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Mary Ashworth

Doctor of Education

Mary Ashworth is an accomplished educator who pioneered teaching english as a second language in Canada.

Ashworth received a B.A. and M.Ed. from the University of British Columbia. As a professor of education at UBC, Ashworth got involved in training teachers to teach ESL which was in its infancy. She had been an elementary and secondary school teacher from 1955-1967 and was aware of the needs of non-English speaking children in the classrooms.

UBC became the only place training ESL teachers outside of Toronto. Ashworth traveled across Canada conducting workshops, making speeches, writing books and articles and acting as a consultant to school boards, departments of education and First Nations' bands. In 1988, She published a book about the state of ESL in Canada entitled Blessed with Bilingual Brains: Education of Immigrant Children With English as a Second Language.

Ashworth's contribution to the development of ESL programs was acknowledged by Teachers of English as a Second Language (TEAL) which held a conference in 1988 in her honour to mark her retirement. In 1989 she was made a fellow of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISIE). UBC has presented Ashworth with awards of merit and distinction and in 1993, granted her an honorary doctorate. Ashworth will receive an honorary Doctor of Education from Saint Mary's University at the convocation ceremony on May 15, 2001.