Susan Ballinger

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor

Susan Ballinger
Contact Information



Email address: 
susan.ballinger [at]
  • PhD in Educational Studies, Language Acquisition, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. Thesis TitleLearning across languages: Bilingual literacy and peer language learning strategies in French immersion. 
  • MA in Second Language Education, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. Thesis Title: Oral language use in dual immersion classrooms.
  • BA in English Literature and Spanish Literature, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States.


Research Interest

  • Bilingual education
  • Content and language integrated instruction
  • Plurilingual and translanguaging pedagogies
  • Crosslinguistic pedagogy
  • Classroom interaction
  • Peer collaboration
  • Teacher professional development
  • School language policy
  • Language identity and investment



Areas of expertise: 
  • Cross-linguistic approaches to bilingual and immersion education
  • Strategy instruction
  • Peer interaction
  • Teacher scaffolding to promote collaborative language learning
  • The influence of sociolinguistic context in bilingual classrooms


Tenure-Track Professors
Office hours: 

Only by request.

Current research: 

2020-2022. How do you transform one student into two teachers? A comparative study of immersion teacher education programs and their impact on teachers' awareness of content and language instruction. Role: Principal Investigator. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Development Grant.

2020-2021. Professional Development Needs of Canadian French Immersion Teachers. Role: Principal Investigator. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Connections Program.

2021. Addressing the need for more qualified French immersion teachers through online access to a graduate certificate in French immersion pedagogy. Role: Principal Investigator. Entente Canada-Québec.

2021. A case study investigating the impact of an online immersion graduate certificate program on development of in-service teachers’ immersion-specific competencies. Role: Principal Investigator. Government of Ontario; Heritage Canada

2019-2020. Bilingual development in bilingual education. Role: co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Gigi Luk. McGill University International Institute of Education and Y.K. Pao School.

2019-2021. Course instructors' language awareness. Role: Principal Investigator. Social Sciences and Humanities Development Grants Program. McGill University


Recent Research:


2016-2021. En français s'il vous plaît: Immersion students' French use during peer interaction. Role: Principal Investigator. Fonds de recherche du Québec-Société et Culture.

2018-2019. Raising children bilingually: Parents' attitudes, concerns, goals, and needs. Role: Collaborator with Dr. Linda Polka (co-PI), Dr. Krista Byers-Heinlein (co-PI), and Dr. Ruth Kircher (collaborator) . Supported by the Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music.

Selected publications: 

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Davis, S., Ballinger, S., & Sarkar, M. (2021). More languages means more lights in your house. Illuminating the experiences of newcomer families in French immersion. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 9(2), 336-363.

Ballinger, S., Lau, S., & Quevillon Lacasse, C. (2020). Cross-linguistic pedagogy: Harnessing transfer in the classroom. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 76(4).

Ballinger, S., Brouillard, M., Ahooja, A., Kircher, R., Byers-Heinlein, K., & Polka, L. (2020). Intersections of official and family language policy in Quebec. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2020.1752699

Ahooja, A., & Ballinger, S. (2019). Invisible experiences, muted voices, and the language socialization of Québec migrant-background students. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2019.1699898

Davis, S., Ballinger, S., & Sarkar, M. (2019). Diverging perspectives on the inclusion of Allophone students in French immersion. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 22(2), 27–63.

Ballinger, S. (2017). Examining peer language use and investment in a distinct North American immersion context. International Multilingual Research Journal, 11(3), 184–198.

Ballinger, S., Lyster, R., Sterzuk, A., & Genesee, F. (2017). Context-appropriate crosslinguistic pedagogy: Considering the role of language status in immersion education. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 5(1), 30–57.

Palmer, D., Ballinger, S., & Peter, L. (2014). Classroom interaction in one-way, two-way, and indigenous immersion contexts [Special Issue]. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 2(2), 225–240.

Lyster, R., Quiroga, J., & Ballinger, S. (2013). The effects of biliteracy instruction on morphological awareness. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 1(2), 169–197.

Ballinger, S. (2013). Towards a cross-linguistic pedagogy: Biliteracy and reciprocal learning strategies in French immersion. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 1(1), 131–148.

Sato, M., & Ballinger, S. (2012). Raising language awareness in peer interaction: A cross-context, cross-method examination. Language Awareness 21(1–2), 157-179.

Ballinger, S., & Lyster, R. (2011). Student and teacher language use in a two-way Spanish/English immersion school. Language Teaching Research, 15(3), 289–306.

Lyster, R., & Ballinger, S. (2011). Content-based language teaching: Convergent concerns across divergent contexts.Language Teaching Research, 15(3), 279–288.

Lyster, R., Collins, L., & Ballinger, S. (2009). Linking languages through a bilingual read-aloud project. Language Awareness, 18, 366–383.

Edited Volumes

Ballinger, S., Quevillon Lacasse, C., & Lau, S. (Eds.). (2020). Targeting transfer: Cross-linguistic pedagogy in Canadian contexts [Special issue]. Canadian Modern Language Review, 76(4).

Sato, M., & Ballinger, S. (Eds.). (2016). Peer interaction and second language learning: Pedagogical potential and research agenda [Series: Language Learning and Language Teaching].Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Lyster, R., & Ballinger, S. (Eds.). (2011). Content-based language learning [Special Issue]. Language Teaching Research,15(3).

Book Chapters

Ballinger, S. (2020). Corrective feedback in content-based language instruction. In H. Nassaji & E. Kartchava (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of corrective feedback in language learning and teaching.Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Oliver, R., Sato, M., Ballinger, S., & Pan, L. (2019). Content and language integrated learning: Acquiring Mandarin as a second language. In M. Sato & S. Loewen (Eds.), Evidence-based second language pedagogy: A collection of Instructed Second Language Acquisition studies (pp. 81–102). New York: Routledge.

Sato, M., & Ballinger, S. (2016). Understanding peer interaction: Research synthesis and directions. In M. Sato & S. Ballinger (Eds.), Peer interaction and second language learning: Pedagogical potential and research agenda.Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ballinger, S. (2015). Linking content, linking students: A cross-linguistic pedagogical intervention. In J. Cenoz & D. Gorter (Eds.), Multilingual education: New perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Contributions to Professional Journals:

Quevillon Lacasse, C., & Ballinger, S. (2020). Les approches interlinguistiques et l’enseignement pour favoriser les transferts langagiers en immersion française. Le Journal de l’Immersion, 42(1).


Graduate supervision: 

Ongoing PhD Supervision

Alexa Savan Ahooja (since 2018). The L2 socialization of migrant background students in Quebec.

Marianne Barker (since 2018). Improving Canadian immigrants’ experiences of social integration within and beyond language programs

Katherine Hardin (incoming Fall 2020). Topic: Institutional ethnography of investment in Quebec's alpha-francisation programs.

Kensaku Ogata (since 2017). Japanese EFL teachers' self efficacy and burnout.

Lauren Schellenberg (since 2019). Cross linguistic awareness among French immersion teachers.

Ongoing MA Thesis Supervision

Roly Anidjar (since 2020). Topic: Form focused discovery learning 

Xinyan Fang (since 2019)  Faculty instructors' support for L2 learners’ academic writing at universities.

Andréanne Langevin (since 2019). Perceptions of school choice among Quebec families.

Austin Learning (since 2019).Supporting cross-lingusitic awareness of pre-service French as a second language teachers.

Damian Molinari Oppedisano (since 2020). Topic: Student language learning experiences in a context-based program.

Shiin Moon (since 2021). Raciolinguistic Socialization Process through Francisation Programs in Québec

Chen Xiong (since 2020). Topic: Family language policy among Chinese heritage language speakers in Montreal

MA Thesis Supervision, Completed Degrees

Aisha Abokraa (completed 2017). Authentic video materials in the ESL context: Teachers' considerations and students'


Alexa Ahooja (complete 2017). Peer Interaction in primary school Allophone students’ French language development: A potential pedagogical complement?

Faten Alzaid (completed 2018). Measuring the effect of the gamification of formative assessment on learners’ lexical performance and motivation in second language learning.

Stephen Davis (completed 2017). French immersion for Allophone students in Saskatchewan: Examining diverse perspectives.

Melissa Enns (completed 2018). Bridging the gap between theory and practice through blogging: Language teachers’ experiences with a research blog.

Mo Guy (completed 2017). The effectiveness of formative assessment at the tertiary level.

Yuhui Huang (completed 2019). Measuring the impact of peer feedback on pronunciation by L2 learners in the mobile- assisted learning context.

Yerim Lee (completed 2018). Listening to different stories from instructors and students: Examining written and audio feedback in graduate classrooms. 

Hinako Takeuchi (completed 2018). Japanese high school students in international schools: The quest for bilingualism in Japan

Nicole Venegas Torres (completed 2016). Efficacy of elite bilingual education in Latin America: Reflecting on immigrants' experiences.

Shanshun Xu (completed 2020). The Cross-linguistic transfer of inflectional awareness from Chinese L1 to English L2.

Junping Zhang (completed 2020). Family language policy and heritage language maintenance: Parents’ and children’s beliefs and attitudes over the years.


Selected talks and presentations: 

Invited Talks

Ballinger, S. (2020, August Postponed to August 2021 due to COVID-19). Constructing language awareness for content (and language) instruction: A teacher training intervention for novice and experienced teachers. [Featured speaker.] Congress of the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA). Groningen, Netherlands.

Ballinger, S., & Haigh, C. (2019, December). Best practice for teaching oral language and literacy across languages. Invited talk for the Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music (CRBLM) and Advanced Learning in Differentiation and Inclusion (ALDI) Conference for Quebec teachers, researchers, and administrators. Montreal, Quebec.

Ballinger, S. (2019, February). Translanguaging’s awkward adolescent phase. Invited talk for Plurilingual Lab Speaker Series. Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec.

Ballinger, S. (2019, February). Bringing theory to the classroom: Cross-linguistic and translanguaging pedagogy.Speaker Series: Department of Applied Language and Discourse Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario.

Ballinger, S. (2018, February). Peer interaction for L2 learning: Possibilities, pitfalls, and practical approaches. Graduate Student Teaching Colloquium: Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.

Ballinger, S. (2010, March). Cross-linguistic pedagogy in French immersion: A classroom study. In R. Lyster (Chair), Research perspectives on content-based second language instruction.[ Invited symposium.] Annual meeting of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL), Atlanta, GA.

Workshops and Outreach to Educators

Ballinger, S., & Quevillon Lacasse, C. (2020, February). Cross-linguistic pedagogy and teaching for transfer. Invited workshop for teachers’ pedagogical day professional development. Mountainview Elementary School, Riverside School Board. Otterburn Park, QC.

Ballinger, S., & Quevillon Lacasse, C. (2019, November). Cross-linguistic pedagogy and teaching for transfer in immersion. Invited pre-conference workshop for administrators and pedagogical consultants. Congrès annuel de L’Association canadienne des professionnels de l’immersion (ACPI). Quebec City, Quebec.

Ballinger, S., & Quevillon Lacasse, C. (2019, May). Cross-linguistic pedagogy and teaching for transfer. Invited talk. Annual Meeting of Principals. Riverside School Board, St-Hubert, Quebec.

Ballinger, S. (2019, May). Extending immersion students’ oral L2 production during peer interaction. Invited immersion teacher workshops. Content-Based Language Teaching (CBLT): Brazil Symposium. Sao Paulo, Brazil and Salvador, Brazil.







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