Ontario communities get set for English as a Second Language Week celebrations

    TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - The important and necessary role of English as a
Second Language (ESL) education for new Canadians is being celebrated across
Ontario during ESL Week, which takes place from November 18-24, 2007.
    "Helping new Canadians learn English is a critical first step for them to
gain confidence and the ability to be employable and contribute to the
Canadian - and Ontario - economy," says Renate Tilson, executive director,
TESL Ontario. "Coming to Canada with no or limited knowledge of the English
language can be an isolating experience for an immigrant, refugee or
international student. We hope that ESL Week helps Canadians understand the
important role of ESL education to our society."
    ESL Week has been declared by many communities across Ontario including:
Toronto, York Region, Norfolk County, Fort Erie, Clarington, Oshawa, Scugog,
North Bay, Windsor, Brantford and Kingston. Many of the TESL Ontario
affiliates in the participating centres have organized activities, including
writing and poster contests, in honour of ESL Week. More information can be
found at www.teslontario.org.
    "This is also an opportunity to acknowledge our ESL instructors and the
role they play in the lives of new Canadians," adds Tilson. "An ESL instructor
assists these newcomers with not only teaching language skills, but also with
the transition into Canadian society by providing support and counselling, and
acting as cultural interpreters."
    Says Nasrin Ahmed, a student at Toronto Catholic District School Board's
St. William Adult ESL School: "I am participating in an ESL course to improve
my English and to understand the culture better. I have been actively looking
for a job and I find ESL is very effective to get me involved in the
conversation during the job search. This course is giving us the opportunity
to interact with one another and understand Canadian English, society and
culture. I strongly believe that this kind of course is necessary for each and
every new immigrant."
    One feature of ESL Week is the 35th Annual TESL Ontario Conference, which
takes place in Toronto from November 22-24, 2007. The conference - Making
Connections - is the largest convention of its kind in Canada. TESL Ontario
receives funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to provide conference
assistance for 600 LINC instructors, and also receives funding from the
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration to bring 200 ESL instructors to the
event. This year's conference offers a variety of workshops, plenary speakers,
research symposia and a panel discussion on issues in the field.

    ESL Week is sponsored by TESL Ontario, the association and certifying
body for non-credit adult ESL instructors in Ontario. TESL Ontario represents
more than 3,900 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 www.teslontario.org.

For further information:

For further information: Renate Tilson, Executive Director, TESL
Ontario, (416) 593-4243 ext. 4, rtilson@teslontario.org; Sharon Rajabi,
President, TESL Ontario, (416) 222-8282 ext. 2549, sharon.rajabi@tcdsb.org

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