The Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, top-ranked in Canada and 9th in the world, has served the international education community through leadership in research, teaching, and service for over 50 years.

What you might expect/course format

The UBC Vancouver Summer Program in the Faculty of Education is a four-week program developed for international undergraduate students. The courses deliver academic rigour through pedagogies selected to optimize learning of students with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The program provides the opportunity for students to learn about a wide range of education topics in a Canadian context, while also exploring Canadian society and culture through engaging classes, field trips, and social activities. It is a truly holistic learning experience!

  • Each package consists of two courses (approximately 39 hours of class time per course)
  • Classes are interactive and often include discussions, group work, and field trips
  • Evaluation may include assignments, group projects, papers, and presentations
  • Out-of-the-classroom activities extend learning opportunities and help build international networks of colleagues and friends
  • Students’ home universities can receive detailed information about the courses and records of students’ achievement and may grant academic credit for the courses at their own discretion

Applied Linguistics for Teachers

Successful language teachers need to understand more than just the structure and nature of the language(s) they teach: they also need to develop an understanding of the social, cultural, and ideological implications of language and language education. Language classrooms are diverse, multilingual, multicultural and multimodal places, presenting students and teachers with unique challenges. This course serves as a general introduction to theory and research concerning these issues as they relate to learning and teaching, from the perspective of applied linguistics. Topics to be discussed include: theories of first- and second-language learning; the relationship of theoretical issues in applied linguistics to educational practice; language variation; language attitudes and ideologies; world Englishes; language and globalization; language policy; language and gender; language and race, and more.

Introduction to Teaching and Learning English

This course provides a general theoretical overview of and some practical preparation for English language teaching (ELT). Its scope is diverse as it considers approaches to language teaching, a range of teaching techniques and strategies, learner needs, instructional contexts, assessment, and sociocultural concerns, as they pertain to teaching English in a variety of contexts. The course examines ways to teach listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary but always with a view to integrating these skills. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to and learn from active engagement in discussions on contemporary ELT issues and topics.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Designing High Quality Curriculum in Early Childhood Settings

This course addresses the notion that children are natural learners. Students will learn about, discuss, and clarify important concepts and theories relative to early childhood education, including child development theory and the holistic nature of learning in the early years. The course highlights the idea that young children’s innate capacity to learn and teachers’ responses to children’s inquiries provide the foundation for the development of high-quality early learning experiences for young children and impacts the type of programming that is created. Students will learn about designing appropriate daily routines and implementing teaching strategies for integrating different areas of learning, such as literacy, math, science, and art through inquiry and project-based learning. The course will also include observations in local Early Childhood settings.

Creating Environments to Support Learning in Early Childhood Settings

This course introduces students to the significant role that designing stimulating and nurturing early childhood classroom environments plays in children’s learning and in supporting all aspects of their development and growth. Students will learn about creating dynamic indoor and outdoor learning spaces for young children and the importance of providing children with original and natural educational materials and resources. The course will include visits to local state-of-the-art Early Childhood environments for young children.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Understanding the Social-Emotional Learning Needs of Diverse Learners in School, Family, and Community Contexts

School, family, and community systems have a particularly strong impact on overall development including social-emotional health and wellness as well as learning. In this course, the notion that children and youth live, learn, and play in multiple systems is addressed. All of these environments impact social and emotional health and wellness, and in turn learning. The students taking this course will be exposed to school, family, and community factors that impact social-emotional health/wellness and learning. The ways in which social-emotional health and wellness impact learning both directly and indirectly is critically examined. Given students in the course are learners from diverse international contexts, cross-cultural perspectives on these considerations are also explored.

Culturally Responsive Approaches to Creating Positive Learning Environments to Support Social-Emotional Health/Wellness

Addressing the social-emotional health and wellness of children and youth in society today is critical to academic learning. Knowing effective ways to address the social and emotional health and well-being of learners in the early through young adult years is a focus of this course. Students in the course will be exposed to a wide variety of programs to support the social and emotional health and well-being of students along with approaches that promote student learning. Programs that explore learner support in school, family, and community settings will be explored and critically reviewed by the students in the course. This will include the ways these programs are (or are not) culturally responsive to learner strengths and needs and why a culturally responsive approach is important is examined through project-based learning.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Classroom Management

The central purpose of this course is to enable you to design a positive classroom climate where you and your students can engage in meaningful learning experiences together. In order to reach this goal, we will explore a range of research-supported strategies for individual, classroom and school wide behaviour support. The class will be highly interactive and experiential, providing opportunities for student discussion, skills practice and exploration of classroom management topics. Throughout the course, students will learn (a) important preventative strategies to avoid problem behaviour in the first place, (b) the basic functions of student behaviour, and (b) the skills to apply those principles to teaching, positive behaviour support, and the design of effective classrooms. The course is organized to prepare you to achieve success with most of your students and therefore increase the likelihood of your personal satisfaction as a teaching professional.

Assessment and Positive Behavioural Support in School and Community Settings

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the philosophy and methods of behavioural assessment and positive behavioural support with persons who engage in challenging behaviour in school and community contexts. Specific objectives of the course include developing student knowledge and/or skill in: (a) basic principles of behaviour change, (b) the features and values of positive behavioural support, (c) person-centered assessment and functional assessment of persons with challenging behaviour, (d) the completion of summary hypothesis statements and competing behaviour pathway diagrams, (e) the design of multi-component behaviour support plans that are logically-linked to assessment results, and (f) the design of plans that are both technically sound and contextually-appropriate.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Designing What We Wear

Developing an understanding of the decisions that go into making and creating of clothing may provide a greater context of the clothing that we wear. This course provides a broad overview of different design and making considerations including Indigenous approaches to design. Students will have an opportunity to reflect on design decisions, and their own making processes, while developing critical thinking and collaborative work skills through class discussions and assignments. Course topics include: equity, diversity, and sustainability relating to fashion, what influences our decisions of what to wear, making processes, and exploring how many of these components are interlinked together. By the end of this course students will have participated in a range of activities including visits to design studios and head offices, hear from leading industry experts, and explore the process of making and creating.

Designing Fashion for Social and Sustainability Impact

Deciding what to wear is a daily decision we make. This decision is just one of a multitude of decisions that are made from the creation of a fabric, to production of a garment, marketing and the point of sale. These decisions occur in different cultural and geographic contexts and there is a growing awareness of the impact of fast fashion has both socially and ecologically. The aim of this course is to help students to develop an understanding about sustainable concepts within fashion. Topics considered in this course will introduce fashion design and production as a cyclic process rather than one that is linear and the impacts of fashion design both socially and environmentally. By the end of the course students will: be familiar with sustainability concepts; and be able to apply the learning to their everyday experiences with clothing. They will have experienced a range of locations where fashion is designed and purchased; maintained a journal that will allow students to think about how people make their fashion decisions and considered the implications of different ways of thinking about fashion design that have an impact at local and global levels.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Digital Media in Arts Education

In Digital Media in Arts Education students will explore education, curriculum and pedagogy from an arts-based technological perspective. Beginning with understanding the arts and media, generally, we will examine the multiple opportunities and challenges arising from using digital technologies to approach the creative arts in educational contexts. Using an up to date laboratory of computers, iPads, and synthesizers – students will work together in exploring digital music, video, photography and other creative arts applications and software used in educational settings. This course will help students build a foundation for critical thinking about education, digital media, and the arts in general. Participants will take an active role in their learning processes.

Learning Technologies and Creativity in the Digital Age

This course offers students a space to create and a community to explore ideas about integrating learning technologies in primary and secondary classrooms. Students will take on roles as instructional designers working in teams to create digital learning activities, artifacts, lessons, and resources that are personally and/or pedagogically meaningful. Learning involves problem posing, problem solving, exercising ingenuity, questioning assumptions, collaborating, prototyping, and experimenting with diverse ideas, materials, and perspectives. The main purpose of this course is for students to build understanding and experiences of project-based learning empowered by technology (theories, methods, and practices). No programming knowledge or technical expertise is required to participate. Students will benefit from creative instructional strategies, interactive lessons, and a variety of technology-supported learning activities.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Diversifying Integrated Learning Technologies and Systems

Designed to provide future educators, with the necessary knowledge, skills, competencies, and explicit experience in implementing educational technologies and learning technologies into a pedagogically sound learning environment, the course emphasizes the critical evaluation and pedagogical design aspects of integrating learning technologies in dynamic modern environments. Further, it takes a hands-on and minds-on approach to identifying and evaluating appropriate technologies and resources to support design, teaching, and learning in any educational context. It highlights planning and developing instruction that meaningfully and purposefully integrates technology by recognizing the potential to accelerate student learning. Ultimately, this course seeks to prepare learners to become reflective educators who can design research-supported, best-practice, and high-quality programs that are adaptive, responsive, representable, and relevant to the needs of all learners in varying contexts.

Learning Technologies through Design-based Thinking: Creating Inclusive Makerspaces

Grounded in social learning theories, educational technology, multiliteracies and multimodalities theories, inquiry-based learning, design-based thinking, and 21st century pedagogies, participants of this course will learn to merge theory with practice as makers and creators. Through research, design, experimentation, building, and inventing, participants will explore the educational, cultural, and social value of makerspaces. They will delve into the importance of cultivating creative and growth mindsets through maker mentality and entrepreneurial mindsets to build the knowledge, confidence, and skills to effectively infuse, implement, and assess makerspaces into classrooms. This course explores constructivist and cultural theories in education and digital engagement and their significance in designing dynamic learner-focused environments that support 21st century modes of making.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

For VSP Education-specific questions, email Fang Wang, Director of International Initiatives, at fang.wang@ubc.ca.

Student testimonials

“It has truly been a transformative learning experience for me. As a student teacher, I learned so many practical teaching skills and classroom management strategies here. These four weeks broadened my understanding of teaching and learning.”

– Liyan, VSP Education Student

“I truly enjoyed studying at UBC to learn about teaching and learning, and exploring Vancouver after class. The city itself is a large classroom to learn culture, history, different ways of being, and it all inspires me to reflect on how to be a better educator.”

– Pablo, VSP Education Student