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Writing about Culture and Community for English Language Learners

Course Code: ELLA 0130
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: English Language Learning and Acquisition
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: 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 writing skills. It is most appropriate for students who have experience writing about familiar, concrete topics, and who have fluent basic writing ability and control of grammar. Students will work on improving their reading, composing and organizational skills for writing a descriptive and comparison/contrast paragraph about a topic related to culture and community, as well as for writing personal reflective texts and social messages. Students will also work on revising and editing skills.

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:

Writing Skills

A. Prewriting

  • Understand assignment instructions, including audience, purpose, and format, and tone.
  • Generate ideas from written and spoken texts on a topic related to culture and community, such as cultural values and beliefs, or First Nations, British Columbian, Canadian, and global cultures, history, and current events.
  • Select and narrow a topic.
  • Create an outline.

B. Writing

  • Develop and support one idea in a one- or two-paragraph composition.
  • Write a topic sentence with a specific controlling idea.
  • Express main ideas and support them with details.
  • Provide accurate descriptions, comparisons, or accounts of events in a clear sequence.
  • Write an appropriate concluding sentence.
  • Use appropriate greeting and salutation in social messages.
  • Use language and content appropriate and relevant to a given situation and audience.
  • Demonstrate an emerging level of critical thinking by reflecting on a familiar and personally relevant topic or experience and by comparing it to other views on a similar topic.
  • Use appropriate text organization and discourse markers to signal narration, description, or comparison/contrast.
  • Create coherence within and between paragraphs using appropriate transition signals, pronoun references, conjunctions, and linking words and sentences.
  • Use adequate range of vocabulary, idiomatic language, and cultural references appropriate to the context.

C. Revising

  • Re-draft and revise with peer and instructor feedback.
  • Proofread, edit and re-draft on own.


  • Use the conventions of standard written English grammar for intra- and inter-clause accuracy.
  • Follow academic writing conventions for organization and form.
  • Use modals to express necessity, obligation, and advice.
  • Use present, past, and perfect tenses appropriately to express opinions and discuss topics and events related to time.
  • Use compound and some complex sentences with adequate control.

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
  • peer review
  • computer-assisted learning
  • in-class writing
  • instructor feedback on written work
  • revision of submitted writing

Means of Assessment

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

-A collection of writing and reading tasks demonstrating consistent attention to instructor and peer feedback. Assignments could include single and connected paragraphs, short answer or other tests demonstrating understanding of written and spoken texts, or group work resulting in individual written work.

-A collection of informal reflective writing assignments that are up to 2 paragraphs long, demonstrating an emerging level of critical thinking and an insight into the student's own learning.

-At least 1 project, such as the following:

  • a blog about cultural experiences in Canada
  • a brochure about the best places to visit in Vancouver, BC or in Canada
  • an adventure magazine or travel article about a country

-At least 1 in-class comparison/contrast composition that has 1 to 2 paragraphs and up to 400 words.

-At least 1 in-class social message, such as an email, a letter, or other correspondence that is 1 – 2 paragraphs and up to 200 words long. The message is intended for a familiar audience and is related to everyday experience.

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

Sample grade breakdown:

Writing and reading tasks worth up to 20% (total)

Reflective-writing tasks worth up to 15% (total)

In-class writing worth up to 25%

Project worth up to 30%

Participation worth up to 10%

Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, successful students will

Reading and Writing Skills

  1. Write 1 to 2 connected paragraphs to describe, compare, and/or contrast people, places, and events related to culture and community.
  2. Read about culture and community to develop a full understanding of rhetorical patterns: narration, description, comparison, and/or contrast.
  3. Write 1-2 paragraph formal and informal emails and letters (or other correspondence) for everyday social purposes such as expressing opinion, likes and dislikes, necessity, obligation, and advice.
  4. Write informal reflective texts that are up to 2 paragraphs in length on a familiar and personally relevant topic, which may be related to culture and community.
  5. Monitor and apply strategies to an instructor-specified level of accuracy in grammar, sentence structure, and word choice.

Study Skills

  1. Assess own progress.
  2. 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.