2019 Spring Conference Program

Conference Slides and Handouts

Schedule in PDF

Click here to download the PDF version of the full program.

Schedule in HTML

Below is a version of the program you can scroll through; it may display better on small screens such as cell phones. Click on the session description to read the abstract and speaker bio.

Saturday, May 25 @ Patterson Hall, Acadia University

9:00-9:15 am Registration and Welcome

[Patterson Hall 1st floor foyer]

Book display will be available all day in Patterson Hall foyer.

9:15-9:30 am Welcome and Announcements
[Patterson Hall 1st floor Common Room]
9:30-10:30 am Concurrent Sessions A

10:30-11:00 am Nutrition Break
[Patterson Hall 1st floor foyer]
11:00 am -12:00 pm Concurrent Sessions B:

  • Roundtable 1: Classroom Management – For Literacy & Lower Levels. [Room 213] Toby Ali, ISANS
  • Roundtable 2: IELTS testing – is it fair? [Room 207] David Boehm, Colchester Adult Learning Assoc.
  • Roundtable 3: Do you have the time? [Room 308] Reynaldo Lopez, ISANS
  • Roundtable 4: Mind-mapping for vocabulary-learning, essay-planning, and more! [Room 107]
    Rachael Bethune & Charlotte Peak, East Coast Language College & Halifax Language Institute
  • Roundtable 5: Avoiding Educator Burnout: Strategies for Working Smarter, not Harder. [Room 206] Andrea King & Anna Maier, Dalhousie University
12:00-1:15 pm Lunch Buffet
Special Guest: Julie Chamagne, Executive Director of the Halifax Refugee Clinic
1:15-2:15 pm Concurrent Sessions C

2:15-2:30 pm Coffee Break
[Patterson Hall 1st floor Common Room]
2:30-3:30 pm Concurrent Sessions D

3:30-3:45 pm Closing remarks and Book Draw
[Patterson Hall 1st floor Common Room]
4:00-6:00 pm Post-Conference Social:
Lightfoot & Wolfville

  • 11143 Evangeline Trail, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R1
  • Snacks and cash bar

Abstracts and Bios

Concurrent session A 9:30-10:30

The Interaction for Learning Framework: A tool for learning in diverse classrooms
Jennifer MacDonald, Dalhousie University
Room 206

Birds of a feather often flock together, even in our classrooms. Despite the diversity of the student body in many EAP Programs, students often gravitate toward others of similar linguistic or cultural backgrounds, and the benefits of learning in a diverse setting may remain unrealized. Plurilingual competence, which is included in the latest CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference), may also remain undeveloped. This presentation is an introduction to the ‘Interaction for Learning Framework’ (ILF), which was developed at the University of Melbourne to help instructors structure the learning environment to increase interaction between students of diverse backgrounds. Participants will learn about the ILF, and how to apply it in the context of their EAP curriculum and classroom pedagogies to facilitate both interaction between students and the synthesis of course material. The ILF can help improve the achievement of learning outcomes and move us one step closer to truly inclusive classrooms.

Jennifer MacDonald is Head Teacher of ESL Programs at Dalhousie University and regularly researches, writes, and presents on the topics of English for academic purposes, sociolinguistics and linguistic diversity in higher education.

Dictation: an oldy but a goody?
Rory Leitch, St. Mary’s University
Room 207

In the last 2 years, dictation has made a somewhat surprising return to prominence in my EAP teaching at SMU TLC. In this workshop I will briefly chronicle how this happened and describe some of the ways I have been using dictation. The remainder of the workshop will be an experience sharing and brainstorming session around dictation. In particular, I’d like to canvas participants about their experiences as language learners with dictation practices. As well, I’d like teachers to share both ideas from their existing repertoires of effective dictation practices and do some brainstorming about new ways to use this old tool.

Rory has been an EAP teacher for more than 20 years. For the past 12 years, he has been teaching in the IEP program at SMU TLC. He also spent 8 years teaching Curriculum and Instruction methods in the M.Ed TESL program offered by SMU and MSVU. He is a former president of TESL Nova Scotia.

Handle with Care: Supporting Young Adult Immigrants Transitioning to Adult Programs
Erin MacDonald, LENS; Maxine Roberts, LENS; Sara Devanney,  NSCC; Nick Veinot, NSCC; Tony Caldwell, ISANS
Room 213

Young adult immigrant learners (16-19 years old) are at risk of missing out on opportunities and crucial forms of support necessary to successfully complete high school. A range of factors can impact a young adult’s ability to fully participate in high school, including financial pressure, prior interruptions of education, literacy challenges and trauma. The pathways to high school completion were developed with these unique challenges in mind. They are designed to help students and guidance, employment and settlement counsellors and teachers to understand clearly all the different ways to complete high school. LENS produced a guide in 2019 that is designed to help the community understand these options and better support youth and young adult learners. The guide was produced through a collaborative process with stakeholders and youth/young adult learners themselves. In this session, we will introduce you to the tools we have created and ways they can be used in your classroom or practice.

Erin has worked as a volunteer EAL tutor, teacher, tutor trainer and coordinator. Since 2004, she has assessed using the Canadian Language Benchmarks and she opened Language Assessment Services of NS (now also known as Learn English NS) in 2011.

Maxine Roberts: 20+ years as an educator, including 10+ years instructing adult EAL learners. Recently completed M.Ed (Counselling) which included a project course around high school Pathways for immigrant youth in NS.

Sara Devanney – ALP Faculty, School of Access – NSCC
Nick Veinot – ALP Faculty, School of Access – NSCC
Tony Caldwell – Supervising Team Lead, Language Services – ISANS

Exploring Essential Skills
Sarah Sampara, ISANS
Room 308

What are Essential Skills? How can they inform teaching practices and priorities? In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore what Essential Skills are and how to use them in the classroom. We’ll also focus on the “non-language” Essential Skills and make application for them to the language classroom. Finally, we’ll look at occupation-specific Essential Skills example tasks and how to use them in a classroom that isn’t occupation-specific.

Sarah Sampara is a curriculum developer with ISANS. She has taught and developed curriculum at ISANS for over 14 years, both online and face-to-face.

Roundtable Discussions 11:00-12:00
Roundtable 1: Classroom Management – For Literacy & Lower Levels
Toby Ali, ISANS
Room 213

In each classroom, one can find an ecosystem of culture & personalities. There are many things that we, as language facilitators, must juggle to find that balance. Balance means consistency and stability and with these ingredients working together, the job of achieving both students’ and teacher’s outcomes becomes easier. Imagine being asked to make breakfast for a group of people. What does the kitchen look like? How many people am I cooking for? What ingredients do I have to work with? Are there any allergies? Your answers may be different from mine, but we’ll arrive to the same outcome: Breakfast. At the round-table, I hope for us to collaborate by sharing successes, techniques, and even times that we may have burnt our breakfast in our proverbial kitchen.

Toby Ali, Adult Education Instructor: Language instructor in Canada & Taiwan, Dance instructor in Europe, East Asia, & North America.

Roundtable 2: IELTS testing – is it fair?
David Boehm, Colchester Adult Learning Assoc.
Room 207

For standardized testing to be both fair and have the appearance of fairness, assessment should be undertaken by assessors who have no connection to those doing instruction or preparation work. An example would be the GED test for adults without secondary credentials, where testing is done at NSCC-based testing centres, preparation occurs at Community Learning Organizations, and marking is done at Pearson – the owners of the test – in Minnesota.At the roundtable I would like to raise the question why we use IELTS as a gatekeeper to our educational and other training institutions when we have a Government of Canada standard assessment, the Canadian Language Benchmark, that has academic markers and independent assessors?My hope is that there would be a robust conversation at this roundtable around meeting the needs of newcomers to our Province with regard to language testing, while providing everyone involved with the assurance that fairness and actual competence are the preeminent concerns.

David Boehm, Adult Education Instructor, Language Instructor in Canada and Japan.

Roundtable 3: Do you have the time?
Reynaldo Lopez, ISANS
Room 308

Teachers, regardless of their environment, need to balance the long-term goals of the classroom, the immediate educational needs of the students, the large volume of paperwork that comes with every assessment, and developing materials that are level appropriate. Between lesson planning, grading assessments, hunting for appropriate materials or developing their own, and actually teaching, teachers often feel that it is impossible to fit everything into the apportioned time frame. During this session, participants will take time to evaluate their own practices, looking for time leaching routines and sharing tips on how to avoid or overcome them.

Reynaldo Lopez, EAL instructor at ISANS, currently teaching CLB 3, and 5. I made a transition from the public school system where I taught Primary and grades 2 and 4. I am a graduate from UPEI with a bachelor of education, and U of Calgary with a Masters in TEAL.

Roundtable 4: Mind-mapping for vocabulary-learning, essay-planning, and more!
Rachael Bethune, East Coast Language College & Charlotte Peak, HLIC
Room 107

Mind-mapping moves us from “collecting dots to connecting dots”. How can this visual technique help with language learning? Can it offer a powerful way for students to solidify new vocabulary, plan an essay, or conceptualize grammar rules? We’ll briefly outline some of the neuroscience behind mind-mapping before discussing together how we can teach our students to get the most from this tool.

Charlotte is the Academic Director at Halifax Language Institute. Previously working in academic support in universities, she moved into the EAL field three years ago. She is passionate about developing innovative, student-centred curriculum content and teaching tools, particularly in the EAP context.

Roundtable 5: Avoiding Educator Burnout: Strategies for Working Smarter, not Harder
Andrea King & Anna Maier, Dalhousie University
Room 206

Educators expend a lot of time, energy, and care on their students and learning spaces. Teaching is a very rewarding career, but it can also be very physically and mentally demanding. As a result, many teachers feel like they are often running on empty. During this roundtable session, we will touch on some of the factors that can lead to educator burnout. The focus of our group discussion will be to think of strategies to prevent educator burnout by improving self-care, accepting and working within our limitations, and finding ways to work smarter, not harder in our daily practice.

Anna Maier, M.Ed., is the Summer English in Canada Program Coordinator, ESL Program Administrator, and EAP Instructor at the College of Continuing Education at Dalhousie University.

Andrea King, M.Ed., currently teaches EAP at Dalhousie. She has previously taught at SMU, MSVU, and worked as the Program Coordinator for the Jeollanamdo Office of Education in Korea.

Concurrent session B 1:15-2:15

Meaning Based Grammar: The Argument for the Auxiliary
Kris Mitchell, Dalhousie University
Room 206

The SVO sentence structure has dominated English language teaching in all forms for too long. Because of this, concepts like ‘subject-verb agreement’ and ‘verb conjugation’, as well as other language features, like ‘tense’ and ‘aspect’, have been attributed to the verb, or at the very best the ability of the verb to be modified in some way. This is not only an incomplete model of the English language, but offers no logical relationship as to where these changes come from or what relationship they have with creating meaning in grammar. This practice too often turns the focus of grammar study into a response to form with more form, and grammatical meaning is simplified to a required reaction instead of an active choice. This talk will explore changing the dominate structure in English grammar from SVO to include the Auxiliary: S(Aux)VO to create a more complete, active, and meaning focused grammar methodology.

Kris Mitchell currently works as an EAP instructor at Dalhousie University. He has 13 years of experience in the ESL/EAP classroom, including 4 years teaching ESL in South Korea, and holds a Masters in Applied Linguistics. His main areas of interest include Semantics, Critical Period Theories, and Syntax.

The Curious Case of the Confused Client: Recognizing & Accommodating the Alternately-Abled Student, Part I **
Jessica Leslie & Eliza Garland, ISANS
Room 213

In these sessions, we will support and explore ideas for teachers who may have students with attention difficulty, fidgeting, social difficulties, and writing issues like letter reversal, letter placement and line writing.We all have them- intelligent, bright students who just struggle. Maybe they have a hard time focusing, maybe they are always moving, maybe they still have trouble writing on the line even after years of class, or maybe there is just something you can put your finger on, but you can tell there is more going on than just the average EAL struggles. Plus, with many cultural stances towards any type of learning or learner “difference,” you know there will never be any type of formal assessment let alone a concrete diagnosis. We hear you, Teacher, we have been there too! Luckily, even without a name for what is happening, there are things you can do to help.In Part 1, we are going to discuss two major issues encountered with some time for discussion and questions. In Part 2, we will discuss a third challenge, interact with various tools to help you and your students in the language classroom, and have an opportunity for further discussion and questions.

** “The Curious Case of the Confused Client, part one, will discuss how to help students who have challenges with handwriting. It will also provide some strategies to assist students who are showing inattention, anxiety, impulsivity, and task avoidance.”

Jessica Leslie has been in the teaching world for 15 years. She has 3 boys, with two on the autism spectrum. Jessica has also worked with autistic teens in a high school setting. She is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in Literacy as well as classes in ASL. She has been at ISANS as the Special Needs EAL Instructor since 2018.

Eliza Garland hails from Maine, USA where she obtained her Masters and NBCOT certification in Occupational Therapy. After practicing for 3 years in multiple settings, she moved to Halifax to join her husband, Ryan. Eliza joined ISANS in October 2018 to help the Language Services department create classrooms and curriculum that promotes inclusion and acceptance of diversity through accessible design.

Teaching Business English Pronunciation: From Theory to Practice
Maximiliano Eduardo Orlando, English Montreal School Board
Room 207

Pronunciation has been called the Cinderella of language teaching (Kelly (1969) and Celce-Murcia et al. (1996) in Isaacs (2009)). Is pronunciation a Cinderella of research on Business English as well? And what are the pedagogical implications of this research for teaching Business English pronunciation? In this workshop, I will look into two topics concerning teaching Business English pronunciation and the pedagogical implications of both. First, I will briefly present the results of my survey into issues concerning research on Business English pronunciation and the amount of this research in a set of abstracts/introductions taken from four journals of English/languages for specific purposes. Then, four aspects of the language of Business English will be dealt with. References to previous studies into this language will be made, and the pedagogical implications of these aspects will be discussed, particularly in relation to teaching Business English to L1 Spanish speakers.

Maximiliano holds a degree in English Language Teaching, a master’s degree in Linguistics: Language Didactics and a PhD: Language and Literature Didactics Programme. He is a certified ESL teacher in Canada, and has taught English and Business English in Argentina, Canada and Spain.

Concurrent session C 2:30-3:30

Cultivating a Culture of Mindfulness in an EAP Program
Krista Bittenbender Royal, University of South Florida
Room 206

Mindfulness practices have been shown to cultivate focus, reduce stress, improve classroom climate, and increase pro-social behavior — all of which are beneficial to TESL educators and EAL learners. I will begin the session with a brief overview of mindfulness in education and its many benefits for teachers and students, as supported by research. Then, I will share with participants two mindfulness initiatives from my EAP program: 1) a “Happy Teachers” sitting group and 2) the integration of mindful moments in EAP classes. For each, I will discuss how it started, explain the way it works for us, and share teacher and student feedback. At various points in the session, we will practice some short, guided mindfulness activities, e.g., mindfulness of the breath and body. Participants will be invited to share reactions to these practices and to discuss how they could be apply the ideas shared to their own contexts.

Krista Bittenbender Royal, MA, is a Senior EAP Instructor at the University of South Florida, where she also served as Special Programs Coordinator. She has taught language learners, in a variety of contexts, since 2002 and has practiced mindfulness since 2012. She hopes to move to Nova Scotia in 2020.

The Curious Case of the Confused Client: Recognizing & Accommodating the Alternately-Abled Student, Part II **
Jessica Leslie & Eliza Garland, ISANS
Room 213

In these sessions, we will support and explore ideas for teachers who may have students with attention difficulty, fidgeting, social difficulties, and writing issues like letter reversal, letter placement and line writing.We all have them- intelligent, bright students who just struggle. Maybe they have a hard time focusing, maybe they are always moving, maybe they still have trouble writing on the line even after years of class, or maybe there is just something you can put your finger on, but you can tell there is more going on than just the average EAL struggles. Plus, with many cultural stances towards any type of learning or learner “difference,” you know there will never be any type of formal assessment let alone a concrete diagnosis. We hear you, Teacher, we have been there too! Luckily, even without a name for what is happening, there are things you can do to help.In Part 1, we are going to discuss two major issues encountered with some time for discussion and questions. In Part 2, we will discuss a third challenge, interact with various tools to help you and your students in the language classroom, and have an opportunity for further discussion and questions.

** “The Curious Case of the Confused Client, Part 2, will discuss how to recognize and help students with dyslexia and ‘non-identifiable’ learning challenges. Building on what is discussed in Part 1, we will continue the conversation through interacting with some hands-on tools and a round-table discussion.”

Jessica Leslie has been in the teaching world for 15 years. She has 3 boys, with two on the autism spectrum. Jessica has also worked with autistic teens in a high school setting. She is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in Literacy as well as classes in ASL. She has been at ISANS as the Special Needs EAL Instructor since 2018.

Eliza Garland hails from Maine, USA where she obtained her Masters and NBCOT certification in Occupational Therapy. After practicing for 3 years in multiple settings, she moved to Halifax to join her husband, Ryan. Eliza joined ISANS in October 2018 to help the Language Services department create classrooms and curriculum that promotes inclusion and acceptance of diversity through accessible design.

Is there any chance I can be hired as a NNEST? Listening to the voices of professionals and recruiters
Khalid Al Hariri, Memorial University
Room 207

Although much of the research produced in the last three decades (Medgyes, 1992; Li, 2006; Moussu & Llurda, 2008; Mahboob, 2010; Selvi, 2010; Faez, 2019) has stressed the role of the non-native English speaking teachers (NNESTs) in English language education, the bias toward native English speaking teachers (NESTs) is still a problematic issue (Braine, 2013). This presentation aims to explore how native and non-native teachers are represented in the Youtube videos created by English language teaching professionals as well as teacher recruiters in an attempt to identify their perspectives on how non-native teachers can find their way into the job market. The presentation deconstructs the ‘native-speakers only’ hiring-paradigm by highlighting how both native and non-native qualified teachers contribute to the English language classroom against the argument of some of the recruiters on Youtube.

Khalid Al Hariri is a PhD student in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has been teaching EAL and ESP since 2008. His research interests include NNESTs, World Englishes, ELF, culture in the language classroom, and writing.

%d bloggers like this: