Language, Literacy and Learning 2017-11-30T17:00:44+00:00

Language, Literacy and Learning

This cluster on the role of language of origin of refugee children and youth on their cognitive and literacy skills in the destination country as well as the social contexts that further their educational achievement, literacy levels and language skills.


Johanne Paradis

Professor at University of Alberta


Johanne Paradis is Professor, Department of Linguistics and Adjunct Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, at the University of Alberta. Paradis studies bilingualism and second language acquisition in children with typical development and children with developmental disorders. Her primary research focus concerns children learning English as a second language with typical development: How these children approach native-speaker competence, what unique language development profiles they display, and the factors explaining why some individual children learn English faster than others. Concerning children with atypical development, Paradis’ research has focused on two key issues: the capacity for bilingualism shown by children with developmental disorders, and what language measures best differentiate English second language children with typical development from those with language disorder. Paradis is first author of the 2011 book, Dual Language Development and Disorders: A Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language Learning (2nd edition, Brookes Publishing). Paradis is currently the Editor of Journal of Child Language. Paradis and colleagues have a website of resources for assessment with children leaning English as a second language, the CHESL Centre ( ).

Lisa Rochman

Associate Dean of Immigrant Education at NorQuest College


Dr. Lisa Rochman holds a PhD in Linguistics and Standard 3 Certificate from TESL Canada in teaching English as second language. Dr. Rochman is the Associate Dean of Immigrant Education in the Faculty of Foundational, Career and Intercultural Studies at NorQuest College, Edmonton. Her portfolio focuses on programs for newcomers to Canada with an emphasis on English as a second language, literacy learning and workplace Essential Skills. Dr Rochman is also the president-elect of the Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language (ATESL). Dr. Rochman was the 2012 recipient of the Carolyn Dieleman Award from ATESL for making an impact on innovative and quality English as a second language and literacy programming in Alberta.

Mazen El-Baba

Founder and Director of H-appi


Mazen is pursuing a Doctor in Medicine degree at the University of Toronto. He is the Founder and Director of H-appi, a not-for- profit organization that aims to destigmatize addictions and mental health illnesses in the Middle East and Africa. He manages a diverse team of leaders and ensures that all campaigns are positively impacting our society. Mazen leads an annual summer camp program for refugee children that focused on literacy, integration, and well-being. Mazen continuously expends his efforts to introduce social change by facilitating workshops on diversity, human rights, and leadership. Mazen is passionate about global health, medicine, research, and travelling.

Xi (Becky) Chen

Associate Professor at University of Toronto


Dr. Xi Chen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at OISE/University of Toronto. Her research focuses on bilingual and ELL (English Language Learner) children’s language and literacy development. She is interested in how children develop literacy skills simultaneously in their first language and second language, and whether these skills transfer between the two languages. Recently her research has explored how to identify bilingual children at-risk for reading difficulties in order to provide them with timely interventions. She’s also started to study Syrian refugee children. This line of research will look at their language and literacy development in English and Arabic, as well as their mental health.



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