ESL Week Contest Winners - Learners Activities

Grand Prize: Short Story Entry

Hansa Learned and Hansa Smiled
Afia Akhlaq

Excerpt from Short Story:

As Hansa sat in her ESL class that day listening to her energetic, enthusiastic and ever smiling teacher end the day, she felt a sense of triumph. Today she had learnt about happiness. Hansa was born into a family of five boys and girls. Little Hansa always loved the idea of going to school, but that wasn’t to happen in her life so easily. Mom gave her a choice between either going to the school that was very far away by bus or eating for a week. Though Hansa always chose “school” over “food”, her mother simply knew better. So Hansa didn’t have much of a memory of school. However, her memories surrounded her happiness at home. Her home was a tiny one room little structure. Her young sad mother had to travel very long to go to work to earn enough food to feed Hansa , her brothers and sisters. Mother used to cook food for all of them, and lock them up safely inside the house everyday when she went to work. The brothers and sisters managed to eat, play, stay safe and build their world of fun and frolic within those four walls. Hansa had clear memories of taking care of her younger siblings right from a very young age. These skills were to make her a “skilled” mother in the later years of her life....who knew! Just doing all the household chores to perfection made her happy.

Understand the statistics: Genetics determine about 50% of your happiness level. 10%comes from external factors like health and income. The rest is up to you. If you weren’t born happy, you have to work harder at it.

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Runner Up: Essay Entry

How Learning English in Canada Changed my life in Ontario
Samreen Aslam

Excerpt from Essay:

I felt as if gold was running through my veins instead of blood! I was glowing from inside as I looked into my son's smiling face. I had just delivered a short speech on Mother’s Day at my son's school. What was really important for me was that I had spoken at length in English in front of so many native speakers as if it was no big deal. Had it not been for the LINC program, this day would never have come.

My name is Samreen Aslam and I am from Sargodha, Pakistan. My husband had applied for Canadian Immigration through the skilled worker category and we had waited patiently for four years for our application to be accepted. When we received our final documents, we were all very excited as it was going to be our first journey out of Pakistan. As for me, I was especially happy because I thought that I would be able to speak in English without the fear of being called a show-off, as was the case sometimes in my home country. I had an advanced diploma in English and I was sure that I would have no trouble communicating in English in my new home. I had no clue how different reality would be!

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Runner Up: Video Entry

My Language Learning History
Gunes Alkan

Video Synopsis: Advanced Academic Skills learners were assigned a project based activity that had them plan, process write a narrative, storyboard their visuals, record their voices and create a digital story of their language learning histories. This auto-ethnographic style project had the learners reflect on their past and some current learning experiences with languages, institutions, educators, environments, motivational moments/individuals, travels, university majors, culture and other influential sociolinguistic memories. They shared their work in progress with their peers for feedback and at the completion held a class screening of their digital projects.