This language education text is the convergence of two professional development courses written for language teachers on two different continents. Between 2012 and 2015, I was invited to deliver several short courses on language methodology, instruction, and assessment to elementary teachers of English at Ternopil National Pedagogical University in Ternopil, Ukraine. Then in spring of 2022, at the request of the Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit (SELU) at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, I agreed to create a language methodology course for a group of K-12 teachers of English from the Maule region, Talca province of Chile.

My experience with each group of international teachers was professionally enriching and personally rewarding. I was very impressed by the level of interest and dedication to learning among the language teachers.  They were particularly interested in knowing more about research-based strategies and approaches to language teaching currently used in Canadian schools.

During the first 15 years of my teaching career, I had the privilege of being a K-12 bilingual (Ukrainian-English) classroom teacher and curriculum writer in Saskatchewan. These grassroots teaching experiences laid the groundwork for later roles as a ministry-based second and heritage language consultant, English as an Additional Language (EAL) program manager, and university-based EAL teaching specialist. In each educational role, one request remained constant: teachers, administrators, and specialists wanted more professional support for their work with a very diverse population of students, particularly language learners.

Given increasing global migration and significant numbers of local students with multilingual backgrounds, I believe that teachers will continue to search for opportunities to educate themselves about language learners in mainstream school settings. Appropriate classroom support – the kind that is backed by research and delivered by informed teaching professionals – can make all the difference. By shoring up pedagogical knowledge about language learners, K-12 educators, administrators, and specialists can build the capacity needed to help language students meet curricular goals while building language proficiency.

It is my sincere hope that this online support text will benefit K-12 educators who are searching for ways to increase their professional knowledge and effectiveness as teachers of language learners in K-12 settings.

Nadia Prokopchuk, B. Ed., M. Ed., Language Teaching Specialist. Department of Curriculum Studies, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan