TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - September 29, 2014) - The Teachers of English as a Second Language Association of Ontario (TESL Ontario) congratulates the 2014 winners of its province-wide Creativity Contest to celebrate ESL education and learning. The six winners share a mutual passion for teaching and learning, a love of Canada be it their homeland or their newly adopted country, and a desire to make a difference for others and/or themselves.

Barb Sawyers, instructor in the ILSC Learning Centre Toronto, wanted to make learning fun and not boring. She created a video, "The Search for the Present Perfect", claiming the Grand Prize entry in the Instructor Division. Through it, Barb invites students to watch and learn by listening or even dancing since, she explains, "the present perfect is a tricky and very imperfect verb tense."

Adult student learner Afia Akhlaq of Nobleton and Caledon Community Services wrote about the life of a young girl in another country and culture after reading an article "A Prescription for Happiness" that her instructor presented to her ESL class. Afia won the Grand Prize in the Learner Division for her short story, "Hansa Learned and Hansa Smiled."

From the 43 submissions made, two Runners-up were also selected in each of the Instructor and the Learner Divisions. Their creativity is exemplified through a diversity of communications' vehicles, both electronic and traditional, designed to allow individuals with various creative strengths to participate.

Instructor Svetlana Lupasco of Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office submitted her Blog entry Teach2LearnESL that she had begun as a way to connect with other colleagues who were also learning how to become better teachers. And Danielle Rychlo from University of Toronto created a visually intriguing poem in which she compares the ESL network to a Spider Web.

Runners-up in the Learner Division, Samreen Aslam of Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office and Gunes Alcan of University of Toronto, created an essay and video respectively. Samreen's essay describes her initial difficulty communicating and coping here, even though she had some English speaking skills prior to her arrival from Pakistan. Gunes, from Turkey, was one student from an entire class who each completed a project on the digital story of their own language learning histories. The class shared work in progress and held a class screening at the end of their digital projects.

Background of the contest and the winning submissions can be viewed at

The ESL Creativity Contest is a feature of ESL Week October 12-18, 2014, an annual celebration of ESL education and learning that is endorsed throughout Ontario by more than 40 communities, thousands of ESL educators, students of all ages, and many learning institutions and school boards.

"ESL Week continues to raise awareness of the importance of ESL education for Ontarians and newcomers to Canada," says Renate Tilson, executive director of TESL Ontario. "The ESL Creativity Contest grew out of earlier ESL Week activities as a vehicle to showcase talented ESL educators and learners," she explains.

Contest winners will be honoured on October 16 at the Welcome Reception of TESL Ontario's annual conference, which highlights ESL Week. 

This 42nd conference of TESL Ontario "Integrating Language and Transcending Boundaries"takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre - South Building October 16 - 18, 2014. It is the largest conference of its kind in Canada, hosting more than 1,000 delegates. A variety of interactive workshops, presentations, technology labs, panel discussions, research symposia, technology fair and more will be offered to language training professionals from public and private sectors, academics, researchers and government representatives. 

TESL Ontario, established in 1972, is a non-profit organization serving the needs of teachers of English as a Second Language. It represents more than 4,600 language training professionals working in immigrant serving agencies, school boards, publicly funded sites across Ontario, colleges/universities, elementary/secondary and private language training schools. TESL Ontario's expertise is in teaching, advocacy, accreditation and professional development. The organization is instrumental in influencing the success of many thousands of English language learners throughout the province. 

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Contact Information:

Lynn McGregor

Renate Tilson
416.593.4243 Ext.203