DALS Faculty & Staff

Faculty of Humanities

DALS Faculty & Staff

John N. Sivell, PhD (University of East Anglia)
MC-D350G, Ext. 4313

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I came to Brock after a career as an EFL teacher, teacher educator, and translator in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. I was born in Canada, where I stayed until completing my BA; then, I moved to Britain for my graduate studies and worked there and elsewhere abroad for a number of years until returning to Canada in the early 1980s. During that time, I acquired a second nationality, learned a couple of subsequent languages, and found my way in a variety of different cultures that opened my eyes to at least part of the world's diversity: differing ways of life, educational traditions, and overall values.

Since coming to Brock, I have at various points served as Director of the Centre for Intensive English Language Programs, Coordinator of the MA in Applied Linguistics (TESL) program, Chair of the Department of Applied Linguistics, Director of the Centre for Intercultural Studies, Chair of the University Senate, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. Having seen many exciting developments at Brock University over the years, I view this institution as a highly stimulating environment for teaching, research and scholarship.


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So far as possible, I attempt to make the content and style of my classes reflect what I have learned from the formal and informal educational opportunities that I myself have had.  Consequently, where possible I favour a combination of traditional writing/discussion activities with more practical and hands-on engagement:  for example, wikis, collaborative materials development, and service learning.

Teaching responsibilities: I teach in the Department of Applied Linguistics and collaborate with the Centre for Intercultural Studies.  Assignments vary, but recently my courses have been in the Certificate and the MA programs; I have also taught the year-2 Fundamentals of English Grammar course.  For information about the Centre for Intercultural Studies, please visit http://www.brocku.ca/intl/

Teaching innovations: I have been involved with a number of teaching innovations; in particular, I am interested in international outreach designed to promote high-quality learning experiences.  Such initiatives include participation in delivery of INTC 1F90 as part of the first iteration of Brock's new International Foundation Program (Winter term, 2015).

Research and Scholarship

My research interests centre on broadly cultural dimensions of teaching and learning. In that connection, my research writing in the domain of Célestin Freinet and Freinet Pegagogy (École Moderne techniques), where the emphasis is on the social aspects of education, follows themes that also arise in some of my other work related to teacher professionalism, culturally responsive pedagogy, materials design, and instructional strategies for effective writing from sources (sometimes over-narrowly conceptualized as 'plagiarism avoidance').  Issues around membership, change and belonging have always been important to me.

In terms of applied scholarship, I regularly make conference presentations, conduct workshops or publish in the area of EFL/ESL methodology; also, I have developed skills related to the Canadian language Benchmarks and the LINC Curriculum Guidelines.  I am a member of the Registry of CLB Experts; in 2009 I served on the team that developed TESL Canada's online Teachers' Resource Centre; and presently I am a member of the Board of Directors, Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (www.language.ca)

In addition, for five years one of my main scholarly activities involved serving as editor of TESL Canada Journal.  During my term as editor (to June, 2011), I worked with the Journal Advisory Committee to bring the journal entirely online, to significantly increase its full-text indexing, and to augment the schedule of issues from two to three per year.  Moreover, I was able to introduce the role of Editorial Intern, so as to allow MA students to gain experience with the editorial process.

I am a member of the International Advisory Board for the Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, which can be accessed at www.urmia.ac.ir/ijltr/default.aspx.


I have acted in a number of service roles at Brock, including membership on the University Senate (including Chair of Senate, 2009-10) and on the Pension Committee (including Chair for a 2010-12 term).  I have also served the Brock University Faculty Association as a representative on the University Appeals Board.

Additionally, within the wider TESL community, I have over the years contributed in a number of ways; in 2011, I was awarded the TESL Niagara Lifetime Service Award and, in 2012, the TESL Ontario Silver Pin Award for significant, ongoing commitment to the language training profession.


Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks:  http://language.ca/
Freinet Pedagogy:  http://www.freinet.org/
Intercultural Studies at Brock:  http://www.brocku.ca/intl/  
LINC Curriculum Guidelines:  http://atwork.settlement.org/atwork/home.asp
Registry of CLB Experts:  http://www.language.ca/display_page.asp?page_id=387


John N. Sivell

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