The "buzz" from English Language Studies

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

English Language Studies (ELS) has been buzzing with excitement. ELS has moved its headquarters to the expansion in Renison’s newest wing. Now centrally located, the new space provides state of the art classrooms, study hubs and meeting rooms, increasing collaboration for staff and students. ELS also welcomes a new staff member, Winona Phachanla, who will be working on administrative duties and marketing initiatives. ELS would also like to congratulate Margaret Heeney on completing her Ph.D. at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto! Her thesis title is Cognitive Modelling: A Case Study of Reading-to-Write Strategy Instruction and the Development of Second Language Writing Expertise in a University English for Academic Purposes Writing Course. Margaret completed her research at Renison University College in one of the English Language Studies’ courses. ELS would also like to acknowledge its ELS award recipients from the spring 2015 term. These students received the highest mark in their respective courses and won $100:
ESL 102R: Wenxin (Wendy) Li, Faculty of Science, ESL 129R: Xiaojing (Bowie) Cao, Faculty of Environment, ESL 101R: Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti, Faculty of Arts.

You may have seen colorful geometric buttons pinned to students declaring, “I am a multilingual…” (fill in the noun). The buttons were created to celebrate the renaming of English as a Second Language (ESL) credit courses to English for Multilingual Speakers (EMLS). What’s in a name? The new rubric recognizes the diversity of students’ linguistic backgrounds. Being multilingual isn’t only about being able to greet others in three different languages. It’s a key skill in a globalized world. “Being multilingual is an important skill in a world where people live and work across linguistic boundaries,” says Julia Williams, Director of English Language Studies. Students in EMLS courses benefit from the small classroom size and individualized feedback, which develops their oral and written English communication skills. EMLS courses are open to University of Waterloo students whose first language is not English.

The Applied Language Studies program has added a new component to one of its courses. Students in APPLS 205R (Second Language Acquisition) will participate in the Conversation Partner Program, run by the Renison International Office. The program pairs native speakers with international students to meet on a weekly basis throughout the term to practice conversational English. This practical component provides APPLS students with greater insight into the process of learning a second language through the development and progression of English skills with their partners. This unique opportunity allows for a cross cultural experience for students to benefit from mutual learning and new friendships.

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