Faculty Development Workshops

CELLTR will continue its popular speaker series in Fall 2018, which welcomes both local and international speakers to share research-informed and practical topics on English language learning, teaching, and support relevant to those who work in multilingual university contexts at SFU and beyond. Please check back for information on upcoming speaker events.

Registration is recommended. These sessions are open to the public for drop-in as well.

Thursday | Nov 29, 2018
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
1390 West Mall Centre, Burnaby

Faculty Perceptions of Teaching EAL students at a Canadian Transnational Branch Campus: What we learned, what we did about it, and what it means for our context


Dr. Brad Johnson
Director, Learning and Teacher Centre

Transnational branch campuses involve a home campus at a transactional distance from the branch campus (geographic, language, culture). Branch campuses typically bring a curriculum and pedagogy from home institutions that is delivered in English to students who are fluent in the regional language, but may have varying degrees of proficiency in English. Faculty often arrive with little or no international experience and are unprepared for the linguistic, cultural and educational differences they encounter. Through a process of awareness and adaptation often initiated by disequilibrium and frustration, faculty learned to be successful in their new environment. What can we learn from these experiences? How might they impact our practice ‘back home’?

As a way of beginning our discussion, we will begin with a review of faculty perceptions of students and teaching gathered through a survey conducted at the University of Calgary – Qatar in 2012.

This presentation will also report on an extended new faculty orientation program that was designed to mitigate challenges and to foster success in teaching and learning at UCQ.  The lessons learned can inform how faculty across the disciplines can address the increasing linguistic and cultural diversity on Canadian campuses in a globalized educational context.

Wednesday | May 16, 2018
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
1390 West Mall Centre, Burnaby

Evidence-informed lessons learned in integrating critical thinking, writing, and business in a multilingual, multicultural classroom


Stephen Spector
Director of Undergraduate Programs, Beedie School of Business

Dr. Valia Spiliotopoulos
CELLTR Director & Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Faculty of Education

Laura Baumvol

Susan-Christie Bell

This session will highlight ‘lessons learned’ in rolling out three sections of the BUS 217 Critical Thinking in Business course collaboration between CELLTR and Beedie School of Business since the initial pilot in fall 2017. We will review trends in impact assessment results, as well as the opportunities and challenges in co-teaching, assessment, coordination of disciplinary and ‘language’ TAs, and multilingual student learning that integrates writing with critical thinking in business education.

Wednesday | April 4, 2018
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
1390 West Mall Centre, Burnaby

What does research tell us about second language pronunciation learning and teaching?


Dr. Murray J. Munro
Professor, Department of Linguistics

Speaking with a nonnative accent is a normal aspect of second language acquisition. Even after many years of residence in a new country, most L2 users, including some young arrivals, retain “foreign” patterns of speech. In the majority of cases, sounding non-native poses few barriers to successful communication. If that were not true, human interaction in culturally diverse cities like Vancouver would be impossibly difficult. Nonetheless, some types of L2 pronunciation difficulties do cause communicative breakdowns that can be frustrating for both speakers and their interlocutors. Findings from pronunciation research are now helping us to identify these issues and to assist learners in resolving them. While this line of work shows considerable promise, it is essential to distinguish approaches to pronunciation that are ethical and evidence-based from the questionable practices of so-called “accent reduction” specialists who promote and capitalize on learners’ anxieties about their speech.

Thursday | March 1, 2018
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
1390 West Mall Centre, Burnaby


Teaching multilingual students across the disciplines: Can instructors make use of languages other than English as assets for learning in their classes?


Dr. Steve Marshall
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education

One of the key tenets of plurilingual education is the view that students’ languages should be viewed as assets for learning in linguistically-diverse classes, and that instructors should open up spaces for students to use different languages in their classes.  But how realistic is this in classes across the disciplines at a university such as SFU? In this presentation, Dr. Marshall will present data from a one-year study of plurilingualism as an asset for learning across the disciplines at SFU. Findings from the study reveal a complex inter-relationship and tensions between language, disciplinary content, and course objectives, which made plurilingual approaches successful in some contexts and problematic in others. Attendees will be welcomed to share ideas about how they respond to linguistically diverse teaching and learning environments at SFU, and the challenges they face, as students and instructors.