Professor Profiles

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Olenka Bilash



Secondary Education

About Me

Dr. Olenka Bilash has been on the frontier of several new fields of practice in education: immersion bilingual pedagogy, Aboriginal language education, and Heritage/International languages. Through her publishing career she has helped to develop the foundation needed to sustain these fields. More recently, Dr. Bilash has taken to more frontier work by exploring the impact of study abroad teacher professional development programs. By designing, instructing and managing programs for teachers of English from Japan, Korea and China and maintaining relationships with their school jurisdictions she has been able to trace change and transformation in individuals, classrooms, resources, leadership and policy. Influences of cross cultural work on Canadian facilitators is also being explored. References to Bhabba, Bourdieu, Freire, Maturana and Varela, and Vygotsky are central.

Selected Honours and Awards

2010 Canada's 3M Teaching fellow
2010 International and Heritage Languages Association created an award entitled the Dr. Olenka Bilash Leadership award
2009 Appointed to 16-person advisory board for UNESCO's Linguapax
2009 Julia Cardinal Memorial Award for contribution to Cree Language Education, Keheewin Reserve, Alberta
2008 Designer and Consultant for ASCD Collaborative Practice award, Southern Alberta
2005 Alberta Government Centennial Medal for contribution to Ukraine-Alberta International relations
2005 Designer of Hokkaido’s ESL Teacher Professional Development program – awarded best professional development program in Japan
2003 Acknowledgement for contribution to Cree Bilingual Program in Northern Lights School Division
1999 Stephen A. Freeman Award for best published article in a second language journal in 1998 on "Planning for Writing Instruction in a Middle-years Immersion/ Partial Immersion Setting"


Individual and team grants have been awarded from SSHRC, CIDA, Alberta Learning, Hokkaido Board of Education, Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Consulate of Japan, Kangwon Board of Education (Korea), as well as University funding sources. I currently am a co-PI on a SSHRC-funded project ($50,000) with Drs. Bischof, Cheng and BAsu from Computing Sciences. The four of us have also applied for another SSHRC and an NSERC this year.


Primary Research Interests:

Second language education, teacher education, alternative education, professional development, qualitative research methodology, change


Courses Taught

EDSE 401  Developing Oral Language competency
EDSE 451  Integrating Theory and Classroom Practice in the Advanced Professional Term
EDSE 468  Curriculum and Teaching for Secondary School Second Language Majors II
EDSE 469  Curriculum and Teaching in Secondary School Second Language II

EDSE 501  Developing Oral Language
EDSE 501  Conference Seminar, Innovative Practices in the Secondary Classroom
EDSE 502  Second Language Teacher Thinking
EDSE 502  Innovative Approaches to teaching Spanish as a Second Language
EDSE 502  Cross cultural Explorations on SL teacher preparation programs
EDSE 511  Research Design in Secondary Education
EDSE 512  Research Project in Secondary Education
EDSE 569  Issues and Approaches in Second and Foreign Language Literacy Development

EDSE 602  Factors that influence successful first year Second Language Teaching
EDSE 602  Factors that influence good second language teaching
EDSE 602  Advanced Level Guided Individual Study in Secondary Education
EDSE 607  Action Research Practicum
EDSE 669  Curriculum and Resource Development in Second Languages