Donna Pearce

Program Development and Quality Assurance Co-ordinator
Brock ESL Services

Donna Pearce (BA ’11, MA ’12) is one of the Program Development and Quality Assurance Co-ordinators for Brock ESL Services. Her recent projects have included the creation of a fully interactive e-textbook for the Advanced level, in collaboration with her colleague, Eldon Friesen. This e-textbook is now in use in the Intensive English Language Program. Donna also designed a Virtual Summer English Language Program that will be shared as an Open Educational Resource through eCampus Ontario. In addition to her duties in ESL, Donna also teaches Pronunciation for the Pre-Master’s Preparation Program in the Goodman School of Business.

Pearce is a proud Brock graduate who came to the University in 2007 as a mature student, following a successful career in medical technology. She developed a passion for language learning after adopting her daughter, Maggie, from Mexico in 1998, and decided to pursue a career in teaching English as a subsequent language. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Linguistics/TESL in 2011, capping off her undergraduate studies by winning the Governor General’s Silver Medal for the highest graduating average in Brock and then went on to complete her Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics/TESL in 2012.

Pearce will be collaborating with the Associate Director of ESL Services, Geoffrey Harrington Eden, on a Canada Games-related project in the Summer English Language Program.

What is your Canada Games-related course title, code and description?

SELP 040/SELP 050 Summer English Language Program, Intermediate or Advanced Level 

This project will be part of the Summer English Language Program (SELP) and may also be included in the regular Intensive English Language Program (IELP) Spring/Summer Term. SELP is a five-week program with students from countries around the world who come to Brock to learn/practise English and experience the local culture. To this end, they participate in English classes in the morning and various activities and outings in the afternoon.

Describe how you’ve integrated Canada Games-related material into your course?

During the pandemic, I took a certificate course from University of Alberta called Indigenous Canada. It really motivated me to learn more about Indigenous people and all the contributions they have made, and then to share this information with our ESL students.

Our initiative focuses on a project to introduce our ESL students to the sport of box lacrosse and its origins with the Indigenous people of Canada. Students will learn about the rules and history of the game, have an opportunity to practise some of the skills themselves and visit the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Their culminating project will be to conduct a survey with Games attendees and then analyze and present their findings to the class. 

Why do you think Canada Games presents such a good opportunity for students at Brock?

We anticipate that this project will introduce students to a sport with which they may not be familiar, perhaps motivating them to watch or play themselves in the future. As well, conducting the survey will provide them with an invaluable opportunity to practise their spoken English in a real-world language context, in addition to useful practice in how to analyze and present research findings.

It is our hope that learning about box lacrosse, and its history with Indigenous Peoples, will inspire our ESL students to reflect on the contributions that Indigenous people have made to sports and culture in their own countries, as well as the importance of large-scale sporting competitions such as the Canada Summer Games in promoting diversity, inclusion and connection in our society.

Do you have any suggestions for ways your colleagues can use the Games to enhance teaching and learning opportunities in their courses?

The staging of the Canada Summer Games on our doorstep provides everyone at Brock with the perfect opportunity to observe and participate in the staging of a large-scale sporting event, something which we would normally only see on TV. Further, the availability of funding gives everyone a chance to expand their involvement and scholarship so we can increase our knowledge capital as a result of hosting the Games.

Once the Games are finished, how do you plan to continue using this new idea in your course?

Although the actual project will take place during the Spring/Summer Term, elements of it will be retained afterwards and incorporated into units focusing on other areas, such as health and wellness and the history of the Niagara biosphere reserve.

For more information about SELP 040/SELP050, please contact Pearce at