Department of English Language

English as a Second Language

ESL students explore Kelowna's heritage in Pandosy Village.

Okanagan College offers English as a Second Language (ESL) education that is internationally recognized. Students develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing to Canadian Language Benchmarks Levels 4 and 5 and prepare to enter university-level courses.  

Meet an instructor

Instructor Madjid Mohammadzadeh's passion for other cultures and countries  was the inspiration behind taking education studies.

International lunches

Potluck-style lunches organized by the English Language Department could be the most diverse meal you've ever had.

Meet one of our students

Katia Aguila de Marroquin needed to validate her doctorate in dental surgery in Canada, and turned to OC for help with her English.

Which program is right for you?

English Language Certificate

English Language program is for students with an existing grasp of English, considered at the "High Beginner" level. New students are assessed through the English Language Assessment to determine placement in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Students learn in class for 20 hours per week. Classes begin in January, May, July and September. This may be different depending on the campus closest to you.

Please note: applicants must be 18 years of age, or turn 18 during their first semester at Okanagan College. Students who have completed the equivalent of B.C. Grade 12 are also eligible for the program. 

English for Academic Purposes

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is designed for students at intermediate or advanced levels of reading, writing, speaking and listening. When students successfully complete the program, they have met the English requirements for all academic programs at Okanagan College and English Language Admission requirement for partner institutions like UBC Okanagan.

There is an average of 20 hours per week of class instruction. In addition to EAP courses, Level 3 students may take one academic course. Once students reach EAP Level 4, they can take up to two academic courses providing students meet course prerequisites. The addition of academic courses must be approved by the academic course instructor and appropriate dean.

English for Special Purposes

Okanagan College works with institutions or groups to provide English Language training to help people in the workplace. Study is tailored to a given field, such as tourism, business or education.

English for Special Purposes (ESP) courses are for international institutions, businesses and government agencies, as well as Canadian and Canadian immigrant groups. The length of the course varies with the specific need of each group, in addition to schedule and field work. 

For details, please contact the English Language Department at ESLchair@okanagan.bc.ca

Part-Time English Development

Students will work with an instructor to set personal language-learning goals. Study plans will be prepared and materials will be provided for students to achieve their objectives. Studies may emphasize work in any or all of the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Goals and programs of study may focus on:

  • general English for participation in the Canadian community;
  • English for employment and the workplace;
  • English for career development or advancement;
  • English language preparation for further training or education;
  • and other focuses that match the learner's goals and the program's resources.

Explore our programs

Get started

The first step involves setting up an assessment of your skills. Submit your information below, and a member of the Okanagan College staff will contact you to schedule a free appointment.

Instructors

Dr. Ardiss Mackie

Department of English Language - Chair
Office: Lab Building 161
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4381
English Language Instructor - Ardiss Stutters

How people express themselves in language is of interest to me. I understand language as being photographic, cinematic, poetic, and so on. I like to use those expressions in teaching English language at OC. I've also taught in Greece, China, and Japan. I am also concerned about language and identity. I've written about that in Canadian Women's Studies, TESOL Quarterly, Canadian Journal of Education, English Quarterly, Contemporary Verse 2, and Pedagogy, Culture, and Society. For this work, I was awarded the Joseph Katz Memorial Scholarship at UBC for substantial work in anti-oppressive education.

Credentials:
PhD, Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia


Vivian Albrecht

Department of English Language
Office: Lab Building 233
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4362
English Language instructor Vivian Albrecht

I was born and raised in Toronto and spent the first part of my career working with international students at the University of Western Ontario. I started teaching at OC in 2001 in the ESL Department. It has been a privilege working with students from such diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Outside of work, my family and I have enjoyed travelling to areas in South East Asia and West Africa volunteering in different capacities. In Kelowna, I enjoy the many things that the region has to offer such as hiking, camping, paddling boarding, and skiing.

Credentials:
MA, Applied Linguistics, University in Springfield Central, Australia


Christine Henderson

Department of English Language
Office: Lab Building 269
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4548
Headshot of Christine Henderson

Zsuzsanna Kiss

Department of English Language
Office: Lab Building 269
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4743
Headshot of Suzie Kiss

Credentials:
MA, English Language and Literature, University of Debrecen


Thomas Lampi

Department of English Language
Office: Lab Building 165
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445
English Language instructor Thomas Lampi

I joined Okanagan College as an ESL instructor at the Kelowna campus in 2015 after teaching overseas for 17 years. During those 17 years, aside from teaching EFL classes, I instructed and mentored MA students in material development for EFL instruction, trained EFL teachers with a focus on technology in the classroom. Much of my interest has focused on young learners of English and the development of emersion type instruction in EFL environments.

Credentials:
M.Ed, Computing Education (TESOL), University of South Africa
B.Ed, West Kootenay Teacher Education Program, University of British Columbia
BA, History, Okanagan University College
TESOL Diploma, Vancouver Community College


Madjid Mohammadzadeh

Department of English Language
Office: Lab Building 165
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445
Headshot of Madjid Mohammadzadeh

I have been teaching English for about two decades. My interest and passion to know more about other cultures and countries pushed me towards learning other languages at an early age. Before I knew it, I graduated from university with a degree in English language and started teaching. I knows three languages and am still interested in both teaching and learning languages.

Credentials:
M.Ed, TESL, University of British Columbia


Julie Schiller-Birch

Department of English Language
Office: Lab Building 272C
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4995
Headshot of Julie Schiller-Birch

I first joined Okanagan College at the Kelowna campus in 2009, but was seconded to teach in Vernon English language program from 2010 to 2012 before returning to Kelowna. I currently teach English as an additional language for international and domestic students who need to improve their English language skills (both more general and academic English language skills) within Arts and Foundational programming. I additionally teach on the TESL certificate in Continuing Studies to those who want to teach English as an additional language. My work related interests include fostering cross-cultural communication, student engagement and creative thinking.

Credentials:
M.Ed, TESOL and Educational Technology, Manchester, UK
Cert/Dip, TEFLA Cambridge, UK


Ryan Vatkin

Department of English Language
Office: Lab Building 272C
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445
English Language instructor Ryan Vatkin

Credentials:
MA, ELT, University of Technology - Sydney
BA, Education, U of A