The leaves of the Canadian polycultural tree

It is a fact that the maple leaf is the ubiquitous symbol of Canada. At no time are you able to avoid its omnipresent inspirational influence being in Canada. Due to this fact, our class decided to choose creating a symbolic maple tree with our pictures on it, to celebrate ESL week. This project is to show that now we have the same roots, although we all came from different places.

The project was launched in the middle of the fall, when trees changed their colors into autumn tints from green, yellow to red. All of us were asked to collect these beautifully colored maple leaves and then we pressed them. It was essential that the leaves be flat. Also,  Continue Reading →


Language is the key

She sets out in search of a better life
From her country of birth to her country of choice
Leaving behind her loved ones and her daily bread
“Do you even know what lies ahead?”
Asks that scared little voice in her head
But on she marches with a hopeful heart and a determined tread

It’s like breathing for the first time, again; her first lungful of Canadian air
A place more vast than she had imagined, more beautiful than she could bear
New language, new culture and a new country
A chance to make a new life, equal and free

But building that life is easier dreamed than done
There are so many doors,  Continue Reading →


Editor’s note

In the last issue we took a quick look at cognitive linguistics. This time, Jackie Nenchin introduces us to systemic functional linguistics (SFL). Elizabeth O’Dowd then shows us how one MATESOL program that teaches SFL is updating their curriculum, considering the growth of English as a world language. If revamping your program sounds good, and you think you have the management skills to do it, Kara Mac Donald and Ketty Reppert have some hints about how to become a program administrator.

Continuing with the least-you-should-know series about other languages, John Steckley provides a gentle introduction to the Ojibwa language. This also inspired our cover image “Learning” by Ojibwa artist Benjamin Chee Chee.

Our remaining articles are from Alina Filip, who describes dynamic writing assessment,  Continue Reading →

Editor's Note

Beyond tradition: Using systemic functional linguistics in ESL teaching and teacher preparation


This paper1 examines some uses of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) in teacher preparation and offers some ideas and activities for ESL classrooms. The paper begins with a rationale for the use of SFL in teacher training and language teaching, followed by a description of Hallidayan systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and its application to pedagogy, as represented by the work of Rose, Martin, Butt, Lock, and others. It examines certain aspects of grammar from an SFL perspective and provides an example of a project that was completed by teacher learners, including related activities for the classroom.

As an ESL teacher and teacher trainer, I have always been certain of the inadequacy of the traditional understanding of English grammar as a set of rules to be memorized and subsequently applied.  Continue Reading →