As a unique centre for research at UBC, the Centre for Intercultural Language Studies (CILS) has engaged in several major research projects over the years. This page provides an overview of these projects and related publications, as well as updates on our most current research activities.
Tandem UBC Language Exchange Program
CILS has provided administrative support to the program since it was launched in 2011. In 2014 CILS launched a “Revised Tandem UBC Language Exchange Program Handbook,” a TLEF-funded project conducted by a group of CILS members.
Building Transformative Learning Communities: A Formative Evaluation of the UBC ESL Conversation Facilitators Program
This CAUCE research project has allowed CILS to work in close collaboration with the UBC Learning Exchange, practitioners at the English Language Institute, as well as with members of the downtown Vancouver community, including immigrants with English language needs. UBC’s Learning Exchange ESL Conversation Facilitator Program was designed to develop the skills of English-speaking Vancouver residents of the Downtown Eastside to lead effective English language conversation classes with immigrants and refugees. Through training and support, the program enables volunteers to contribute to their community and gain greater self-confidence in the process. The program requires participants to attend a series of training workshops focused on facilitation skills and basic ESL conversation methodology and issues. The participants began facilitating ESL conversation classes after the second workshop and were further supported through in-class observation and feedback.
This research project has been an excellent platform for CILS to reach out to the community and provide service while also addressing its research agenda.
2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005
Teaching Non-traditional Language Learners
Patsy Duff was awarded Teaching-Learning Enhancement Fund Grant the grant in order to help support projects under the larger project titled “Teaching Non-traditional Language Learners: Issues and Possibilities.” This project examined language programs at UBC with large numbers of “non-traditional” language learners (NTLLs) whose backgrounds, needs and interests are different from those of traditional language learners (e.g., students of Chinese or Korean descent learning Mandarin or Korean, respectively) or students from ESL backgrounds (e.g., Cantonese) learning a third language (e.g., Japanese, with a writing system similar to Chinese). Graduate students in Education (Modern Language Education) and Arts (Asian Studies), together with CILS members, undertook this TLEF project, with additional input from undergraduate students in Asian Studies and experts outside UBC.
Communicating Across Cultures in Cyberspace
This study was initiated by founding CILS Director Jörg Roche, Ken Reeder (LLED) and Mackie
Chase (Continuing Studies) and was supported initially by a large UBC-HSS research grant to Ken
Reeder in 1999, followed by a Hampton Fund Grant to Reeder, Roche and Chase in 2001-2003
entitled “Global and Intercultural Communication: Hard Technologies Meet Soft Skills.” This
study investigated intercultural problems when communication was mediated by computer
technology, in this case in an online Canadian course containing culturally diverse members
including aboriginal and immigrant learners. The project resulted in four international conference
presentations (Berlin, Paris, Karlstad and Jyvaskyla), a book, and several additional publications.