TESL Toronto Spring 2011 Conference

Thank you to everyone – presenters, attendees, volunteers and exhibitors – who contributed to a wonderful Spring Conference!

Workshop Materials

The following presenters have generously provided access to their handouts and/or presentations:


Click here for more conference photos (and send your own pics to info@tesltoronto.org)







Conference Exhibitors

The following organizations participated in our Spring Conference. To get in touch with any of them, check out their websites or download an Exhibitors Contact [pdf] sheet.

Workshop Descriptions and Presenter Bios

1) Soft Skills: What, Why and How to Teach Them in ESL Classes (Publisher’s Workshop)
What to teach: Soft skills – culturally appropriate communication skills – ESL and more – and (business) etiquette, the ‘unwritten rules’ at work. Why: Meet immigrants’ needs. How: Engage learners in choosing responses to typical situations – with Office Soft SkillsJoan Bartel researched and developed Office Soft Skills for four years. Having previously published traditionally, she self-published these books in 2009-2010. They are used across the GTA (e.g. in OSLT) and in the U.S.

(2) Improve Your Presentation Skills
Phrasing is the silent partner to pronunciation, so learn the silent art of making your audience understand you through parsing phrases out of written English. James Leitch has led classes in ESL and EAP at all levels. His early career in broadcasting and theatre arts causes him to focus particular attention on the fourth communication skill: the skill of speaking English.

(3) Multimedia Portfolios
Use multimedia to create stimulating projects that capitalize on all four skills. This presentation will provide you with a few examples of projects you can use immediately with your students. Sarah Khurshid holds a B.Ed. and is a drama teacher. Currently, she is a professor at George Brown College. She has been an EAP teacher for one year. Margret Bastowros is a professor at Seneca College. She has been an ESL teacher for over two decades and has taught in a variety of ESL programs with an emphasis on EAP.

(4) The What and How of Vocabulary Teaching and Learning
Empirically based: the words & idioms to address, the lowdown on collocations, balancing memorization and comprehensible input, semantic sets, study schedules, software and websites, activities, and even some economic theory. Brett Reynolds has been teaching English for almost 20 years and is currently professor of EAP at Humber College. Read his latest blog post at http://english-jack.blogspot.com.

(5) Songs as a Tool to Teach English to Lower Levels
ESL teachers integrate songs into their teaching material in order to teach grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation. This workshop explores which criteria to consider when choosing songs for lower levels. Nora Jung has taught various LINC levels at SAFSS. She holds an M.A. degree from York University, and she likes to share her love for music.

(6) Using Film to Develop Multiple Skills
Come and explore the use of film as a springboard for activities which develop oral and written skills. Learn how to incorporate elements of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation into a movies-based course. Evelyn Pedersenhas taught in various programs with the U of T’s ELP for 24 years. Her most recent initiative, a 40-hour class called “English through Movies,” has been particularly well-received.

(7) Writing 101: Ideas and Tips for Teaching Writing in High Beginner/Low Intermediate ESL Classes
This workshop will focus on introducing informal and formal writing in the ESL class. Participants will work through activities that can be used in their classes to develop students’ writing skills. Dianne Roberti has a TESL Certificate from Woodsworth College and an M. Ed. from OISE. She has been teaching ESL since 1990 and has taught in Japan and at Seneca and George Brown College.

(8) LearnIT2teach Project: Stage One Training
This hands-on computer workshop introduces online resources and PD opportunities available to the LINC community through the CIC-funded LearnIT2teach Project. This workshop (with an additional online component) prepares instructors to use LINC courseware on edlinc.caJim Edgar has taught in Ottawa, Canada’s north, and the Middle East. He has designed and developed online ESL, EAP and ESP courses as well as LINC learning objects and courseware. John Allan works in the areas of instructional design and language acquisition. As a Moodle mentor, he has certified teachers across the globe on the Open Source Learning Management System. Kevin O’Brien has been an ESL educator for over 40 years. He has worked with technology since the 1980’s, and has written educational software and trained teachers to use technology in their classrooms.

(9) Criteria of Assessment in an ESL Class
The presentation is going to discuss what and how an ESL instructor can assess when entering a new ESL class. Valery Arenova-Westren has been teaching ESL and other languages for over 15 years. She has her BA in linguistics and did her MA in TESOL with Oxford Brookes University, UK. Currently, Valery observes TESOL trainees’ trial ESL classes and gives feedback on how to improve their teaching.

(10) Developing Listening Skills
Initially, a review of the theoretical underpinning of recent research into listening, and then we look at some approaches to teaching listening. Throughout, we will do practical and adaptable classroom-based activities. A 16-year career in TEFL has led Steve Allen to Canada via Poland, China and the UK. His current role is Academic Director at EF Toronto. MA TESOL and Trinity TESOL Post Graduate Diploma qualified. This workshop is one in a series he’s developed covering the four key skills.

(11) An Introduction to ROLLR.ca
This presentation introduces ROLLR.ca, the new Ontario LINC learning object and digital resource repository. The presentation gives an overview of the main features of this internet site and highlights potential benefits to the LINC/ESL/ELT community. Jim Edgar has taught in Ottawa, Canada’s north, and the Middle East. He has designed and developed online ESL, EAP and ESP courses, as well as LINC learning objects and courseware. Kevin O’Brien has been an ESL educator for over 40 years. He has worked with technology since the 1980s, and has written educational software and trained teachers to use technology in their classrooms.

(12) Teaching Reading Strategies
Nobody in the real world will activate schemata for our students or provide comprehension questions before they read. A look at 35 classroom reading strategies and how students can transfer them to the real world. Ken Lackman (B.Ed., DELTA) was the academic director at EF Toronto from 2002 to 2007, and is now working as a freelance teacher trainer and coursebook writer. He offers workshops open to all ESL teachers at English Central bookstore.

(13) Drama Techniques for Effective Communication
This workshop is hands-on with drama exercises that work with objects, visuals, sentences, and scripts. Apply drama skills to funny scripts and practice intonation, body language, and dramatic gestures. Ava Goodman uses short scripts and drama techniques to improve students’ pronunciation and communication. Activities are entertaining, memorable, and useful. She has acted, directed, and promoted amateur theatre.

(14) An ESL Survival Kit – or – A Refresher Course!
Are you a new instructor looking for a potpourri of practical activities – or a ‘used’ instructor looking for a refresher course? This session and comprehensive handouts feature popular skill-builders from ‘Thirty Minutes to Review’, ‘ESL Stories’, and ‘Grand Finale’. Fran Marshall is an experienced ESL Resource Consultant, a frequent presenter at TESL Ontario, TESL affiliates and TESL Training Programs. She is the author of widely used ESL reader-workbooks, manuals and CDs.

(15) Using Video Communicatively
This workshop is designed to share practical ideas, student-centred activities, and ready-to-use handouts that add meaningful interaction to watching a video in class. Yuliya Desyatova’s teaching experience of almost 15 years ranges from private tutoring in the Ukraine to LINC at various levels in Toronto, as well as mentoring TESL students during their practicum week.

(16) Using Google Sites to Make a Class Website
Google offers a free online, DIY website application that doesn’t require the purchase or installation of any software and doesn’t require advanced technical skills. This allows students to access course handouts, videos, music, ESL listening materials and online resources. Paul Kinnis has been teaching College English, in both English and ESL streams, at community colleges in Toronto since 1997.

(17) Résumé Clinic: Workshop and One-on-One Advising
Is your résumé helping – or hindering – your job search? This 45-minute presentation provides valuable tips for building a résumé that will get you noticed by Ontario employers. The first 19 registrants are welcome to stay after the presentation for a 15-minute one-on-one consultation with an advisor. All registrants should bring a copy of their current résumé and will receive a checklist for self-evaluation. Joan Bartel has led ESL/EFL programs and hired teachers in Toronto, Boston and Cologne, Germany. She has TESL and Career Counselling Certificates and teaches interviewing skills within OSLT courses at Humber College. The résumé advisors, Steve AllenGlenna Pickett,Ellen Servinis and Audrey Spence-Thomas, are ESL professionals with resume and/or writing experience.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) Information Session
The SIGs session is for those who may be interested in becoming involved in a SIG, but would like to know more about it first. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are commonplace in TESL organisations and conferences around the world.  They function as a forum for like-minded members to meet online, at conferences and/or other organized events in the Toronto area. At meetings members can discuss issues, develop projects and create collaborative groups to work on areas of interest in the field that will help them and support other teachers. TESL Toronto executive members Steve Allen and Aga Palalas will facilitate.