English as Second Language

Program Director: Barbara J. Porter, PhD

Introduction

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program at Canisius is a part-time program intended to assist all international students with the improvement of their English language skills. Our ESL Program is not an intensive language program, but a special academic support program designed to assist both exchange students visiting for a study abroad experience and international students seeking a degree.

All international students, including both exchange students and degree seeking students, must have their language skills evaluated. Students are initially screened based on application materials including scores on TOEFL or IELTS as well as transcripts indicating coursework in English at other institutions. Those students whose test scores and other documentation suggest language competency at approximately a high intermediate level will be waived from testing. Students without TOEFL, IELTS and other internationally recognized documentation will be asked to complete a comprehensive language assessment test given during International Student Orientation. Students with limited documentation and low TOEFL or IELTS scores will also be tested. This allows us to identify the best course work for each student’s needs. Students who demonstrate advanced proficiency in English on the placement test will place out of ESL courses.

Courses are offered in all four language areas including reading, writing, speaking and listening. The purpose of these courses is to assist students with the development of the language skills they will need in both academic and social settings. Classes are small and provide not only language instruction but social support. Some students are still developing basic English language skills and take introductory ESL courses exclusively in the first semester. On some occasions, usually in the first semester, students with less than ideal language competencies can take as many as 12 credits of ESL in preparation for more demanding and challenging content courses. Most students find it an advantage to combine a number of ESL courses with carefully selected content courses as they adjust to the demands of student in another language. In all instances, matriculating students can use ESL courses to fulfill free elective credit requirements. Some ESL courses fulfill core curriculum requirements. Exchange students who need ESL courses will use those courses for transfer back to their home institution.

For more information on the program and resources for English language learners please go to the ESL program webpage

Advisement

International exchange students are advised by the appropriate Associate Dean or an advisor designated by the Associate Dean. International students seeking a degree should have an advisor in their major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one. All majors should work closely with their advisor(s) in their major(s) in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Learning Goals & Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1: Reading

Students in the ESL program will critically read and analyze college level texts.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Pre-read and scan academic materials to develop a sense of a text’s scope and emerging meaning;
  • Objective B: Determine the author's purpose, intended audience, tone and the text’s general context;
  • Objective C: Recognize and understand a work’s thesis or theme and the methods of organization used to support the thesis or develop the theme;
  • Objective D: Summarize, paraphrase, synthesize ideas from what they have read;
  • Objective E: Evaluate the evidence presented and state an opinion about what they have read.

Student Learning Goal 2: Writing

Students in the ESL program will demonstrate basic competence in managing the writing process and producing effective written products including college essays and similar types of academic writing.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Demonstrate effective word choice, vocabulary, idioms, grammar and sentence structure allowing accurate communication of meaning in written work;
  • Objective B: Brainstorm, draft, and outline ideas for essays and other forms of academic writing;
  • Objective C: Develop a thesis and supporting topics and organize evidence using basic rhetorical patterns;
  • Objective D: Revise the organization of written work to increase unity, coherence and emphasis;
  • Objective E: Integrate material from outside sources logically and gracefully with their own writing;
  • Objective F: Cite sources according to conventional documentation style, and maintain academic integrity in their work.

Student Learning Goal 3: Speaking

Students in the ESL program will develop effective speaking skills such that they can be understood by classmates, faculty, staff, and others for academic and social purposes including conversations, classroom discussions and oral presentations

Students will:
  • Objective A: Converse with general clarity using pronunciation/stress/ intonation patterns which allow for overall intelligibility;           
  • Objective B: Demonstrate effective word choice, vocabulary, idioms, grammar and sentence structure allowing accurate communication of meaning in written work;
  • Objective C: Articulate in conversation and oral presentations clearly organized ideas and supporting evidence in a vocabulary appropriate to the target audience;
  • Objective D: Recognize their own verbal mistakes and correct them;
  • Objective E: Give a standard oral presentation which informs and/or persuades the audience;
  • Objective F: Integrate material from outside sources logically and gracefully into an oral presentation;
  • Objective G: Cite sources according to conventional documentation style, and maintain academic integrity in their work.   

Learning Goal 4: Listening

Students in the ESL program will be able to listen to and understand the main ideas and significant relevant details in various listening contexts.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Understand and discuss ideas delivered in academic lectures and social conversations;
  • Objective B: Develop and ask questions appropriate to a given listening context;
  • Objective C: Understand and respond appropriately to the speech of multiple speakers;
  • Objective D: Paraphrase the ideas of classroom lessons and turn them into coherent and well developed notes;
  • Objective E: Understand and discuss ideas delivered through various media. 

ESL 111 The Craft of Writing I 3 Credits

Beginning level. Focus on mastering the writing process. Review of the basics of sentence and paragraph structure. Focus on organizing and developing short essays (1-2 pages) using key rhetorical patterns. Participation in writing workshops. Emphasis on appropriate use of vocabulary, idioms, grammar and sentence structure.

Offered: generally fall & spring.

ESL 112 The Craft of Writing II 3 Credits

Intermediate level. Focus on mastering the writing process. Review of the basics of sentence and paragraph structure. Focus on organizing and developing short essays (2-4 pages) using key rhetorical patterns. Practice with writing research based essays. Participation in writing workshops. Emphasis on appropriate use of vocabulary, idioms, grammar and sentence structure.

Offered: generally fall & spring.

ESL 114 The Art of Reading I 3 Credits

This course is intended to help students in all majors to improve their reading skill. Readings will be selected from various publications in areas which reflect the nature of academic and professional reading challenges including history, literature and art, social sciences and sciences, religion and philosophy.

Offered: fall.

ESL 115 The Art of Reading II 3 Credits

This course is intended to help students in all majors to improve their reading skill. Readings will be selected from various publications in areas which reflect the nature of academic and professional reading challenges including history, literature and art, social sciences and sciences, religion and philosophy. ESL 115 may be taken as a sequel to ESL 114.

Offered: spring.

ESL 116 The Art of Conversation I 3 Credits

Students will participate in exercises ranging from dialogues to brief presentations. Emphasis on accurate communication of meaning as well as practice listening for main ideas and supporting evidence. Practice in asking and answering questions, understanding and responding appropriately to conversations with a partner and with multiple speakers in small groups. Practice in effective note taking.

Offered: fall.

ESL 117 The Art of Conversation II 3 Credits

Students will participate in exercises ranging from dialogues to brief presentations. Emphasis on accurate communication of meaning as well as practice listening for main ideas and supporting evidence. Practice in asking and answering questions, understanding and responding appropriately to conversations with a partner and with multiple speakers in small groups. Practice in effective note taking. ESL117 may be taken as a sequel to ESL116.

Offered: spring.

ESL 118 The Art of Oral Presentations 3 Credits

Students in this course will learn to develop and give polished oral presentations. Practice with formal presentations including PowerPoint, visual aids and question and answer sessions. Emphasis on research based presentations.

Fulfills College Core: Oral Communication

Offered: fall & spring.

ESL 499 Independent Study 3 Credits

This course is intended for students with special instructional needs. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.