DepartmentSchool of Education
Biola AffiliationsFaculty



  • Ph.D., University of California Riverside
  • M.A., Biola University
  • B.A., Bethel College

Member of


Jenna Canillas specializes in the area of English learners and second language acquisition. Her professional roles have included professor, classroom teacher, District ELD Coach, Program Specialist for District English Learner Programs, Program Specialist for Gifted and Talented Education, and new teacher mentor as a BTSA support provider and academy instructor. Canillas holds a M.A. in Applied Linguistics with a Certificate in TESOL from Biola University's Cook School of Intercultural Studies and a Ph.D. in Education, Society, and Culture from University of California Riverside. Her dissertation research examined the role of linguistic/cultural resources and spiritual capital in identity formation for Long Term English Learners. As a teacher educator, she supports pre-service and in-service teachers while focusing on issues of educational equity, strengths-based perspectives, and equipping educators for the challenges and joys of teaching in diverse educational settings.


AERA – American Educational Research Association (2012-present)
ASCD – Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (2003-present)
CATESOL – California Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (2005-present)
NABE – National Association for Bilingual Education (2017-present)
TESOL – Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages International Association (2004- present)


  • Inclusive Strategies for Gifted Individuals. Canillas, J., Stranske, T. in Inclusive Classrooms for Community Flourishing, 2018. Translated from English to Arabic.
  • "Twice exceptional? The plight of the gifted English learner." Stein, J. Canillas, Hetzel, J., Beck, R. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 2012.
  • "The case for collaboration: Integrating information on English learners and special education in teacher preparation programs.” Stein, J. Canillas. Multicultural Education, 2011.
  • Stratégies d’Enseignement du Contenu en Français. Stein, J. Canillas. English DVD script for teaching content in French as a Second Language for professional development in Burundi, Africa, 2010.


  • American Educational Research Association (AERA), San Francisco, CA.

    Accepted to present in April 2020 on "Images of faith: English learners and spiritual capital."

  • California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL), Anaheim, CA.

    Presented on "Creating learning opportunities for English learners inspired by linguistic resources." December 2018.

  • National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), Albuquerque, NM.

    Presented on "Linguistic resources and identity for students considered 'at-risk of becoming long-term English learners.'" March 2018.

  • California Educational Research Association (CERA), Anaheim, CA.

    Presented on "Students 'at risk of becoming long-term English learners' and identity." December 2017.

  • ACSI Professional Development Forum, Costa Mesa, CA.

    Co-presented with A. Esquivel on "When God brings the nations to you." November 2016.

  • Justice, Spirituality, & Education Conference, Biola University, La Mirada, CA.

    Presented on "Bilingualism: Travesty or treasure." November 2015.

  • California Educational Research Association, Anaheim, CA.

    Presented on "Teaching English learners with the common core." December 2013.

  • Justice, Spirituality, & Education Conference, Biola University, La Mirada, CA.

    Presented on "Academic justice for English learners." March 2013.

  • Christian English Language Teachers (CELT) Conference, Boston, MA.

    Presented on "How are you, Mr. Smith? or Yo, dude, what’s up? Strategies for teaching language registers." March 2010.

  • Professional Advocates for Gifted Education (PAGE), Alhambra, CA.

    Presented on "Using a value-added approach to evaluate gifted education." March 2010.

  • Invited Lecture: Point Loma Nazarene University Student Teaching Seminar, San Diego, CA.

    Presented on "An introduction to gifted and talented education." October 2007.

Research Interests

  • Second language acquisition
  • Long-term English learners
  • Content area literacy
  • Technology in education
  • Strengths-based education
  • Gifted education
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