Spring Conference 2018: Roundtables

Here is a list of Roundtable discussions accepted to date. Remember that the call for proposals is still open! If you have an idea for a roundtable and would like to facilitate, click here to make your voice heard!

Click here for a list of the concurrent sessions.

Roundtable 1:

Pronunciation and accent modification: Principles to guide our practice

Sandra Powell

Recently, teaching pronunciation has become a hot topic. Most PD seems to focus on how to teach. Now we need to think about the desired outcomes, and the implications of our classroom practices.

This roundtable will begin with a whole-group discussion, then we will split into smaller groups focusing on one of these issues. Each group will recommend guidelines for teachers, curriculum developers, and schools to consider in approaching how to teach pronunciation

Sandra Powell teaches in the M.Ed. program in Curriculum Studies: TESL specialization at Saint Mary’s and Mount Saint Vincent Universities. She has no answers, only questions, for this roundtable discussion.

Roundtable 2:

Twoonies, Terry Fox and Tim Hortons

Amanda Vassallo

What aspects of Canadian culture should we teach our students?

Discussion points:

  • What aspects of Canadian culture do we teach?
  • How do we handle sensitive topics in Canadian history and present day?
  • How do we teach religious holidays?

Amanda Vassallo is a literacy instructor at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). Before joining ISANS in 2016, she worked at the International Language Institute where she taught for four years. Amanda specializes in low-level language training and student activities. Before completing her CELTA in 2012, she obtained a degree in Communication Studies from Cape Breton University.

Roundtable 3:

Triangulating Technology, Teaching, and Language

Tony Rusinak

Emojis, camera translations, predictive-text, auto-correct, avatars, and cloud collaboration – the list goes on and on. Technology is not only changing how we communicate but changing our conceptions of what language actually is. As we grapple with the pace of change and the power technology offers us to communicate, how do we fit this into our ESL classroom? This roundtable will explore how TESL NS members currently incorporate technology into language classes, define how technology is changing our idea of what English is, and put forward best practices as we leap into the TESL future.

In the spirit of the session, participants are encouraged to bring their devices and put their ideas into practice.

Tony Rusinak’s roles include ESL instructor, IELTS professional, communications coordinator for TESL Nova Scotia, and immigration expert for international students. Tony has experience working in ten countries spanning four continents. He is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Education technology at MUN and instructs English for Academic Purposes at Dalhousie University.

Roundtable 4:

Understanding the learner in an English language classroom

Shazia Awan

As English language educators, we emphasize concepts of student-centredness, student autonomy, engagement, participation, putting the focus on the learner and shifting the pedagogy from the teacher to the learner. However, despite the fact that the notion of student-centeredness has been around for more than a century now, up until recently, researchers have maintained that in reality, this approach is not being put in practice.

In this round table, we, as English language practitioners, will discuss and share current practices of how we understand students in our classrooms, and in our small groups, we will discuss this issue by bringing workable ideas related to understanding the leaner in our classrooms.

Dr. Shazia Awan is currently working with Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, teaching EAP and academic writing and presentation skills to international students. She has extensive experience of teaching English internationally and in Canada. Shazia’s research focuses on CPD, international ELT teachers and ELLs in an L1 context.