Course Descriptions

Beginning Level


This course provides opportunities for students to practice speaking English in structured and semi-structured situations. Special attention is given to vocabulary and to a limited set of functions (such as requesting, apologizing, and complaining). Class activities include small group work, student presentations and community speakers. As a part of this course students also meet regularly with university students from the U.S. to practice conversation skills.


This course prepares students to understand natural conversations in a variety of situations, which include using the telephone, working together, socializing, getting information, and decision-making. A variety of American accents are introduced in audio tapes and videos. Guest speakers and directed activities with U.S. students provide additional listening practice. Students also work on developing observation skills in order to improve their ability to read cultural cues in conversations and academic settings. Social skills and the specific language necessary for daily interactions are emphasized as learners study increasingly complex situations.

Intermediate Level

U.S. Culture Today

This course investigates U.S. culture (1960-present) from practical and sociological perspectives. Topics covered include general information about U.S. regions and the government, daily concerns about living in the U.S., and an overview of social problems, values and beliefs in the U.S. This course emphasizes listening and speaking skills. Classroom activities include lectures by the instructor and guest speakers, small group discussions, and the analysis of videos about life in the U.S. Assignments include interviews with Americans; short essays about how U.S. culture is reflected in films, television and/or magazine articles; and speeches comparing and contrasting U.S. customs with customs in students' native countries.


This course focuses on academic writing and the elements of the writing process, including prewriting, revision and editing. Students develop or reinforce computer word processing skills. They also do timed writings in class to prepare for essay exams and standardized tests. 

Advanced Level


This course focuses on the skills needed to succeed in CST 110, a general education course required for all UW-La Crosse undergraduate students. Students develop oral presentation and organization techniques which are applied in informative and persuasive speeches.  In addition, students develop an understanding of the formal and informal discourse patterns used in academic settings in the U.S.

Research Paper

This course is designed to prepare students for college-level reading and writing challenges.  It introduces students to the kind of writing that they are likely to encounter throughout their college career:  summarizing, paraphrasing, critiquing, and synthesizing.  The course reviews the process of research:  gathering materials selecting sources, and arranging information.  Students will learn how to use and cite sources.  Drafting, revising, and proofreading skills will be developed.

For a complete listing of ESL courses:
Undergraduate Catalog pages for ESL

Contact Information:
ESL Institute
Centennial Hall, Room 1209
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
308 16th Street N.
La Crosse, WI  54601 U.S.A.
Phone: 608-785-8315