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Understanding Culture and Community for English Language Learners

Course Code: ELLA 0120
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: English Language Learning and Acquisition
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lab, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course is the first level of an academic series designed to help students upgrade their reading and listening skills. It is most appropriate for students who are intending to take college or university courses. Students will read a variety of texts at a reasonable rate, listen to materials from a variety of sources, and practice note-taking in both instances. Students will read and listen in order to create and present a basic visual representation of their learning about culture and community.

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:

Reading and Listening Skills

  • Take basic notes and list main ideas and main supporting details from modified written texts (such as textbooks, news articles, and short stories or poetry) and modified spoken texts (such as news reports, videos, lectures, and pair or group interactions) that describe cultural values and beliefs, First Nations, British Columbian, Canadian, and global cultures, history, and current events.
  • Preview written texts (scan any headings, sections, pictures, graphs) to predict content.
  • Listen for gist (overall theme and main ideas) in spoken texts.
  • Identify factual details, main ideas, supporting details, and implied meanings in written and spoken texts.
  • Skim and scan written texts to find general and specific pieces of information.
  • Identify the topic and find 2-3 pieces of information in formatted texts such as graphs, tables, and timelines in both written and spoken texts.
  • Arrange information from a written or spoken text into a timeline, identifying cohesive devices that describe a sequence.
  • Respond to short-answer questions based on the information in written and spoken texts.
  • Identify rhetorical patterns in written texts.
  • Identify phrases and sentences that mark topic introduction, development, and conclusion for both written and spoken texts.
  • Identify mood, attitude, and emotional states from tone and intonation in spoken texts.
  • Guess the meaning of unknown terms, phrases, and idioms from the context.
  • Identify cultural references in texts, and develop awareness of differences in the general features of culture and associated world views.

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.

Methods of Instruction

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
  • a complete record of weekly assigned lab tasks, such as reading circles, listening practice, and discussion.

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 items listed below. Evaluation will include, but need not be limited to, the following tasks:

-A collection of basic outlines (a list of main ideas and key details) from at least 2-3 written texts of up to 2 pages in length and at least 2-3 spoken texts of up to 8 minutes in length, demonstrating an understanding of the differences and similarities among people, places or events related to culture and community. At least 1 of the outlines must be based on a formatted text (map, graph, timeline, etc.).

-At least 1 project based on the information from the written and spoken texts. Students will create a visual representation of their learning, which will demonstrate their understanding of people, places or events related to culture and community. The final product should be a compilation task. Possible projects might be:

  • A music project - a class compilation charting similarities and differences in music from different countries
  • A cross cultural montage poster presentation
  • A visual display showcasing different cultures in Vancouver, British Columbia, or Canada

-At least 1 in-class reading assessment and 1 in-class listening assessment to demonstrate mastery of skills (such as arranging information from a written or spoken text into a timeline, skimming and scanning to find information, or identifying main ideas in written or spoken texts).

-Attendance and participation in labs.

-A final in-class exam to demonstrate mastery of reading and listening skills. This may be comprehensive or based on selected course elements.

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

Sample grade breakdown:

A collection of outlines worth up to 15% (total)

Project worth up to 25%

In-class assessment worth up to 20% (total)

A final in-class exam worth up to 10%

Participation worth up to 10%

Lab attendance and participation worth 10%

Self-assessment worth up to 10%

Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, successful students will

Reading and Listening Skills

  1. Understand and annotate modified written texts (textbooks, news articles, and short stories or poetry) that are up to 2 pages in length, describing people, places, and events related to culture and community.
  2. Understand and take notes on descriptive or narrative presentations that are up to 8 minutes in length and that describe topics about culture and community.
  3. Understand short pair or group interactions that are up to 8 minutes in length and that describe topics about culture and community.
  4. Locate and interpret information contained in basic formatted texts such as maps, diagrams, tables, and timelines.
  5. Complete assigned lab reading and listening tasks to a required level of mastery.

Study Skills

  • Assess own progress.
  • Participate effectively in a college classroom.

course prerequisites

ELLA 0010 and ELLA 0011 and ELLA 0012 and ELLA 0013 and ELLA Academic College English entry test, or ELLA Assessment





curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.