Inquiring into Your Multilingual Classroom: An Integrated Seminar Series and Grants Program

“Language, whether seen as a discourse, social construction, commodity, or semiotic system, plays a critical role in processes of globalizing and internationalizing education.” (Byrd Clark, Haque, and Lamoreux, 2012)

“In [many] practices in higher education, language issues are often overlooked and dangerously simplified.” (Dafouz, 2017)

SFU has recognized the need in today’s globalized higher education context, to respond to the multilingual and multicultural composition of the university community. In its work with students, faculty and staff across SFU, the Centre for Educational Excellence (CEE) has cultivated and supported research-based teaching and learning practices in disciplinary specific academic language development. Such practices are built upon the recognition and understanding of multilingual students’ unique strengths and needs. To expand our efforts to support the curiosities and concerns of faculty teaching linguistically and culturally diverse students, in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD), CEE announces a pilot offering of an Integrated Seminar Series and Grants Program, entitled “Inquiring into Your Multilingual Classroom”.  This program will enable participating faculty to gain background knowledge related to working with such students while at the same time crafting an inquiry project to support related changes to teaching and learning in their classrooms.

Through this seminar participants will:

  • Gain knowledge about working with multilingual and culturally diverse students to enhance academic success
  • Craft a project proposal on exploring teaching and learning issues related to multilingual and culturally diverse students and/or implementing and evaluating changes they wish to make to their teaching
  • Receive feedback from fellow seminar participants and facilitators on their inquiry design
  • Receive up to $6000 to support their design and/or implementation and evaluation work
  • Receive support finding research assistants to help them with their design, implementation and evaluation work
  • Receive on-going administrative, curricular and research support throughout the implementation of their projects

Examples of topics to be addressed in the seminar

  • Myths and realities about language and language acquisition
  • Language and content integration in higher education settings
  • Additional topics arising from participants’ specific interests and inquiries

Time commitment and workload

  • Participants will meet 5 times for 2.30 hours each between October 2018 and November 2019.
  • The first 3 meetings will be scheduled approximately three weeks apart in Fall 2018. The 4th meeting will take place about 3 months later in Spring 2019 and focus on participants’ progress in their inquiries. The 5th meeting will take place upon participants’ completion of their inquiries anticipated no later than Fall 2019 and involve sharing the outcomes of their research.
  • Participants will read about 3-4 papers as a group and participate in discussions of 3-4 other relevant readings.
  • 1-2 book chapters/articles will need to be read before the series begins.
  • We will have limited spots open in the pilot due to both funding limits and a desire to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be heard during the discussions. We will maintain a waitlist to gauge interest and to schedule future offerings.

How to register to participate

Registration for the Fall 2018 series is now closed.


Target audience

SFU faculty (tenure track or lecturer) with a continuing appointment who:

  • already have some idea of the kinds of questions they want to explore in a course/courses they teach;
  • are willing to engage in some reading and dialogue on integrating multilingual and culturally diverse students and how to accomplish their plans as per their curricular and pedagogical designs.

We will be choosing one option among the following possible  times based on the schedules of those who express interest:


Day of week



Option 1


10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  

Fall 2018 - 3 sessions:  Oct 9, Oct 30, Nov 20

Session 4 in March/April 2019 TBD
Session 5 in Oct/Nov 2019 TBD

Option 2


1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.   

Fall 2018 - 3 sessions:  Oct 9, Oct 30, Nov 20

Session 4 in March/April 2019 TBD
Session 5 in Oct/Nov 2019 TBD

Option 3


10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Fall 2018 - 3 sessions:  Oct 11, Nov 1, Nov 22

Session 4 in March/April 2019 TBD
Session 5 in Oct/Nov 2019 TBD

If you cannot meet during any of the suggested time options, you may still apply and will be put on our waitlist as well as receive information about future offerings of this series

Facilitation team


Roumi Ilieva   

Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education working with ISTLD. Roumi's scholarship is in the field of applied linguistics and focuses on language and culture, the internationalization of education, and professional identities. Her most recent study centers on interdisciplinary collaboration for multilingual student success.

Link to faculty profile >>



Laura D’Amico

Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education and Research Associate for the ISTLD. With over 20 years of experience in the development and study of systems for supporting and implementing educational improvement and reform, Laura provides faculty with practical advice on how to conduct their project evaluations. She is versed in a wide-range of educational research methods and approaches.