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New TESOL Textbooks

Gail Tiessen and Elfrieda Lepp-Kaethler at the Faith Portraits I book launch.

Providence unveils new TESOL curriculum developed by Gail Tiessen and Elfrieda Lepp-Kaethler

Currently, Providence College and Seminary in southeastern Manitoba is home to over 80 students (approximately 16 per cent of the campus’s student population) from 20 different countries, which makes for an incredibly diverse and unique community.

The school offers two highly regarded programs: ESL, for those who need to learn English in order to study and adapt to life in Canada, and TESOL for those who desire to teach English to speakers of other languages, both across the globe and right here at home.

Providence Theological Seminary and the Providence Bookstore held a book launch on Mar. 12 at Providence's English Language Institute, where they announced the development of an innovative new curriculum designed to aid professionals in the field of teaching English around the world.

Joanne Pettis, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, praised the new curriculum in a letter of congratulations that was read at the event, saying, “[Authors Gail Tiessen and Elfrieda Lepp-Kaethler] have contributed significantly to the ESL and TESOL worlds, not only in Steinbach, but throughout Manitoba and beyond. Both were instrumental in organizing and delivering some of the earliest settlement-focused and workplace-based language training to newcomers in the Steinbach area.

“Many of our programs throughout Manitoba boast Providence TESOL grads and Manitoba teachers have frequently benefitted from their numerous conference addresses and workshops. I anticipate this new curriculum resource will contribute significantly to language instruction and an important on-going community dialogue.”

The new book, Faith Portraits I: The Family of God (Gospel of Luke), is the fifth book in the curriculum series. The books are textbooks for teaching the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing English to Speakers of Other Languages using Biblical texts as a basis.

Governor General Award winner Gail Tiessen helped develop the Faith Portraits curriculum. Tiessen has authored and co-authored several texts including Faith Encounters I & II; Faith Journeys I & II, the Loewen Windows Safety Manual, the Government Safety Manual, and Canadian Holidays.

Tiessen helped explain the textbooks’ religious foundation this way, “The Bible is a great textbook for learning English,” says Tiessen, “not only because it’s good literature containing many different genres, but it also addresses the great life themes as well as introducing learners to the foundational truths about God.”

The launch also featured co-author Elfrieda Lepp-Kaethler who has been published in the field of English Language Curriculum numerous times. Lepp-Kaethler also helped explain the rationale behind using the English Bible as a text for teaching English to speakers of other languages.

“We are working with language and language learning, in a prayerful kind of way,” says Lepp-Kaethler. “What we are saying is that the language people need to learn is more than language in its ‘lowest sense’. Language functions are important. Communicative competence is important. It is important for learners to learn how to go shopping and make doctors appointments and use English for their jobs. But, if we restrict our language exclusively to its functional aspect, we are violating something essential about the nature of language.”

Note: Photo courtesy of For their coverage of the book launch, please click here.

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