Post-Conference Wrap-up: New on the site

October 2016

Dr. Hetty Roessingh was so incredibly informative and gracious.  As promised in her keynote, she has shared her presentation with us.  Her slides and files are on the conference page for your further professional development and study.  Thank you, Dr. Roessingh!

Visit the Executive page to see the results of the election at the AGM for your 2016-2017 executive.  Many thanks to past executive for their service and dedication to the improvement and promotion of ELL education in British Columbia, and also to our new and continuing executive members.  As one who is stepping down (while continuing with website management), I would like to share with you – our readers, ELL specialists from around BC – the tireless efforts I have seen from this team.  Your executive works very hard to promote and work through a wide range of issues that affect our practice and the education of our English language learners throughout BC.  I have enjoyed serving with this team of enthusiastic, dedicated and informed professionals, and thank them personally for their tireless commitment.

To our executive, thank you.  From Vicki.

New! The executive is pleased to announce the

BC TESOL Professional Development Fund

September 2016

The BC TESOL Professional Development Fund was established in 2015 to provide financial assistance to teachers wishing to pursue training in teaching speakers of other languages.


The BC TESOL Professional Development Fund is specifically targeted to help individual teachers pursue additional qualifications in TESOL pedagogy. It is open to BC TESOL members to help pay for courses or focused professional development opportunities, such as fee-based online webinar.

See the attached form for additional information and the application process.

bc-tesol-professional-development-fund Form

Welcome back, everyone.


Planning for Learning

June 2016

These last weeks of June are a busy and exciting time for both teachers and students as final assessments, projects, and celebrations wrap up.  We hope you all had a wonderful year of learning and teaching.  Your BC TESOL conference committee has been conscientious in their planning.  Our next PSA day is shaping up to be an engaging and inspiring day of learning for BC ELL specialists and content-area teachers alike.

Your BC TESOL executive is proud to announce that the conference committee has secured highly respected Dr. Hetty Roessingh of the University of Calgary to be our keynote speaker.  Dr. Roessingh has won several teaching awards and drives the Learning by Design model at U of C.  Her research has focused on role of vocabulary and reading in second language acquisition, second language teaching and learning, ECE, and English for Academic Purposes Curriculum Design.

Read more about Dr. Roessingh here.

Conference 2016

2016 PSA Day Conference: Friday October, 21st  
Theme: ELL Across the Curriculum
Keynote SpeakerDr. Hetty Roessingh, University of Calgary
Location: Brentwood Park Elementary School, Burnaby, BC

Call For Presenters

For those of you interested in joining our list of presenters, please complete the ELL Call For Presenters form and submit it to Beckie Wong at  We appreciate your expertise and your willingness to share and teach your colleagues.  Workshops will be 45 or 90 minutes long with 2 sessions in the morning, and two in the afternoon.  We hope to see you there!

Keep an eye here on our news page and also on our conference page for updates.  Registration information coming soon (September 2016).


Three Reasons to go the PSA Conference PLUS a help request re a ‘missing’ ESL Pioneer | Supporting Teachers of Additional Language Learners. (It’s a link.  Click to read)

 October 14 , 2015

Have you registered?

Your PSA is a specialist association designed with the intention of helping you meet your professional needs and once a year, as a result of much hard work and serious levels of dedication on the part of your conference chair and a small committee, we meet to enhance these efforts and their results.

We are better together.  Come join us.


Have Your Graduating Students Applied?

April 2015

The Catherine Logan Eddy Scholarship

The Catherine Logan Eddy scholarship has been created to honour one of the long-time ESL educators in British Columbia. Before her retirement, Catherine dedicated more than 25 years to ESL pedagogy and research, working with both ESL learners and their teachers as mentor, advocate and scholar.

Purpose: To recognize an immigrant student graduating from a BC Secondary School who has combined hard work with school and community involvement, and who wishes to further her/his education/training at a tertiary institution in BC.

Amount of Scholarship: $1 000.00

PLEASE DISCARD application forms from previous years and use the updated form for 2015. Note in particular the deadline and the application delivery address.  You will find the application here, on our Scholarship page.


April 2015

A group of Kindergarten teachers in West Vancouver have written a blog post in reflection and response to a presentation they had from Donna Neilson, West Vancouver District’s English Language Learning Resource Teacher at Ridgeview Elementary on Friday, January 23, 2015.

Topics covered were language learning guidelines, learning supports in place for West Vancouver students and learning essentials for success through the elementary and high school years.

Some of the questions they address are:

  • My child knows everything in Kindergarten.  Why can’t he leave ELL support?
  • If I send my child to tutoring, will he learn English faster?
  • What are they missing?  When can my child take regular classes?

While I personally work at the high school level, I certainly recognize the gist of these questions and enjoyed reading what they had to say.  Take a look at their original post, here.

Everyone Has A Story – BC TESOL Wants To Hear Them.

March 2015

Seedfolks, a novel by Paul Fleishman, tells a story in which a small garden starts to grow thanks to an innocent act of remembrance and a suspicious neighbor who is quick to misjudge. The result is a community of understanding, built across cultures and ages.

Each chapter of Seedfolks is written in the voice of a different character, each representing a different generation and/or ethnicity. The result is a unique blend of voices that come together to create the whole. Such is many an ELL classroom.

In spite of challenges with the English language, each of our students has a unique voice, often with many an untold story behind the smile, frown or downcast eyes. Part of building the cultural bridge with our students to help connect them with their new homes is in allowing these stories to be heard.  We love hearing these stories.

Undoubtedly, it is difficult to convince some students to tell their story, but when our ELLs do reveal them, and if we can get to these stories and allow their own natural voice to shine through without overly-formalizing them into as- yet unnatural academic language, they can be absolutely precious.

BC TESOL would like to hear the voices of your students our BC Speakers of Other Languages who are working so hard at their job of learning English. Whether a collaborated story written by students from a similar geographical and cultural background, a collaborated story simply because it’s not as scary that way, or an individually composed story of a BC ELL’s reality, we would like to hear students’ perspectives on where they come from, the challenges they face, and what it is like to be an ELL in BC.

If your students would like to have the chance to be published on, send submissions to Vicki Schrader at

We’d like to feature a variety of real student stories over time, as written in the voice of the student for the enlightenment of TESOLs, including ourselves, and to honour the voices of an often-silenced population.

Ask your students: What is your story? What do you wish your teachers knew about you?

Rough Times

February 2015

As you may know, ELL has suffered cuts over recent years & funding cuts are an on-going concern. Particularly, adult education and post-secondary programs are under attack.  Please take a moment to consider the petition that speaks to the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators’ efforts to advocate for funding to be restored.

As K-12 educators, for us, this is about supporting the parents of many of our students and also our new immigrant community.  These are members of our society who are often marginalized and struggle, largely because of language barriers.  Do we not want to help them get the basic education they need to become self-sufficient contributing members of our communities?

The petition is here.


February 2015: Happy New Year!

A New Year with many thanks.

You may have noticed our banner announcing changes are in the midst.  Sylvia Helmer, long-time ESL consultant & teacher, UBC professor, students’  advocate, and a long-term member of our executive who has served across many roles, including newsletter editor, treasurer, and web-master has trustingly handed the reins over to me, Vicki Schrader.  I hope to serve the site well.  For her support in the transition, “Thank you, Sylvia.”  To those of you who know her, you will also know how deep and multi-faceted that “thank you” must be.  So sincerely, our hats are off to her in light of her continued support, direction and assistance over the years and even now.

Sylvia continues to author her blog, Supporting T.A.L.L., which she has been updating while transitioning the BC TESOL site over to me.  Supporting T.A.L.L. is looking great!  Do add it to your reading list.

As for me, I am an ELL teacher and International Students’ Advocate teacher in the southern corner of our beautiful province.  At this past ESL PSA conference, I accepted both this role of web manager and also moved from Member-at-Large to Vice President of our newly named BC TESOL (formerly, ESL PSA).  I live and teach in Surrey.  I am far from perfect, but it is in those imperfections that I recognize the need for us teachers and our para-professionals to band together and support each other.  While this, along with all the roles of your executive, is a volunteer position on top of the day job, it is my and the executive’s goal to do what we can to connect our members with current ideologies, pedagogies and methodologies in English as an Additional Language instruction.  I welcome your feedback and input.  As you come across current research or new-but-proving-effective approaches, by all means, send me a link and your ideas. Find me at

We are also seeking to represent the voice of our learners and our teachers.  I’ll soon post more about this.  For those of you with membership, you will have seen news of this in our last newsletter.  I am hopeful to see this come to fruition.

Happy teaching!

December 2014

Conference success, new name and lots of plans bring us to the brink of 2015.

As you will have read in your December newsletter, we are now BC TESOL  [British Columbia Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages]. Our name change was voted in at the AGM at our very successful conference in October. BCTF has approved the name change so we are now in the process of getting everything changed to reflect that new name. [Read more about  the rationale  for the name change in the newsletter.] It does seem fitting, somehow, that after 25 years as an organization we are in the process of starting our next 25 years with a new approach  and name and a great deal of enthusiasm and energy  – and plans that will highlight the work we do to support our learners and support teachers.

Stay tuned for more!

October 25, 2014

Thank you to everyone for your support – despite the ‘rough year’ we have had. ALso, thanks to those who gave countless hours of their time to make this conference a success. Finally, thanks to the staff and students of University Hill Secondary for welcoming us to their new school. Two hundred and sixty [260] delegates at our much scaled down conference agreed that professional development is an important part of who we are.


September 19, 2014 – THE CONFERENCE IS ON !!

We are still reeling after the protracted labour dispute but so looking forward to being back in the classroom with our learners. I am sure you are aware that PSAs have been worrying and wondering how to deal with the upcoming PSA Day. We have met via Skype and decided to offer a ‘scaled down’ version of our conference. In this way we can offer some important professional development at a reduced cost for our members. We hope to see you there. For more details check the Conferences tab on the home page or click here.

March 2014

As we ponder our vote this week, it behooves us to think with care and consider ‘the whole picture’. As I discussed the pending ‘right to strike if necessary’ vote, someone sent me this amazing editorial from Focus Magazine [Victoria]. Here is someone who has read the entire ruling by BC Supreme Court Justice Susan Griffin. It is worthy of your time to read as you make this important, potentially life-changing decision. Read the article here As the article notes, this ruling is “about much more than just our schools.”

January 2014 News

The news about the court decision [Jan 27, 2014] has every member of the BCTF elated and all in the ESL PSA hoping for the much needed additional support for additional language learners, not to mention making changes to class size and composition where ELLs are concerned in particular, as well as for learners across the  grades in general. For details on this important event, check out the article in the Globe and Mail. Globe and Mail article


Check out many new resources on our ESL PSA Blog

Extensive Reading: Most recently, Brenda Johnston, one of our frequent presenters at conferences and a teacher in New Westminster, provided an overview of Extensive Reading. It is available both on  this website, in the Resources section, and on the blog.

What’s Sitting on my iPad Right Now?: Isabella Macquarrie has kindly shared an extensive list – 50 suggestions – to help you engage your learners. While may of the ‘apps’ are not ELL specific, the potential uses to help build language are obvious. The entire list is posted on our blog at: Supporting TALL

Language learning Games: One of the most popular sessions at the conference was Language Learning Games, facilitated by Zoe Higgs, ESL Department Head at David Thompson Secondary in Vancouver. Check the Resources tab and scroll to Teacher Resources for a copy of the games.

Newsletter: The latest edition of the newsletter, focussed on assessment,  has been mailed out to all members. Those who are not members have to wait until this edition becomes the ‘past edition’ to access it. Perhaps it is time to become a member? Click on the Membership tab and follow the instructions.

To read archived newsletters, go to the Newsletter tab.

Conference Plans: Plans for our 2014 conference are moving forward. It will be our 25th Anniversary as an organization, a time to celebrate. Watch the website [ Conferences] as well as the blog for details as they evolve.

Sylvia Helmer, M-A-L and Webmaster [] on behalf of the ESL PSA Executive, 2012-2013.



Above (removed.  Dead link) is the image that has greeted you when  visiting the ESL PSA Website. Our visual image and our name are in the process of changing. At the Annual General Meeting at our next ESL PSA Conference – October 19, 2012 – we will be formally asking the membership to approve changing the name of our group from ESL PSA to ELL PSA. We hope you will be there to provide your input and ideas.

We have known for years that many of our learners are not English as a ‘second‘ language learners but that has been the common term used in both research and practice.  Now that the Ministry of Education has listened to the learners and is proceeding to change the terminology, we are eager to follow suit. While some argue we are all learners of English all of our lives and that English Language Learner [ELL] is still not providing adequate credit for the extraordinary challenges implied for those who are working hard to live and learn in English as an additional language, it is the term that has been chosen.

This new website is the also the first step in acknowledging the changing needs of our members. Online registration was soon followed by online newsletter distribution to our members. Next is a new ‘look’ and we hope, a more interactive and helpful website for all those who work with ELL learners.

Sylvia Helmer, Webmaster [ on behalf of the 2011-2012 Executive]


BCTESOL logo  BC TESOL is a PSA of the BC Teachers’ Federation



You must be logged in to leave a reply.