The Framework is an open-source online tool, a 360° View of Communicative Competence at Work. Designed by the Ontario Government the framework is a resource for foreign trained professionals to provide strategies, approaches, and areas for language development that support intercultural workplace communication. The tool does not come with a teacher’s guide or classroom activities, but it can serve as a starting point for classroom conversations and independent study. The tool also includes a video and downloadable pdf.
This 250-page guide is referenced to CLBs (1–3) and has instructions for adapting units and lessons to PBLA. It contains teaching strategies and language goals for English learners. The teacher’s guide and student materials contain background information, lesson plans and learner activities. Skill building (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and language building (grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary) activities are provided. The objective is to assist learners with trauma to see themselves as belonging to the wider community.
Briding Two Worlds is a resource to address issues of trauma in learners. It was written for elementary and secondary educators but is insightful and informative for teachers of adult learners as well. Bridging Two Worlds offers curriculum development and instructional ideas that address educational gaps as well as cultural and experiential differences that may interfere with learner progress. Particularly interesting: Signs of distress and ways to respond (pages 218- 220).
The book contains 3 sections. The first deals with issues that relate to school-based learning and teaching to provide educators with an awareness of how trauma and interrupted schooling may affect human development and learning. The second section focuses on educator competency and includes 30 sample lessons for teacher training. The final section is devoted to student learning outcomes for life/work development for elementary and secondary grade levels, but teachers may find several lessons adaptable for adult settings.
This resource is a validated assessment tool for exit tests that assess learning outcomes of adult ESL learners in intermediate to advanced levels, CLB 5-10. The tests cover three areas: employment, community and academic. It is available on order for $70 (plus HST).
For more information:
This is a resource developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. SAM is a validated tool for assessing CLB 1–4. Assessment areas include employment and settlement. There is a $45 cost to order (plus HST).
For further information and information on ordering the document:
This service provides “live” assistance 24-hours a day for mental health, gambling and drug problems. Calls and online webchats are answered by a qualified specialist who is able to provide support and basic information on available services including: locations, how to access the services, and possible wait times. Calls are confidential and no charge. Service is provided in 170 languages.
ESL Library is a commercial website based in Winnipeg, offering high-quality lesson plans for Canadian, American and international educators. The lessons are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced learners, with a large variety of activities, including flashcards, discussion starters on political, social and environmental issues, mini-debates, holidays, grammar, writing, podcasts and a reading series (which includes detective serials). Themes include English at work, the environment, healthcare, everyday English and idioms. New lessons are added monthly. Sample lessons are available but are watermarked.
Subscription is required. Lessons are downloadable PDFs (copyrighted).
Available in 3-month, 6-month and 12-month memberships, from $25 to $55.
Groups of teachers can share memberships; for example 1–5 teachers can share the 1-year $55 membership.
This webpage on the Settlement.org website contains information for newcomers on a variety of health issues including: finding a doctor, OHIP and health card information, reproductive health and mental health, and what do to in a medical emergency.
The Language and Skills Training Resource Catalogue of ISANS includes books that cover a wide range of topics for ESL Literacy and SLT classes. For example:
- Through the Lens helps learners navigate and understand living in a diverse community
- Workplace Curricula focuses on healthcare, engineers, communication for work and business, pronunciation and communication for work
- Soft skills focus on professional communication, working with others, workplace writing for levels 1, 2 and 3
- Language learning strategies
- EAL computer training
Order form included; prices range from $20 to $300 (plus HST).
The Keystone Concepts foundational document and Quartz online planning tool together comprise the “Curriculum Guidelines for Ontario Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program.” (Adult FSL can also be accessed through this website.)
Keystone Concepts is a 40-page document containing guiding principles and components of program delivery for ESL in Ontario Adult Non-Credit Language Training programs. It is the foundation for the course planning process that is facilitated by the Quartz interactive online suite of planning tools. The document details eight core principles and four key components of program planning.
Note: Only those with a schoolboard email can access this site.
The Online Learner CLB Assessment is a tool that provides learners with a means to gauge their language proficiency by assessing reading and listening skills and assigning an unofficial CLB level. Speaking and writing are not assessed. The tool creates an approximate benchmark range following the assessment. The results are intended for personal information only. Teachers may find this tool useful as a classroom activity or an individual activity for a learner who is anxious to determine her/his progress in reading and listening. There is no cost for the assessment.
This bank of “real world” assessments was developed by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s ESL program for use by ESL and LINC instructors. A user friendly website houses more than 300 ready-to-use assessment tasks. Search by CLB level (Literacy Foundation to CLB 7), skill (Listening, Speaking, Reading or Writing) and theme. The site is password protected; passwords are available through program administrators.
Password required: available through ESL and LINC Administrators and can be retrieved from tutela. For additional information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Free access (with password):
This resource takes a considered approach to the topic of Blended Learning. It is organized in categories for the diverse needs of readers. For an organization moving to an e-learning model, it could inform planning, development and funding application rationales.
Note: Read the “Tips for Using This Bibliography“ before starting.
This 235-page book describes CLB as follows: “The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) standard is a descriptive scale of language ability in English as a Second Language (ESL) written as 12 benchmarks or reference points along a continuum from basic to advanced. The CLB standard reflects the progression of the knowledge and skills that underlie basic, intermediate and advanced ability among adult ESL learners.
The Canadian Language Benchmarks are:
- a set of descriptive statements about successive levels on the continuum of language ability,
- a description of communicative competencies and performance tasks through which learners demonstrate application of language knowledge (i.e., competence) and skill (i.e., ability),
- a national standard for planning curricula for language instruction in a variety of contexts,
- a framework of reference for learning, teaching, programming and assessing adult ESL in Canada.”
The book takes learners through stages 1 to 3 in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) is an American organization that bridges the academic world with applied language education. Projects and resources (some free) include language planning and policy, adult language instruction, testing and assessment, refugee and immigrant integration.
The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks acts as a repository for all things CLB that have been funded, produced and shared to ensure national consistency in language delivery.
It supports the following areas:
- Language learners
- Immigration or citizenship
- Language teachers
- Volunteers working with refugees
- Language assessors
- TESL training
- Employers, counsellors and workers
- Regulatory bodies
Note: The site is updated to reflect the changing needs of the language community.
Most resources are free access:
CLB Bootcamp is a 10-hour self-study course divided into three modules:
- CLB Basics covers an introduction to the Canadian Language Benchmarks. It includes the theoretical framework, the revised CLB document and the CLB ESL for Adult Literacy Learners document.
- Planning and the CLB provides instruction in needs assessment, and how to use a task-based approach to planning modules and lessons.
- Assessment and the CLB covers on-going learner assessment and provides an introduction to Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA).
Free access (through the CCLB E-learning Portal): http://learning.language.ca
“This resource is intended to be used in conjunction with two key documents:
- the Canadian Language Benchmarks: ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ALL), which supports instructors working with adult ESL learners who have literacy needs; and
- the Canadian Language Benchmarks: ESL for Adults, which is the national standard for English as a second language for adult immigrants (including those with literacy needs) living, working and studying in Canada.
The purpose of this Support Kit is to show instructors how the CLB and ALL documents are used for planning and assessing ESL learners with literacy needs in CLB-referenced classrooms.
The Kit includes:
- Orientations to the CLB: ESL for ALL and the CLB: ESL for Adults documents;
- Information and examples for planning literacy instruction, including needs;
- Assessment and goal-setting, module/unit planning and lesson planning;
- Information and examples on assessing ESL Literacy learners’ progress in a way that is compatible with Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA);
- Suggestions for supporting ESL Literacy learners in multi-level literacy classes and mainstream ESL classes;
- Ideas for using the Continuum of Literacy Skills found in the CLB: ESL for ALL document; and
- Sample resources for literacy instruction and assessment.” (www.language.ca)
To download you need to “Add to Cart” and register. The PDF will be emailed to you.
The CLB Support Kit contains background information for ESL practitioners, with detailed discussions on incorporating grammar, pronunciation and pragmatics into CLB-based programs. There are sections that address using the CLBs in multilevel classes, with special needs learners, and in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and workplace ESL.
It includes sample program planning tools such as needs assessment, sample rubrics, tracking forms, self-assessment and feedback forms.
References are listed at the end of each section, as well as additional resources developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, including SAM for CLB 1-4, and the CLB 5-10 Exit Assessment Tasks for community, employment and academic programs.
You need to “Add to Cart” in order to download, which means registering to order.
The Complex English Language Learners (CELLS) tool was produced by the Calgary Board of Education for ELLs who may have special needs. While intended for use elementary and secondary students, the document will be helpful for teachers and administrators in adult settings as well. The model helps educators to identify concerns and provide ELLs with effective supports.
The document provides descriptions of learning challenges in the following areas: behavioural, communication (listening and speaking), reading, writing, and mathematics. The authors offer linguistic, cultural and other considerations, and provide sample intervention strategies and additional resources.
There are few resources for adult ELLs with learning challenges; this is a helpful guide for all educators.
see TESL Ontario CONTACT Magazine
The E-Learning Toolkit, developed by Bow Valley College, provides a collection of resources and information to assist administrators and ELL instructors to develop methods and strategies for using digital and online technology. The toolkit will be useful in planning, facilitating and evaluating online language learning, to foster engagement, accessibility and enhance communication.
Professional development made easy! This website contains short, digestible summaries of current research on language learning and teaching. These articles normally appear in academic journals and are often hidden behind paywalls, making them inaccessible to most classroom teachers. The website also provides a list of Open Access journals and welcomes contributions from educators.
The Network was developed by CEIIA, Bow Valley College’s Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. Designed for ESL Literacy practitioners, the Network provides information, resources and tools for instructors, a resource finder, PD workshops and webinars, network for professional learning, blog posts and social media links.
For administrators, there are tools for program development, including a comprehensive program development guide, and a series on innovations in programming.
An interfaith and belonging resource guide from the Canadian Centre for Race Relations.
This 16-page guide is an excellent overview of the assessment process in Ontario. It is explicitly for learners and, while clearly written, requires substantial reading skills.
It is an excellent tool for other stakeholders. For example, intake workers and receptionists would find it useful to reference this document on a regular basis, as would ISAP staff.
The guide could be used to develop a webinar for support staff who are challenged by students on a regular basis.
This is an excellent step-by-step manual for delivering literacy classes. Topics include:
- Program considerations
- Classroom strategies
- ESL Literacy levels (4)
- Teaching ideas
- Literature review of ESL Literacy
- Annotated bibliography
- Webliography (30% links no longer available)
There is a strong need for program administrators and instructors to have professional development opportunities available to meet the needs of Literacy learners.
This is a core document that clearly guides the placement of learners in classes. It is intended for language assessors, instructors and coordinators. The guidelines are clearly articulated and transparent. The guidelines are mandatory for all CIC-funded programs.
Updated in 2019, this website has five sections explaining the theory behind PBLA and guidelines for implementation. PBLA Foundations provides a rationale, historical and theoretical contexts for PBLA. PBLA Portfolios explains key elements, components and expectations, plus teaching tips. PBLA Reporting discusses professional judgements, progress reports. PBLA Accountability includes administrator tips. The final section contains Resources, including multilevel modules and a list of training courses.
This is a comprehensive resource developed by Bow Valley College, Alberta. It provides support to instructors teaching contained literacy classes and mixed level classes. There is an instructional framework, plus effective strategies, materials and resources for literacy instruction.
Quartz is an interactive online tool that offers a guided process for designing ESL courses based on learner needs and the Canadian Language Benchmarks. Quartz provides a set of tools and resources for course, unit, lesson plan and assessment creation. (Note: Instructors cannot upload existing units or lesson plans.)
Samples of Unit Names are found by clicking the blue Samples Tab on the right, providing three choices: Community, Work and Study and CLB Levels 1–8.
After selecting a Unit Name, choose a Unit Theme: three tabs are provided: Community, Work and Study. Sample themes can be viewed for each tab and CLB level.
Work has two themes: customer service (no themes offered for CLB1–4) and employment.
Note: Only those with a schoolboard email can access this site.
This resource explains the relationship between Essential Skills and the Canadian Language Benchmarks (caveat: CLB 2000 was used). This is an excellent resource for developing tasks based on real-world employment examples. You will need to “Add to Cart” in order to download. The PDF will be emailed to you.
Well populated with ideas and resources from practitioners, this blog is kept up-to-date and managed by a knowledgeable team. Links are live.
TESL Ontario’s webinars are available to everyone through TESL Ontario’s You Tube Channel. Free access:
TESL members may also view webinars through Tutela (registration required). Current and archived webinars are available for viewing. Webinars count as TESL professional development.
Webinars can be accessed at:
Select TESL Ontario in “Groups” to access webinars past and present.
This document reports on research conducted with LINC students at Bow Valley and NorQuest Colleges in Alberta, exploring the effectiveness of LINC programs in meeting learners’ language needs as well as settlement and integration needs. Click to download Summary or Complete Report
There are currently 100 webinars (some repeats) available for access on this site. The topics are varied and cover many aspects, including literacy, classroom management and PBLA.
Online, free for members. And membership is free. When completed, many posts are kept in the archives. Some webinars are located within a membership group and one needs to be a member to join or view. Most webinars can be used for TESL Ontario professional development requirements.
Free to join. Free access nationally. Must register then search Tutela Webinars.
This access is restricted. Available online through an approved log in. Any changes show in the news box when the site is open.
The Settlement.org website provides information to newly arrived immigrants and refugees in Ontario. It lists common questions and answers with relevant links. The main headings are “First Days” and “Services Near Me.” Information is presented in Q & A format at an intermediate level of English. Topics covered include immigration and citizenship, housing, health, education, legal services, community and daily life. Information includes getting a driver’s licence, finding a doctor and dentist, the Canada Child Benefit, Employment Standards information, a guide to elementary and secondary schools.
The website information has been translated into 40 languages, plus there is a forum where users can have their specific questions answered. There is also a sidebar listing events by date.
SettlementAtWork is described as a knowledge hub for the settlement sector in the province. It contains an online listing of employment opportunities for those working with newcomers. There is also a wiki to share information and resources, a sector events page and RFPs (Requests for Proposals) for new projects in the settlement sector.
This website contains a range of resources to aid in delivering instruction to children and adults who have had their formal education interrupted. Includes teaching resources and essential learning indicators for language, literacy and numeracy.
Resources for more intensive intervention:
This resource informs practitioners, administrators and assessors of the priorities in each level of government. Managers and administrators would find it useful in short- and long-term planning.
This event occurs at the yearly provincial TESL conference and is open to managers and administrators.
The Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWES) has a number of workforce/workplace specific resources. This handbook can act as a stand-alone training program in an ESL employment class.
The general site contains a variety of additional documents supporting organizational development, workplace safety, leadership and so on.
Free access to the general site:
Free access to the handbook: