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Teaching English as a Second Language

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Tanis  Sawkins

Tanis  Sawkins


Abbotsford campus

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Tanis Sawkins: I am currently a PhD candidate in Languages, Cultures and Literacies in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. My dissertation describes a community based participatory research project, and using arts-informed research to better understand an employment program for women with refugee and immigrant experience. I’m interested in developmental, learning-oriented program evaluation and working with others to create evaluative culture for continuous improvement.


TESL Education: My career has focused on literacy, EAL and adult education particularly related to employment. I have taught and developed curriculum for occupation specific language training programs with Engineers and Accountants, and was a project lead on the 2017 award winning ESL Pathways program developed for the province of British Columbia. I was honoured to receive a BC Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT) Leadership award for my work for almost two decades on the provincial ESL Articulation Committee. I have also done contract work on occupational language analysis for several Red Seal Trades and a variety of other occupations which resulted in tools that educators can use to focus English language and literacy instruction for those seeking to enter the labour market. I support the use of the Canadian Language Benchmarks as a national standard, and was a director on the board of the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks for 6 years.


Adult Education and teacher training: In my current position at Vancouver Community College, I seek partnerships with community organizations and employers to deliver customized employment training. Currently, I manage and support a team of innovative educators who deliver programs for a wide-variety of learners—often those who are underrepresented in mainstream post-secondary programs. Some recent examples are: social entrepreneurship training for women immigrants and refugees working in the “maker” community, Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for indigenous students in their communities, a “learn English through your phone” program which supports those who are unable to attend federally funded LINC classes, and others.I also taught pre-service teachers in the TESL Program at Vancouver Community College for many years.

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