Session Timetable

Good day Folks!

A quick announcement to let you know that the timetable of sessions is now ready to download from HERE. You can now start planning your conference day!

Best wishes,


an image of a persenter at a conference

Ricci. Seid. Kaori. Jill.

Dear Colleagues, 11 days left until the annual professional development event for ESL practitioners in Manitoba!

The presenters have all been confirmed, and while we wait for the detailed program of their sessions, let’s focus on the following four speakers who will share their expertise with us on May 19. As you will see when you read their fascinating stories, each individual is an epitome of a ‘changed focus’.

Ricci Gementiza is currently one of the PBLA Lead Instructors at the Manitoba Institute of Trades & Technology and teaches a CLB 4/5 class. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons.) from the University of Manitoba in 2007, and was a performance/installation artist until 2009 when he decided to change focus and become an ESL instructor. The art world was all Ricci knew, but a part of him yearned for a different challenge: one that would allow him to work with those who felt displaced and needed a way to express themselves. In 2010, Ricci began his career as an ESL Instructor at Heartland International English School, which put him on the path to where he is today.
Passions in life: Learning languages, ESL instructional methodologies, art, physical activity, and fried chicken.
Teaching philosophy: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming” -Goethe

photo of Seid

Seid Oumer Ahmed started his career as a journalist working as a reporter and news anchor in Ethiopia.  He is a videographer and photographer, and possesses a unique ability to touch his nose with his tongue!

Seid is currently working as the Refugee Response Coordinator, Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations. As a versatile individual, Seid has had the opportunity to hold a number of professional positions at Red River College, Manitoba Nurses’ Union, Immigrant Centre, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, and as a result he has developed a strong understanding of the various needs and challenges new Canadians face in their daily life. He has been playing a crucial role in helping hundreds of newcomers to bring their family members from their country of origin through refugee, spousal sponsorship and nominee program, and acting as a focal point for information and support for many internationally educated professionals to make appropriate decisions on their career and education pathways.

Seid and his co-presenter Michelle Strain will discuss myths about refugee claimants in Canada.

photo of Kaori Matsuo

Kaori Matsuo is currently the instructor for the Mom & Baby Class at Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology. She has experience teaching literacy and Stage 1, online English, and English for employment. She holds a Master’s degree in Education. Prior to immigrating to Canada, she had taught EFL in a junior high school in Japan. As a newcomer and a mother of two little children, Kaori is passionate about helping refugee and immigrant moms with their integration process in Canada. In her presentation, Kaori and her co-presenter, Tracey Craigon, will talk about how to utilize chants in lower level classes, and will facilitate the workshop where participants will practise creating their own language chants.

Jill colour smallJill Hart has taught ESL to adult immigrants for 10 years, mainly for the University of Manitoba, and now works for Red River College. She currently teaches a CLB 6/7 class 3 evenings a week, with one of them being an online class that the students do at home. She has also worked for MITT, the Extended English Skills Centre and the University of Winnipeg.

After graduating with her CTESL from the U of M, Jill went to Spain for 8 months to assist Spanish born English teachers in an elementary school in Andalucia on the Mediterranean coast. Her resulting love of Spanish led her to get a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Spanish in the Spring of 2015, and she still loves taking Spanish courses at the U of M to this day. Jill also has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the U of M, her MBA from McMaster University, and a Graphic Design certificate from Red River College.

Jill has a number of volunteer involvements. She has been an e-tutor with English Online since the Spring of 2016. She also enjoys being a Cat Cuddler at the Humane Society, and being a Home Service Representative for Victoria Lifeline, Jill installs fall detection systems for the elderly and trains them how to use them.

We have created this blog to stay in regular touch with our audience. We hope you are finding it useful in preparation for the big day 🙂 Please share the link to this website with your colleagues and administrators. See you at CMU in less than two weeks!

Yours truly,


a photo of a conference presentation

Tracey. Heather. Barbara.

The presenters’ series continues with the next three speakers:


Tracey's photoTracey Giesbrecht began her teaching career in Taiwan, where she taught English Conversation and Total Physical Response to students of all ages. While there, she also studied Mandarin. After completing her M.Ed., at the University of Manitoba, Tracey began teaching at the English Language Centre. Over the years, she has moved into administration, and is currently the Program Director. Tracey is interested in the adjustment and success of international students, and the influence of culture, in teaching and learning. She has been the TEAM secretary for the past 2 years. Outside of work, Tracey enjoys travelling and camping with her family and supporting her daughters in their activities. On May 19 join Tracey and her co-presenter Morgan Klachefsky to explore the research on mentoring and induction programs for ESL teachers.


Heather Donnelly's photo

Heather Donnelly is a Professor of ESL at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. She has also taught EAP/ESP/IELTS courses for Lambton College, the University of Winnipeg, the University of Guelph, the University of Windsor, and Lakehead University. She is the head ESL curriculum developer for Oxford Learning Centres. In Heather’s presentation, you will learn about the factors that influence the professional identity development of novice ESL teachers.



Barbara's photo

Barbara Coombs has worked for Mosaic since starting her career as an ESL Instructor. Currently, she teaches CLB 4/5 at Mosaic’s Fort Garry site. Barbara has also worked at Taking Charge! and EESE. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and walking. In her presentation, Barbara will discuss PBLA planning  strategies, simplifying artefact collection, and creating assessment tools.

an image of a female conference speaker

Diane.Margarita. Jill.

This is the first post of the presenters’ series, in which we will feature inspiring speakers who readily agreed to share their expertise with us – the ESL community in Manitoba – on May 19 at our upcoming conference.

As part of our conference theme of Changing Focus, we would like to spotlight the individuals behind the presentations, rather than just the presentations themselves. After all, without the speakers there would be no conference!

On May 19, when we all converge at Winnipeg’s Canadian Mennonite University, feel free to connect and shake hands with the presenters. Their photos will be included in our posts, so it should be easy to spot them in the crowd!

Without further ado, allow us to introduce three of the presenters:


Diane R, a speaker from ON

Diane Ramanathan is one of two community coordinators for Tutela. She is a part-time professor for the TESL Program at Algonquin College in Ottawa and teaches LINC online with LINC Home Study. She is a strong believer in teachers supporting teachers and is responsible for coordinating Tutela webinars as well as TESL Ottawa events locally. In her presentation, Diane will tell us about the latest Tutela upgrade.



Margarita Berezyanskaya is the Lead eFacilitator at English Online, where she focuses on growing the unique brand of quality online services for newcomers and oversees the delivery of the LINC Home Study program in Manitoba. Margarita and the passionatti team from English Online will talk about self-directed learning as a strategy for coping with changing times.



Jill colour smallJill Hart has been teaching ESL to adult immigrants for 10 years at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, and currently Red River College’s Language Training Centre. She also taught EFL in Spain. Jill teaches a CLB 6/7 blended-learning class (1 class online each week + 2 classes face-to-face). Jill and her co-presenter Darlene Thiessen will demonstrate the benefits of implementing blended learning.


Stay tuned for more!

Yours truly,