SAHLA 2022 Languages Education Symposium

Saturday June 18, 2022, 9:40 am – 3pm

Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre, 2120 – 16 Avenue NE

Keynote Speaker:

Julie Sedivny 

Author “Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self”

Acknowledgements: Alberta Education


9:00 am – Registration / Breakfast open

9:40 am – Symposium Opens. Host: Michael Gretton, Coordinator, SAHLA

Welcome from SAHLA – Michael Embaie, President, SAHLA

10 am Session I Workshop

Using online technology safely, securely, and for teaching and assessing

A learning journey should be safe, secure, fun, equitable, and stress free. Vincent will demonstrate how this can be achieved by sharing some fun lesson activities, using free online technology to augment various delivery modalities and assessments. Be prepared to ask questions. Come and learn from a not so serious person who takes quality learning seriously. 

To get the most out of this workshop, please have the latest version of Zoom app ( on your smart phone or computer before coming to the workshop.

Presenter: Vincent Chiew, Ph.D., P.Eng.


Vincent has over 30 years of experience in various industry sectors such as energy, utilities, and information communication technology. His academic training is in engineering and computer science, as well as advanced online teaching and course development. For the last 15 plus years, he has enjoyed sharing his diverse global industry experience with learners, such as teaching at various professional associations and institutions, including giving science presentations to K-12 students. 

For leisure, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing Pokemon Go and dancing.

11 am Session II Workshop

Language on the Move

Time to move and learn! This workshop will promote language learning ideas that get students to move (whether for online or for in person learning). The workshop will promote communicative and collaborative activities that use language and that accommodate kinesthetic learners. Come dressed comfortably for some light movement and fun! 

Presenter: Constantine Ioannou, International Languages Educators’ Association (ILEA).

-Host:  Director, SAHLA

Constantine Ioannou is an internationally recognized teacher and teacher trainer with over a quarter century experience in language teaching and learning. He works as a program director for international projects and exchanges for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Constantine is a former teacher, curriculum supervisor and materials writer for English and International Languages and serves as Executive Director of ILEA (international languages educators’ association) Ontario.   He is an active teacher trainer for Canadian ESL and international language teachers and international teachers of English. 

12:00 pm lunch served.

12:15 pm SAHLA Keynote Address: Michael Embaie, President SAHLA

Michael Embaie was born in Eritrea (East Africa or Horn of Africa) and came to Canada in 1983.  Michael has a Bachelor and a Master of Social Work Degree with specialization in Policy and International Social work from the University of Calgary.  Michael completed the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Law program, and as a result is a licensed regulated Immigration Consultant in Canada. Michael completed a graduate course (Diploma) in International Law and Protection of Refugees at York University, Toronto, Ontario.  Michael worked for the federal Government of Canada, Department of Immigration and Refugee Board for 25 years as Chief of Research and Documentation Centre for the Prairie Region (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba); and as a Tribunal Officer and Dispute Resolution Officer for Western Canada. Michael has been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses as a Sessional Instructor at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work & Dept. of Sociology for 17 years. Michael also worked for the United Nations for seven years as a Resettlement Consultant & Training Expert.  

12:30pm Keynote Speaker: Julie Sedivny, Professor of Linguistics and Psychology, Brown University and University of Calgary. Author, “Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self.

Julie Sedivy is a language scientist and writer. She was born in the former Czechoslovakia and arrived in Montreal at the age of four, where English became the fifth language she learned to speak. Her early exposure to multiple languages sparked a keen interest in the scientific study of language, and she went on to earn a PhD in linguistics at the University of Rochester in the United States. She spent twelve years as a faculty member at Brown University, teaching linguistics and psychology, before arriving in Calgary, where she currently holds an adjunct appointment with the University of Calgary’s School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures, and Cultures.

She now devotes most of her time to writing and is at ease in both scientific and literary genres. She is the author of a popular university textbook on psycholinguistics as well as co-editor of a collection of literary essays. Her most recent book, Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self, draws on her personal experiences of language learning and language attrition as well as her scholarly expertise in linguistics.

1:00 pm – 1:10 pm – Break

1:10 pm Session III – Community Language School Panel Session 

Principals from 6 different language schools will share some highlights about their school programs including brief history, purpose of school, number of students/teacher/volunteers, curriculum, activities, challenges and successes.

Host:  SAHLA

*Albanian School

*Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) 

*Eritrean  Language & Cultural Classes (Tigrinya) 

*Horizon Academy (Arabic)  

*MaiBhago Charity Punjabi Language Classes

*Spanish School of Calgary

2:10 pm Session IV – Discussion around Common school challenges and solutions:

Host: Michael Gretton, Coordinator, SAHLA

-School management, operations, fundraising

-Curriculum development and assessment

-Collaboration with country of origin, other cities and provinces

-Roles and responsibilities of principals, teachers, parents and volunteers.

2:55 pm – Closing remarks

3:00 pm – Symposium Close