Mar 14, 2018

View the Continuing Studies 2018 Summer Guidebook online.


Karen Segal

English as a second language (ESL) instructor Karen Segal began her writing career as a journalist. Though she’s spent the past 18 years working in education, she still applies that same straightforward communications style to her teaching.

“I am pretty down to earth in terms of my writing and have often been told that I write like I speak, which is a huge compliment,” says Karen. “I think my writing experience allows me to find my students’ mistakes quickly and to identify a pattern that I can point out to them.”

Since 2000, Karen has taught ESL classes in a variety of schools, including UBC’s English Language Institute. Her courses at Langara have focused on business writing and speaking, which are very different from academic studies.

“My classes prepare students for the business world very specifically,” says Karen. “I love working with people and teaching them things that will improve their lives.”

Many of Karen’s students are immigrants who have been living in Vancouver for a long time but are unsure about speaking English in professional settings, writing work emails, or applying for jobs where even small grammatical mistakes can keep them from getting an interview. Covering topics from cover letters and reports to job interviews and presentations, these courses equip students with the strong English skills they need to succeed in the working world.

“I want students to feel comfortable speaking and not to worry that they are being judged,” says Karen. “Night classes can be tricky because students are tired from a long day of working or school or caring for their kids, so part of my job is to be funny and energetic.”

Through roleplays in class, students are able to practice what might be difficult for them and to learn phrases for different situations.

“Often it is simply a matter of them gaining confidence,” she says. “But that is huge.”

Karen Segal rides her bike to class, which seems to surprise some of her students. She reads voraciously and her favourites include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and The Guardian.

About Langara
Located in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 21,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as house of teachings, a name given to it by the Musqueam people on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located.

Learn more.
Erin Anderson
Communications and Marketing
Langara College