Handouts and Presentations

The following are handouts and presentations submitted by conference presenters.

  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All, Ellen Son – Presentation
  • Mastering Articles through Games and Activites, Marcus Burt – Handout
  • Developing Support to Support Your Development, Carolyn Bergshoeff and Melissa Robinson – Handout, Presentation
  • Make It Real: Task Based Syllabi Stories from Japan, Christopher P. Madden – Handout
  • Comprehension Improved through Collaborative Reading Circles, Tyson Seburn – Blog post / Presentation Handout
  • Speak It, Write It: Oral Language Activities to Facilitate Narrative Writing, by Sabeen Abbas – Presentation
  • Colours and Movement – What a Way to Teach! by Kristen Hope – Handouts, Modal Board Cards
  • Online Testing Tools, by Arjana Blazic – Presentation
  • Using Collaborative Tasks to Maximize ESL Learning, by Kariman (Karen) Kira & Harpinder Kaur – Handouts, Presentation
  • Quick Dev Tools for Materials Development, by John Allan – Website
  • LearnIT2teach Stage 1, by Nancy Van Dorp and Rob McBride – Presentation

Blog reflections

Click on the melon to proceed to Mellyn Education’s blog post about staying connected.

Conference Facebook event page

Once you have registered, why not show everyone you’re coming by indicating ‘going/attending’ on the conference FB event page? There, we can see other TESL Toronto members who are planning to go to the conference, network ahead of time, plan meet-ups or ask questions.  Join in our online pre-conference networking!

Click here to go directly to the event page.

Date and location

Saturday, May 5th @ New College, University of Toronto
Registration @ Wilson Hall, New College, 40 Willcocks Street (marked on map below)
Click on MAP to revert to the classic street map view.

View TESL Toronto Spring Conference in a larger map


845 – 930     : Registration & refreshments
930 – 1100   : Session I
1100 – 1145 : Exhibitor display & refreshments
1145 – 115    : Session II
115 – 230     : Lunch, AGM & Pecha Kucha
230 – 330    : Session III

Conference rooms

Click for a larger version to print.


Our Twitter hashtag is #toscon12.

Session descriptions


1. Whose English?

Marijke Wertheim
With the increasing use of English in daily life among EAL and World English speakers, is Standard English an appropriate norm in the EAL classroom? Whose English are we teaching, and why? This workshop is a chance to clarify some of the issues and share ideas about possible answers. Come prepared for a lively debate!
Type: Workshop.  Audience: Appeals to all

 2. Listening Pleasure for Lower Levels
Nora Jung
A variety of resources is available for intermediate and advanced level ESL classes that include listening materials. Listening materials for lower levels, however, are usually targeted at younger audience. This workshop explores the possibilities of using songs and other listening materials for lower level adult ESL learners.
Type: Workshop.  Audience: Appeals to all

 3. Daily Reflection to Encourage Active Learning
Mike Stockwell
Using self-reflection methods and routines, the presenter will discuss how a new dialogue can be opened between a teacher and students. These dialogues provide a practical way to receive “feed-forward” in order to meet the needs of students, as well as encourage students to take responsibility for classroom participation.
Type: Presentation. Audience: General/College and University

 4. Using Collaborative Tasks to Maximize ESL Learning
Kariman (Karen) Kira & Harpinder Kaur
Collaborative learning offers students a platform for sharing ideas. This presentation will review strategies for creating collaborative learning environments by examining task characteristics as well as roles of teachers and students. In addition, sample collaborative tasks will be discussed to highlight how they contribute to student interaction and learning.
Type: Presentation.  Audience: General, Appeals to all

 5. LearnIT2teach: Stage 1 
Nancy Van Dorp & Rob McBride
This workshop introduces online resources and professional development opportunities available to the LINC community for free through the LearnIT2teach.ca project. This session is the first of four stages of training, the final stage of which is a TESL Ontario PTCT accreditation. Over 800 instructors Ontario have participated in this training.
Type: Computer lab workshop.  Audience: LINC, Appeals to all

 6. Mastering Articles Through Games and Activities
Marcus Burt
Many ESL students grapple with how to properly use aan, and the. Learn different games and activities that will take the stress out of articles and turn them into a thrill.
Type: Promotional workshop.  Audience: General, Intermediate+

 7. New Directions in Teaching Essay Writing in ESL
Amir Azizmohammadi
Although there has been a long conversation about “contrastive rhetoric,” very little theory has translated into actual activities in ESL textbooks and classroom practice. Tapping into current research on multiliteracies, this presentation will propose a group of activities to be added to the repertoire of traditional ESL essay writing drills.
Type: Seminar.  Audience: Intermediate+, EAP

 8. Drama and ESL
Catherine Rajic
Teaching English means teaching students to embrace a new culture (and new cultures) and to learn to be brave enough to go out there and use the skills they have learned in the classroom. Drama and improv can be used in the classroom to help students gain confidence and enjoy learning English.
Type: Workshop.  Audience: Appeals to all

9. Grammar and Beyond: a different kind of grammar series
Rob Edelmann
Learn about Grammar and Beyond, Cambridge University Press’s newest contextualized four‐level grammar series, which offers real‐world information, a strong emphasis on practice, and clear connections between grammar and writing. This series ensures success with its unique combination of corpus‐based charts, direct application of grammar in all four skills, and ample writing opportunities.
Type: Promotional workshop.  Audience: General, Appeals to all

10. Teaching Collocations
Ken Lackman
This session will present a practical definition of collocation and different ways of categorizing these word combinations. It will be pointed out how it is collocations and not individual words that learners need to become proficient and a strategic approach for teaching will be illuminated with 12 student-centred activities.
Type: Workshop  Audience: General, Appeals to all

11. Comprehension improvement through collaborative reading circles
Tyson Seburn
We will explore how academic adaptations of literature circles can transform reading struggles for intermediate and above level learners into engagement with material and consequently stronger comprehension. Together, we will try out practical examples of noticing vocabulary patterns, thinking critically, making meaningful connections and ultimately improving text comprehension in this individual and collaborative activity.
Type: Presentation  Audience: Intermediate+, EAP

12. Colours and Movement – What a Way to Teach!
Kristen Hope
Kinaesthetic and visual learners can become frustrated in classrooms where the teaching/learning was almost entirely through reading and listening.  In this fun and active session you’ll learn a variety of activities to help with including all learning styles in your teaching – especially the visual and kinaesthetic learners.
Type: Workshop  Audience: General

13. Developing Support to Support Development
Carolyn Bergshoeff & Melissa Robinson
Developing a Peer Learning Network can be an important lifeline for many professionals, and ELT professionals are no different. This presentation will introduce current networks and tactics to develop your own PLN. These lessons carry over into the classroom: a variety of activities are offered that you can share with your students to develop their own network of support.
Type: Presentation  Audience: Appeals to all

14. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Ellen Son
Based on a qualitative research study on ESL (EAP) graduates’ perception of their academic performance in mainstream university classes, the presenter discusses the nature and the scope of the study, shares research findings, and explores some ideas for higher-level curriculum in the EAP classroom.
Type: Seminar  Audience: College/university, EAP

15. Quick Dev Tools for Materials Development
John Allan                                                                                           
The Quick Dev tools block, located at edtechisus.com, is useful for those within an unfamiliar environment who require access to media building tools, or for those who simply cannot afford multimedia development tools. There are 18 different resources that provide features such as image, video and audio editing to screen capturing. This workshop provides hands-on experience with these resources.
Type: Computer lab workshop  Audience: General

16. Teaching English Rhythm, Stress, and Intonation: Overview, Techniques, Tips
Dr. Howard B. Woods
English rhythm, stress, and intonation patterns will be modeled and compared with other languages. The focus will be on how to help students improve their word stress, sentence stress, and rhythm in running speech; and their intonation in statements, questions, and affective situations.
Type: Presentation  Audience: Appeals to all

17. Speak it, Write it: Oral Language Activities to Facilitate Narrative Writing
Sabeen Abbas
The session will model a writing workshop approach suitable for intermediate to advanced language learners. The workshop will include discussion around examples of narrative writing. Participants will engage in several speaking and writing activities in small groups in order to facilitate their own piece of narrative writing.
Type: Workshop  Audience: General, Intermediate+

18. SIG (Special Interest Group) Meetings
Two TESL Toronto SIGs founded last year are meeting for networking and planning: EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and LaSEP (Language Skills for Employment Purposes). If you are interested in one of these specialties, come join in to plan an activity for the coming year, such as a resource-sharing club or a TESL Saturday event.  The TESL Board offers some funds for support. For more information on SIGs, see http://tesltoronto.org/special-interest-groups-sig
Type: Networking & planning

19. Compassion Fatigue: Pouring from an Empty Pot
Karen Hill
Being a caregiver or educator can be powerful and satisfying work. Without a regular practice of self-care, a unique occupational hazard – Compassion Fatigue – results in a deeply painful state of exhaustion that goes far beyond ‘burnout’. Identify signs, symptoms and solutions for ‘the cost of caring.’  
Type: Workshop  Audience: General, Literacy – low intermediate

20. Online Testing Tools
Arjana Blazic                                                                                                                                          
The aim of this workshop is to provide teachers with free user-friendly tools that can be used to assess student progress. Attendees will create their own interactive quizzes and puzzles and will learn how to write plausible distractors. The workshop will emphasize the importance of introducing test-making tools to students.
Type: Computer lab workshop  Audience: Appeals to all

21. Developing and Using Analytic Scales for Writing Assessment
Huan Zhou
This presentation will demonstrate the challenges and the process of developing analytic scales to ensure standardization in subjective marking. Sample student writing will be used to illustrate an adopted approach to rater training and score reporting. The presenter will also explore the use of analytic scales to enhance the teaching of writing.
Type: Presentation  Audience: General, EAP

22. Make It Real: Task-based Syllabi Stories from Japan
Chris P. Madden
The presenter will share his ideas and experiences from having designed and taught numerous task-based syllabi at a Japanese university. Students were asked to choose Japanese companies and design an English advertising campaign including a 2-page pamphlet, a PowerPoint, and a video commercial. Examples will be shown before a Q & A.
Type: Workshop  Audience: General, Intermediate+

23. TOEFL iBT iPhone App for ESL Students – CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS 
Patricia Glogowski
This presentation will focus on Mobile-Assisted Language Learning. The presenter will begin by giving a brief overview of learning theories that guide the use of language learning with mobile devices. The main focus of this presentation will be a TOEFL iBT Review iPhone application that can be used by learners to prepare for the TOEFL exam instead of the traditional classroom/paper-based practice. More information about the TOEFL iBT Review app can be found here: http://www.studybyapp.com/app.php?id=44 
Type: Promotional workshop  Audience: General, Exam preparation

24. Critical Thinking for EFL
Aaron Marques
Designing and teaching lessons that really make students think can be challenging, especially with lower-level classes. However, critical thinking can be built into any activity to make students’ experiences more interesting and their learning deeper. This workshop will provide participants with useful strategies for critically engaging their students daily through grammar and the four skills, as well as opportunities for teachers to share their classroom-tested strategies.
Type: Workshop  Audience: General, Literacy – low intermediate

Have you ever seen a boring session, thanks to Powerpoint (or the lack of presenter skills with Powerpoint)? Pecha Kuchas are the solution!  If you’re not familiar, presenters have 20 slides only and they automatically advance after 20 seconds, ready or not! This gives each presenter 6m40s to get their message across in a meaningful and captivating way.  Once one presenter has reached their time, another is up! They’re usually very entertaining and a interesting alternative to lengthy presentations.

TESL Toronto will host a Pecha Kucha session at the Spring 2012 conference during the lunch period in the dining hall. Planned presentations include:

A year in the life of TESL Toronto, Tyson Seburn
{Who are the people of the TESL Toronto Executive Board? What does it take to pull off a TESL Toronto event?  Where did that awesome logo come from and what does it mean? All great questions and more will be answered through an Inuit-inspired interpretive dance.  No, just kidding.  We’ll just do it in 6m40sec of slides. =)}

Planet Japan, Christopher Madden
{Mostly my own photos, mostly my own experiences, all my own opinions from 8 years and 8 months of living in Japan and teaching English–some of the focus will be on teaching (3 or 4 slides) most will be personal and everyone will learn something.}

Business English, Margaret Hurley
{Ask students why they’re studying English, and the majority will say, “To get a better job.”  This focus increases the popularity of business English classes.  But, the prospect of teaching business English sends a shiver down the spine of many ESL teachers.  Many of us in the ESL world have little interest or experience in a corporate environment — and perhaps a frisson of fear that our students know more about the basic subject of business than we do.  This session will address some ways to conquer that fear and deliver business English classes that meet students’ needs.}

Owning Your Metaphor, Tania Iveson
{This presentation is a brief look at how unconscious beliefs can actively impact on our view of teaching and learning, which in turn influences the roles we adopt, the style of teaching we employ and even how we perceive our learners. This short presentation highlights a personal journey of trying to uncover my own unconscious beliefs through the metaphor of a fairytale.}

For more information about Pecha Kuchas, check out the following links:

Pecha-kucha 20×20 – the original organisation
Pecha Kucha ELT – a site designed to read about how others in English Language Teaching have been using PKs
Six Things about Pecha Kucha –  a post by Lindsay Clandfield about Pecha Kucha
Another Great Pecha Kucha: Mark Andrews’ Bridges & ELT – a post about great Pecha Kucha characteristics by Thomas Baker

Presenter Bios – Spring Conference 2012

Sabeen Abbas is a Peel Board elementary occasional teacher. She taught English in Japan for one year before completing her M.Ed. from York University. Her research focused on identity, race, and culture in autobiographical narrative writings.

John Allan has been working with educational technology and TESL for over 20 years. He currently runs the Social ESL website and works with the LINC based LearnIT2teach.ca programme developing LINC courseware as well as training LINC/ESL instructors across the province.

Amir Azizmohammadi has taught ESL for 15 years, and is currently a Master of Teaching student at OISE/University of Toronto.

Carolyn Bergshoeff taught overseas for almost four years in Thailand. Upon returning, she completed her TESL certification at the University of Toronto. She now teaches for LINC Homestudy and runs Mellyn Education with Melissa Robinson.

Arjana Blazic is a high school English teacher from Croatia. She is an avid user of web 2.0 technologies and a lifelong learner with a strong passion for travel. She is the author of the award-winning wiki Greetings from the World and the co-founder of the portal Moja Matura.

Marcus Burt has 15 years experience as an ESL teacher in Korea, Japan, and Canada, and is the author of Mastering Articles Through Games and Activities. He currently employed at SEC in Toronto.

Rob Edelmann represents Cambridge University Press. He taught ESL in Canada and South America and has worked with every major ESL publisher. He has been introducing new materials to Canadian ESL teachers for a very, very long time.

Patricia Glogowski has an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and a TESOL Certificate from the University of Toronto. She is interested in meaningful uses of technology in language learning, in particular, in the use of mobile devices to deliver learning content.

Karen Hill is a certified Compassion Fatigue Educator and Therapist dedicated to the health of those who care for others. An Adult Educator and Licensed Holistic Health practitioner with a post-graduate certificate in Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion, Karen believes educators impact the learning of students through attention to their own health.

Kristen Hope,  a kinaesthetic and visual learner herself,  is an energetic young teacher with experience teaching English in India, Sweden and Canada.

Margaret Hurley is an ESL instructor and TESOL teacher trainer.  She has been an instructor, facilitator and researcher for schools and companies around the world.  She is co-author of the business book The Blurring Boundary of the Organisation. She is currently developing a grammar textbook for TESOL trainees.

Tania Iveson started teaching ESL in 1990. She has taught in Spain, Taiwan, England and Brazil, and has been a teacher trainer since 1998. Tania is currently the Head CELTA trainer at International House and an instructor at Sheridan College. She is pursuing her MA in TESOL and is particularly interested in psycholinguistics.

Nora Jung has been teaching ESL since 2006. She has an M.A. in Sociology from York University. Her research interests include adult education and second language learning.

Harpinder Kaur has been a high school teacher and ESL instructor for more than 20 years. She currently volunteers teaching basic literacy to adults. She has M.A. degrees in Politics and Philosophy and a TESL certificate.

Karen Kira has taught EAP in Egypt for twenty years. She holds two M.A. degrees in English and TEFL, and a TESL certificate. She is currently volunteering in an ESL centre teaching multilevel classes. Her research interests are in classroom applications of Web 2.0 in promoting collaborative learning.

Ken Lackman (B.Ed., DELTA) was the academic director at a private language school from 2002 to 2007, and is now working as a freelance teacher trainer and writer. He is a frequent presenter at conferences in Canada and Europe and offers workshops open to all ESL teachers at English Central.

Christopher Philip Madden taught English in Japan for nine years, the last three at a university. He has an M.A. TESOL, and was the Plenary Speaker Liaison, as well as a workshop presenter, at the annual Japan Association of Language Teaching conference for four years in a row.

Aaron Marques holds a TESL certificate and has taught EFL/ESL in a variety of settings, including universities, the TDSB and private language schools. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in teaching at OISE/University of Toronto, where his research focus is student attention and engagement.

Rob McBride is part of the LearnIT2teach team and has been an ESL teacher since Carson-Martin was popular. He believes new technologies are a challenge for teachers but are also a great way to improve the impact of learning and teaching.

Catherine Moore Rajic has been teaching ESL for 15 years both overseas and in Toronto. She has a BFA in Theatre, a B.Ed, and a TESL certificate. Her goal is to help teachers and students use drama to become courageous enough to express themselves in various real-life situations and to have fun in the classroom learning English.

Melissa Robinson has been teaching since 2004 with experience in private schools, university, as well as LINC. As a TESL certified teacher, she has held the role of Head Teacher, and also runs Mellyn Education with Carolyn Bergshoeff.

Tyson Seburn is an instructor in the International Foundation Program at University of Toronto (New College), promoter of teacher and learner development through technology via 4C and member of the TESL Toronto Executive Board. He is currently working on an M.A. in Educational Technology and TESOL.

Mike Stockwell is the Program Director of the Communicative English Program at Sugiyama Jogakuen University in Nagoya, Japan. He is an active member of the Japan Association for Language Teaching and will be the Conference Program Chair for 2012. Mike has been teaching English as a foreign language for 21 years.

Ellen Son teaches mainly EAP at the University of Regina. Her research interests lie in race, culture and identity. She is presently conducting her first sabbatical research project — an ethnographic study of recent EAP graduates’ perception of their academic readiness and their actual functioning in mainstream university classrooms.

Nancy Van Dorp is a TESL Ontario certified teacher and an early adopter of learning technologies. She is a trainer, online mentor, online course facilitator, and a part-time instructor at Sheridan College. She is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in distance education at Athabasca University.

Marijke Wertheim teaches Methodology of TESOL in the TESOL Certificate Program at Woodsworth College, University of Toronto, and a variety of ESOL courses at the School of Continuing Studies, UT.

Dr. Howard B. Woods has a Ph.D in Socio-Linguistics with a specialty in Canadian English and Phonology. He has done ESL teaching, teacher training, and speech tutoring in ten countries, and published eight books dealing with Canadian phonology.

Huan Zhou has taught ESL/EFL and film studies in post-secondary institutions in China, Singapore, the USA, and Canada. She has been teaching in the Academic Program at York University English Language Institute since 2001. Her research interests include language assessment, grammar instruction, and cross-cultural communication.


Below is the list of exhibitors attending the Spring Conference. Drop by to see the latest in ESL-ware, meet the publishers, and find some great materials and services!

Cambridge University Press

Chestnut Publishing Group

English Central

ESL Shop

Frontier College

LearnIT2teach Project 


Ontario Reader

Oxford University Press

Pearson ELT

The Resource Centre

Sol Group

Toronto MELAB Centre