Plenary Speakers

Third Symposium of Southern Ontario Universities 

24-25 June, 2022 

Professors John Ippolito (Faculty of Education, York University) & Katherine Rehner (University of Toronto- Mississauga)  &


Professor and Associate Dean Luciana De Oliveira from Virginia Commonwealth University (Virginia, USA)

Friday 24 June 2022


John Ippolito, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education at York University- Canada

Katherine Rehner, Ph.D.

Professor, Language Teaching and Learning Undergraduate Program Coordinator

Language Studies, University of Toronto, Mississauga- Canada

Prof. Ippolito’s research centers on relationships between families and publicly funded schools in contexts of linguistic and cultural hyperdiversity. These school-based studies involve outreach to parents and teachers and are increasingly focused on the experiences of migrants and refugees. Katherine Rehner is a Professor in Linguistics in the Department of Language Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga where she serves as the Undergraduate Coordinator of Programs in Language Teaching and Learning. Her graduate appointment is in the Language and Literacies Education Program in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at OISE, University of Toronto. Her research focuses primarily on the development of sociolinguistic competence by second language learners.

Abstract: Connecting Adult Migrants’ (In)formal Language Learning Experiences and Social Integration:Preliminary Stages of an International Comparative Research Project

This talk reports on the preliminary stages of an international comparative research project examining the (in)formal language learning and social integration experiences of adult migrants. The rationale for the project is rooted in the intensity of contemporary global migration, where unprecedented numbers of adult migrants are forced into linguistically alien terrains and are often isolated and disadvantaged by language barriers preventing full participation in host societies (Burns & Roberts, 2010). Conceptually, the project draws on a hybrid theoretical framework linking transnationalism (Glick Schiller, Basch, & Szanton Blanc, 1995) and translanguaging (Otheguy, García, & Reid, 2015), enabling both multidirectional analyses of migration and fluid analyses of first-person experiences of language use in linguistically diverse contexts. Methodologically, the project draws on 75 surveys and 18 follow-up interviews with adult migrant language learners collected in 2021 from three transit or destination settings characterized by an influx of newcomers: the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada; Erie County in Pennsylvania in the United States; and the province of Agrigento in Sicily, Italy. Data gathered in the project are treated qualitatively and the perspective is “migrant-centric” (McAuliffe, Kitimbo, Goossens, & Ullah, 2017, p. 175). Insights are offered into the study’s theoretical framework, methodological design, and data collection challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing initial data on the migrants’ priorities for their language learning, their agency in choosing language-learning opportunities, the extent to which language learning serves their social integration needs, and their efforts to stay connected ‘back home’. The aim of the project is to provide evidence-based recommendations for “sensitively designed and socially and culturally responsible educational and language programs for adult immigrants, migrants, and refugees” (Burns & Roberts, 2010, p. 409).


Burns, A., & Roberts, C. (2010). Migration and adult language learning: Global flows and local transpositions. TESOL Quarterly, 44(3), 409-419.

Glick Schiller, N., Basch, L., & Szanton Blanc, C. (1995). From immigrant to transmigrant:

Theorizing transnational migration. Anthropological Quarterly, 68(1), 48-63. doi:10.2307/3317464

McAuliffe, M., Kitimbo, A., Goossens, A., & Ullah, A. (2017). Understanding migration journeys

from migrants’ perspectives. In M. McAuliffe & M. Ruhs (Eds.), World migration report 2018 (pp. 171-189). Geneva: IOM. Retrieved from

Otheguy, R., García, O., & Reid, W. (2015). Clarifying translanguaging and deconstructing named

languages: A perspective from linguistics. Applied Linguistics Review 6(3): 281–307. doi:10.1515/applirev-2015-0014

Saturday 25 June, 2022 


Luciana C. de Oliveira, Ph.D.

Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies

School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia- USA 

Dr. de Oliveira’s research focuses on issues related to teaching multilingual learners at the K-12 level, including the role of language in learning the content areas and teacher education, advocacy and social justice. Currently, Dr. de Oliveira’s research examines scaffolding in elementary classrooms. She has authored or edited 27 books and has over 200 publications in various outlets. Dr. de Oliveira currently serves on the English Language Learner/Multilingual Learner Advisory Board and the Independent Expert Review Council for iCivics, an educational non-profit focused on teaching civics through online games and resources, founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and now supported by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Dr. de Oliveira served in the presidential line (2017-2020) of TESOL International Association, the largest international organization for English language teachers worldwide, and was a member of the Board of Directors (2013-2016). She was the first Latina to ever serve as President (2018-2019) of TESOL. 

Abstract: A Language-Based Approach to Content Instruction: Scaffolding for Literacy Development

Scaffolding is a challenging task in primary and secondary classrooms. Drawing on research and collaborative work in content area classrooms, Dr. de Oliveira describes a language-based approach to content instruction (LACI) to provide scaffolding to support multilingual learners’ literacy development (de Oliveira, 2016; de Oliveira, 2020; de Oliveira, Jones, & Smith, 2021). LACI is a teacher education model developed over the past 20 years, grounded on research in classrooms with teachers. Participants will learn about the language demands of schooling and six Cs of support for scaffolding.