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Gathering XIV

Southern Ontario Cooperative of ESL Ministries Gathering XIV Program and Workshops

Date - October 28, 2017

Time - 8:15 a.m. - 2:40 p.m.

Location - Trinity Church Streetsville (map). Please enter through the side entrance at Ontario Street East, where there is also an elevator for those who prefer it.

Parking is alongside the church including the spaces in front of the cemetery, and a parking lot across Ontario Street East. 

Conference Cost: $20 Regular Program, $25 Getting Started in Teaching ESL. ($8 optional lunch extra)

Program for the Day

8:15-8:45                    Registration

8:45-8:55                    Worship and Devotional

9:00-10:00                   Workshop Session A

10:00-10:30                 Coffee Break

10:35-11:35                 Workshop Session B

11:40-12:30                 Plenary Panel

12:30-1:30                   Lunch

1:40-2:40                     Workshop Session C



GETTING STARTED IN TEACHING ESL MODULE (This module runs parallel to the workshop sessions throughout the entire day.  If you choose this module you will not attend the other workshops.)

Description:   This module is specifically for people who have no teaching or ESL experience, but would like to get started in ESL ministry. The program provides some background in understanding different learning styles and second language acquisition, and also includes practical instruction on how to teach ESL students English pronunciation and grammar as well as how to set up an ESL ministry in your church. All participants will receive a 50-page Getting Started handbook made up of notes and handouts from the program.  

Presenter:  Colin Brewster. Colin has been teaching English to non-native speakers for over 35 years. He began in Turkey, continued in China and for the past 16 years has been teaching ESL in local Community Colleges in Toronto. He has a TESL certificate from the University of Toronto. As well as teaching ESL in his day job, Colin is involved in the ESL outreach of Trinity Grace Church, Toronto where he enjoys developing and testing different teaching tools and materials for Church based ESL programs.


SESSION A: 9:00-10:00 (Choose 1 from Workshops 1-5)

Workshop 1: "I Can’t Read!" 

Description: Besides listening and speaking, an added challenge for many of our adult English learners is learning to read and write English. Whether the learners can’t read at all or can read in their languages but can’t read English, resources are available to help them learn to read and write English. This workshop will cover tips for teaching your learners to read and write, an introduction to Literacy & Evangelism's materials, as well as an introduction to other adult literacy resources. Using Everyday English in conversations will also be incorporated.

Presenter: Carey Jo Johnston  Carey Jo Johnston serves as the Managing Director of Literacy & Evangelism Canada. She started in 1989 as a mission consultant with Literacy & Evangelism International (LEI) USA. LEI is an interdenominational mission which helps churches around the world reach out to their people and communities through teaching adult literacy (reading) and conversational English (ESL). Carey Jo lives in Markham with her husband, Paul and son, Andrew.

Workshop 2: A Kaleidoscope of ESL Materials

Description: SOCEM exists to encourage cooperation amongst our many ESL ministries.   Many have prepared their own materials and have used them fruitfully.  This workshop provides an opportunity for some to share those materials with the rest of us.  Perhaps you too would like to bring along materials for a “show-and-tell” time.  (Send along any proposals to eslministries@gmail.com.)  We will only be limited by time. 

Moderator: Tom McCormick Tom has worked for about 20 years in ESL ministries in Toronto.  He assists with language acquisition programs for missionaries in Toronto and the USA, teaches part-time at Tyndale Seminary (Education; Mission; Apologetics; Ethics), and is a chaplain at a Nursing Home and a Retirement Community.  Overseas experience includes work in Peru, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon, China and India.  Tom has PhDs in linguistics and philosophy.

Workshop 3: Using Technology in Teaching ESL

Description: In an age when every student has a smart phone and things like Google and Youtube have become popular, maybe you have wondered how your ESL teaching can be enhanced through technology. In this demo-style workshop, you'll learn how to find and safely download, edit & use YouTube videos; perform power searches for images from various websites; create interactive quizzes; and integrate Google Translate and online pronunciation tools.

Presenter: Emily Leung. Emily is a Technology Training Professional with 17 years of experience in adult education. She is passionate about enhancing the learning environment with visual aids and technology. 

Workshop 4: ESL for Church Planting          

Description:  Together we will explore how new or existing ESL programs can be used to start a House Church in your neighbourhood. Many Christian ESL groups wonder how they can have a fuller Christian witness among their students. We will discuss how to identify potential participants, House Church structures, and possible materials, all without disrupting the identity of your current program. One-on-one help is also available after the conference for those who are seriously interested in starting such a House Church.

Presenters:  Tom and Karmen More. Tom and Karmen are a husband and wife team that started the English Conversation Café (ECC) as part of The Living Room Church in 2013. With a group of approximately 60 learners each week, we host six conversation circles. Tom has been a pastor for 10 years and has a Bachelor of Religious Education and a Master of Divinity. Karmen is a nutritionist and a recent Ryerson graduate and is the administrative engine of the ECC.

Workshop 5: Grace for Shame – Caring for Muslim and Asian students

Description: Do you feel that sometimes your students who come from non-Western cultures respond to you in ways you don't understand? Or have you wondered why they remain aloof and unresponsive to a proclamatory offer of the Gospel that emphasizes sin and guilt? One reason may be that their cultures and identities are collectivistic and shame-based. This workshop looks at some definitions and characteristics of shame, points to examples of its functioning in Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, and discusses how we can speak to personal and relational needs of the students from these cultures. Come share your experience and explore how the Gospel of Jesus heals shame.

Presenters:  Jeff McCarrell. Jeff (seminar co-presenter, facilitator) trained in mission with Canadian Baptist Ministry among Somali in N.E. Kenya. For 25 years Jeff has served with Etobicoke congregations seeking to present Christ to predominantly Muslim neighbours.  Jeff teaches at Dixon Women’s ESL Classes.

Jennifer Tong. Jennifer has been the coordinator and a teacher of a small ESL program at Parkway Forest Community Church since 2004. She is a TESL Ontario certified teacher and has taught LINC, at a private language school and a factory in the past. Her interests include Non-Western learning styles, reflective practice in ESL and mental health and immigrants. Jennifer is also an active editor and musician.

SESSION B: 10:35-11:35 (Choose 1 from Workshops 6-10)

Workshop 6: Intermediate English Grammar

Description: Are you unsure of how to help your students with grammar?  Is your knowledge of English grammar pretty rusty or non-existent?  Come and (re)discover the grammar you know that you don't know you know in a participatory workshop.  We will cover aspects of sentence structure, question formation, negation, and the role of the word 'do', finding patterns and forms inductively by considering the language we already know and use. 

Presenter: Carol Blake Carol Blake OCELT has a Masters degree in Linguistics (University of Toronto). For 35 years, she has been involved in teaching various aspects of English and language learning in first language, second language, and foreign language situations.

Workshop 7: How to Teach ESL Using English Bible Texts

Description: The language needs of your ESL learners may be addressed through lessons based on Bible texts.  However, it is important that you not only choose appropriate texts, language and skill focuses but also plan effective language learning tasks.  The presenter will walk us through a seven-step plan for developing integrated English Bible based lessons.

Presenter: Gail Tiessen. In addition to having been a missionary and an award winning teacher, Gail Tiessen, Professor Emerita at Providence University College and Seminary (MB), established undergraduate and graduate TESOL programs. She continues to use her gifts in teaching others to teach English and writing ESL curricula.

Workshop 8: Let Them Talk! Noise Is a Good Thing

Description: This workshop will examine how to encourage ESL students to talk more, whether it is at a conversation café or in the classroom.  How can students’ speech be improved in terms of fluency, accuracy and complexity?  Strategies will be considered according to what teachers/facilitators can do and what students can do themselves to improve their speaking proficiency.  Topics, tasks and tools differentiate between quiet and chatty interactions among students and with the teacher.  Workshop participants will be encouraged to add their own thoughts and approaches to the conversation.

Presenter: Heather Green Currently Heather is enrolled in the University of Toronto TESOL program.  Having taught international students and immigrants at several conversation cafes for the past 7 years, she prefers teaching Intermediate level ESL, but would also like to teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes.  Curriculum development, Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) and Portfolio-based Language Assessment (PBLA) are interests.

Workshop 9: Helping Refugees Adapt to Canadian Life

Description: There are many ways to get involved in helping refugees and one of them is for churches to sponsor refugee families (often from Syria). Come and listen to 3 experienced practitioners who will share about the role of the church in supporting and helping refugee families resettle, including helping them with English directly or indirectly. We will discuss the profile of refugee families, different resettlement needs, available programs and what churches can do. There will be a Q&A session at the end.

Presenters: Diane Toycen Diane has served as the coordinator of the ESL program of Trinity Church Streetsville since its inception 14 years ago.  She has been involved as a tutor for the past 5 years.  She is also a member of Trinity's Refugee Sponsorship Committee and has been involved with helping their Iraqi family adjust to new life in Canada.

Dalia Taylor. Dalia obtained her Ontario Teaching Certificate along with a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. Her career in adult education began by volunteering in a church-based English as a Second Language (ESL) program in Mississauga. This led to a position with the Peel District School Board coordinating programs for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), ESL and Adult Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS).  Dalia is presently part of a volunteer group at Trinity supporting refugee families from Iraq and Syria mostly in the education and employment fields. Her knowledge of the education system, as well as government and community support agencies, serves her well in this role.

Ruth Anderson. Ruth is a retired community nurse who in earlier years lived in rural Peru as a missionary. In 2015 she and her husband formed a refugee sponsorship group at Bayview Glen Alliance Church, Thornhill. They welcomed a Syrian Muslim-background family of six from Jordan and continue to lead a support team for the family. This positive experience has motivated the group to initiate new applications for refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea. 

Workshop 10: The Emotional Challenges of Teaching ESL

Description:  "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." (Pablo Picasso). In your teaching life, have you ever been laden with struggles, encountered emotional challenges due to failures, or experienced moments when you feel like you want to give up? Come to this workshop to discover the reasons behind such experiences, hear the experience and encouragement from others (you are not alone!), and together explore ways to help face and navigate the challenges.

Presenter: Jennifer Tong. Jennifer has been the coordinator and a teacher of a small ESL program at Parkway Forest Community Church since 2004. She is a TESL Ontario certified teacher and has taught LINC, at a private language school and a factory in the past. Her interests include Non-Western learning styles, reflective practice in ESL and mental health and immigrants. Jennifer is also an active editor and musician. 


SESSION C: 1:40-2:40 (Choose 1 from Workshops 11-14)

Workshop 11: What does that mean?

Description: When searching for the meaning of a word, many language learners go to a dictionary for a definition. But is a definition all language learners need? This workshop explores some of the errors language learners make with new vocabulary and what we can learn about language from these errors. The workshop will highlight the importance of context, meaning, form and pronunciation.

Presenter: Lydia Mountney. Lydia has been an ESL teacher for more than 20 years and a teacher trainer for over 15. She has trained teachers at Tyndale University, College and Seminary and is currently a freelance teacher trainer for the University of Cambridge CELTA program. Lydia is the Director of the Don Valley ESL Career Centre, a language school that operates out of Don Valley Bible Chapel. Her overseas teaching and training experience includes teaching in Senegal, Niger, Madagascar and the UK . Lydia is also actively involved in music ministry and lives in Toronto with her husband and 2 daughters.

Workshop 12: Teaching Beginners 

Description: Is it difficult for you to make things simple for beginning students? Are you looking for fresh ideas on how to give your low-level students ample opportunities for practice without making it boring and repetitive? Together let’s discover some strategies for teaching grammar, vocabulary and functional language in a practical and fun way. Be ready to brainstorm, play games and to be encouraged in helping your students confidently take their first steps in second language acquisition.

Presenter: Olga Gilbert. Olga Gilbert, BA English, MDiv, CELTA, is currently enrolled in an MA TESOL online program at Biola University. Olga and her husband are church planters. Before coming to the GTA, they served in Moscow, Russia from 2005-2012. Olga has taught ESL in Latvia, Texas, Russia, at Bayview Glen Church and is currently the coordinator for the ESL ministry at her church in Richmond Hill.

Workshop 13: ESL Ministries and Evangelism

Description: Each year hundreds of thousands of students and immigrants pour into Ontario. While many of us are passionately involved in ESL ministries, some are unsure how best to integrate ESL with presenting the Gospel. We will consider how to structure ESL lessons and classes to facilitate sharing the Gospel, while avoiding conflicts of interest, all in winsome ways. The workshop leader will share his experience including success factors along with some of the pitfalls and cultural sensitivities to be considered.

Presenter: See Kiat Toh. Rev. Dr. See Kiat Toh (LLB Hons, LLM, MTS, PhD) is a Singaporean who ministers amongst international students and new immigrants. He and his wife Dorothy are SIM East Asia missionaries seconded to The Peoples Church in Toronto. They are currently involved in mentoring and training leaders in GTA churches to set up and develop similar ministries. See Kiat is a lawyer by training and still lectures part-time as a University Professor in law. See Kiat and Dorothy have ministered amongst international students and immigrants in four countries for a combined total of 60 years.

Workshop 14: Helping New Believers Return Well to their Home Countries

Description: You have welcomed your newcomers, taught them English, and shared the gospel. Some of them have decided to become Christ followers, and have been discipled a bit. Now they are returning to their home countries. How can you be sure that they will continue with their faith after they get home? Statistics from returnees to China shows that 80% drop away once they return. This happens over and over again in other parts of the world. We will explore why this happens and what tools we can employ to help them navigate well through the challenges of keeping their newfound faith in their home context.

Presenters: Don and Sandi Howell. Don and Sandi Howell have been missionary members for 25 years with OMF International, working in the Canadian Office currently. Sandi is Connections East Asia (CEA)’s Coordinator for ESOL, using ESL as an outreach to East Asians. CEA trains and provides resources for individuals and churches in cross-cultural matters and helps their new believers to return to their home countries well. Don is a volunteer for CEA, mainly as Director of Finance and Administration in Canada. Sandi is a lead tutor for the Conversational English classes at Trinity Streeetsville, and is helping another church to start an ESL outreach program.

TESL Ontario Members: Workshops 1-3, 5-12 qualify as professional development (PD) activity for TESL Ontario membership renewal.  If
you would like such PD credit, we will provide certificates, on which you can indicate which ones you are using for that purpose.