Linguistic diversity of one of Canada’s greatest and most undervalued assets, according to linguistic expert Allyson Eamer, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education. She is making strides to ensure educators and community leaders recognize multilingualism as a resource, rather than a deficit starting in elementary schools. Dr. Eamer was instrumental in launching UOIT’s new ESL school, which opened in January 2017 and established a framework for other post-secondary institutions to follow her lead.
Devoted to improving the educational experience for marginalized populations, particularly those with cultural or language barriers to thriving in post-secondary education; her latest research examines the challenges they face in successfully completing their studies and aims to ensure better support systems are put in place at Canadian universities. Another area of her research focuses on developing best practices to support the educational goals of immigrant and indigenous populations with mental illness at psychiatric facilities across Canada.
She is also working tirelessly to revitalize First Nations and indigenous languages in Canada. She collaborated on the development of the Glendon Truth and Reconciliation Declaration on Indigenous Language Policy which calls on the federal government to officially recognize Aboriginal language rights, and enact those rights, as well as establish a federal Aboriginal Language Commissioner, in consultation with Aboriginal language groups.
In 2013, Dr. Eamer was named a Fellow of the Nantucket Project for her role in enabling indigenous elders to teach their languages online in the Plains Cree and Dene Nations. Her research is referenced in a high-profile bibliography of recommended reading by world-renowned linguist Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas. Passionate about mentoring language teachers, Dr. Eamer is also developing online courses to improve English skills among teachers and learners in other countries.
She joined UOIT as an assistant professor in 2008, after teaching English as a Second Language and core French for nearly 20 years. She earned her doctorate in Applied Linguistics from York University, her Master of Education in Applied Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (U of T), her Bachelor of Education at York University, and her Bachelor of Psychology from U of T.
Industry Expertise (5)
Training and Development
Areas of Expertise (9)
Aboriginal Language Learning
Bilingualism/Multilingualism in Families, Schools and Communities
English as a Second Language Education
Ethnolinguistics and Sociolinguistics
First-Language Maintenance in Immigrant Families
Language and Multiculturalism
Online Language Learning
Social Class and Education
Fellow of The Nantucket Project (professional)
The Nantucket Project (September 22 - 25, 2016) celebrates the richness of the human experience through storytelling. Our films, speakers and performers explore the human imagination, creativity, thought-leadership, business values and social change.
York University: PhD, Applied Linguistics 2008
Queen's University: Certificate, Teaching Online 2005
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto: MEd, Applied Psychology 2000
York University: BEd, Primary/Junior Education 1990
University of Toronto: BA, Psychology 1985
- The Huffington Post
- Endangered Language Alliance Toronto
- Facing History and Ourselves
- Working Group for the Promotion of Mental Health in Faith Communities
Media Appearances (3)
Going high tech in the fight to save languages
CBC Radio Yukon radio
Dr. Allyson Eamer describes how technology is being used in the battle to preserve aboriginal languages.
UOIT professor wants to help First Nations languages live on
Durham Region online
A UOIT professor has a plan in place to help First Nations languages stay alive. “I have always thought it was terribly sad for a language to disappear,” said Dr. Allyson Eamer, a professor in the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s faculty of education...
Loving and leaving mother: The passing of Chester Nez
The Ethnos Project online
Earlier this month, a significant chapter in indigenous history came to a close with the death of 93-year-old Chester Nez in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Jan. 23, 1921 – June 4, 2014). Chester was not the name given to him as an infant by his Navajo parents. He no longer remembered that name. Chester was the name given to him at the boarding school where he learned that speaking Navajo was a bad and traitorous thing to do.
Event Appearances (6)
Invited Guest Speaker: Immigration, Language Learning and Mental Health
SACEM 360° Vision on Mental Health Conference Toronto, Ontario
Promoting Linguistic Diversity in the Elementary School Classroom
International Education Conference Orlando Florida
Participation and Persistence: An Analysis of Immigrant Visible-Minority Students at UOIT
European Society for Research on the Education of Adults Access, Learning Careers and Identities Network Conference Seville, Spain
Still on the Margins: English Language Learning and Mental Health in Immigrant Psychiatric Patients
Ireland International Conference on Education Dublin, Ireland
Invited Guest Lecturer: Language Revitalization in Cree and Dene Nations
Blue Quills First Nations College St. Paul, Alberta
E-learning for Indigenous Languages: Two Canadian Success Stories, Language, Education and Diversity
University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand
Research Grants (2)
Increasing Literacies Through Supported Education and Policies of Inclusion
SSHRC Insight Development Grant $100000
Dr. Eamer’s role in this five-year, collaborative research project focuses on establishing best practices for supporting the educational goals of inpatients and outpatients with mental illness. Specifically, she is examining the experiences of indigenous and immigrant people who are being treated for mental illness and how their educational goals and needs are being met within the supported education program.
Diversities of Resilience: Understanding the Strategies for Success Used by Underrepresented Students in Canadian Universities
SSHRC Partnership Development Grant $135794
As a collaborator on this three-year research project, Dr. Eamer is exploring the support systems available to underserviced and at-risk students (including immigrant and indigenous populations, as well as marginalized people with disabilities) at Canadian post-secondary institutions, as well as the challenges and barriers faced in completing their studies. She aims to help shape policy by improving educational supports for marginalized populations.
AEDT 3110U, 3rd Year Undergraduate Course
Social and Cultural Contexts of Education
EDUC 5005G, Graduate Course
Equity and Diversity
EDUC 2400U, 2nd Year Undergraduate Course
Most recently Dr. Eamer taught this as a field course in São Paulo, Brazil. A video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/GXZwjYy2nUs.
This qualitative study explores the reflexive relationships among mental illness, acculturation, and progress toward English proficiency in five adult immigrants being treated at a Canadian psychiatric hospital. The research explores the additional challenges faced by mentally ill individuals when learning a new language and the extent to which English language acquisition may be impeded by factors related to mental illness. Semistructured ethnographic interviews are conducted with the patients. Data analysis is accomplished through grounded theory methods, specifically data-driven and theory-driven coding. The English language acquisition experiences of these five individuals are contrasted with second-language acquisition theory to suggest that the effects of the theoretical language learning advantages possessed by this group may have been diminished by factors related to mental illness. Policy recommendations are made to address this additional set of challenges for immigrants with psychiatric disorders.
In this paper, we share the findings of this research that examines how seventy-seven 11-12 year old students explored, negotiated and presented their bi-cultural identities while using a social networking site with their peers and teachers, and how this process contributed to the creation of a strong community of practice.
This book explores theories and pedagogies in the L2 classroom that have led to an understanding of how non-native languages are taught and learned. Featuring a diverse set of perspectives from researchers and language educators from around the globe, this book highlights important theoretical and practical underpinnings of the L2 classroom—discussions on what has worked and why.
This paper presents case studies which explore the potential of new media and digital literacies to support language learning and acculturation for middle school English language learners (ELLs).
This paper is an exploration of the reflexive relationships between language teaching, social justice and online networking. The overlapping objectives among these three pursuits are considered in the argument for the use of videoconferencing technology in virtual language classrooms for the purpose of revitalizing fossilized languages (in diasporic communities) and endangered languages (in aboriginal communities).