SAHLA 2023 Languages Education Symposium

SAHLA 2023 Languages Education Symposium

‘Languages Learning for Educational, Social, Cultural and Economic Development’.

Saturday June 17, 2023, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm 

Centre for Newcomers – 125, 565 – 36 St NE Calgary, Alberta

Keynote Speaker: Raj Dhaliwal, Councillor Ward 5, City of Calgary

Acknowledgements: Alberta Education


9:00 am – Registration / Breakfast open. 

9:40 am – Symposium opens. 

Host: Michael Gretton, Coordinator, SAHLA. 

-Welcome from Centre for Newcomers: Anca Roman, Assoc. Director, Ethnicity Catering, CFN.

-Welcome from SAHLAMichael Embaie, President, SAHLA.

10:00 am Session I Workshop.

  1. Overview of SAHLA / University of Calgary Teaching Second Language (TSL) 

Professional Development Program for Community Language Instructors. 

-Presenter: Anca Roman M Ed. TSL Instructor, University of Calgary Continuing Education 

-Student testimonial: Mona Ng, Teacher, Alberta Chung Wah Chinese School

  1. Perspectives on Motivating Learners in the Heritage Language Classroom.

Presenter: Anca Roman M Ed. TSL Instructor, University of Calgary Continuing Education 

Description: What are some effective ways to motivate learners acquire their heritage language? We will briefly explore and review concepts such motivation and attitude in the language classroom, identity, as well as language- culture connection. We will also discuss some practical ideas HL teachers can implement so their learners become more engaged and ultimately more proficient in their language skills.

Anca Roman has worked at the Centre for Newcomers for more than 20 years and at the U of C for the past 10 years. She has had many roles and taught a variety of courses, but she is most passionate about second (additional) language acquisition. In her approach to newcomers or refugees as well as to students, she believes in offering high quality services and is committed to helping everyone achieve success. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, being outdoors, and travelling. 

11 am Session II Workshop 

Culture, Which? Language, Whose? Intercultural and Linguistic Awareness for the Classroom.

-Presenter: Constantine Ioannou

Executive Director of ILEA (International Language Educators’ Association) Ontario. 

-Host: Aurora Dacanay, Secretary, SAHLA

Description: Constantine will highlight ideas for raising an awareness of language, culture and intercultural understanding in the classroom through the use of interactive activities that aim to promote the development of communication strategies that also allow for culture learning. Discussion will also involve the need for promoting global perspectives that are not restricted by a set cultural framework, but rather allows for an openness in discovering the many cultures using the language of study. 

Constantine Ioannou is the Executive Director of ILEA (International Language Educators’ Association) Ontario and is an educator with 30 years of experience in teaching, curriculum and educational leadership. He currently works as the Program Director of International Education and Curriculum Lead for International Languages at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.  

12:00 pm Lunchtime. Lunch served by Ethnicity Catering, Centre for Newcomers

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

-The key unduplicated role that SAHLA and community-based weekend languages schools, in support of the Calgary Board of Education and Alberta Education, play in teaching students languages (Kindergarten through high school and adults), to prepare them as multicultural and multilingual citizens for employment, career, community and lifelong learning.

Michael Embaie was born in Eritrea (East 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.   

12:30 pm Lunchtime Keynote Speaker: –Raj Dhaliwal, Councillor Ward 5, City of Calgary.

“The educational, social and economic importance of learning languages.” 

-Benefits of Languages Learning include: Enhanced cognitive development, memory retention. Academic development and higher learning. Enhanced career and employment opportunities, economic development and trade, anti-racism, cultural, multicultural and social cohesion. 

Raj Dhaliwal came to Canada with his family in his teen years. He is a graduate of Lester B.

Pearson High School in the North East. He later completed his education at the

University of Calgary and has a Bachelor’s in International Relations and Chemical

Engineering. He has worked in the Oil and Gas sector for almost 15 years. Raj has been involved as a volunteer with several community organizations including the North-East Family

Connections. He is a passionate advocate about anti-racism, equity in immigration

communities and representation.

Raj speaks 4 languages – English, Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi.

Raj Dhaliwal was elected as Ward 5 Councillor in October 2021, one of the most

ethnically diverse Wards of Calgary. He is also a member of the Calgary Police

Commission. Raj is married and father to 2 boys.

1:00 pm Session III Workshop.

RED FM. Celebrating 10 years of multilingual & multicultural radio programming in Calgary.

-Presenter: Jay Chowdhury, Station Manager, RED FM.

RED FM brings together Calgary’s diverse communities for news, current issues, community and cultural events, education and entertainment. Power of radio as a communication tool connecting your heritage in 2023.  How RED FM has been pioneering in connecting the community and promoting diversity.

Jay Chowdhury is Station Manager for RED FM 106.7 the prominent South Asian Radio serving Calgary in 19 different languages. Jay is a passionate broadcaster, radio host, and producer who has served Media for the past 31 years. He has a degree in Bachelor of Arts major in economics from the University of Calcutta, a Diploma in Radio Broadcasting and Mass Communication from St. Xavier College in Calcutta, and a Diploma in Non-Profit management from Mount Royal University, Calgary. His heart is for helping as many people in difficult circumstances and has served on many boards and currently heads as a Co-Chair for Calgary Police Service, Diversity Unit, and South Asian Portfolio. He has also worked with the United Nations for 14 years specializing in Combatting the Human Trafficking of Children for sexual purposes. He loves traveling, has traveled to 76 countries, and would like to hit 100 countries by 2030. 

1:45pm Session IV Workshop.

Using online technology safely & securely for teaching and assessing.

Using artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT & Microsoft AI for academic improvement and integrity. 

Presenter: Vincent Chiew, Ph.D., P.Eng. University of Calgary instructor.

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 smartphone or computer before coming to the workshop. 

Vincent Chiew 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 science presentations to K-12 students.

2:25 pm short break.

2:30 pm Session V Workshop. 

Community Language Schools – Panel Session. – Overviews, common challenges & solutions. 

-Alberta Chung Wah Chinese School – Susan Eng, Principal

-Calgary German Language School – Marie Gailer, Principal

-Horizon Academy (Arabic) – Dr. Sherif Elsharkawy, Subject Coordinator

-Kolibri Russian Language School – Tatyana Moen, Linguist

-Yoruba Language School – Bola Abe, Teacher & Administrator 

Principals from 5 different community language schools will share some highlights about their school programs including: 

-Brief history, purpose of school, # of students/teacher/volunteers, curriculum and activities. 

Key challenges, solutions and successes with teaching and learning in the language classroom, and with school operations.   

-Classroom teaching and learning / Curriculum development and assessment.

-Language School management, operations, facility rental, resource development & fundraising.  

-Collaboration with country of origin, other cities and provinces. 

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

3:30 pm – Closing remarks and Symposium Close.

Thank you to everyone for participating, volunteering, teaching, organizing and contributing to the success of languages education for students in Calgary, Alberta and Canada! Please be sure to complete the SAHLA Symposium Evaluation Form before you depart today.