This category contains 24 posts

Having…the talk

One of my colleagues told me this morning that she’s going to be forced to have the talk with a few of her students. No, not the birds and the bees or anything like that; the  your chosen English name sounds ridiculous talk. We’ve all had students who choose to go by an “English” name in … Continue reading

Poetry in the ESL Classroom: Imagism

I like literature and poetry, but honestly don’t have a lot of experience using it with English language learners. (My colleague Ayesha Mushtaq, on the other hand, has a great method for using fairy tales to teach critical reading in EAP. Cool stuff! I wish some of her talks were online…) In doing some house-cleaning of … Continue reading

Getting into Academic Corpora

I really want to use corpora more often in class, I really do. I love the idea so much. But it all comes down to interface. The interfaces of some corpora are so dated and cumbersome to navigate that you’d have to devote hours of class time just to get students to use them in … Continue reading

BALEAP 2015: Getting discipline-specific in the EGAP Classroom

I’m presenting a talk entitled  Getting Discipline-specific in the EGAP Classroom  at the BALEAP conference on April 18. If only I could be at the University of Leicester with everyone else! But alas, I will be presenting remotely from my office here in Halifax. Here are the slides. I’ve tweaked this talk a bit since … Continue reading

Metaphors for genre

I’m always trying to perfect the way I present the concept of genre to to my EAP writing classes. Some students seem to get it right away. But others have a hard time letting go of the idea that there’s one type of writing in English that you use in all contexts, (and for many, … Continue reading

Upcoming webinar: Why is English So Weird?

I’m doing a webinar on March 7 with English Online called “Why is English so weird?” Looking to History to Answer Tough Learner Questions. Here’s the description: The particularities of English orthography, vocabulary and pronunciation are stumbling blocks for many learners. However, what may appear to be random makes sense if one looks at the history … Continue reading

A neat resource for EAP reading

If I were teaching an EAP reading class at the B1+ level right now, I would be running to the photocopier with an article I just came across. Explainer: What’s the difference between and outbreak and an epidemic? appeared on The Conversation a few weeks ago (more on this website in a moment). It’s clearly structured, … Continue reading

Ice Breaker: The Proust Questionnaire

A new term is starting up, and so ice-breakers are on my mind. If I were teaching an intermediate-advanced class, I’d adapt the Proust Questionnaire, a personality questionnaire that became popularized via French author Marcel Proust, into a first-day activity for my students and I to get to know each other. Lots of media outlets use … Continue reading

History of English for ELLs

Summer means lots of things around my workplace–loads of pre-sessional students, scheduling in instructors’ vacation time, and getting programming ready for the fall semester, amongst other things. We’re in a period of innovation and growth right now, one aspect of which is an in-sessional workshop series that runs twice a week throughout the semester. It’s … Continue reading

Memes in the Classroom

I’m always on the lookout for quick, fun warmers. Bonus points if it’s connected to pop culture and can allow me to remind students that the language points we cover in class are all around them out in the “Real World”. I love me a good meme, and every so often a meme comes about … Continue reading

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