Special Series on Critical Pedagogy

Critical pedagogy is about promoting social change through critical thinking in the education system. Inspired by the work of educator and philosopher Paulo Freire, this 3-part series explores critical pedagogy for TESL in Quebec and abroad.

Part 1 – Delighting in Doubt, Discomfort, and Vulnerability: Discussing Critical Pedagogy with Dr. Nassim Noroozi

Part 2 – Learning from Foreigners: Exploring the Neocolonial Aspects of TESL with Nina Le

Part 3 – Masters in Our Own Home? A Candid Conversation about Staying Critical Here in Quebec with Amani

Listen!
Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

Becoming a Playful Teacher: A Conversation about Play, Expertise, and Being Kind to Yourself

Guest: Dr. Teresa Hernandez Gonzalez

Clinical researcher Stuart Brown once wrote that “play is the vital essence of life.” But what does it really mean to play? How can we incorporate playfulness into our teaching? And why is it important to do so? In this episode, we sat down with our program director Dr. Teresa Hernandez-Gonzalez! She delved into the experiences that had shaped her as an educator, the art of combining work and play (and perhaps deconstructing this dichotomy along the way), and the debate of whether teachers are born or made.

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

How Much French Do I Need to Succeed in the B.Ed and to Teach ESL in Montreal 

Guest: B.Ed. Graduate Rachel

Are you wondering how much French you’ll need to thrive in your internships and succeed as an English teacher in Montreal? In this episode of Talking TESL, we are joined by Rachel, a graduate of the B.Ed. in TESL. She breaks down her experiences learning French, how she navigated her internships, and how to best prepare to teach ESL in a French environment as an Anglophone.

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

A TESL Student Profile: Discussing Judo, Male Figures In Education, And Going Back To School As A Mature Student 

Guest: B.Ed. Student Reagan

Reagan is a TESL student in his final year of studies. In this long-form episode of Talking TESL, he discusses what brought him to TESL after a career in telecommunications, his connection between judo and teaching, and much more. He delves into his experiences in the program, including insight from his internships and courses. He talks about professors who impacted him, lessons he learned from students, and where he sees himself in the future.

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

A TESL Student Profile: Thoughts about the Program, Teaching Experiences, and Goals beyond the Degree

Guest: B.Ed. Student Stephanie

Curious to hear the voices of our students? In this episode of Talking TESL, we sit down with Stephanie, who is in her third year of the B.Ed. in TESL. She talks about her background, what led her to the program, her words of advice for current or incoming students, how her teaching philosophy has shifted, and what she plans on doing beyond the B.Ed. 

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

The 12 Tips You Need to Succeed as a Student in the TESL Program

Guest: B.Ed. Student & TESLSA VP Academic Ariella

Starting the TESL program can feel daunting for new students. Not only do you have to familiarize yourself with the demands of a new program, but you need to get used to the rhythm of being a student. In this episode, we are joined by the TESLSA VP Academic and TESL student Ariella, who lays down the 12 foundational tips you need to succeed in the program. She covers organizational strategies, small actions that make a big difference for your success, and other tips that may not occur to the student who is unfamiliar with the TESL program. Ariella is a champion multi-tasker; between her studies and TESLSA role, she also is a mother of two. In this episode, she distills her knowledge to the 12 tips that all students should know, whether you are new to the program, or perhaps just in need of an organizational reset.

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

Teaching a Successful Class Last Minute with Nothing but Two Paper Plates

Guest: TESL RC Mentorship Coordinator Lisa Gonzales

Have you ever had to teach a class last minute? What about with no materials? As teachers, we are taught that thorough preparation is the foundation of a successful class. However, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we simply do not have the time to lesson plan. In this episode of Talking TESL, our Mentorship Coordinator Lisa shares a clever teaching story about the time she had to teach a full class last minute, with no materials except two paper plates.

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

Sticking to Your Boundaries and Keeping Calm in the Classroom: A Short Story about Teaching Adults

Guest: B.Ed. Alumna Yvette 

It is not uncommon to feel intimidated by students, especially when starting off your teaching career. Whether due to the age of your students, their personalities, or even your working environment, it can be difficult to stick to your boundaries in situations where your position of authority is being delegitimized.
Have you ever felt intimidated by your students? TESL RC’s Lead Coordinator Yvette has. In this short story episode of Talking TESL, Yvette shares an experience standing her ground with an aggressive student.

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

Objectified by Your Students: Why Is It So Normalized?

Guest: B.Ed. Student Catherine 

Many teachers have unfortunately dealt with the uncomfortable experience of being objectified by their students. Whether it's in the form of stares, comments, jokes, unwanted messages, or even touching, these instances are difficult to approach and oftentimes normalized or dismissed by colleagues. This is one of those many topics that are not talked about in university courses, but emerges in the field, leaving it up to the teacher to navigate in the way they see fit. In this episode of Talking TESL, B.Ed. student Catherine discusses how she handled a secondary student acting inappropriately towards her, and speculates on why this behaviour is so prevalent and the conversation surrounding it so lacking. 

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

My Secondary Student Told Me I Couldn't Teach Him Anything: Being a Young Teacher and Dealing with Student Attitude

Guest: B.Ed. student Yasmine 

It can be very challenging to be a young teacher in secondary. Students push your boundaries and question your legitimacy as an authority figure based on your appearance, and it can be difficult to know how to approach these situations. In this 15-minute episode of Talking TESL, B.Ed. student Yasmine shares one such experience while in a secondary internship. She explains her feelings and how she handled the interaction, and gives advice on how to mitigate such situations in the future. 

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

Failing an Internship, Succeeding as a Teacher: Discussing Experiences In The TESL B.Ed.

Guest: B.Ed. Alumnus Gonzalo 

Sometimes struggling during an internship (or even in your first year) can make you feel like you are not in the right field. B.Ed. alumnus Gonzalo talks about an experience that tested his resolve, and ponders the question whether teachers are born or made. 

Music by Nomerodin1

Talking TESL Podcast

After the B.Ed: Teaching Kindergarten in Shanghai, China

Guest: B.Ed. Alumna Yvette

Many students would like to teach abroad after finishing their teaching degree. However, the process of finding the right school, as well as applying, interviewing, and preparing for the new experience can be daunting and overwhelming. On top of that, teaching in a different country can feel like stepping into the unknown, linguistically and culturally. In this episode of Talking TESL, B.Ed. alumna Yvette talks about her two years teaching kindergarten in Shanghai, China. She discusses applying for the job, the school culture, relationships with students and parents, money transfer issues, and other tips she wished she knew before teaching in China.

Interested in teaching in a different country? Check out our list of the 14 questions you should ask in an interview for a teaching job abroad. Find it on the TESL Resource Centre's Moodle page (available to students in the TESL program at Concordia University only).

Music by Nomerodin1

Graphic of computer monitor displaying the words Online Teaching

Understanding Unions: What They Are, and How Do They Help Teachers

Guest: M.T.A President Lori Newton

Typically, teaching is a unionized job. Unions are wonderful support systems that advocate on behalf of workers. However, sometimes at the beginning of your teaching career, it can be difficult to understand exactly how your union is there to help you. Especially in your first year, it is often challenging to find the time to really understand the ins and outs of your union. 

To answer all union-related questions, we are joined by Lori Newton, who is the president of the Montreal Teachers Association. She will be addressing questions such as: why are unions important, and how do they negotiate on behalf of teachers? When should a teacher speak to their union representative? What is a collective agreement?  

Music by Nomerodin1

Decorative image: The 8 things I wish I knew

8 Things I Wish I Knew about Teaching in CEGEP – with Two CEGEP Teachers Beginning Their Careers 

Guest: Alex and Sivan

Teaching in CEGEP is a career goal for many teachers. This educational system, which is unique to Quebec, acts as an intermediary between high school and university. It is a time where students can explore their interests and transition gently into a stage of life with more responsibility. Teaching in this system can be a lot of fun – and a lot of work! In this episode, Sivan and her friend Alex sit down to discuss the 8 things they wish they knew before teaching their first year in CEGEP. Topics range from how to get jobs, salaries, student motivation, and how to prepare for courses when you're given a week's notice (or sometimes less)! 

Music by Nomerodin1

 

Talking TESL Podcast

Going Back to School as a Mother: Discussing Unique B.Ed. Experiences, Managing Family Life and Studies, and Being a Mature Student

Guests: B.Ed. Students Ellie And Nairy

One unique aspect of the TESL program is that we have numerous students who are also mothers. In a very special interview, we sit down with two mothers working towards their teaching degree. They discuss their personal challenges, some tips, and how they feel motherhood has influenced their experience in the program. 

Music by Bensound

talking TESL with image of a girl holding a pile of book in front of her face

Masters in Our Own Home? A Candid Conversation about Staying Critical Here in Quebec

Guest: B.Ed. Student Amani

To progress in our field we need to constantly be thinking critically about current practices and the status quo of teaching. In this 3-part series, we have defined critical pedagogy and discussed its history and relevance to our current teaching conditions. We have also explored the neocolonial aspects of teaching ESL abroad in developing countries.

In the final episode of this series, we'll be bringing the discussion back home to Montreal. What does it mean to practice critical pedagogy in the context of Quebec? In this episode we're joined by the wonderful high school teacher and B.Ed. graduate Amani, to speak candidly about our social issues and legislation that influence the education system, such as language tension, school funding, and Bill 21.

Music by Nomerodin1

talking TESL with image of a girl holding a pile of book in front of her face

Learning from Foreigners: Exploring the Neocolonial Aspects of TESL

Guest: Nina Le

In this second part of our series on critical pedagogy, we cast a critical eye on perhaps one of the most familiar TESL contexts: Teaching English as a Second Language abroad, especially in developing countries. There is no question that for many teachers, TESL represents an enriching travel opportunity. Many teachers begin their careers on gap years teaching in Asian countries, where the demand for ESL teachers is extremely high, especially if you are a Caucasian Westerner who speaks English (preferably North American, British, or Australian varieties) as a mother tongue. Oftentimes, teacher training is not even a prerequisite for landing a job!

There is undeniably something off about this dynamic that is rarely spoken about openly, especially by Western teachers who have won the proverbial linguistic lottery. Why is it that a Western teacher (or non-teacher) who is usually unfamiliar with the culture and language of the host country, more qualified for an ESL position than a native who is trained and experienced? Why is there so much importance placed on having English as a mother tongue? Why are some varieties of English prioritized over others? What is the true value of the Western teacher? 

In this episode of Talking TESL, we are joined by Nina Le, a graduate student who learned English at an Australian school in Vietnam. She discusses her experience of being taught by entirely Western teachers, and what messages were transmitted to her about the English language, and who it belongs to. 

Music by Nomerodin1

talking TESL with image of a girl holding a pile of book in front of her face

Delighting in Doubt, Discomfort, and Vulnerability: Discussing Critical Pedagogy

Guest: Dr. Nassim Noroozi 

“When we teach, we legitimize certain views of the world, which means that others are disregarded.” (Grady, 1991) 

Teaching is an act of empowering students to become independent thinkers and actors in society. But how can we do that? What does taking on that role demand of us teachers? 

Critical Pedagogy is a teaching philosophy coined by educator and philosopher Paulo Freire in his seminal work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Freire maintains that we cannot separate political and social issues from our classroom content, and it is our job as teachers to problematize these social issues, prompt discourse, and find solutions. 

In this episode, we are joined by the ever-inspiring Dr. Nassim Noroozi to discuss what critical pedagogy is and how we can practice it as teachers. Dr. Noroozi lectured at Concordia University’s Department of Education and is trained in philosophy of education. Her research focuses on ethics of resistance in today’s colonial context. Her work specifically examines the relationship between the phenomena of time, colonization, and resistances against it. In this episode we will address questions such as: what is critical pedagogy and why should teachers know about it? What is the banking model of education? Why is vulnerability an important aspect of being a teacher? 

Music by Nomerodin1

Talking TESL Podcast

4 B.Ed. Students Reflect On The Internships: What They Wish They Knew, and How To Make The Most Of The Experience

Guests: B.Ed. Students Lauren, Amani, Kelly and Nadia

Internships are an integral part of the TESL program. They are an opportunity to learn through doing, make connections with others in the field, and put the theory learned in class into actual practice. The internships may represent one's first foray into actual teaching in front of students. They can be all at once exciting, terrifying, challenging, and rewarding. 

In this episode, we are joined by 4 amazing B.Ed. students to have a candid conversation all about their diverse internship experiences. They talk about the highs, the lows, what they wish they knew before starting out, and what they learned.

Music by Nomerodin1

Talking TESL Podcast

Using Gamification in The Classroom: Engaging Your Students and Being Playful With Your Teaching

Our guest: Elementary Teacher Anne

Gamification is a way of motivating students to engage with class content playfully. Teachers have been using game elements instinctively in their classrooms for years. For example, some teachers create point systems to award prosocial behaviour, or weave lessons into fantastical narratives where each student plays a role in the story. In this episode, we are joined by Anne, an exceptional primary school teacher at F.A.C.E., which is an arts-centered school in Montreal. Anne discusses how she uses gamification in her class, how it benefits her students, and how this teaching approach shapes how she views her role as a teacher. 

Music by Nomerodin1

Talking TESL Podcast

Know Your TESL Terms and Competencies

Guest: TESL RC Coordinator and Primary Teacher Sarah Ercoli

The education system here in Quebec is full of programs, organizational structures and terms that to those unfamiliar can feel quite daunting and overwhelming. How does our evaluation system work? What are the competencies teachers must cover throughout the year? What kind of terminology does a new teacher need to know in order to navigate our educational system? In this episode, we are joined by Sarah, who is the Landscape Coordinator at the TESL Resource Centre. She creates our Moodle page, which is full of valuable resources for teachers looking for lesson plans, government documents, job-hunting toolkits, subbing toolkits, and much more. Sarah is a graduate of Concordia's B.Ed. in TESL and currently teaches in primary school. She's here to talk us through all the terms and systems we need to know to teach in Quebec, as well as discuss her own teaching trajectory and philosophy. 

Music by Nomerodin1

 

Graphic of computer monitor displaying the words Online Teaching

Assessment and Evaluation: Discussing Different Approaches, Scaffolding, And The Role Of Mental Health

Guest: Dr. Heike Neumann

Assessing students can be a point of stress for a lot of teachers. There are so many questions to consider: are my assessments fair? Have they been scaffolded? Is there a golden ratio between formative and summative assessments? What format should they be? Are my rubrics clear? Do my assessments reflect the competencies? 

In this episode we are joined by Professor Heike Neumann to discuss this crucial aspect of teaching. Prof. Neumann is a faculty member in Concordia's Department of Education. Among other classes, she teaches courses on language assessment, and testing, evaluation and course design. In this episode we’ll be addressing questions such as: how should we balance initial, formative, and summative assessments? How should teachers approach external factors that may affect evaluation, such as mental health issues and unforeseen circumstances? Should assessment always be graded? 

Music by Nomerodin1

back of a school bus with trees in foreground

The First Year Teaching: Reflecting On The Challenges, Rewarding Moments, And Unforeseen Experiences

Guests: B.Ed. Alumnae Pilar and Rosa Li

The first year teaching can be exciting as it is daunting. It's that step TESL students have been preparing years for. To really get into the nitty-gritty of that first year, we are joined by two graduates of the B.Ed. in TESL, Pilar and Rosa Li, to discuss their diverse experiences. How can new graduates best prepare for the year ahead? What do these new teachers wish they knew? What were some of the most rewarding moments? What were some surprising challenges? What were their organizational strategies? 

Music by Nomerodin1

image of Bogotà residential buildings on the mountainside

Teaching in CEGEP: Drumming Up Student Motivation, Crafting Lessons, and Automatic Essay Evaluation

Guest: CEGEP Teacher Nick Walker

CEGEP is a wonderful institution unique to Quebec. Rather than diving straight into university at the tender age of 18, students are able to explore their interests and get a taste of independence. The CEGEP years are a special time for many students, as they are usually one step in childhood, and one in adulthood. It is also a fascinating teaching environment, where oftentimes teachers play a role in this transition. In this episode of Talking TESL, we are joined by Nick Walker, who teaches English at Ahuntsic College. Nick is the recipient of numerous teaching awards and is the creator of the Actively Engaged textbook series. In this interview, he discusses his own teaching trajectory, how to get CEGEP jobs, the challenges and rewarding aspects of the work, and the importance of innovation and reinvention.

Music by Nomerodin1

Graphic of computer monitor displaying the words Online Teaching

Teaching Grammar: Exploring The Definition Of Grammar, Different Approaches To Teaching, and How To Engage Our Students

Guest: Dr. Mark McAndrews

For some, grammar has a reputation for being the "boring" aspect of language learning. However, grammar is fascinating! All languages have their own unique grammatical system, and there is so much potential for it to be taught in a way that is engaging. 

For that reason, in this episode we are joined by Professor Mark McAndrews to talk all about the history and different approaches to teaching grammar. Professor Mark McAndrews teaches courses in Concordia’s B.Ed. in TESL and M.A. in Applied Linguistics programs. He has previously taught in the U.S., China, and Nunavik, Northern Quebec. In this episode we’ll be addressing the questions: how can teachers make teaching grammar more engaging and student-centered? How have our approaches to teaching grammar changed over time? What discussions about grammar can we have with our students?

Music by Nomerodin1

image of Bogotà residential buildings on the mountainside

Picking Berries With Students, Dealing With Intense Culture Shock, And Adapting To Radically Different Teaching Environments

Guest: B.Ed. Alumnus Sebastien

Teacher shortages in Nunavik, Northern Quebec, often force these Inuit communities to hire teachers from “the south.” For these teachers, taking these contracts can represent a life-changing decision that is equal parts rewarding and challenging. 

In this episode, we are visited again by Sebastien, a graduate of the B.Ed. in TESL. This time, we discuss Sebastien’s experience teaching in Kuujjuaq, Northern Quebec. Topics include becoming acquainted with the Inuit culture, the responsibilities of teachers in these communities, culture shock, and the neo-colonial aspects of TESL. 

Music by Nomerodin1

image of Bogotà residential buildings on the mountainside

Teaching Abroad in Colombia: Landing Jobs, Culture Shock, and Adapting To Different Teaching Environments

Guest: B.Ed. Alumnus Sebastien

Teaching in a different country is a goal for many students pursuing their teaching degree. In this episode, we are joined by Sebastien, a graduate of the B.Ed. in TESL, who is here to share his experience teaching in Colombia, South America. Why did he decide to teach in Colombia? What kind of culture shock did he face? How did he adapt to the new teaching environment? How did he learn Spanish? 

Music by Nomerodin1

school water fountain in front of black tiled wall

Teaching in High School: Classroom Management, Work/Life Balance, and Teenage Hormones

Guest: B.Ed. Alumnus Nicolas

Thinking of teaching in high school? In this episode of Talking TESL, we are joined by Nicolas, a graduate of the B.Ed. in TESL who is happy in his career teaching secondary. We discuss Nick’s teaching trajectory after graduation, classroom management techniques, the highs and lows of high school teaching, and how teaching high school involves being a part-time psychologist. 

Music by Nomerodin1

cover with girls wearing sunglassess

Taking Over a Teaching Contract While Still In The Program: Experiences Of A Young Teacher

Guest: B.Ed. Student Catherine

More often than not, the best way to learn is by doing. In this episode, we are joined by Catherine, an undergraduate student completing her B.Ed. in TESL. She decided to take some time off from school in the middle of her studies in order to teach in high school. We discuss her experiences as a young teacher, how she went about finding an appropriate contract, and how she dealt with classroom management, work/life balance, and many other aspects of teaching. 

Music by Nomerodin1

 talking tesl cover with a lightbulb that contains wavelength

Teaching in Elementary: A TESL Grad Reflects On The Beginning Of His Career

Guest: B.Ed. Alumnus Alex

Many B.Ed. graduates aspire to teach in elementary schools after graduation. In this episode, we are joined by Alex, who is a graduate of the B.Ed. in TESL at Concordia University. Alex teaches at an elementary school in Laval, and he is here to talk about his day-to-day life, how to land jobs after graduating, and the importance of making mistakes and constant reinvention. 

Music by Nomerodin1


Host and Producer: Sivan Black-Rotchin
Sound Editor: Jackie Gallant

Have a perspective to share? Email us to be featured on one of our podcasts!

Back to top

© Concordia University