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Beginning ESL: People, Art, and Business - 1st year

This course is for students with limited English experience who, based on placement test results, instructors’ recommendations, and TOEFL scores, place below ESL intermediate level courses. The goal of instruction is to prepare students to enter intermediate level courses within one session. To achieve this goal, instruction focuses on developing students’ English competency by helping them to acquire skills in all basic skill areas, i.e., listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It emphasizes intensive general vocabulary development, extensive and intensive reading and speaking practice, listening comprehension, and writing improvement. This course includes an experiential component comprised of fieldtrips and volunteer activities related to themes studied in class.


By the end of the course, the student will be able to:


1. Employ a process approach to writing

a. brainstorming,
b. clustering,
c. outlining,
d. revising
e. rewriting
f. proofreading
g. editing

2. Write paragraphs

a. Formulate topic sentences
b. Formulate supporting sentences
c. Categorize information by making lists, Venn-diagrams, or charts
d. Use information from readings to supplement background knowledge
e. Indent the first word of a paragraph
f. Begin each sentence with a period
g. End each sentence with a period
h. Use signal words to show time order


1. Guess vocabulary from context by

a. Recognizing clues (punctuation, example, comparison or contrast, definition, description, series, cause and effect, setting, and synonyms, and
b. Recognizing prefixes, suffixes, and roots and discerning their meanings (mis-, pre-, im-/in-/ -ist, anthropo, poly, etc.).

2. Expand active vocabulary by

a. Writing definitions,
b. Using the words in sentences,
c. Looking up words in a monolingual dictionary,
d. Learning prefixes, suffixes, and roots,
e. Learning synonyms and antonyms,
f. Recognizing that a word can have more than one meaning, and
g. Recognizing that certain suffixes give clues as to the class of words.

3. Preview and predict the content of a reading selection by

a. Considering the title, headings and subheadings,
b. Identifying the arrangement of topic, and subtopic through outlining,
c. Discussing previous knowledge on the subject, and
d. Asking questions that might be answered in the reading.
e. Interpreting graphs and charts

4. Skim and read a beginner-level text for general meaning

5. Scan a beginner-level text for specific information

6. Scan a beginner-level text for key words

7. Increase reading fluency

Computer Skills

1. Send and receive e-mail

2. Create, revise, save and print simple word processing documents


1. Engage in spontaneous conversations by making relevant comments, asking questions, and/or signaling lack of comprehension.

2. Demonstrate knowledge of pair work and small group conventions (e.g., soliciting and offering opinions, agreeing and disagreeing)

3. Ask for clarification of conversation and presentation content.

4. Discuss topics related to the content of a presentation.

5. Deliver, from notes, an oral presentation with appropriate organization, delivery, and development of topic.

6. Demonstrate pronunciation that is intelligible to native speakers accustomed to dealing with international students.


1. Follow basic instructions and directions to complete a task.

2. Listen to a presentation on a topic and take notes that include the main idea(s).

3. Expand active vocabulary by:

a. guessing unfamiliar vocabulary heard,
b. looking up words in a monolingual dictionary,
c. recording definitions
d. using the words in oral production,
e. recognizing that a word can have more than one meaning, and
f. recognizing that certain suffixes give clues as to the class of words.

In this course, students will also:

1. Watch a variety of English language news and/or serial programming and respond to the content by engaging in various activities.

2. Watch at least one full-length feature English language film and engage in relevant interactive tasks.


Course topics will include the following:


1. Process writing

2. Paragraph development and structure


1. Vocabulary expansion

2. Pre-reading and reading strategies


1. E-mail

2. Basic word processing


1. Communication strategies

2. Small group discussion techniques

3. Oral presentation techniques

4. American English pronunciation


1. Directions/Instructions

2. Presentation comprehension

3. Note-taking skills

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Discussion

3. Modeling

4. Reading

5. Writing

6. Error Analysis

Types of Assignments:

1. Selected readings

2. Textbook exercises

3. Vocabulary study

4. Paragraph writing

5. Prepared and spontaneous oral production

6. Listening comprehension