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Keynote Speakers

Suzanne Clavelle-Christensen

Suzanne Clavelle-Christensen

Indigenous Resilience in the ESL Classroom

A blanket term for the long lasting effects of colonization on Indigenous peoples is intergenerational trauma. The effects of intergenerational trauma cover a well-documented range of personal, social, economic and political challenges. Under the weight of these challenges, however, is the growing counter force of intergenerational resilience.

Intergenerational resilience is seen in pockets of individual and collective strength in response to seemingly insurmountable challenges, both past and present. Indigenous resilience is enacted through resistance, relationship and a renewing of our histories.

Resilience is a skill that grows through positive adaptation to hardship, trauma and heartache. All ESL learners have their own stories of resiliency; many have comparable cultures and histories to Indigenous peoples in Canada and face similar challenges. Through learning the history and culture of Indigenous peoples, ESL learners will understand how to balance enculturation and acculturation, how to advocate for and resist injustice, and how to become a “treaty person” in Canada.


Suzanne Clavelle-Christensen is a member of the Tahltan First Nation whose traditional lands are in northwest British Columbia. She currently lives in Pincher Creek, AB on Treaty 7 lands.

Throughout her BA and MA she focused on post-colonial theory which gave academic vocabulary to lived experience. During her first career at the Canada Revenue Agency she was involved in many Indigenous initiatives. Training new employees revealed a passion for teaching, leading her to the ESL field. She was privileged to be a LINC Instructor for three and a half years at The Immigrant Education Society working with wonderful learners and amazing colleagues. For the past five years she has been an advocate for Indigenous Education for Newcomers. Her work in this field includes curriculum development, presentations, research and collaboration on various projects.

She is a proud mom of three grown children and a lovely daughter-in-law who all bring joy to her heart. In her free time, she beads and spends time with her husband, loved ones and fur-baby Max.

Suzanne's presentation has been generously sponsored by:


Sarah Eaton

Sarah Eaton PhD

Teaching and Assessing Language in the Postplagiarism Age: The Intersection of Academic Integrity and Artificial Intelligence

Teaching and assessing writing have become increasingly complex with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) apps and tools that students can access freely or at a low cost. In this keynote, Sarah Elaine Eaton provides insights into how Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT and similar apps are impacting education and assessment. Sarah will share insights from a recent research project she is leading at the University of Calgary in which the team is asking the question: What are the ethical implications of artificial intelligence technologies for teaching, learning, and assessment?

This session is not about how to use specific tools. Instead, we will delve into the broad ethical and practical implications of AI for education. Considerations for language learning, equity, diversity, and inclusion and advocacy will be addressed. A key takeaway is the importance of rooting our professional practices and pedagogy in an ethic of care to support long-term student success.


Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is an associate professor at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada and holds a concurrent appointment as an Honorary Associate Professor, Deakin University, Australia. She has received research awards of excellence for her scholarship on academic integrity from the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE) (2020) and the European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI) (2022). Dr. Eaton has written and presented extensively on academic integrity and ethics in higher education and is regularly invited as a media guest to talk about academic misconduct. Dr. Eaton is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal for Educational Integrity.

Her books include Plagiarism in Higher Education: Tackling Tough Topics in Academic Integrity, Academic Integrity in Canada: An Enduring and Essential Challenge (Eaton & Christensen Hughes, eds.), Contract Cheating in Higher Education: Global Perspectives on Theory, Practice, and Policy (Eaton, Curtis, Stoesz, Clare, Rundle, & Seeland, eds.), and Ethics and Integrity in Teacher Education (Eaton & Khan, eds.), and Fake Degrees and Fraudulent Credentials in Higher Education (Eaton, Carmichael, & Pethrick, eds.). She is also the editor-in-chief of the Handbook of Academic Integrity (2nd ed., Springer), which is currently under development.

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Photo credit: Gavin John

Sarah's presentation has been generously sponsored by:

Centre for Newcomers


Leila Ranta PhD

What do ESL teachers need to know about teaching grammar? Insights from thirty-five years of searching for an answer

The words strength, resources and resilience can apply to the teaching of grammar just as they do to other aspects of an ESL teacher's job. It is widely acknowledged that having a solid understanding of how the various grammatical systems of the English language work is a fundamental aspect of a teacher's expertise. Gaining this knowledge can be tremendously empowering for novice teachers. Yet having explicit knowledge of grammar rules at one's fingertips is necessary but not sufficient. An ESL teacher also needs to know about how grammar is learned, how to design instructional activities so that learners' accuracy increases, and how to integrate such teaching into communication-oriented lessons. Unfortunately, this kind of information is scattered across different types of pedagogical resources including teaching methods textbooks, teacher's guides for published textbooks, and academic articles written by second language acquisition researchers. One of my long-term projects has been to consolidate and organize the different threads of this messy array of material. My aim is to offer something in-between rigid recipes for grammar lessons and vague pedagogical principles. In this keynote address, I will present a 'Coles Notes' version of my pedagogical grammar courses, which build upon a conceptual framework of types of grammar teaching techniques. In my view, these are components of the pedagogical toolbox that every ESL teacher ought to have.


Dr. Leila Ranta is an Associate Professor in the TESL program in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. She received her graduate training in applied linguistics at Concordia University where she was involved in several large-scale research projects relating to grammar instruction and error correction. Her other research activities have dealt with the topics of second language aptitude, fluency, pragmatics, and measuring language exposure. Over her career, Leila Ranta has served the academic and practitioner communities as a co-editor of the journal, Language Awareness and as a member of the executive of the Canadian Association

Seburn Profile Picture

Tyson Seburn

To ‘queer’ ELT is an act that values teachers and learners

The use of ‘queer’ as action as in ‘queering education’ or ‘queering our classroom’ can elicit assumptions of solely incorporating stories and issues related to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community within our materials. It, however, is far more inclusive than that: at its best, it strongly connects to and amplifies plurilingualism, translanguaging, and anti-racist education, too. But does this really mean anything for me as an English language teacher? Aren’t we just teaching language?

Answer: yes, a lot and no, not only. Our classrooms include the identities, experiences, goals, plans, and power individual teachers and learners bring, which can compete for space in a short span of time together.

Left unattended, this space is often taken by the most powerful. If we take an ‘everything is fine’ attitude towards the way language teaching is done, we are also saying it’s also fine that it doesn’t give adequate (or any) space to certain learners or teachers.

This belief does not demonstrate our strength as educators.

In this keynote, we’ll explore how no matter who you are, queering ELT—the act of challenging the structures that marginalise or even oppress 2SLGBTQIA+ teachers and learners—benefits the effectiveness of our programs for everyone. We’ll look at how first and foremost, valuing the experiences, strength, and resilience of 2SLGBTQIA+, Indigenous, Black, Disabled, and other traditionally marginalized identities is vitally important in education spaces. This will move us towards how queering ELT necessarily raises big questions like what our default teaching approach is, why it persists, who it benefits, and why we seemingly pretend it works for all.

We’ll end with looking at ways this queering actively draws from the resilience of learners and teachers, and creates resources that value all identities in language teaching, enhancing the strength our learners will have in society and improving the experiences they’ll have together within it.


Tyson Seburn (MA EdTech & TESOL, University of Manchester) is an EMI Lecturer in and Assistant Academic Director of an EAP foundation year at the University of Toronto and tutor on Oxford TEFL Barcelona's Trinity DipTESOL course. For a dozen years, he has extensively volunteered on local and international teacher association committees (TESL Toronto as president, IATEFL Teacher Development Special Interest Group as Coordinator).

Now, he increasingly does freelance writing and consulting. His personal and professional experiences have led him to be particularly interested in Queer and racialised experiences in ELT, and thus ways to change practices and materials as a result (“I make mistakes; I acknowledge them; I modify. I aim to create opportunity for stronger diversity and help others do so”). Through his online spaces ( and @seburnt), he discusses critical and inclusive pedagogies with a growing community of teachers, writers, and other consultants. He’s written two very different books regarding English language teaching, of both he’s equally proud: Academic Reading Circles (2015) and How to Write Inclusive Materials (2021).

Tyson has called Seoul and Toronto home and is proud daddy to his pup, Lou. He used to be a gymnast (once he did a cartwheel during the IATEFL Pecha Kucha to prove it), sometimes still a comic book collector (mostly Wonder Woman and X-Men), and always a pop music fan, particularly New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Kylie, and Madonna.

Tyson's presentation has been generously sponsored by:

Bow Valley College