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 Programs 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.

Classroom Management

The course is designed to empower educators to develop a positive classroom climate and an effective learning environment, in which teachers and their students engage in meaningful and successful learning experiences together. To achieve this goal, students will be introduced to current, evidence-based practices in school-wide, classroom and individual behaviour support. Classes will include lectures, discussions and small group activities that provide opportunities to develop skills in the application of these practices. Specific objectives of the course include developing student knowledge and skill in: (a) proactive approach to classroom management; (b) school-wide positive behaviour support; (c) design of a positive classroom environment; (d) development of positive, nurturing relationships with students; (e) use of positive reinforcement to strengthen prosocial behaviour; and (f) effective ways to respond to problem behaviour.

Assessment and Positive Behaviour Support in School and Community Settings

The course introduces students to the philosophy and methods of behavioural assessment and positive behaviour 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) features and values of positive behaviour support; (c) ecological assessment of environments and functional assessment of persons with challenging behaviour; (d) completion of summary hypothesis statements and competing behaviour pathway diagrams; (e) design of multi-component behaviour support plans that are logically linked to assessment results; and (f) design of plans that are both technically sound and contextually appropriate.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Eating Food – An Everyday Experience

Deciding what to eat is an everyday event that is experienced in every culture and location. Learning about food requires knowing more than just how to be a consumer. This is an introductory course that provides a broad overview of different foods, food safety and preparation techniques and explores how food decisions can support wellbeing. Students will have an opportunity to reflect on their own food choices and develop critical thinking and collaborative work skills through class discussions and assignments. Topics to be discussed include: food supply in the Western context and how this compares to students’ experiences; what influences our food choices; and everyday food practices and how these are linked to globalization. By the end of the course students will have participated in a range of activities including visits to farms and markets; experts who will talk about how they prepare and provide food; and teaching about foods from their culture.

Thoughtful Eating in a Globalized World

Developing understanding about how food is produced from farms to production and final places for consumption from across a range of different cultural and geographic contexts is an important prerequisite for sustainability in an increasingly globalized world. The aims of this course are to help students develop understandings about sustainable food production and eating safe food. Topics of this course will introduce differences in food production as a cyclic process rather than one that is linear; food safety and eating for wellbeing. By the end of the course students will: be familiar with sustainability concepts; develop holistic strategies for eating that enhances wellbeing; and be able to apply the learning to their everyday experiences. They will have experienced a range of locations where food is purchased and consumed; maintained a journal that will allow students to think about how people make their food decisions, and considered the implications of different ways of eating that have an impact at local and global levels.

Participants must be 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

Digital Media in Arts Education

This course is an introduction to teaching and learning with digital technologies through the creative arts. Beginning with an exploration of curriculum and pedagogy from an arts-based technological perspective, the course examines 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 apps and software used in educational settings. Participants will take an active role in their learning processes – including setting goals, researching creative digital tools, engaging in peer-evaluation, participating in discussions, doing presentations, writing reflections and seeking out relevant research readings and resources. This course will help students build a foundation for critical thinking about education, digital media and the creative arts.

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 engage in this course as instructional designers, content creators, and tinkerers working together on personally or pedagogically meaningful projects. Learning involves defining problems and generating solutions, questioning assumptions, exercising ingenuity, prototyping and experimenting with diverse ideas, materials and perspectives. The educational philosophy underlying this course emphasizes project- based learning with digital media and technology. Students will have diverse opportunities to design innovative learning environments and create digital learning artifacts and resources. No background knowledge or experience is required for this package. Students will benefit from creative instructional strategies and technology-supported learning activities.

For participants 19 years or older.
No prerequisites.

For VSP Education-specific questions, email Fang Wang, Director of International Initiatives, at

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