An inclusive acronym that refers to people who are Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Trans, Queer/Questioning. The plus sign signifies other sexual identities that are not captured by the acronym.

The LGBTQ acronym, and the language related to sexual and gender identity, are evolving. We chose this version of the LGBTQ acronym to acknowledge that Two Spirit identities existed here before European conceptions of gender and sexuality. (The University of Winnipeg, n.d.)

See the following glossaries for more detail on the sexual and gender identities described in the acronym:

PFLAG National Glossary of Terms:
Egale LGBTQI2S Glossary of Terms:

academic integrity

Academic behaviour that is honest, moral, and respectful. It includes avoiding academic misconduct such as cheating and plagiarizing.


The Alberta Human Rights Act “recognizes that all persons are equal in dignity, rights and responsibilities when it comes to provision of services available to the public. The process for ensuring all persons are treated equally is called accommodation. Accommodation of students with disabilities involves activities like making adjustments or alternative arrangements in the educational environment to ensure it does not have a discriminatory effect on a student because of the student's disabilities. …The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that where the educational environment has a discriminatory effect on students with disabilities, the post-secondary institution is required to provide accommodation up to the point of undue hardship.”

Alberta Human Rights Commission. (2021). Duty to accommodate students with disabilities in post-secondary educational institutions. Human Rights Guide.


An ally is a person who works to end the oppression of people who are marginalized or treated unfairly. In the Treaty 7 Indigenous Ally Toolkit, an ally is described as someone who does the following:

“Transfers their privilege to those who have less.
Speaks up. When scared or uncomfortable.
Allows space to express thoughts and feelings.
Walks alongside one another.
Listens deeply from the heart.
Plants seeds of truth in conversations with others.
Believes and validates the stories they hear.

Takes on the battles and burdens of those who are weary.” (2019, p. 3)

Calgary Foundation. (2019). Treaty 7 Indigenous ally toolkit.


The attitudes and actions involved in being an ally. An ally is a person who “works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for people who are stigmatized, discriminated against, or treated unfairly” (GLSEN, 2016, p. 5).

In this context, an ally is one who speaks up and advocates for the rights of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and individuals; an ally is one who will “take a stand in places where it might not be safe for LGBT people to be out or visible” (GLSEN, 2016, p. 5).

GLSEN (2016). The safe space kit: Guide to being an ally to LGBT students.

asynchronous learning

An approach whereby learners learn and work independently and on their own time (though time-frames and due dates may be given).


Authentic material is assumed to include material that has been modified by simplification, elaboration, or reformulation while retaining the natural properties of authentic material.

backward design

An approach to curriculum development in which outcomes and objectives are first delineated; then assessments are determined (i.e., how will you know an outcome has been met); and finally, activities are planned to enable learners to meet the outcomes and successfully complete the assessments.

Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)

A descriptive scale of language ability in ESL used in Canada. It describes a continuum of language ability across 12 benchmarks and 4 skills. It serves as a national standard for curriculum planning as well as a reference for teaching/learning, programming, and assessment.


“Cisgender” refers to individuals who identify with the gender that was assigned to them at birth. Cisnormative is “the assumption that everyone is cisgender and that being cisgender is superior to all other genders. This includes the often implicitly held idea that being cisgender is the norm and that other genders are “different” or “abnormal” (PFLAG, 2021).

PFLAG. (2021). PFLAG national glossary of terms.


An activity where words are removed from the text and learners use their knowledge of grammar and context clues to replace those words.


Words that are commonly used together (e.g., “do homework,” “pay attention,” “risk taking,” “heavy rain”).


The perception of how easy/difficult it is to understand a person’s speech.

corpora search

Corpora are collections of texts that are used as samples of language. Corpora may focus on different genres (e.g., written or spoken texts). A corpora search helps learners understand how words are used. For instance, the flax website allows learners to search a word in a variety of corpora – Wikipedia, academic English in a variety of fields, and Standard English. The search results in a summary of the different collocations of the word, along with the actual sentences that the word is used in.


Using knowledge of sound–letter connections, and how sounds blend together, to read words.


“The denial of equal treatment and opportunity to individuals or groups because of personal characteristics and membership in specific groups, with respect to education, accommodation, health care, employment, access to services, goods, and facilities. This behaviour results from distinguishing people on that basis without regard to individual merit, resulting in unequal outcomes for persons who are perceived as different. Differential treatment that may occur on the basis of any of the protected grounds enumerated in human rights law.”

Canadian Race Relations Foundation. (n.d.). CRRF glossary of terms.


“A term used to encompass the acceptance and respect of various dimensions including race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religious beliefs, age, physical abilities, political beliefs, or other ideologies.”

Canadian Race Relations Foundation. (n.d.). CRRF glossary of terms.


Refers to the group in a society that controls the norms and values of that society (usually, but not always, the majority).

Canadian Race Relations Foundation. (n.d.). CRRF glossary of terms.


English as an Additional Language. Recognizing that learners may speak many more than just two languages, we have chosen to use the acronym EAL rather than ESL (English as a Second Language) in this document.


Indigenous people who are “recognized by their community as having attained a high degree of understanding of First Nations, Métis or Inuit history, spirituality, traditional language, cultural teachings, ceremonies or healing practices. Elders have worked and studied over a period of time with other Elders to earn the right to pass on this specialized knowledge and give advice on personal and community issues. Elders are highly revered and respected role models and mentors for all people. They embody First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture through their words, actions and being” (Alberta Teachers Association, n.d., p. 1).

Alberta Teachers Association. (n.d.). Elder protocol. Stepping Stones: Walking Together Project.


Using knowledge of sound–letter connections to use letters to form words and sentences.


“A condition or state of fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences.”

Canadian Race Relations Foundation. (n.d.). CRRF glossary of terms.

focus on form

Focusing on language (e.g., grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation).


The goal of formative assessment is to enhance learning. It helps learners identify strengths and weaknesses and focus their learning. It helps instructors identify where learners are struggling and focus their instruction. Formative assessments are lower stakes and often include peer and self-assessment.

formative and summative assessment

The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning after a unit of study. Summative assessments are higher stakes than formative assessments and are graded.

formulaic sequences

Commonly used chunks of language; fixed combinations of words that are retrieved and used as if they are single words.

functional language

Language that is used to perform different functions such as apologizing, greeting, giving advice, refusing requests, etc. Functional language often consists of formulaic sequences (fixed combinations of words that are retrieved and used as if they are single words).

Gay–Straight Alliances

“A general acronym used for any student-run and teacher-supported school-based club that works to create welcoming, caring, respectful and safe spaces for students of diverse genders and sexual orientations (LGBTQ2S+) and their allies in schools. GSAs are designed to provide a safe space that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging.”

Alberta GSA Network. (n.d.) What is a GSA/QSA?

gender expression

“External appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, body characteristics or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.”

The Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.). Glossary of terms.

gender identity

“One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.”

The Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.). Glossary of terms.


Refers to nondiscriminatory use of language including pronouns, salutations or titles. It can also refer to neutrality of washrooms, colours, and occupations.

PFLAG. (2021). PFLAG national glossary of terms.


A type/style of written or spoken text that has recognizable characteristics (e.g., an essay, a magazine article, a blog, an email, a Facebook post, a report, a how-to video, an academic presentation, a sermon, etc.).


“The assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities. This includes the often implicitly held idea that heterosexuality is the norm and that other sexualities are ‘different’ or ‘abnormal’”

PFLAG. (2021). PFLAG national glossary of terms.

high-frequency words

Words that are more common than other words (e.g., K1–K2 refers to the 1000–2000 most frequently used words).


“Homophobia: Animosity, hatred, or dislike of LGBTQ+ people that often manifests itself in the form of prejudice and bias.”

PFLAG. (2021). PFLAG national glossary of terms.


Hybrid courses integrate in-person learning with asynchronous online learning. The proportion of online vs. in-person learning can vary depending on the specific approach.


A model of course delivery that maximizes flexibility for learners. HyFlex instruction allows students to choose to attend class in a variety of ways: face-to-face, online synchronous, and online asynchronous.

immersive technologies

These include technologies such as virtual reality headsets, 3D displays, speech/gesture recognition, augmented reality (adding digital information, such as images, text, or sound, to real-world experiences), and mixed reality (merging real and virtual worlds).

inclusive language

Language that includes everyone in the class, and that avoids words and expressions that exclude (i.e., avoids the use of words and phrases that assume people are straight, cisgender, male, white, able-bodied, etc.).


“A process of naturalizing Indigenous knowledge systems and making them evident to transform spaces, places, and hearts. … The goal is not to replace Western knowledge with Indigenous knowledge, and the goal is not to merge the two into one. Rather, Indigenization can be understood as weaving or braiding together two distinct knowledge systems so that learners can come to understand and appreciate both.”

BCCampus. (2018). Understanding Indigenization. In Pulling together: A guide for curriculum developers.

Indigenous cultures

It is important to recognize that there are vast differences in culture, language and beliefs across Indigenous communities in Canada and around the world (with 630+ First Nation communities in Canada, representing more than 50 Nations and 50 Indigenous languages).

Government of Canada. (2021). Indigenous peoples and communities.

Indigenous peoples

The original inhabitants of a territory or place. In Canada, the Indigenous peoples comprise the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

Indigenous Ways of Knowing

A broad term that recognizes that value and diversity of Indigenous ways of learning and teaching, anchored in the central truth that “everything in the universe is part of a single whole; everything is connected in some way.”

Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortium (ARPDC). (n.d.) Weaving ways: Indigenous ways of knowing in classrooms and schools.

intellectual property

Refers to legal rights over ideas, inventions, artistic works, processes, symbols, images, etc.


The extent to which something can be understood by a listener.

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence refers to the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that are needed to communicate with people who view the world from a different cultural lens than one’s own.

intergenerational trauma

When the impacts of traumatic events are passed down from generation to generation, and continue to be evident after the original trauma took place.

“For Indigenous peoples in Canada, intergenerational trauma is rooted in imposed social and legal injustices in the form of racist, colonial and genocidal policies such as the Indian Reservation System and the Indian Residential School System. These injustices are documented extensively in the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples/RCAP (1996) and the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada/TRC (2015), among others. These reports also document the consequences of these injustices, including geographic isolation, lack of opportunities, poverty, brokenness, and poor health outcomes.”

Adams, E., & Clarmont, W. (2016). Intergenerational trauma and indigenous healing.

intersectional approach

An approach that recognizes the “simultaneous and overlapping identities and experiences of privilege and oppression an individual may hold” (Canadian Commission for UNESCO, 2019, p. 10). For instance, connected and overlapping identities (related to race, religion, ethnicity, income, disability, etc.) can put 2SLGBTQ+ individuals at greater risk of oppression.

Canadian Commission for UNESCO. (2019). LGBTQ2+ inclusiveness: Toolkit for inclusive municipalities in Canada and beyond.

irregular words

Words that are not decodable.

land and treaty acknowledgments

Acknowledging the land is a traditional way that Indigenous peoples welcomed others onto their land. Land acknowledgement and treaty recognition statements are a way in which non-Indigenous peoples can honour and respect the Indigenous peoples of a particular place. Land acknowledgements can be visual (posters, signs, written statements); audio/visual presentations (videos); and short statements of welcome or greeting.

For further information, see the following:

Calgary Foundation. (2021). Land acknowledgment.

land-based learning

Learning that takes place outside, recognizes the importance of the land to the Indigenous peoples, explores Indigenous teachings related to the land, and promotes living in connection and harmony with the land.

See the following link for Alberta resources related to learning from the land:

CASS Alberta (2021). Learning from the land. In Guide to Relationships and Learning with the Indigenous Peoples of Alberta.

language experience stories

Learner-generated stories that are spoken by learners, transcribed, and then used for reading and writing practice. These may be generated by individual learners or groups; they may be based on personal or shared experiences (e.g., a field trip).

lexical fillers

Words and sounds that are used to hold a turn, indicate comprehension, and fill in silence (e.g., “um,” “uh,” “mmhmm,” “well,” “you know,” “yeah and,” “no but,” “like,” “sort of,” “you know,” etc.)

listening discrimination activities

Activities where learners listen to distinguish between sounds and/or words (e.g., “forty” vs. “fourteen”; “rice” vs. “rise”; “beet” vs. “bit”).


Learning Management System (e.g., Moodle, Google Classroom, Blackboard)


Concrete, hands-on objects that are used to enhance learning (e.g., picture cards, boxes/cans of food, articles of clothing, etc.)


Groups that experience inequity and exclusion.


Modality refers to the ways that learning is offered, for instance, face-to-face, blended learning, flipped classroom, HyFlex, synchronous online, asynchronous online, etc.


Rules for polite online behaviour.


To treat a person or group of people as intrinsically different from yourself or your group.

Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA)

“Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA) is a teaching and assessment model designed to enhance nationwide consistency and standards of quality in English as a Second Language (ESL) training for adult newcomers to Canada” (CCLB, 2021). This model is aligned to the Canadian Language Benchmarks. Instead of standardized tests at the end of term, instructors carry out ongoing classroom assessments and learners keep a portfolio of their assessments as evidence of their progress over time.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. (2021). ON PBLA.

pow wow

An Indigenous cultural celebration where people gather to celebrate family and community through song, dance, food, crafts, traditional clothing, and ceremonies. They take place in the summer on First Nations lands and in cities across Canada.

See the following link for a list of Powwow gatherings in Alberta:


The ability to adjust word choice, grammar, tone, and register based on factors in the context, such as the relative stakes of the communication, the setting, the age of participants, and the relationships between participants.

principles for teaching EAL literacy learners

Best practices 68-70 and their indicators address principles for teaching EAL literacy learners. Principles for teaching ESL literacy learners can also be found in the following resources:

Bow Valley College. (2011). Guiding principles for teaching ESL literacy learners. In Learning for LIFE: An ESL literacy handbook [Support document].

Bow Valley College. (2018). A practical guide to teaching ESL literacy.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB). (2016). ESL for adult literacy learners (ALL).


“The experience of unearned freedoms, rights, benefits, advantages, access and/or opportunities afforded some people because of their group membership or social context.”

Canadian Race Relations Foundation. (n.d.). CRRF glossary of terms.


A social construct that is undefined, and yet has real and unequal consequences “in ways that matter to economic, political, and social life.”

Ontario Human Rights Commission. (n.d.). Racial discrimination, race, and racism (fact sheet).


The term we have chosen to use when describing people who are affected by the very real and unequal effects of the social construct of “race.” We chose to use this term based on the advice of our reviewers, following the model of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. We do, however, recognize that language is fluid and understand that individuals may identify more fully with alternate language (e.g., BIPOC, referring to “Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour”).

Ontario Human Rights Commission. (n.d.). Racial discrimination, race, and racism (fact sheet).


Real-life objects (e.g., food items, clothing items) that help learners connect learning to their own lives.


“Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behavior. We are not there yet. The relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples is not a mutually respectful one. But, we believe we can get there, and we believe we can maintain it” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015, p. 6–7).

Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is an ongoing process that will take time and work. Individuals contribute to reconciliation in their own ways.

For more information, see the following resources:

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.

Fraser, C., & Komarnisky, S. (2019). 150 acts of reconciliation for the last 150 days of Canada’s 150. In A. Eidinger & Krista McCracken (Eds.), Beyond the Lecture: Innovations in Teaching Canadian History (p. 24).

Larochelle, C. (2019). Reconciliation in the classroom: The #150 acts as a pedagogical tool. In A. Eidinger & K. McCracken (Eds.), Beyond the Lecture: Innovations in Teaching Canadian History (p. 25).

CASS Alberta. (2021). Reconciliation. In Guide to Relationships and Learning with the Indigenous Peoples of Alberta.

Residential Schools

A system of boarding schools set up by the Government of Canada and administered by churches which mandated attendance by Indigenous children. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded that Residential Schools were “a systematic, government-sponsored attempt to destroy Aboriginal cultures and languages and to assimilate Aboriginal peoples so that they no longer existed as distinct peoples” and a “cultural genocide.” (National Center for Truth and Reconciliation, 2021, p. 153)

For further information, see the following link:

First Nations and Indigenous Studies UBC. (2009). The Residential School System. In Indigenous Foundations.


To pull something out of one’s memory; to remember something that was previously learned.


“The Alberta Human Rights Act (AHR Act) prohibits discrimination in employment based on the protected grounds of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, family status, source of income, and sexual orientation.”

Alberta Human Rights Commission. (2017). Your rights and responsibilities as an employee.


An assessment tool that lists expectations and criteria for an assignment and defines how those criteria will be rated.


Protected from or free from harm/danger/loss, both in physical and virtual environments. This includes actual physical safety, as well as the sense/feeling of being safe.


Providing support and guidance to enable learners to learn new skills and accomplish tasks. Scaffolding may include things like modelling, vocabulary development, outlines, word lists, templates, planning time, targeted instruction to mitigate anticipated challenges, checklists, etc.

sexual and gender minorities

A term used to refer to 2SLGBTQ+ populations (i.e., groups whose gender identities and/or sexual orientations and practice vary from those of the majority population).

sexual orientation

“Emotional, romantic, or sexual feelings towards other people or no people.”

PFLAG. (2021). PFLAG national glossary of terms.


Transitions that link ideas.

signs of psychological distress

Academic signs of psychological distress:

Worsening grades
Chronic lateness
Chronic incomplete/late assignments
Sleeping in class
Difficulty focusing
Withdrawal from class activities
Increased isolation from classmates

Other signs of psychological distress:

Worsening hygiene
Avoidance of eye contact
Flushed or sweaty skin
Agitation and restlessness
Irritability or aggression
Lack of facial expression
Inability to control emotions, tears

situated content

Content that is embedded in learners’ real lives, daily experiences, and contexts.

Skills for Success/Essential Skills

A framework of skills identified by the Government of Canada as needed to thrive and participate in learning, work, and life. Previously called Essential Skills, these are now called Skills for Success and include the following: adaptability, collaboration, communication, creativity and innovation, digital, numeracy, problem solving, reading, and writing.

See the Skills for Success website:

social, teaching, and cognitive presence

Presence is “being there.”

Social presence refers to sharing personal characteristics and stories so that you become a “real person” to the learners in the course.

Teaching presence refers to how you teach, including the course materials, the flow of the class, the learning activities you design, the questions you ask, the feedback you provide, and your availability.
Cognitive presence overlaps with teaching presence and refers to the community of learning and inquiry you establish in the course. It includes how you engage with your learners’ thoughts and ideas, the questions you ask to probe and challenge, and the guidance you provide related to learning.

Boettcher, J. V. (n.d.). Rider University online e-coaching tips.

standardized test

A test that is administered under the same conditions and scored in the same way for all test takers. Standardized tests are often high stakes and administered to a large number of learners.

summative assessment

The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning after a unit of study. Summative assessments are higher stakes than formative assessments and are graded.

synchronous learning

Learners and instructors are online at the same time; learning takes place in real time (live classes; webinars).

The Indian Act

Federal law that relates to Indian status, bands, and Indian reserves. This law allowed the Canadian government to “regulate and administer in the affairs and day-to-day lives of registered Indians and reserve communities,” from broad political control over Indigenous communities and band councils, to severe restrictions related to the ability to practice their cultures (e.g., participate in celebrations, wear traditional clothes, raise their children). The goal of the Indian Act was assimilation.

First Nations and Indigenous Studies UBC. (2009). The Indian Act. In Indigenous Foundations.

The Sixties Scoop

“The mass removal of Aboriginal children from their families into the child welfare system, in most cases without the consent of their families or bands.”

First Nations and Indigenous Studies UBC. (2009). The Sixties Scoop. In Indigenous Foundations.

Social Policy in Ontario. (2018). How Canada created a crisis in Indigenous child welfare.

Traditional Knowledge Keepers

Caretakers of Indigenous knowledge that has been passed from generation to generation: “A Traditional Knowledge Keeper’s duty is to preserve this knowledge for their communities and their nation” (Wîcihitowin Conference Committee, 2017, p. 8).

Wîcihitowin Conference Committee. (2017). Authentic engagement of First Nations and Métis traditional knowledge keepers.


“Transphobia: Animosity, hatred, or dislike of trans and gender-expansive people that often manifests itself in the form of prejudice and bias.”

PFLAG. (2021). PFLAG national glossary of terms.

trauma-informed practice

Instruction that recognizes and responds to the effects of trauma on student behaviour.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC)

A part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement between First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Residential School Survivors, and the federal government and church bodies responsible for the schools. The TRC’s mandate was to document the truth about what happened in Residential Schools and to inform all Canadians about what happened.

National Center for Truth and Reconciliation. (2021). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

undue hardship

“A service provider must show that it would experience a substantial hardship if it were to accommodate the student” (Alberta Human Rights Commission, 2021, p. 8). Some examples of undue hardship would include:

Financial costs that hurts the viability of the service, program, or institution…
Students cannot meet the requirements for entering or completing a program…
Significant interference with the rights of other students…
Health and safety concerns for the student being accommodated or for other students or service providers…” (p.10–11)

For further explanation about undue hardship, see the following document:

Alberta Human Rights Commission. (2021). Duty to accommodate students with disabilities in post-secondary educational institutions. Human Rights Guide.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

"UDL aims to change the design of the environment rather than to change the learner” (CAST, 2018).

UDL is based on the following 3 principles:

Make use of multiple strategies for engaging, challenging, and motivating learners.
Provide learners with multiple ways to acquire content.
Provide learners with multiple ways to demonstrate what they know.

CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning guidelines version 2.2.

zero tolerance

“An approach to equality that advocates no acceptance of racism, disablism, homophobia, transphobia etc. including childhood name-calling.”

Rights Against INtolerance: Building an Open-minded World (RAINBOW). (n.d.). Study guide: RAINBOW educational toolkit.


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