by Barbara Castrovillo Seasholtz
Increasing numbers of international students and newly landed immigrants
are filling Concordia Universitys hallways. Many of these students
have mother tongues other than English, which means a high demand for
help with English-language skills.
Concordia offers many classes,
workshops and discussion groups for students wishing to improve their
English, from academic writing style to conversation. Moreover, many of
the options are low-cost or free.
Counselling and Development is one the best resources for a second-language
Students can attend informal conversation sessions in groups of 10 to
20 people or sign up for practice in a small group. These intimate sessions
are limited to five students and one native English speaker in order to
address individual difficulties. In addition, writing tutors are available
on an individual basis to provide assistance with writing skills, writers
block and making outlines, but they will not edit academic assignments.
At the beginning of each semester (check the Web site for upcoming repeat
sessions), Counselling and Development offers two-hour workshops on topics
like how to study in a foreign language or how to give an oral presentation.
These topics are also condensed into weekly lunchtime sessions called
Lunch n Learn, held every Wednesday from noon to 1; no sign-up
is necessary for the shorter workshops.
Students can also visit Counselling and Developments Web site for
links to helpful sites on English as a second language (ESL), or they
can visit the English learners library in H-662. All of Counselling
and Developments services are free of charge.
Counselling and Development can be reached at 848-3545 and is located
on the fourth floor of the Hall Building. The Web address is http://cdev.concordia.ca/CnD/studentlearn/framesetsls.html
The Teaching of English as
a Second Language (TESL) Centre is part of the Education Department at
Concordia, and provides opportunities for student teachers to develop
The Centre gives low-cost conversation workshops every weekday from 11:30
to 1 for 10 weeks each term. The cost for attending once a week is $20;
twice a week is $30. These midday classes complement the ESL courses offered
by the university. More than 100 students have registered for the workshops
this semester, according to Roberto Chen-Rangel, graduate program coordinator
at the Centre.
The TESL Centre is at 2070 Mackay St. on the second floor. For more
information, call 848-2450.
The English Department of the university is the place to go for advanced
classes in English literature, creative writing and composition. These
courses are useful for students who must write papers or a thesis during
their academic careers.
For more information, please call the English Department, at 848-4382.
You can visit their office at LB-501, or their Web site, at
The Language Institute of
Concordias Centre for Continuing Education offers intensive and
regular courses in English writing, conversation and standardized tests.
Continuing Education is located at 1600 Ste. Catherine St. W., corner
of Guy St. Information: 848-3600.
Several institutions outside the university offer English courses within
walking distance of the downtown campus. Some of the most popular with
Concordia students, according to Chen-Rangel, are the YMCA, Tyndale-St.
George and Language Studies Canada (LSC Montreal).
Language exchange clubs are another inexpensive way to perfect oral language
skills and meet people. These clubs match up people who want to practice
a specific language.
For example, if a Spanish speaker wants to practice English, she will
be paired with an English speaker who wants to improve his Spanish. Then
they will practice together, usually communicating for an hour in each
language. Language exchange clubs are advertised on flyers and posters
in and around the university and in the weekly entertainment papers Hour
or The Mirror.
If you still cant speak
English like the Queen, the universitys walls are adorned with postings
for cheap private instruction or informal conversation exchanges. Any
of these options will undoubtedly strengthen a students English.
That means more confidence inside and outside of the classroom.