Brock linguistics researcher earns inaugural TESL Niagara Distinction Award

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Brock linguistics researcher earns inaugural TESL Niagara Distinction Award


Apr. 20, 2010

Hedy McGarrell strives for balance; balance between teaching and research, and between research and its practical application.

This achievement of balance has earned the Brock University professor of Applied Linguistics the inaugural TESL Niagara Distinction Award for 2010.

“I believe it’s important to keep in touch with the practitioners. We don’t want to give the impression that we are here in an ivory tower. I can bring new ideas and new research to them, but the teachers keep me in touch with classroom realities,” the professor of Applied Linguistics said of her ongoing involvement with Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Niagara.

The award will be one of several to be presented Thursday, April 22 at a special evening of celebration for TESL members.

“We already give out awards for literacy for our students, and for a teacher in his or her first year as a teacher — a book award — so we just thought it would be appropriate to honour those who support our teachers,” said Jim Papple, TESL Niagara president, and Intensive English Language Program speaking co-ordinator at Brock. “It was a hard decision to pick someone for this first award, but (McGarrell) is so committed to the research and is so supportive of the organization.”

As a member for TESL for more than a decade, Papple said she is being honoured for her ongoing commitment to celebrating local research in TESL. For the last nine years, she has served as the co-editor of the special issue of CONTACT with the refereed proceedings of the annual TESL Ontario Research Symposium. She is also the co-author of the writing textbook Writing for Results.

McGarrell is currently involved in several research projects, including two involving English as a Second Language studies. One project involves investigating how ESL undergraduate students learn to write literature reviews, while the other investigates how student teachers of adult ESL learners learn to provide productive feedback for the learners’ written texts.

She has served in many different roles both inside and outside of the Brock community since joining Brock University in 1988. McGarrell currently serves on several University committees. She has previously served as Graduate Program Director, as Chair of the Department of Applied Linguistics, and as Director of the Intensive English Language Program (IELP).

Beyond Brock, McGarrell is a member of the editorial board and a frequent reviewer for several international journals. In addition, she has reviewed book manuscripts for publishers including Blackwell, Cambridge Press, Longman, Oxford Press. She is currently a member of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Publications Committee. She has taught, presented papers and carried out research in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia.