Ontario communities celebrate English as a Second Language Week

    TORONTO, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - The important role of English as a Second
Language (ESL) education for new Canadians is being celebrated across Ontario
during ESL Week, taking place from November 9-15, 2008. ESL Week is an annual
celebration of ESL education and learning that is growing in popularity across
the province, and has the support of several communities, thousands of ESL
teachers, students, and many learning institutions and school boards.
    "When people first come to Canada with either no or little understanding
of English, they often feel isolated, which can have significant drawbacks
both to the individual as well as our society," says Renate Tilson, executive
director, TESL Ontario. "Our goal is to help these new Canadians - immigrants,
refugees and international students - learn English so they can communicate
confidently and be employable and highly productive citizens of Ontario, as
well as Canada. ESL Week was designed to help Canadians understand the
critical role of ESL education in our society."
    ESL Week has been declared by many communities across Ontario including:
Toronto, York Region, Norfolk County, Fort Erie, Ajax, Clarington, Oshawa,
Scugog, North Bay, Windsor, Oakville, Milton, Wainfleet, Burlington and
Kingston. Many of the TESL Ontario affiliates in the participating centres
have organized activities, including poster and writing contests, film
festivals and art displays, in honour of ESL Week.
    "ESL Week is also an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of our ESL
instructors and teachers, and how they positively impact the lives of new
Canadians," adds Tilson. "An ESL instructor assists adult newcomers by
teaching language skills, as well as providing support and counselling to ease
their transition into Canadian society. Often ESL instructors take on the role
of cultural interpreters. As well, teachers in Ontario elementary and
secondary schools provide language programs to ensure that all students
develop a level of proficiency in English required for success at school, in
post secondary education and, eventually, in the work place."
    Says Laura Coronado, an ESL student at Park Place LINC Centre of the
Toronto Catholic School Board: "The ESL program has guided me through the
English language, as well as the Canadian culture. I have had the opportunity
to know people from all over the world and to share with them experiences,
trips and knowledge. From my experience, I can say that people who work for
the ESL LINC program are highly qualified, sympathetic, helpful and really
warm. Every day that I spend studying in the ESL program is making me
confident and stronger about the future of my new Canadian life."
    Another highlight of ESL Week is the TESL Ontario conference that takes
place November 13-15, in Toronto. The conference - Celebrating the
International Year of Languages (as declared by UNESCO) - is the largest
convention of its kind in Canada and will host over 1400 delegates. The
conference offers a variety of workshops, plenary speakers, research symposia
and a panel discussion on a current ESL topic.

    TESL Ontario is the association and certifying body for non-credit adult
ESL instructors in Ontario. TESL Ontario represents more than 4,000 ESL
professionals working in elementary and secondary schools; colleges and
universities; private schools; and LINC and ESL sites across the province. The
organization has developed expertise in areas of teacher certification, and
professional and curriculum development. For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Renate Tilson, Executive Director, TESL
Ontario, (416) 593-4243 ext. 4, rtilson@teslontario.org; Sheila Carson,
President, TESL Ontario, (519) 452-2660 ext 220, s.carson@tvdsb.on.ca

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