Join Tyson Seburn for “Learner-Sourced Visuals: A Higher Level Text’s Best Friend” in SS1083 at 2:30 pm on May 27th.

Think of a higher level text that uses the word, “literally”. How might one use a visual to explain it? Not as easy as using images like flashcards, is it? What I’m going to talk about is how well-chosen visuals can go beyond decoration or low-level utility for individual words and deeper aspects of a text, like author tone, meaning, and more challenging text concepts. In my talk, I’ll show how this image, for example, illuminates concepts like that. Further, we’ll also explore the pedagogical benefits of involving our learners in sourcing these visuals to facilitate their own, but also their classmates’ comprehension in a more collaborative approach to reading beyond the typical comprehension and discussion question style. If you teach in an EAP setting like me or have higher level classrooms where you want your learners to dig more deeply into a text and become more involved in what they read, I hope to see you at my talk. For more information, check out Tyson’s video blog about his presentation here.


Join a panel including Nermine Abd Elkader, Angelica Galante and Christina Cole for the presentation “I’ve learned more than English:” Exploring the Effects of Plurilingual Tasks in EAP Programs in room SS1073 at 1:15 pm on May 27th.

“I’ve learned more than English:” Exploring the Effects of Plurilingual Tasks in EAP Programs explores a recent research study, which examines how classroom practices can help EAP students learn skills they will need in university programs. Carried out by 7 University of Toronto instructors from the International Foundation Program, 3 of whom will explain the practical application of plurilingual tasks (E.g. code-switching, pluricultural communication, high and low communication styles, etc.) with particular attention on academic culture. According to research, EAP programs are still unsupported by pedagogical practices that foster linguistic and cultural diversity. The introduction of plurilingual tasks in EAP classrooms can help international students in EAP programs integrate in this diverse academic landscape, but practical application is still a challenge (Ellis, 2013).


Join Suzanne Park for “When they start to fade: Energizing Learners” in room SS1084 at 11:30 am on May 27th!

During a recent coffee chat with a friend, she commented that ironically, after she runs a race, she often feels more energized at the end than when she started. This is one of the great mysteries I’ve enjoyed pondering. Expending energy seems to energize us. Sit back and our energy seems to disappear. Consider how easy it is to binge watch your favourite video series and how hard it is to break that spell and get on with something else. This principle can be seen at work with English language learners. Being engaged and animated seems to accelerate their learning yet their energy seems to dwindle when they sit back or disengage. If we cross paths at the TOSCON17 Conference, it would be my pleasure to learn how you energize learners and share a few of the simple strategies I employ with learners and myself.


Join Graham Webster for “And I saw them killing people: Why survivors of atrocities can have impaired language acquisition” in room SS1087 at 2:30 pm on May 27th.

Traumatic life experiences affect people in different ways, and we need only look as far as our LINC/ESL classrooms to see the evidence of it, where as many as 15% of refugees show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Not just a mental health issue, PTSD causes physical damage to the brain’s neurons, and as a result, it impairs the ability to learn a new language. It also results in the loss of pattern separation. In other words, seeing something as benign as red markers on a whiteboard can cause uncontrollable flashbacks to horrific atrocities. Over time, perhaps over years, PTSD can be successfully treated. But in a classroom situation, ESOL teachers are over their heads, lacking the training and the resources to do the work of counsellors. As ESOL teachers, we have limited tools at our disposal. Nevertheless, there are strategies that we can employ to help our learners overcome the debilitating effects of PTSD, and move forward with their new lives.


Join Jason de Nicolais for “Turn up the music! Approaches to language studies through learner-centred music-based lessons” in room SS1087 at 10 am on May 27th.

Find a link to his blog here → Turn up the music!


Join Tetyana Vdovina for “Making a Case for Integrating Fiction into an EAP Program” in room SS1070 at 2 pm on May 27th!

Should reading fiction be integrated into teaching EAP? Will it help to develop students’ reading competence? If yes, why? How can “pleasure” reading be implemented in your EAP program if tight curricula often leave no time for extra reading activities? In this session we’ll provide the theoretical framework for our approach and share our best practices and creative ideas in using fiction with the focus on developing students’ reading competence at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. Also, there will be a discussion of the benefits and shortcomings of using fiction in the EAP context, and participants will be encouraged to share their ideas and experiences in using literary texts.


Join Sophia Kim for “Diversity and Sensitivity Training in the Classroom” in room SS1085 at 10 am on May 27th!

Many students come from countries where diversity is not embraced and celebrated as it is in Canada. As a result, many students engage in “accidental discrimination”. Often, students are uncertain of how to navigate a culture that is as diverse as Canada. Students need a safe and open environment such as a classroom in which they can explore their own biases and learn to discuss about differences in a respectful manner. We will take a brief look at why sensitivity training is important and how it can benefit both the students and teachers in and out of the classroom. Participants in this workshop will participate in activities that can be tailored to a variety of learning needs.


Join Heather Green for “We Want the Win But This Is Not A Game! Gamification and PBLA Can Increase Student Motivation and Engagement” in room SS1074 at 11:15 am – 12:15 pm on May 27th.

Stay on top of research trends for ESL teaching! Gamification became popularized in 2012 and PBLA was introduced in 2015 so both of these approaches are new. Come to this workshop to find out how they can work in your classroom.

A win in the classroom means intrinsically motivating students by captivating their interest, need to conquer a challenge and curiosity to discover more. Learning a new language is like participating in an obstacle course with a series of loops as the student masters one obstacle/skill to move on to the next and so on until the finish line. Gamification and PBLA can both contribute to providing ongoing student feedback and get students invested in their own learning. Gamification is all about creating an experience. Join us to discover how these techniques can increase student interest!


Join Joanna Warden for “Groups and Pages – Adapting Facebook for the ESL Classroom” in room SS1084, 10 am – 11 am on May 27th.

I was at TOSCON a few years ago, talking about tech in education – how as a social media skeptic I created a Facebook group page for my EAP class — and about the world that opened up for me. But there’s another side to my professional life: I started off teaching settlement ESL for the TDSB, and I still have a class at my old school once a week. The language skills are the same, but I sometimes feel that I’m travelling between two separate worlds. Lately, I’ve been thinking about building bridges between them, and one way of doing this is sharing techniques from one learning environment to the other. With this in mind, I’ve been working on making Facebook communication work in a settlement context. I’m going to talk about opening a Facebook page for my class, and the benefits pages offer to settlement ESL teachers.


Join Mustafa Aksar in room SS1070 at 10 am on the 27th of May for “Rediscovering America: The Effects of Homework on Learning a Language”

Have you ever had students asking to give them homework everyday? I have. I believe homework is a crucial part of the learning process. What’s more, ıt wouldn’t be too assertive to suggest learning is achieved in a self-processing phase, that is homework.
I have had students with different learning styles and intelligence types but similar deficiencies related to autonomy. They were supposed to study some of their bachelor degree subjects in English so they needed to learn English as soon as possible. On the other hand, they didn’t know what to study and how to access the required input. As most students, many of them liked not to know.
Seeing this need and demand, we decided to make some resolutions, which meant having lots of homework for them and research opportunities for me.


Join Geoffrey Canie for “Conducting an Action Research Seminar in IELTS Writing” on May 27th, 11:30 am – 1 pm in room SS1087

IELTS writing band scores are among the lowest band scores of the four skills. Often times this situation holds in spite of students putting a great deal of effort into preparing for the test. Clearly there is much room for improvement in coaching students to write effectively.
Action research is an approach to teaching that might be effective for students experiencing the “plateau effect” and are finding a challenge progressing beyond a certain point in their writing skill. Action research goes beyond traditional grammatical and vocabulary prescriptivism by emphasizing student awareness of the learning process. This instruction involves systematic and guided reflection on learning experiences in an effort to create strategies for autonomous improvement.
This presentation will focus on practical applications for using the ideas in Action Research in IELTS writing. It will draw on the presenter’s own experiences and invite the participants to share their insights.


Join Mike Tiittanen for “How to Teach Stress, Rhythm and Intonation” in room SS1072, 2 pm-3:30 pm on May 27th!

This session gives tips on how to teach stress, rhythm and intonation to ESL students within the context of a task-based or communicative ESL class. Problems with stress, rhythm and intonation can cause comprehension problems for listeners, so it is important for ESL students to have proficient command of these features of pronunciation. In addition, as intonation in English serves to indicate a speaker’s attitude or feelings, incorrect intonation may create misunderstandings about an ESL speaker’s attitude or feelings. Task-based and communicative teaching of these elements of pronunciation help ESL students to understand how to use stress, rhythm and intonation within an authentic, real-life context, as well as making the lessons more interesting to ESL students than pronunciation drills alone. The presenter, Mike Tiittanen, has more than 20 years of experience teaching pronunciation to ESL students.


Join Christien Lee for “The Whys, Whats, and Hows of Self-Publishing” on May 27th, 10 am – 11 am in room SS1083!

For many in the ELT industry, self-publishing is an attractive idea. After all, many teachers are creative and yet underpaid, get fewer teaching hours than they would like, and have a bulging portfolio of worksheets and materials that could, perhaps, form the basis of a book. Not only that, but the plethora of tools and services that are available today have made the barriers to self-publishing lower than ever before. Despite this, the prospect of self-publishing something can seem daunting. At the upcoming TESL Toronto Conference, industry veteran Christien Lee will present a talk that aims to answer some of the most common questions would-be self-publishers have. During his talk he will share what he has learned from self-publishing two ELT books in 2016. His session, which will focus specifically on the Canadian context, will also touch on some ways in which self-publishing and traditional publishing differ.


Join Azza Daba for the session “The Double Challenge of ESL and Dyslexia” on May 27th at 11:30 am – 1 pm in room SS1073!

As an ESL instructor, it pays to be knowledgeable about your learners’ L1 and their educational background. We all know how L1 orthographies and previous educational experiences can impact how readily an ESL learner makes progress. In some cases, the situation can be compounded by the additional challenge of dyslexia, which is sometimes described as a ‘hidden disability’. These learners will be working twice as hard as anyone else that is for sure! However, a real and exasperating challenge lies before you, as the teacher, to figure out ways to reach this hardworking, yet struggling learner. If you are curious and want to know more, come to my session to find out what dyslexia is and what it isn’t, whether it exists across all languages and if there are ways around it with adult ESL learners.


Join Chris Smrke for “Redesigning Rubrics”
Room SS1072 on May 27th – 11:15 am-12:15 pm

When considering the success of our students, teachers have increasingly been asked to rely on rubrics and other forms of concrete assessment. Rubrics created by textbook authors tend to be the go-to resource for teachers looking to show student achievement.

This workshop is designed to introduce a method of rubric creation to teachers that they will find quicker, more intuitive, and will give students more concrete feedback with fewer comments necessary from the teacher. The design of this method makes it easy to change, adapt, or create new rubrics for any task or skill they wish to evaluate. Join us at TOSCON17 to learn about a new way to create your own rubric and make one that you can take back to your class and use immediately.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s