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OISE Professor Emerita Merrill Swain wins CARLA's Distinguished Scholar Award

Merrill Swain

October 27, 2016

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota recently honoured OISE Professor Emerita Merrill Swain with the Inaugural Immersion and Dual Language Education Distinguished Scholar Award.

This award is in recognition of a leader in the field of immersion/dual language education who has made significant contributions in the areas of research, service, or teacher education. 

WATCH VIDEO from the award presentation ceremony.

OISE News connected with Professor Emerita Swain: 

What does receiving this award mean to you? 

It is a great honour to receive this award in recognition of my contributions to theory, research and practice related to content-based second language instruction as occurs in immersion and dual language programs.

Can you share some highlights of your contributions in the field of immersion/dual language education?   

Throughout my career at OISE, I have conducted research related to French Immersion Programs in Canada, and this work has been taken up and made use of in many content-based second language instructional contexts around the world, for example, in Australia, Brunei, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, USA, and many countries in South America and Europe.

By my (approximate) count, over my career:

  • I have co-authored or co-edited 12 books or special issues of journals that are about immersion education, or include immersion education as an important aspect of the publication.
  • I have authored or co-authored 95 chapters in books, plus 14 refereed journal articles that have been reprinted as book chapters.
  • I have authored or co-authored 135 papers in refereed journals.
  • I have co-authored 30 technical reports.
  • I have presented over 200 invited/plenary talks.
  • I have presented over 100 papers at scholarly conferences.

Of these publications and presentations, about 50% are directly related to immersion education; another approximately 25% are related to implications for theory and practice (e.g. the output hypothesis; languaging in immersion and second/foreign language education; and approximately another 25% are related to other aspects of my research). 

Additionally, I have taught and supervised a number of students at OISE who now play key roles in Canada and internationally in second language education as teachers, teacher educators and administrators.

How did your experience at OISE lead you to your success?   

I had the opportunity to conduct research (I obtained considerable research funds because of OISE’s reputation as a first-rate research institution) and teach excellent students from many parts of the world.  I also had the opportunity to travel to many conferences and talk to local communities about immersion education.

WITH OISE I had a productive, satisfying and well supported career.