"Local Students and Fluent Newcomers: How Can Ukrainian Bilingual Educators Assess Ukrainian Language Progress Equitably?" — Ukrainian Language Educators Engage in Discussion

17 January 2019 — The Ukrainian Language Education Centre at CIUS, headed by Dr. Alla Nedashkivska, Acting Director, and Dr. Olenka Bilash, Senior Advisor—in collaboration with the Learning Services and Innovation division at the Edmonton Catholic School District, led by Andres Sanchez Fernandez, Second Language Consultant—conducted a successful professional development workshop for Alberta educators in the premises of the St. Martin Catholic Ukrainian Bilingual School in Edmonton.

07 February 2019

More than thirty teachers and educators attended this timely and important session, titled "Local Students and Fluent Newcomers: How Can Ukrainian Bilingual Educators Assess Ukrainian Language Progress Equitably?"

Nadia Prokopchuk, an EAL Program Specialist and Academic Advisor at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, who has extensive experience as a K–12 Ukrainian bilingual teacher, bilingual program curriculum developer, and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education’s Senior Program Manager for EAL and other languages. The workshop began with a discussion about Ukrainian bilingual education in the early 1970s, and highlighted how the student profile has changed significantly—and, in turn, how our goals as educators have also steadily transformed. This broad discussion included an overview of resources currently being used in Canadian schools and how best to approach their use in the contemporary Ukrainian language classroom context, with its increasingly diverse student population. A specialist in language assessment practices, Ms. Prokopchuk continued with a brief overview of language levels and descriptors within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), an international language reference scale that targets assessment of language abilities in four skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This overview was followed by an examination of the applicability of this reference tool to Ukrainian bilingual education.  Prokopchuk highlighted ways to monitor and assess Ukrainian language progress equitably for local language learners and fluent newcomers, all of whom are on different language learning paths within the same grade level. The workshop concluded with a hands-on opportunity to assess student Ukrainian writing samples using CEFR scale descriptors. Everyone participated in the lively and productive discussion, which generated ideas that will inform future educational gatherings.

On January 18 Ms. Prokopchuk offered the same workshop to a group of Ukrainian Bilingual Program teachers at A. L. Horton School in Vegreville, facilitated by Mr. Murray Howell of Elk Island Public Schools.

ULEC together with ECSD’s Learning Services and Innovation and our presenter Nadia Prokopchuk, and our colleagues in Vegreville, are particularly pleased with this workshop. We hope to continue contributing to the development of Ukrainian language education in Alberta, and beyond, in collaboration with our educational partners.

This educational event was sponsored by the one of the most recent endowments established for ULEC at CIUS — the Stefaniuk Family Endowment Fund. With the goal of advancing and promoting the delivery of Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture in publicly funded education, this fund was established in 2016 by the Stefaniuk family of Edmonton: Steve Stefaniuk (1924–2016), Josephine Stefaniuk née Yurkiw (1928–), and Cornell Stefaniuk (1951– ).

ULEC and all of the workshop participants are grateful to Mr. Stefaniuk and family for their generous support and vision for the development of Ukrainian language education in Alberta.

Workshop participants