Research

CELLTR’s mandate includes, “facilitating research on best practices in teaching and learning in diverse cultural and linguistic environments.” Alongside our efforts to provide student support and faculty/staff development, we are building research and academic capacity where the Academic Director, tenure-line faculty, and Lecturers collaboratively build on and share knowledge in the application and research of promising practices in EAL student support, program development, and faculty and staff engagement. In addition, CELLTR faculty are involved in initiating impact assessments into the design of programs and courses, as well as gathering both qualitative data and quantitative metrics on student language, writing, and learning outcomes. To address these aims, CELLTR has articulated a broad program of applied linguistics and language and literacy education research that aligns with the mandate of the Centre. This program comprises research questions relating to the following areas of inquiry:

Student Learning & Development

  • What are students’ language backgrounds and linguistic repertoires?
  • How do students develop translanguaging and plurilingual competence in the higher educational contexts?
  • What role does English language proficiency play in disciplinary teaching and learning?
  • How do students develop both content and language knowledge within the disciplines, particularly written and oral communication and disciplinary norms of the academic community to which they aspire to belong?
  • What language competences support student success in co-curricular, career and workplace settings?

Curriculum & Pedagogy

  • What constitutes the most effective curriculum and pedagogy for teaching general and disciplinary academic language and writing skills to multilingual students?
  • How can faculty draw upon multilingual students’ cultural and linguistic resources to support academic English language and writing development?
  • How do faculty support the transition of students who are new to English-medium teaching and learning across various disciplines? 
  • What student service and co-curricular supports contribute to multilingual student transition to and progress in degree programs?
  • What constitutes effective EAP teaching and learning in the higher educational context?
  • Do faculty adopt and/or adapt their instruction in a multilingual university context? How? How does this adaptation affect assessment and evaluation practice?
  • Do learning technologies assist EAL teaching and learning? How?
  • What intercultural competences and communication skills facilitate learning, improve communication and support community-building across campus for both students and faculty?

Program Monitoring & Evaluation

  • What indicators and predictors assist in tracking and monitoring progress of students for whom English is an additional language, particularly to improve identification of and support for students facing persistent academic challenges (ie. student academic records, AGPA/CGPA, persistence to graduation, credit accumulation and withdrawl rates, student background information, standardized language proficiency assessments)?
  • What evidence demonstrates the impact CELLTR has on multilingual student learning (i.e. quality of course/program design and delivery initiatives, effectiveness of faculty development programing)?

Policy Review and Research

  • To what extent do policies on academic integrity address language learning and teaching issues across the disciplines?
  • What are faculty and student perceptions about institutional policies relating to language in a multilingual university context? How do these policies shape teaching and learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels?
  • How does language in education policy in K-12 education affect the university, particularly curriculum and assessment practices? 

The research program has been implemented through three primary activities:

  • Graduate student research assistant funding
  • In-kind contributions to externally-funded research activities
  • Development of a CELLTR grant program for SFU faculty in collaboration with the Institute for Scholarly Teaching and Learning across the Disciplines (ISTLD)