Posts by Language Training Centre

Christmas comes faster, thanks to the “Brunch with Santa” at Red River College

January 4, 2016 • Written by

On Saturday, December 12, Santa invited all RRC staff and their children to have a Christmas brunch with him at the Notre Dame Campus. It was a great event and everyone had lots of fun!

The Brunch with Santa event is for Red River College staff and their children. It is organized by a College committee called the “Staff Club”. The committee organizes 2-3 social events per year for College staff. The Brunch with Santa has been a popular event for several years. Parents come with their children and have a delicious breakfast. Among other entertainment and activities, each child has an opportunity to sit with Santa Claus for a few minutes and receive a special gift.

What made the event and the entertainment so special this year? I decided to ask about all the features.

Some of the organizing committee

Some of the organizing committee

“The event this year was very good. We got a lot more families than we usually had. The expectations every year is to try to make this event fun and enjoyable for families. I think we achieve this again and again and our committee and I work together to try to think and figure out what new things will be interesting and different every year. This year we had a visit from Anna and Elsa and Spiderman and we had Elsa singing a song which was very popular. Each year the program has something new; for example, last year we had The Bubble Guy for entertainment and it was amazing. We had a lot of volunteers who helped us to manage this event and we have a “Staff Club” of around 18 people who made this event happen. We started to prepare in October. To everyone we wish a happy, healthy holiday, and great times and memories with their families’’. (Janice Manson, RRC Events Coordinator)

“The best part was watching the children. The children were so excited. When they looked at the elves and Santa, it looked like they had seen something special and it made me feel very good. This is actually what I expected to see – the children having a lot of fun and the parents who enjoying their children. Elsa singing was something new and it was definitely great. We made this event with a committee and we had been meeting about 4 months for this. At each meeting, everyone had a job to do and we came back to the next meeting and said “OK, I have done this, this and this.” It was great team work and Janice organized this really well to make sure that every piece was done. We are a great team! This holiday season, I wish every adult would have the same kind of joy that children have.”  (Carolyn Schmidt, Language Training Centre Program Facilitator)

Visit from Elsa

Visit from Elsa

“This brunch was special. I got pretty much what I expected. I am so glad to see a lot of people and kids here. We want every year to have people come. More people came this year and we are glad. For the holidays, I wish for people to get together and have fun, not just on New Year’s Eve.” (Megan Havens, RRC Sponsorship & Public Relations Coordinator)



For the last two years, this event has had volunteers from the Language Training Centre. Volunteers played the role of “craft elves”. Throughout the event, the “craft elves” went to each table and helped the children make a simple Christmas craft.


It was fun to be “craft elves” today. I like to make crafts with kids; they are very creative. I decided to participate because I like to play with kids and make decorations. To be a volunteer, it is a great opportunity for me to improve my English and speak with native

Fay with Kate, the author

Fay with Kate, the author

speakers. Today I had a chance to improve my English and I am glad. Thank you! I wish for everyone to be healthy and happy in the New Year.”  (Guangfen (Fay), LTC student and event volunteer)


“I am very happy today. I am also an elf and I am so excited. This event is very useful for me because I tried to copy native speakers and speak naturally. Before I was so shy but this practice made me more confident. To everyone, I wish them to be happy.” (JinJin, LTC student and event volunteer)

JinJin, Fay and another volunteer

JinJin, Fay and another volunteer








There was also a cookie decorating table. Everyone had opportunity to make and decorate cookies.


Cookie elves!




Decorating cookies

Some teachers from the LTC attended the event and shared with us their opinions about the Brunch with Santa.


“I liked this event more than last year. I came with my two daughters and husband; we spent a great time together. To everyone I wish to be healthy, and spend this year with their family. Have a great New Year!”  (Navnish Sidhu (and family), ESL Instructor)


“It was definitely a super time. Everyone, even the adults, could feel that Christmas and New Year are coming. Thank you!”  (Naomi, ESL Instructor)

Our LTC blog team wishes to everyone a Happy Christmas and Happy New Year. We hope all your Christmas dreams come true!!!

– Post written by Kate Alekseienko, Intensive English student at LTC



Student work on display at Language Training Centre art exhibit

June 26, 2015 • Written by

art coverStudents at Red River College’s Language Training Centre got the chance to express themselves outside of the classroom last month, unleashing their inner artists (and musicians, and photographers) during the LTC’s first-ever Student Art Exhibit.

Held May 27 at the LTC (located in Union Station), the event served a number of purposes — primarily, to give students a voice while instilling confidence and pride in their artistic talents. It also allowed them to sharpen their writing, reading, speaking and listening skills — while building community and learning something new about their classmates.

Whether participating or not, all LTC students had a chance to check out the exhibits with their classes or on their own. Some students were assigned written tasks requiring them to describe their responses to pieces featured in the exhibit, while others were given the opportunity to meet the artists and ask questions about their work.

The list of participating LTC students included:

  • Jeongmin An – homemade cookie caterer
  • Jose Noland Balverde – singer/guitarist
  • Mikhail Koval – paintings
  • Muhammad Lashari – singer/guitarist
  • Yushi Li – photographs of nature
  • Anh Ngo – animation drawings
  • Nam Ngo – paper craft sculptor
  • Elena Reznik – paintings
  • Svetlana Russco – paintings
  • Soo Yeon Suh – painting

The event was a great success. Thanks to event organizers Hong Nguyen (LTC instructor) and Carolyn Schmidt (LTC Program Facilitator), and to volunteers Luis Trejo (former LTC student), Rita Prokopetz, Lori Lobchuk, Logan Brunette, Rachel Hildebrandt, Yaw Amoah-Gyampoh and Janice Ching (LTC instructors).

Click here for a gallery of photos taken at the event.

– Written by David Schmeichel, Marketing & Web Presence

Random Acts of Kindness

December 19, 2014 • Written by


The Christmas spirit is alive and well at the Language Training Centre! After a week of collecting food for a struggling student, one class prepared 3 large boxes, wrapped in bright cheerful Christmas paper, and presented the boxes to the student during class. He was overwhelmed by his classmates’ kindness and by the wide variety of food items like pasta, rice, flour, peanut butter, salmon, turkey stuffing, and even candy for the children. The mood in the class was filled with generosity and gratitude as students made a presentation speech and a thank you speech. This  EAL (English as an Additional Language) class has proven that Christmas can bring out the best in us.

The staff and students of the LTC hope that this holiday spirit can be experienced this year. Look for and embrace any opportunities to both give and receive during this holiday season.

– Submitted by staff from Language Training Centre

Get a Grip This Winter with Winter Tires

December 5, 2014 • Written by

Q: Should I purchase a set of winter tires if I plan to drive in Winnipeg this winter?

A: Experts say “yes”. Winter tires, also known as snow tires are designed for winter conditions below 7°C. They are made of a rubber compound that is softer than other tires and therefore flexes better in cold temperatures. By comparison, all-season are not as effective as winter tires or “all-weather tires”, because they use a harder rubber compound that doesn’t work as well in lower temperatures. Also, winter tires have special treads and more sipes (slits) to increase traction in snow.


Q: Do I need to buy four winter tires or only two?

A: Experts advise drivers to always install winter tires as a set of four as only two winter tires (either front or back) will adversely affect the way the car handles. Most people mount their winter tires on a separate set of wheels because changing over a set of wheels twice a year is easier and faster than changing the tires themselves.

Q: How do I know which tires are winter tires?

A: In Canada, a 3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snowflake) symbol on the tire means that the tires meet specific snow traction performance requirements and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.


Q: What about air pressure in my winter tires?

A: Check the air pressure in your winter tires frequently during the winter months as tire pressure drops as temperatures fall.


Extra facts:

  • Winter tires are mandatory in the province of Quebec from December 15 – March 15.
  • Manitoba Public Insurance has a Winter Tire Program that provides low interest financing which can be used for the purchase of qualifying winter tires and associated costs. Find out more.⇒

Sources: – Advice for Owners

Wikipedia – Snow tire

Transport Canada – Motor Vehicle Safety

Not flipping out? Maybe it’s time.

December 5, 2014 • Written by


Are you and your classmates yawning in the classroom? Are your instructors constantly calling certain students to attention? Maybe it’s time for RRC instructors to look into the concept of a flipped classroom.

The concept of flipped classrooms has been around for years, but it is growing in popularity now. Technology has crept into our lives and is here to stay. Why not use it to our advantage?

As Wylie Wong explains in his article, Colleges Go Proactive with Flipped Classrooms, “In a flipped classroom, professors don’t lecture in class. Students watch recordings of lectures online as homework. They learn the material on their own time, freeing up class time for collaborative activities, such as group projects and classroom discussions.” This is an excellent technique to encourage student participation in the classroom. It is especially valuable to us English language instructors at the Language Training Centre, where we want our international and immigrant students to use the language as much as possible.

Steve Kolowich, in his article, Exploding the Lecture, explores one way to implement this concept in the classroom. He mentions that even meticulous students can have trouble concentrating for more than 15 minutes. Recording the lectures in mini segments can help the students go at their own pace. The next day the students can be asked questions about the concepts covered in the previous night’s lectures. For the remainder of the class, the instructor can allow for class discussions and applying these concepts in case studies. This not only makes for a very lively classroom experience, but also permits us, as instructors, to address the higher order skills of Bloom’s Taxonomy – the application, the evaluation, and the creation.

The concept of a flipped classroom is a shift from the traditional teacher-led classroom and can be a challenge for both teacher and student. However, implemented effectively, it can definitely prove beneficial to students.

Submitted by Navnish Sidhu, Intensive English for International Students (IEIS) Instructor, RRC’s Language Training Centre

⇒ Check out the Language Training Centre’s microsite ( to find out more about life at LTC and its communication programs for international students and permanent residents.

Moustache Month

November 26, 2014 • Written by

movembercollage (2)

Movember is in full swing at Red River College’s own Language Training Centre. There are moustaches where there were none before – on faces, workstations, classrooms and fingers (for those who want to sport it, but can’t/won’t grow it). There is even an LTC team on the official Movember website that has so far raised over $700 for the cause.

What exactly is Movember? It is a fundraising and awareness campaign that started back in 2003 in Australia. It has been gaining momentum and popularity ever since; it’s now in 21 countries. The aim is to raise funds and start discussions about issues surrounding men’s health such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. The rules are simple: on November 1st you have to shave your face, and for the remainder of the month grow a stylish ‘stache. No goatees, beards, soul patches, etc. The idea is that when someone asks you about your moustache, you pass on the information on what you’re raising awareness for. This is particularly important as men are often reluctant to take action when they do not feel physically or mentally well.

Movember is all around us, and so are the concerns surrounding men’s health. So start a conversation and help to create awareness of men’s health issues.

Submitted by Logan Brunette, Intensive English for International Students (IEIS) Instructor, RRC’s Language Training Centre

⇒ Check out the Language Training Centre’s microsite ( to find out more about life at LTC and its communication programs for international students and permanent residents.

Engaging Students by asking the “Big Questions”

November 25, 2014 • Written by


What makes some college teachers great teachers? This is the central question Ken Bain asks in his well-researched book What the Best College Teachers Do (Harvard, 2004). In planning their courses, Bain argues, the best college teachers ask their students large questions to win devotion to the goals of the class. He calls them intellectual promises. Bain gives the example of a teacher of twentieth-century U.S. history who poses the following big question to students: “Can people control their own destiny, or do forces beyond their control determine their fate?”

Learners want to be asked these kinds of questions by their instructors. So, in a very modest attempt to borrow a technique of the best college teachers discussed in Bain’s book, I tried to create some of my own large questions when planning a new course in Communication for Business and Finance (a program offered to international students at the Language Training Centre). One of these questions was “To whom is business responsible?” I thought this was a central question and one that a student soon entering an academic program in International Business or Business Administration would find to be of great value. Read More →

Get in the game at RRC!

November 13, 2014 • Written by

Leonardo, Paulo and Bruno (l to r) near their classroom at the Language Training Centre

Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone takes not just a step but a giant leap. It can be a challenge to get involved in extracurricular activities when you’re a busy college student. Or it can turn out the be the best thing for you!

Recently some students at RRC’s Language Training Centre (LTC) showed me the importance of getting involved. Leonardo Barros, Paulo Lima, and Bruno Lucena are International Students from Brazil. In preparation for their College program, they are first improving their English communication skills at the LTC. Leonardo says, “I came here without English. Nothing. Now I can speak a little bit and I understand most people.” Despite the challenges they face living and studying in a new culture, there was one thing they loved and knew they could do well – play soccer! So when they learned about the Rebels soccer team, they decided to take a risk and try out for the team.

Imagine making a college team, then realizing you will need to understand your coach, follow directions, and maintain a good rapport with your teammates – all when you are not yet fluent in the language of your team. But the Brazilian players met that challenge and saw it as an opportunity for growth. Bruno confesses, “We started a little shy because our English is not that good, but now we are okay. It’s all improving, you know.” About his teammates, he says “They need to have some patience with us . . . but yes we can communicate well – no problem.” Read More →

Learning from Luis – Your Recipe for Success

September 10, 2014 • Written by

LuisImagine having a successful career, complete with all the skills, knowledge, confidence and reputation that come with it. Then imagine being told that you must start all over again because you cannot communicate at even the most basic level. This happens regularly to newcomers to Canada, who are faced with many such obstacles.

Now let me introduce you to a student who has found his recipe for success. Luis was an international student at RRC, in the Legal Assistant program. I met him recently at RRC’s Language Training Centre, located in the VIA Rail station downtown. Luis was visiting his former class at the LTC to share his experience of moving from language classes to an academic program. He confidently stood among the crowd of fervent English language learners and gave them this advice: “When you begin your program, you must do these three things – One, work hard. Two, work hard. Three, practice your English by making Canadian friends.” Brilliant! Here was a student who seemed confident that he was on the right pathway to success, who had concocted a recipe that was working very well for him. Not only that, but his success was so encouraging and exciting that he longed to share it with others.

Intrigued by Luis’ passion, I found out his story.

Luis left Mexico and moved to Winnipeg with his family. Even though he had skills and experience as a lawyer, he knew very little English. Knowing he had a long way to go, he started language classes at RRC’s Language Training Centre. Within one year of studies, Luis’ English communication skills had advanced to the level that was required for entrance into the Legal Assistant program. Luis was the only international student in this particular program, which he believes to be one of the most recognized in Manitoba, with a “high level of difficulty”. His goals are to continue studies in the Business Administration program. He has no worries about his ability to succeed and knows he’s on the path to continuing his career in Manitoba, despite his obstacles. He credits the LTC for giving students “all the tools that are necessary to be a successful student in the Canadian educational system, and . . . helping you to know and learn about a new culture and be part of it.”

Many of us can learn from the advice Luis gave that day, no matter what our obstacles are. Have you found your recipe for success? If so, have you gathered the ingredients? Then get busy cooking and, when you’re ready, celebrate and share your success!

Submitted by Carolyn Schmidt, Program Facilitator, RRC’s Language Training Centre

⇒ Check out the Language Training Centre’s microsite ( to find out more about RRC’s communication programs for international students and permanent residents.

Let’s disagree agreeably!

June 27, 2014 • Written by


A simple altercation between two students can be a pivotal moment to learn conflict resolution in Canada.

Not too long ago, my international students were puzzling out different ways to analyze a case in the news. Everybody was caught up in the activity until a loud annoying noise startled the whole class. Two students were throwing angry words at each other. Incessant shouting caused a massive disturbance; therefore, I was compelled to diffuse the tension and give my students a lesson on how to resolve a disagreement nicely. My students learned the following practical steps:

–        Listen well to the person disagreeing

–        Focus well on the issue and not on the person

–        Express opinion calmly by using softeners such as “I see your point, but I see things differently” and “Oh that’s an interesting way to look at it; however, I may have to say that…..”

My students finally understood that taking issue with someone need not be stressful and confrontational. Indeed, they realized that knowing clearly and appropriately how to deal with a conflict in Canada means gaining trust, respect and opportunities.

Submitted by Jules Mejia, Intensive English for International Students (IEIS) Instructor, RRC’s Language Training Centre

⇒ Check out the Language Training Centre’s microsite ( to find out more about RRC’s communication programs for international students and permanent residents.

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