years of experience in the EAL classroom.Anne Benson is an EAL outreach and resource instructor at Immigrant Services Association Nova Scotia, (ISANS). She has a B.Ed., and over 20 years of teacher experience.
Keywords: one on one; outreach; EWP; resource; tutors; volunteers

11:30-12:30 concurrent sessions:

LGBTQ+ Roundtable Discussion

During the roundtable, attendees will be able to read up on (and watch) the latest and greatest info by the LGBTQ+ community, look more closely at the lessons we’ve made, share their experiences discussing LGBTQ+ topics with their classes, discuss their concerns and collaborate with others about how to move forward.

Rowan Furlotte works at ISANS and loves it most days. Kate Ross plays roller derby and is currently fostering a dog. Kate grew up in England, but you’d never know it.

Gamification in e-learning
Gamification in e-learning has emerged as an effective way to increase learner engagement and motivation. This session explains gamification and demonstrates ways of adding different types of games to a Moodle course. It also shows how Moodle badges can be used to recognize skills and achievements. Edulinc.org, a Moodle site funded by IRCC, is used to demonstrate these concepts.

LINC instructor and Employment Language Trainer Marijke Geurts uses her creativity to incorporate Edulinc in all aspects of her work. She engages students with interactive language learning strategies, and in the same way teaches employment as well as computer skills. Marijke also is the Edulinc Trainer for New Brunswick and works as an online content developer for the Learn IT2Teach project .
Keywords: online learning, e-learning, blended learning, Edulinc

Using CLBs to Design Curriculum

Do you have to develop curriculum focused on CLBs? Do you need to figure out how to distinguish between levels so you can make your curriculum suited to your target level? In this workshop, we’ll look at how CLBs relate to curriculum design. We’ll then explore how to use the CLBs within the curriculum design process to create curriculum that practically connects to CLB outcomes. We’ll end by looking at how this CLB-focused design was implemented in a specific ISANS’ course.

Sarah Sampara is a curriculum developer and EAL instructor. During her nearly 14 years at ISANS, she has taught a range of classes and developed a variety of curricula. Her most recent project has included creating a Curriculum Developer’s Guide for new developers and supporting other developers with their projects.
Keywords: CLB 5+

A visit to Halifax, or a visit in Halifax? Opening doors into language through learners’ dictionaries and corpus-based resources

Questions about “How do I say this? Does this sound okay?” come up all the time when we attempt to speak or write in a language we are learning. Some of these questions can be explained through grammar patterns that apply across a wide range of lexical items, but many questions are related to specific words and expressions. The question, when a doubt arises about how to use words in a sentence, becomes, “Which of the many grammar patterns I am familiar with applies to this situation?” Online searchable corpora and learners’ dictionaries, which give multiple examples of how to use words in sentences, provide answers. In this workshop, we will examine how the presenters used online learners’ dictionaries and resources available through the COCA corpus to answer specific questions, and give tips on how to use these resources yourself and introduce them to your learners for answering questions about word-related grammar patterns and collocations.

Monideepa Chowdhury, Liangjing Li, Huan Lu, Ruolin Zhang, and Yunqi (Lori) Zheng are studying in the M.Ed. in TESOL program at Mount Saint Vincent University. Sandra Powell teaches in the M.Ed. program.

Monideepa Chowdhury has 7 years of experience teaching high school English in Bangladesh. Lianjin Li has 5 years of experience teaching English to children in a private education institute in China. Huan (Lucy) Lu taught art to students aged preschool to adult in China, studied Early Childhood Education at NSCC, and is now volunteering with a preschool program while completing her M.Ed. Ruolin Zhang has taught English at elementary school (ages 6-8 and 9-11) in China. Yunqi (Lori) Zheng has been a music teacher in elementary school and an English assistant teacher at a language school in China. Sandra Powell has many years of experience teaching English to language learners at Saint Mary’s University and has also taught in the United States and Japan.
Keywords: word grammar; dictionaries; teaching and corpus-based resources; NNSTE

2:00 – 3:00 concurrent sessions:

Bringing Current Events to Emergent EAL Learners: What works? How does it work?

Engaging emergent (CLB 2-5) EAL learners in meaningful talk about current events based on and authentic materials sourced in their community can empower them to become more autonomous in language acquisition for everyday life and work. While learners in higher levels can thrive in tackling daily news articles and TED talk discussions, teachers and learners at beginning levels may feel like these materials are inaccessible. This workshop will challenge this belief. We will explore strategies to build foundational skills that raise the target learners’ awareness of relevant current events and increase their ability to independently access information about them. We will showcase ways to bring the real world into the beginner level classroom in progressive and interactive lessons, utilizing local newspapers and community advertisement materials. Also, you will take away practical tips on how to maximize such materials, train your learners to exploit learning resources, and save your prep time!

Nicki J. Kim has years of training in the field of TESL, Curriculum Studies. She has taught diverse ELLs oversees and locally. She is currently teaching at ISANS, with a personal passion for exploring learner autonomy and incorporating digitally assisted language learning in EAL.Jane Roycroft has been an EAL Instructor at ISANS since 2014, and in Nova Scotia since 2008, teaching mostly Literacy to CLB 4. She takes pride in finding creative ways to bring the outside world into the classroom and promote learners’ community engagement.
Keywords: CLB 2-5; LINC; Lower levels in EAP programs; volunteers and tutors

Integrating explicit learning strategy instruction into classroom practice
This workshop outlines changes to ISANS’ literacy curriculum that reflect the need to integrate explicit learning strategy instruction into regular classroom practice. ISANS’ new literacy curriculum stresses that, in addition to language skills, literacy learners require a large amount of explicit learning strategy instruction. ISANS’ literacy curriculum stresses that these strategies must be placed at the forefront of classroom practice for both the learner and the instructor.Though our context is the literacy classroom, highlighting explicit learning strategy instruction is important for any instructor working with learners who may have experienced interrupted education. This could affect many learners in mainstream LINC classes, K-12 classes, or other adult EAL classes. Our workshop will conclude with an interactive activity. We will hand out a learning strategy checklist to the participants and then discuss how to implement the strategies in task-based classroom activities.

Denise Herman is an EAL Instructor at ISANS. She has taught general English, exam preparation, English for business, soft skill development, and worked in curriculum development.Vanessa Lent is an adult EAL instructor and curriculum developer at ISANS. Her research interests include curriculum development for literacy learners and life-writing and identity in EAL learners.
Keywords: literacy; curriculum; strategy instruction

3:15-4:15 concurrent sessions:

Social and Interactive Activities, Tasks and Games for Teaching Verb Tenses

Using different tenses in English is a serious challenge for ESL/EFL learners. In task-based and learner centered classes, we facilitate this learning through interactive activities and collaborative tasks in which verb tenses are frequently being used to accomplish a purpose while the focus is on meaning not form. Past perfect, for instance, can be a particularly confusing form; it might seem easy to explain past perfect through a timeline as it is opposed to simple past. However, when it comes to utilizing the tense in speaking or writing, teaching the tense through explanation does not help the learners to perceive it semantically and apply it in their interactions. Participants will leave the session with interesting ideas about how to use interactive activities, tasks and games for teaching grammar, and with some specific activities for working on past perfect with low intermediate/intermediate learners.

Emel Beit Sayah has been teaching English for 10 years. She has taught English to EFL and ESL learners in Iran and Canada. She has published an article about task-based teaching, based on her own quantitative research, in Journal of American Science. Emel has always been interested in teaching English forms through meaningful tasks and games. She has a B.A. in Translation Studies and M.A. in TEFL. She is currently doing her second master’s in TESOL in Mount Saint Vincent University.
Keywords: Interactive Tasks, Activities, Games, Grammar, CLB 5-6

QR Code Initiative
QR codes have become ubiquitous in our modern world, but Google Forms remains a powerful and underutilized part of the Google tools family. In this presentation, I’ll demonstrate how we have used QR codes and Google Forms together to introduce resource and participant tracking in our PD. After, we’ll discuss wider applications of Google forms and try our hand at producing QR codes and a Google Form for use in class.

Tony Caldwell is an EAL instructor with 20 years of experience. He is currently the PBLA Head Instructor at ISANS in Halifax, NS and is active in TESL NS and TESL Canada.
Keywords: Classroom tech, Google Suite, QR codes