Discussing Academic Issues for English Language Learners

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
ELLA 0210
Discussing Academic Issues for English Language Learners
English Language Learning and Acquisition
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Seminar 4 hours/week; Field Experience 2 hours/week

Method(s) Of Instruction
Field Experience
Learning Activities

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  • whole-class instruction
  • large- and small-group discussion
  • pair work on tasks
  • computer-assisted learning
  • instructor feedback
  • revision of submitted work
  • independent research


Course Description
This course is the second level of an academic series designed to help students upgrade their speaking, listening, and presentation skills. It is most appropriate for students intending to take college or university courses. Activities will help students understand and communicate effectively in a variety of settings. The emphasis will be on participating in conversations and discussions, and communicating in non-routine situations. Students will also prepare and participate in a presentation on a topic related to education and academic life. Through these activities, students will continue to develop their overall language skills. Students will be responsible for creating a portfolio of completed tasks over the course of the semester.
Course Content

Throughout the process of preparing for a range of college assignments, students will receive instruction in skills and strategies in the following areas:

Speaking and Listening Skills

1. Planning a Presentation

  • Take basic notes and outline main ideas and supporting arguments from spoken and written texts (such as interviews, videos, presentations, lectures, newspaper articles, and basic graphs) about one or more issues in education and academic life such as practices in Canadian post-secondary institutions, student success, the nature of learning, digital literacy, access to education, and alternative education. Notes should show an emerging level of paraphrasing skills.
  • Prepare a point-form well-organized presentation outline, summarizing the ideas and information gathered in the spoken and written texts.
  • Prepare clear, well-organized note cards from the outline, as needed.
  • Prepare presentation visuals such as graphs or tables, using appropriate citations.

2. Delivering a Presentation

  • Use note cards effectively while presenting, as needed.
  • Demonstrate an emerging level of critical thinking and analysis of information based on spoken and written texts.
  • Produce speech with the level of accuracy (both in grammar and pronunciation) that will ensure meaningful communication.
  • Use appropriate tone and register, depending on the level of formality of the situation.
  • Use appropriate eye contact, body language, volume and rate of speech.

3. Participating in Class

  • Lead and participate in paired interviews and group discussions by listening carefully, responding appropriately, actively contributing ideas, asking questions, holding the floor as appropriate, and encouraging others to participate.
  • Confirm understanding by repeating or paraphrasing.
  • Initiate and respond to small talk.


Language functions and related grammar

  • Express and qualify opinions, feelings, and suggestions.
  • Express possibility/certainty, using the appropriate modal verbs.
  • Express apologies and excuses.
  • Express warnings, predictions, and advice, using conditional phrases and sentences.


  • Correctly pronounce new vocabulary with appropriate syllable stress.
  • Recognize and use appropriate final intonation in statements, questions, choices, and lists.
  • Identify which words should be stressed in a phrase, and produce sentences with correct phrasal stress.
  • Produce sentences with the correct rhythm (long and short syllables).

Study skills

Take responsibility for:

  • Attendance and punctuality
  • Class work and assignments
  • Participation and teamwork

Use common software to communicate and to complete information management tasks such as word processing assignments, sending emails, or signing in to an online learning management system.



Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, successful students will

Listening and Speaking Skills

1. Prepare for and participate in a group presentation for up to 4-5 minutes per student, to describe a topic related to education and academic life.

2. Use spoken texts of up to 12 minutes in length and written texts of up to 3 pages in length as sources for project preparation.

3. Understand and participate in one-to-one and group discussions and less routine social conversations about various issues in education and academic life, using language functions such as expressing and responding to opinions, feelings, and suggestions and expressing warnings, predictions, and advice.

4. Complete assigned experiential tasks to a required level of mastery.

5. Monitor and apply strategies of accuracy in grammar, sentence structure, language functions, and pronunciation.

Study Skills

1. Assess own progress.

2. Participate effectively in a college classroom.


Means of Assessment

Student achievement will be measured using formative assessment tools and the mastery system in accordance with College policy. Students will receive ongoing feedback from the instructor throughout the course. Evaluation will be based on learning outcomes and course content. Mastery will be granted to students who achieve an average of at least 70% on the portfolio items listed below. Evaluation will include, but need not be limited to, the following tasks:

-A collection of formative assessments, demonstrating effective presentation skills (such as body language, rapport with the audience, and pronunciation) and showing attention to instructor and peer feedback.

-A collection of written evidence of critical thinking and analysis of information (such as notes, a storyboard, or an outline) in preparation for the project.

-At least 1 final group project of 4-5 minutes in length per student, taken from the project bank. Students will demonstrate understanding by summarizing one or more issues in education and academic life and by communicating meaning effectively and intelligibly. Possible projects might be:

  • A docudrama (students script and act out a real life event)
  • A Public Service Announcement (PSA)
  • A video of tips for new students

-At least 2 speaking quizzes to demonstrate mastery of skills, language functions, and pronunciation elements (such as an in-class paired recording of a short conversation of students giving each other advice or a phone message to extend an invitation or express an excuse).

-A complete record of weekly experiential tasks such as completion of assignments before, during and after the activities (setting goals, taking notes, or writing a reflective paragraph) and proof of attendance at all activities. Experiential activities may include joining and participating in college-organized conversation activities or interviewing a Douglas College student who is taking academic courses.

-At least 1 self-assessment of learning strategies, progress, and study skills (to be discussed with the instructor).


Sample grade breakdown:

Collection of formative assessments of presentation skills worth up to 10% (total)

Collection of written evidence of information-gathering worth up to 10% (total)

Group project worth up to 25%

Speaking quizzes worth up to 20% (total)

Experiential tasks worth up to 10% (total)

Participation worth up to 15%

Self-assessment worth up to 10%

 Total: 100%

Textbook Materials

Students may be required to purchase one or more of the following materials:

  • coursepacks
  • lab software
  • a dictionary such as Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
  • textbooks at the CEFR B2 level such as Cengage National Geographic Learning Life 5, or Pathways 4: Listening, Speaking, and Critical Thinking



ELLA 0110 or ELLA Assessment





Which Prerequisite