Teachers' blog


【International Education Workshop】

(Contributed by Sylwia)
On December 2nd, 2014, I attended an International Education Workshop at the Montecasino Hotel and Event Venue. This was a full day workshop from the Continuing Education Department of the Toronto Catholic School Board that my mentor teacher was invited to attend. She decided to bring me along, as we were both teaching her grade 9 ESL class at the time. This conference discussed the Canadian school experience for ELL learners, who have come to study from outside of Canada. The speakers detailed the students’ experiences, the formal process of studying in Canada, and some resources and strategies for dealing with ELL learners in the classroom.
While it was interesting knowing about this process, I did not really find the session useful for me, personally. I felt that they did not really discuss many strategies of how to deal with ELL learners in the classroom. I felt that the workshop was more about the administrative aspect of having foreign exchange students learning in Canadian high schools. However, what was fairly useful and relevant to me was a resource that I received. The book, titled Big Ideas for Expanding Minds: Teaching English Language Learners across the Curriculum, provided a lot of tools regarding teaching any subject to the ELL learner. This is essential as ELL/ESL learners are integrated in the classroom with native English speaking students; thus we must develop methods on teaching the students who may not be at the same language level. The book has a section on teaching language learners in the social sciences. Some of the strategies that the book discusses are to use visuals and graphic organizers; for example, it includes a graphic organizer that compares different early societies in a very simplified form. Some headings of this graphic organizer include comparing when, where, food, social structure, transportation, etc of three early societies. It is an interesting technique as it really breaks down the societies so most students can visualize the differences. Although this is a strategy for helping ELL learners, I can see how it would benefit all learners in the classroom. Compared to other events, the workshop wasn’t as useful to me as a new teacher; however, this resource will be extremely helpful in my teaching career.

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