Support for students with English as an additional language (EAL)
SASS offers a number of programs and resources to help multilingual students be successful at university. Both undergraduate and graduate students can improve communication and build confidence by working on academic English reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.
Not sure where to start? Visit our frequently asked questions tab.
We support students’…
- General skill development: learn strategies for academic writing and self-editing
- Grammar: learn, review, and practice grammar topics
- Cultural conventions: learn about the expectations of a North American / English audience
- Academic vocabulary: develop an academic word bank
- English Proficiency Test (EPT) preparations: practice for Engineering and Applied Science Students
- Presentation practice: get feedback on a presentation for a course or conference
- Pronunciation: review and practice the sounds of English
- Academic discussions: learn and practice strategies for contributing to class discussions
- Vocabulary: build a spoken academic vocabulary with appropriate idioms and expressions
- Lectures: learn and practice strategies for understanding lectures and conferences
- Comprehension: develop skills to understand spoken English and pull out key ideas
- Active listening: find ways to engage with what your peers and professors are saying
- Comprehension: develop strategies to break down complex academic readings and identify key concepts
- Vocabulary: learn about resources for understanding academic language
- Integrating Research: explore how to effectively integrate ideas from readings into your writing for a North American / English audience
What is EAL support?
Students who speak English as an additional language can meet with the Academic Skills Specialist (EAL) for ongoing skills development. The purpose of this service is to support students in developing their academic English skills over time. Students may be interested in additionally booking writing or learning strategies appointments. The EAL program helps students develop similar skills as these other two programs, but through the specific lens of English skills development.
These appointments are private and confidential. Appointments are free, and they are available to all current domestic and international students who do not speak English as their first language.
“[The EAL Coordinator] explains things really clearly and made me feel more confident about my English skills. SASS and EAL made my graduate studies easier and less stressful. I wish every university had that program.”
What are EAL appointments like?
The first meeting focuses on discussing your goals for improving your academic English and creating a plan to achieve those goals. You and the coordinator will decide together how many times you should meet and what you will do at each session.
Each appointment is different, to suit each student’s needs, but some typical sessions include:
- Grammar lessons: Students bring in a piece of their writing. The coordinator helps to identify trends of grammatical errors and explains self-editing strategies to fix them. (Note—this is not an editing service.)
- Academic writing development: Students bring in writing and the coordinator helps identify places where meaning is unclear. By discussing word choice, transitions, and sentence structure, students develop their ability to produce writing that effectively communicates critical ideas.
- Pronunciation: Either by going through the sounds of English, one by one, or through speaking exercises, students receive feedback on their English pronunciation.
- Academic reading in English: Students bring in an academic reading and learn, then practice, strategies to support their comprehension of both vocabulary and key ideas.
How do I book an EAL appointment?
If you are interested in booking a EAL appointment, please request an introductory appointment. Once you fill out this form, you will receive an email with further instructions on how to access our online booking tool.
You need to fill out this form only once.
Write Nights are weekly interactive writing workshops where you are empowered to make choices as a writer. A different writing topic is discussed each week. Click here for a PDF of the Write Nights poster for Fall 2021.
When? Tuesday evenings, 5:30-7:30 pm or Thursday mornings, 9:00-11:00 am
What? Write Nights focuses on a different topic every week and includes opportunities for practice.
- September: Academic phrases, Articles, Writing structure
- October: Transitions, Prepositions, Source integration
- November: Pronouns, Avoiding idioms, Wrap up
Academic Connections Certificate
The Academic Connections Certificate (ACC) allows you to uncover the academic expectations at Queen’s University through programs and services about academic success and overcoming academic culture shock. Participation in the ACC is flexible; complete the certificate in a few weeks or over the academic year, and engage online or in person! Register online and you will be invited to join the onQ course. A PDF of the ACC brochure is available here.
Core certificate requirements
Attend all four sessions of Overcoming Academic Culture Shock: Strategies for Success at Queen’s University (or complete modules on onQ)
- Session 1: Academic learning
- Session 2: Academic communication
- Session 3: Academic integrity
- Session 4: Academic writing
- Attend any two sessions of Write Nights. Write Nights are weekly interactive writing workshops where you are empowered to make choices as a writer. A different writing topic is discussed each week, and topics include academic phrases, articles, writing structure, transitions, prepositions, source integration, pronouns, and avoiding idioms.
- Attend any one Wellness Session and document participation. Choose a session related to wellness offered by the Queen’s International Centre, Student Wellness Services, and/or the Student Experience Office. See the list of possibilities and document participation in onQ.
- Sign up for any service or program from 1:1 Connections. Try out a one-to-one service or program offered within the Division of Student Affairs. See the list of possibilities, follow directions to sign up, and document participation in onQ.
Speak Up: Academic Speaking Skills Lab
What is it? Want to increase your confidence speaking in an academic setting? Join us for Speak Up, an academic speaking skills lab where you can practice speaking strategies for interacting in the university classroom, and with peers and professors.
Who can use it? Any Queen’s student is welcome to join Speak Up, but it has been designed for international and students with English as an additional language who want to practice their academic speaking skills in a supportive space.
How does it work? The speaking lab alternates each week between meeting in person and on Zoom on Tuesday mornings, 11am-12pm. Register on the SASS events calendar.
International Voices @ Queen’s Podcast
What is it? IV@Q is a supportive listening space for members of the Queen’s University community, developed in partnership between SASS and the QUIC. Episodes include topics about culture shock, developing your authorial voice, and navigating housing in Canada.
Who is the host? The host of the first season of IV@Q is AmirHossein Sojoodi, a PhD student in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). You can find more information about him at https://amirsojoodi.github.io/
Who can use it? We welcome listeners from our local Queen’s community and around the world.
How does it work? Episodes can be streamed from the CFRC website or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Asynchronous writing support
SASS is currently piloting an asynchronous EAL support program. Priority for participation will be given to students studying outside of Kingston and Canada.
- What is it? A chance to receive feedback on your written work by email. Feedback is given on the use of academic English where style, grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and conventions are concerned. This is a skill-development program, not an editing service.
- Who can use it? Students who are looking for support with academic English but find it challenging to book a synchronous EAL appointment.
- How does it work? If you think you’re eligible to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.