Toronto – The growing role of English as a Second Language (ESL) education for new Canadians is being celebrated across Ontario during ESL Week, taking place from December 6-12, 2009. ESL Week is an annual celebration of ESL education that has the support of several Ontario communities, thousands of ESL teachers, students, and many learning institutions and school boards.
“Since most new Canadians arrive with little or no comprehension of English, feelings of isolation often results, which inevitably leads to further issues that impact not only the individual, but also society,” says Renate Tilson, executive director, TESL Ontario. “Our aim is to assist immigrants, refugees and international students with learning English in order to communicate confidently, be employable and productive citizens.”
ESL Week has been declared by many communities across Ontario including: Toronto, Kingston, Windsor, Barrie, Ajax, Amherstburg, Brampton, Caledon, Clarington, Cornwall, Fort Erie, Markham, Milton, Norfolk County, North Bay, Oakville, Orillia, Oshawa, Peterborough, Pickering, Scugog, Stratford, St. Thomas and York Region.
Many of the TESL Ontario affiliates in the participating centres have organized activities including poster and writing contests, film festivals and art displays, in honour of ESL Week.
“ESL Week was created to raise awareness of the important role of ESL education in our society,” adds Tilson. “It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of our ESL instructors and teachers in helping new Canadians. An ESL instructor assists adult newcomers by teaching language skills, as well as providing support and counselling to ease their transition into Canadian society. ESL instructors are often their cultural interpreters. As well, teachers in Ontario elementary and secondary schools provide language programs to ensure that all students develop a level of proficiency in English required for success at school, then post-secondary education and, later, in the workforce.”
A feature of ESL Week is the TESL Ontario conference that takes place December 10-12, 2009, in Toronto. The conference – Language for a Changing World -- is the largest convention of its kind in Canada and will host over 1,500 delegates. The conference offers a variety of workshops, plenary speakers, research symposia and a panel discussion on a current ESL topic.
TESL Ontario is the association and certifying body for non-credit adult ESL instructors in Ontario. TESL Ontario represents more than 4,400 ESL professionals working in elementary and secondary schools; colleges and universities; private schools; and LINC and ESL sites across the province. The organization has developed expertise in areas of teacher certification, and professional and curriculum development. For more information, visit www.teslontario.org.
English as a Second Language Week celebrated across Ontario