Annual Fall Training, October 1, 2022
On Saturday, October 1st we hosted our first hybrid event with the Southern Ontario Cooperative of ESL Ministries (SOCEM) for an online/in-person event hosted in Calgary, with a total of about 35 people attending both online and in-person (including CESLM/SOCEM teams).
Thanks to the presenters for their excellent presentations filled with learning, inspiration and a passion for reaching out to churches and newcomers to Canada. The event was well-organized by a volunteer training team who did an awesome job! With a few technical issues at the beginning, the presenters and attendees were gracious as we got things fixed—thanks to the tech team.
We also had two exhibitors sharing information about their organizations supporting newcomers and two vendors with various items for sale and swag bags to giveaway to in-person attendees.
Some comments from our attendees:
“I found all three sessions contained a lot of practical information, tips and ideas.”
“The pronunciation workshop.”
“The information about Bible-based ESL courses.”
“Extra time for presenters to account for technical difficulties.” (a few comments mentioned this)
As with all comments, we do our best to address the issues mentioned and see how we can improve for future events. Thanks to all who filled out our post-event survey.
Annual Spring Training , April 30, 2022
On Saturday, April 30th, 2022 we hosted our Annual Spring Training event, a 3.5-hour webinar to train and equip ESL teachers, volunteers, church staff, nonprofit ministry workers or anyone working with newcomers to Canada.
The Opening Session: Reaching Newcomers in Your Community with Mary Thomas inspired, motivated and encouraged attendees in their work with newcomers.
Attendees then had a choice between two breakout room workshops: Session 1—Option 1: Informality—the Social and Relational Aspects of Language Learning with Jennifer Tong presenting, or Option 2: Let’s Talk About Culture with Miriam Charter.
After the break, Session 2—Practical Help for Online ESL Ministry ran in the main room for all attendees. This session, hosted by Allan Pole, Del Herman and Mary-Jane Davison, presented different aspects of online ESL ministry—each from their own experience teaching ESL, which was followed by an open Q & A time after. Following closing words and a prayer, our Annual General Meeting took place at 1 p.m. with the board, staff and a few others curious to learn more about CESLM. Thanks to all who came out to both the training event and the AGM.
Attendees taking in the various workshop choices rated the event with an “overall” rating response of 4.36/5 and a 4.64/5 rating response for “knowledge of the subjects being presented.”
Attendees commented on which part practically equipped them to work with newcomers:
“The presentation by Miriam provided great tips and tools.”
“Practical help for online ministries.”
“The different ways to structure class times and organize lessons.”
“I got good ideas in both Jennifer’s and the online ministry group.”
“Each speaker did a good job of presenting practical ideas.”
ESL Teacher Training Workshop, March 10, 2022
On March 10, 2022, the Cooperative ESL Ministries (CESLM) was privileged to host a 90-minute online professional training workshop to equip ESL teachers working with newcomers to Canada with teacher trainer Laura Swart teaching the theme: How to use Storytelling to Teach ESL.
Attendees, from across Canada, learned the importance of memory to learning, student-generated curriculum created in the classroom, syntax and grammar, listening and speaking and how to write a great story.
Laura taught attendees to be passionate about making lessons interesting, fun, fast and enjoyable. She spoke on the importance of students being heard and how to engage their intellect and emotions so that they remember things.
As well as being a teacher trainer, Laura Swart is passionate about writing and teaching and has taught academic writing to post-secondary students for over twenty years, encouraging them to find and raise their writing voices. She is also a published novelist, poet and playwright and the director of I-AM ESL, an online language school that uses story and song to teach the intricacies of English to students through Bible-based lessons.
In addition to being a writer herself, Laura teaches professional writers. Laura’s degrees and research in education, philosophy and theology have shaped her thinking and woven themselves into her classroom.
For more information, or to learn how to set up an ESL program, please visit the I-AM ESL website.
A few attendee comments on things learned during the workshop, which had an average 4.88-star rating:
“One of many great points: How to help students learn at their level using student-generated material.”
“How to involve the students and keep the class lively.”
“Creating an engaging class—engaging their mind, intellect and emotions.”
“How to generate stories from students.”
Annual Fall Training, October 2, 2021
On Saturday, October 2nd our Annual Fall Training Event shifted from an in-person event to online via Zoom with 31 registrants (attendees, staff, board, presenters and volunteers) taking part to learn how to better prepare to reach out to newcomers in their churches, organizations, businesses and neighbourhoods. All presenters were well-versed in their areas of expertise. When asked: How knowledgeable were the presenters on the subjects presented, approximately 72% of respondents commented “excellent.”
Keynote presenters, Rick and Patti Love presented an overview of what ways Canada is changing and how the church is responding to immigration to Canada.
Immigration growth over the years from 2006 to 2020 showed that 2020 was the lowest, as expected, at 184,370 with 2019 the highest at 341,175. The expected goal for immigration in 2021 to 2023 shows an estimate of 400,000 new immigrants per year.
The Loves also talked about how many church ESL classes in Canada are still reaching out to newcomers, despite the tough circumstances of the past year or so, with one attendee commenting “..opening session was very good and inspirational…encouraging to know all the classes that are going on right now across Canada.”
We also had two more sessions, with two workshop options to choose per session. One attendee shared the following report from her perspective.
“The CESLM Annual Fall Training Event on Saturday, October 2nd was very well attended. The workshops I attended were well presented, informative and encouraging. I was especially encouraged by our keynote speakers when they shared all the ESL classes that are happening across the country. Wow!!! People from other countries are being helped with acclimatizing to our country through these classes. I also enjoyed the workshop on using the internet and classes for learners. A video on DNA was shown that revealed how small our world really is and how people are so similar—very encouraging. I shared this video with the ESL class I teach to encourage my students. As well, I appreciated the workshop on hospitality—it was good to be reminded of the need to be hospitable with others; unfortunately in our COVID-related world this is not as easy as it was before. Yet the encouragement to reach out regardless of our societal restrictions was very good and I look forward to connecting with people from other countries—even if it is online at the moment. am thankful for the opportunity we have to learn, grow and be challenged to reach folks from other countries.” —Shelley
Annual Spring Training, April 17, 2021
On Saturday, April 17th, we held our Annual Spring Training Event via Zoom, with 34 participants, including attendees, presenters and CESLM board and staff.
Our main session speaker, Andrew Williamson of Power to Change (p2c) ministry, shared his heart to reach others with the gospel message. Included in his presentation Sharing the Gospel—Gospel Listening, was how we as believers were chosen to bear fruit through sharing the hope they have in Christ.
And how we can help the unbeliever (or the lost), move through various stages when we take that first step to reach out to them. Through these steps, we can build their trust and help them become curious as they watch how we live out our faith. As we guide them, they move toward openness to change and start to seek God, making the decision to trust and follow Jesus, bringing them into His kingdom—which is the hope we have as believers, when we share the Gospel with others.
We also had two workshops. Our first workshop, Teaching Students Job Search Skills, with presenter Cam Loewen, was very informative, showing the various steps needed in a good resume and tips for helping students write an excellent resume that will not get thrown off the pile, but rather grab the attention of the hiring manager.
Our last workshop was focused on Trauma Support for Students, with Sylvia Chan & Kevin Hau sharing what trauma is, how it shows up, the symptoms: fight, flight and freeze. They also shared how teachers can reach out with the response that conveys “I hear you; I see you; I believe you.” And if needed, refer them to professional trauma help.
We are very thankful for presenters who are willing to share their expertise that enables us to be better equipped and prepared to reach out to newcomers in our cities, welcoming them in to our lives and hopefully, into our homes (post-Covid).
A few attendee comments when asked which part of the webinar was most helpful to them:
“All topics were helpful and the presenters provided excellent information.”
“Helping people take steps toward Jesus.”
“The employment one gave some good and practical tips.”
“The info on trauma-very helpful.”
“Sharing our faith in practical ways was helpful.”
“Trauma support—some of my students are refugee claimants.”
“Reaching out to newcomers with practical help like teaching job searching skills.”
“All topics were helpful and the presenters provided excellent information.”
Intercultural Communications Webinar (ICW), Feb. 27, 2021
On Saturday, February 27th we had our first Intercultural Communications Workshop online via Zoom. We had around 18 in attendance and our facilitators did an awesome job.
Of those who filled out our survey regarding practical application of the webinar content, this is how they responded:
“All of the information was helpful! Unpacking the low context and high context information provided practical everyday examples which I found helpful.”
“The part on communication, understanding of time, etc.” “Layers of communication….time orientation.”
Thanks to Kathleen Barnard, workshop attendee, for the following report:
CESLM’s Intercultural Communications Workshop/Webinar took place on Saturday February 27, 2021 on ZOOM. It was a highly informative event that not only provided a helpful perspective on Intercultural Communication, but also made room for guided interaction among the participants in the workshop. The workshop afforded each participant an opportunity to grow in understanding and appreciation of people from cultures different than their own, and to begin to develop strategies to make cross-cultural communication more effective.
The webinar explored such topics as:
- What is culture?
- What are some of the visible and invisible elements of culture?
- What are some of the layers of culture?
- How does our own culture impact our thinking, our verbal and non-verbal communication and our interpersonal relationships?
The second part of the presentation examined the process of moving toward intercultural understanding, discussing barriers to intercultural communication such as ethnocentrism, some common misattributions, stereotyping, overgeneralizations and the cultural lenses of identity, concepts of authority, social context and time orientation.
We had opportunities to talk about individualism v. collectivism, hierarchical v. egalitarian views of authority and power structures, achievement-oriented v. ascribed status, uncertainty avoidance v. risk-taking, low-context v. high-context cultures and limited time (chronos) orientations v. abundant time (kairos) orientations. We also considered different time horizons and talked about direct and indirect communication styles.
Finally, we had an opportunity to discuss different worldviews, from pre-modern, to modern, to post-modern, and to think about some different approaches to sharing the gospel, including guilt v. forgiveness, fear v. power of God, and shame v. glory of God.
What I appreciated most was that the differing views were not positioned in terms of what was “superior” or “inferior,” “primitive” or “sophisticated,” but rather considered in such a way that participants were able to see some of the merits and limitations of all the perspectives.
After all, there are redemptive elements in all cultures and it would be beneficial to us as members of the body of Christ to “do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance, but instead, in the true spirit of humility [lowliness of mind] to regard the others [whoever is “other” to each one of us] as better than and superior to ourselves [thinking more highly of one another than we do of ourselves]” (Philippians 2:3 AMPC, author’s paraphrase) and come to understand what traces of the culture of Heaven each culture brings to the whole.
Many thanks to Kathryn Seib, Roswita Dressler and Katherine Milum for all the hard work that went into the preparation, organization and presentation; as well as the facilitation skills that went into this very important webinar.
ESL Teacher Training Webinar Series with Sara Dasko, 2020
This past October and November, over 4 consecutive Saturdays, we were blessed to have an awesome teacher trainer present a 4-part webinar series on ESL Lesson Planning. Sara Dasko shared from her many years of experience as an ESL teacher working abroad and here in Canada.
We had around 30 attendees total over the 4 webinars, with 3 or 4 attending all 4 webinars in the series. In each session, Sara shared a lesson plan outline and tips for each webinar theme: Webinar 1—Reading/Listening, Webinar 2—Speaking/Writing, Webinar 3—Pronunciation and Webinar 4—Grammar, as well as tangible resources to equip teachers as they continue teaching ESL to newcomers.
The comments and feedback were awesome with attendees being overall satisfied with the knowledgeable presenter, organization and length of the event. Many are looking forward to Sara coming back for more training sessions in the future with comments such as: “Sara’s stuff is just great. Keep me posted on any of her upcoming sessions” and “It was informative, concise and direct to the point. I like the specific and practical tips too.”
We would like to thank Sara for her well-prepared and presented webinar series and for giving up her 4 Saturdays to do it. She is a busy mom, with another baby on the way in early January. We wish her God’s blessing on the arrival of their second son in the New Year.
We also want to say thanks to all the attendees who came out for the webinar series and we hope to see you back in the new year.
Zoom Training Webinar Series with Rick and Patti Love, 2020
What an amazing turnout we had for our Zoom Training Webinar Series on Saturday, August 15th with presenters Rick and Patti Love of Love New Canadians.
With over 80 participants across two back-to-back webinars, attendees learned the basics of Zoom in the beginner webinar with more intermediate use of Zoom’s features in the 2nd webinar. It was a lot to learn in a short time—2.5 hours flies by fast 😊.
Thanks to the Loves and all those who came out for our webinar series.
Fall Training Webinar, Sept. 26, 2020
On Saturday, Sept 26th, we hosted our annual fall training event via Zoom. We partnered with the Southern Ontario Cooperative of ESL Ministries (SOCEM), to bring four awesome presenters: 2 from Alberta and 2 from Ontario to encourage, inspire and equip teachers and ministry workers as they work with newcomers.
Our opening session speaker, Katherine Milum, shared how the connectedness and unity in the body of Christ is one of the ways we show people of other faiths what the Kingdom of God looks like. As well, she reminded us of why we do what we do and where connectedness fits into that. Knowing what we do matters. Knowing why we are doing it and what motivates us to continue doing it matters, resulting in believing and seeing that we are connected through the body of Christ as God uses His community and his people to show His love to others.
Jeff McCarrell, our closing session speaker, spoke about the ministry to Muslim immigrants in Ontario, and how churches are collaborating with other churches to help immigrants with settlement needs as well as providing ESL classes for men, women and children—an essential need for communicating in English with those in their communities. The classes, taught by local church volunteers, have 90 percent Muslim students attending and are well accepted by the Muslim community. As churches continue to reach more immigrants in the area, Muslims are recommending new immigrants to attend ESL classes at the local Christian churches. How awesome is that?
Our ESL-themed workshops with Nataliya and Lydia, were also well received, with knowledgeable teacher trainers helping us to be better prepared to teach ESL. During the workshops, attendees experienced group work as they were sent into Zoom breakout rooms for short discussions on the topic being presented, then debriefed with the presenters back in the main session. All our sessions were presented by speakers with many years of training, experience and education in their related fields. We are so thankful for willing speakers who love what they do and love to share with others.
A Few Comments from our attendees:
For me, the event was perfect. Keep up the good work!
The webinar schedule covered the details well. I knew exactly what to expect.
Loved the middle 2 speakers!! They both clearly had tremendous knowledge & experience. Also enjoyed how these teaching speakers were book-ended by context as to why we teach ESL learners. Very practical information to help volunteers with teaching; hearing how God is working in and using different ministries (not just ESL, but kingdom building).
Spring Training Webinar, April 4, 2020
Our presenter, Sara Dasko, a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), CELTA certified teacher and founder of Free Mind Language Services, did an awesome job of presenting our first webinar online via Zoom, sharing 3 sessions with our attendees.
Starting with Session 1, Sara shared a motivational message about her experience and background as a teacher in various contexts. Session 2 was focused on pronunciation of individual sounds and how to break it down in an easily applied manner that students will readily receive and practice. Attendees learned about the IPA and how to use a functional version in classrooms and teaching sessions.
In Session 3, Sara talked about lesson planning that focused on a holistic approach to teaching language, emphasizing the role of insightful feedback. Attendees were assigned to breakout rooms to work together using Google docs interactively to plan a lesson focused on the “Perfect Introduction” to use with their students.
After the session ended, attendees were sent a certificate of participation for the 3-hour webinar. As well, Sara provided various pronunciation and lesson planning documents for attendees to use for future classes.
For our first webinar, we were thankful for the 26 registrants. Thanks go out to our staff and board members who attended and helped execute this event. And special thanks to our Events Coordinator, Ashley, for her awesome job of transitioning this event from onsite to online in just a few weeks.
A Few Comments from our attendees:
Great first attempt at a Webinar! Great job everyone. Thought the timing and breaks were great for the webinar format.
Very professional and well organized with a great multimedia approach.
Sara was very well-organized and had obviously planned this out very well. Everyone who spoke was easy to understand.
The presenter was very thorough, both in personal sharing and in direct, valuable training for me. An excellent, professional session.
Fall Training Day, Oct. 5, 2019
Our 2019 Fall Training Day this past Saturday, October 5th, kicked off with a continental breakfast to get people connected with each other and with time to check out resources from our exhibitors: Canadian Bible Society, Love New Canadians, CIWA, I-Am ESL, and of course CESLM.
With 47 people attending (including exhibitors, speakers, and CESLM board, staff and volunteers) and 14 organizations represented, our opening session speaker, Majd AlAjji, Prairies & NWT Regional Manager for the Canadian Bible Society, shared immigration statistics of refugees arriving in Canada, comparing churches who sponsor refugees to those the government sponsored, citing the differences between how churches are not just giving them supplies, but developing relationships with these newcomers helping them to adjust and integrate into Canadian society within a community that cares about not only their physical needs, but their spiritual needs as well. He also talked about the 4 stages of culture shock that each immigrant goes through with some staying in Stage 3: Frustration a bit longer than others, depending on their attitude, their new connections in Canada and their motivation to learn to adjust to their new life in Canada.
The day continued with an interview with two newcomers sharing their experiences adjusting to the Canadian society. Then, following a short coffee break, attendees chose between two break-out sessions: Teaching Grammar (Roswita Dressler, or Improving Listening (Doreen Spurgeon). Later reconvening to finish the day off, Marlene Nelson of InterAct Ministries shared an inspirational message encouraging attendees and churches to continue to build relationships with newcomers, showing them the love of Jesus.
Allan Pole, CESLM president, closed off with a blessing to send out attendees—encouraging them to keep on keeping on, citing Revelations 7:9-10 to remind us that when we stand before God in heaven, “a vast crowd…from every nation and tribe and people and language” will be “standing in front of the throne…before the Lamb.”
Thanks to all who participated in making this event happen—Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd for the venue, speakers, volunteers, and exhibitors. And to CESLM board and staff. Also, a big thank you to our Events Coordinator, Roxy Meyers, who pulled together an excellent team for her last event with us as she will be handing over the baton to our new Events Coordinator, Ashley Brochu. And thank you to all the attendees who came out to learn to better reach out to newcomers in their churches and communities. And our biggest thanks goes to our Lord for speaking to us, and through us, as we help His Church reach out to new Canadians!
Great comments from our attendees!
- Majd’s presentation, Panel discussion, Grammar session.
- Encouraging ESL teachers! Introducing them to where to find more training resources. Giving the right ideas about immigrants.
- Provide people in need the hope for their better future by means of English.
- Majd’s overview of how immigrants adjust as refugees. It provides insight into how we can use ESL to help them.
- Sharing on refugee’s experience in Canada. Technical Grammar.
- Book tables. Learning about Syrian refugee experiences.
- Syrian Refugee Experience in Canada. Listening workshop.Grammar training and learning about culture transitions.
- It’s always good to connect and meet with other ESL teachers/volunteers.
Spring Training Day, April 2019
What a great opportunity for inspiration and networking at our Spring Training Day on Saturday, April 13th where 42 people attended, with 18 congregations represented.
In our opening session, Noral Woodburn, Cross-Cultural Pastor with Beddington Pentecostal Church and Director of Agape Language Centre, spoke about “Every Neighbour, Every Nation,” pointing out that Statistics Canada predicts that by 2036, 25 to 30 percent of the population will be foreign-born and 30 to 35 percent will belong to a visible minority group. Noral added, “I think the church can do something that nobody else can do—show the love of Jesus by providing accompaniment, a sense of community and friendship—which community agencies have a very difficult time doing.”