English as a Second Language (ESL)

UWL's ESL Institute is accepting applications for Spring & Fall 2022. 

We welcome individuals who want to improve their English proficiency for further education, professional development, or personal enrichment. Our focus is on learning academic English through classroom instruction and interactive activities.

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ESL Program

  • 3 levels of instruction from beginning to advanced
  • Classes in speaking, listening, reading, writing
  • Classes are content-based, so you learn English while studying a topic
  • English proficiency test to determine your level of ESL study
  • Classroom activities with American students
  • Bridge program to enroll in one regular university class in addition to ESL classes in your final semester
  • Opportunity to earn General Education credit toward a degree program in some Level 3 classes

La Crosse Community

  • La Crosse, Wisconsin is a mid-sized city (52,000 residents) located in western Wisconsin next to the Mississippi River
  • Unique scenic beauty including Granddad Bluff, nature trails, and parks
  • Wide variety of seasonal recreational activities such as biking, kayaking, hiking, skiing, sledding, and ice skating
  • Regional center for shopping, dining, entertainment, health care, and education
  • La Crosse Regional Airport (LSE) offers daily flights to and from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), and Detroit Wayne County Airport (DTW).

Support for Students

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Students from the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka meet with Chancellor Joe Gow and Provost Betsy Morgan

ESL lab expanding section

1142 Centennial Hall 

ESL Language Lab Resources

  • Internet and Computer Use for Students
  • Voice Recording Software for Pronunciation Practice
  • Academic Tutoring
  • Student Library Collection (Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Reference Books)
  • Language Games and Activities
Calendar expanding section

2021 Fall Term

Application Deadline July 15
Arrival  August 30-31

Orientation 
(La Crosse Battery September 1)

September 1-6
Classes begin September 7
Thanksgiving recess:
The ESL Institute will be closed during the week of Thanksgiving
November 25-28
Last day of ESL classes December 22

 

 

Spring 2022 Important Dates Coming Soon!

Courses expanding section

ESL 100 Cr.4

ESL Speaking

This course provides opportunities for students to practice speaking English in structured and semi-structured situations. Special attention is given to a limited set of functions (such as requesting, apologizing and complaining). Pronunciation work focuses on basic regularities of English pronunciation. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 101 Cr.4

ESL Reading

Focus is on comprehension of reading passages with time limits and with understanding of main and supporting ideas. Students increase their passive vocabularies through the study of word formation and by learning to use an English-English dictionary. Reading skills such as skimming, scanning, prediction, use of context clues and recognizing thought groups are also stressed. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 102 Cr.3

Written English Skills: Appreciating the Arts

Students practice the foundational skills of writing academic sentences and paragraphs through controlled and free writing about visual arts by local artists. Students also explore visual literacy and compare written organizational patterns across languages. Seven week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 103 Cr.3

Oral English Skills: Talking about Health and Wellness

This course gives students practice understanding spoken English of varying lengths and complexity as they talk about teamwork, recreational activities, healthy eating, mental health, and the importance of these topics in U.S. society, especially on college campuses. Instruction focuses on understanding and engaging in natural, unplanned conversations, both formal and informal, to improve communication skills. Special attention is given to the pronunciation (phonology) of words and phrases in this region. Seven week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 106 Cr.4

ESL Intensive Reading/Writing I

This course develops reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar skills. The course is intended for high beginner students in English and for students with basic abilities in reading and writing. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 107 Cr.4

ESL Intensive Listening/Speaking I

This course develops listening, speaking, pronunciation and vocabulary acquisition for use in daily life and the classroom. The course is intended for high beginner students with basic communication abilities. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 110 Cr.3

Oral English Skills: Telling your Story

Students develop speaking and intercultural communication skills for informal and formal settings. Telling their own story(ies) through the creation of a digital media project, students practice tailoring communication to particular audiences, standard forms of organization, and common transition signals used in oral communication. This course also introduces students to oral conversation strategies, such as circumlocution and pronunciation for understanding. Seven week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 100. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 111 Cr.4

Written English Skills: Reading the Region

Students in this course join a community of readers on campus and develop reading skills in meaningful ways by reading local/regional authors. Academic reading skills are the focus, including summarizing, paraphrasing, skimming, scanning, making inferences, and distinguishing between different purposes for reading. Students develop their ability to critically read academic and other texts. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 101. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 112 Cr.4

ESL Writing/Grammar

Focus is on improving students’ ability to write convincing English paragraphs and essays with greater fluency. The basics of writing are reviewed. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 102. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 113 Cr.4

ESL Listening

This course introduces students to English used in an educational context. Emphasis is on note taking by listening to short lectures. Conversational English listening skills are also studied including topics such as guessing meaning from context, stressed words, and understanding fast English. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 103. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 116 Cr.4

ESL Intensive Reading/Writing II

This course develops reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar skills. The course is intended for intermediate level students with some ability in reading and writing but with limited vocabulary and range of expression. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 106. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 117 Cr.4

ESL Intensive Listening/Speaking II

This course develops listening, speaking, pronunciation and vocabulary acquisition for use in common social situations and the classroom. The course is intended for intermediate level students with some communication ability but with limited vocabulary and range of expression. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 107. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 150 Cr.3

Oral English Skills: Wisconsin and Its People

With a focus on developing academic oral language skills (listening and speaking), students learn about Indigenous peoples and historical and present-day migration to Wisconsin through authentic texts, such as the Hear, Here project in La Crosse. Students practice note taking skills and practice listening to lectures and conversational English, including skills such as guessing meaning from context, stressed words, and understanding fast English. Students practice speaking skills in whole-class and small group formats as they develop skills in managing their own learning. Students develop critical thinking skills around displacement and migration. Seven week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 110. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 151 Cr.4

Written English Skills: Technology and Social Media

In this course students engage in reading a variety of texts and text types, demonstrating reading strategies, and developing academic reading abilities. Students develop critical reading skills (i.e. drawing inferences, understanding author perspective, identifying bias). Students analyze a variety of social media and write response essays of varying lengths and genre. Language foci include understanding denotative and connotative meaning, recognizing the use of active vs. passive voice, and recognizing ambiguous language. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 111. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 152 Cr.3

Written English Skills: Communicating our Values

In this course students develop their ability to express themselves and their values through writing. Students are introduced to and employ the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, revision, peer-editing) as they practice a variety of written organizational patterns and master topic and concluding sentences. Students write increasingly complex sentence structures and extended discourse of several paragraphs. Special attention is paid to identifying and citing evidence to support claims in academic writing. Seven week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 112. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 153 Cr.4

U.S. Culture Today

This course gives students an understanding of the United States from practical and sociological perspectives. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities focus on information about daily life, values, beliefs, and social problems. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and/or appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 113. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 155 Cr.1-16

Special Topics in ESL

These courses are designed for special or contract groups in need of intensive English for non-academic purposes. Listening, reading, speaking, writing and cultural activities will be stressed, according to group needs. Each program-design could be for 1-16 institute credits - according to contractual agreements and amount of intensive English required. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and/or appropriate score on ESL placement test. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 156 Cr.4

ESL Intensive Reading/Writing III

This course develops academic reading and writing skills of high-advanced level students. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 116. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 157 Cr.4

ESL Intensive Listening/Speaking III

This course is designed to help students gain confidence in their listening and speaking skills in academic settings as well as in conversation. Focus will be on developing academic vocabulary, critical thinking skills and honing research and organization skills necessary for delivering formal presentations. Attention will be given to analyzing the audience and tailoring a speech for a specific purpose. In addition, this course highlights strategies for successful listening techniques such as predicting, evaluating information and recognizing organizational cues. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 117. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 200 Cr.4

ESL Speaking/Listening

Emphasis is on the use of English in academic settings as well as in conversation. Course concentrates on lecture comprehension, with special attention to note taking, recognizing main ideas and support and determining the attitude of the speaker toward the subject. Students also work on comprehension of complex information presented in non-lecture format, as in the dynamics of small-group discussion. Pronunciation focuses on individual needs of students. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 150. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 201 Cr.4

ESL Reading

Emphasis is on reading f or academic purposes. Students work on comprehension of academic reading selections, as well as challenging non-academic material. Students work on tone and distinguishing fact from opinion. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 151. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 202 Cr.3

Written English Skills: Research and Writing

In this course students engage in individual research on a topic of interest related to global/international business and develop the skills to write an academic research paper. Students utilize the writing process as they develop greater grammatical accuracy, expand their vocabulary, and improve their ability to write for particular audiences and purposes. Special attention is paid to selecting and paraphrasing sources. Seven week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 152. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 203 Cr.3

Oral English Skills: Talking about the Environment

This course is designed to prepare students for college-level lectures and discussions. Students improve strategies for effective note-taking, including listening for cause and effect, chronological order, and supporting examples, as they engage in academic lectures. Students also develop strategies to work more effectively in large and small groups in academic settings, such as understanding a speaker’s point of view, working cooperatively, and asking for clarification and additional information. The theme is the environment, conservation, and sustainability. Seven week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Prerequisites: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test, and/or successful completion of ESL 153. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at the C-level is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 206 Cr.4

ESL Intensive Reading/Writing IV

This course develops academic reading, writing, and research skills of advanced students who are interested in undergraduate or graduate programs in the United States or other English-speaking countries. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 156. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 207 Cr.4

ESL Intensive Listening/Speaking IV

This course develops academic listening and speaking skills for advanced level students who are interested in undergraduate or graduate study in the United States or other English-speaking countries. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 157. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 226 Cr.4

ESL Intensive English for a Successful University Experience

This course prepares students for a successful university experience. Focus will be on writing summaries, critiques, and synthesis; study skills, group work, testing taking strategies, research writing, university culture/expectations. Seven-week course. Repeatable for credit - maximum eight. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of ESL 206. (Transcript credit only. Does not count toward graduation. Performance at 80% is required for a grade of pass.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

+ESL 250 Cr.4

Oral English Skills: Issues and Controversies in the U.S.

Students in this class develop language strategies and techniques for success in academic classes, including the formal and informal discourse patterns needed for academic work. Students learn about local and state politics and explore how policies relate to social justice goals, while also exploring notions of advocacy and how their own actions make a difference. Special focus will be on developing confidence to speak up in academic settings. Finally, students identify bias in speaking and use vocabulary, structures, and discourse patterns appropriate for persuasive speaking. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and/or appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of Level 2 of the ESL Institute Program. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

+ESL 251 Cr.3

Written English Skills: Reading about Data

The focus of this course is on reading data and statistics in academic writing. Students identify a topic of interest then critically evaluate and select research articles related to the topic. Students use effective academic reading skills (previewing, predicting, identifying organizational patterns, detecting unstated assumptions) and strategies (scanning, skimming, using headings, guessing meaning from context) to read the selected research articles, paying particular attention to the methodology, data collection, data analysis, and findings sections. Students write summaries of what they learn from each article and develop the skills to look at their own and others' writing critically. Seven week course. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and/or appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of Level 2 of the ESL Institute Program. Offered Spring.

+ESL 252 Cr.4

Written English Skills: Researching Your Community

This course is designed to prepare students for college-level reading and writing through an individual research project. Students review the process of research (gathering materials, selecting sources, and arranging information) and practice the kind of writing that they are likely to encounter throughout their college career (summarizing, paraphrasing, critiquing, and synthesizing) as they research a personally-meaningful aspect of their new community. Special attention is placed on synthesizing and citing academic sources as students draft, revise, and proofread their research papers. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and/or appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of Level 2 of the ESL Institute Program. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

+ESL 253 Cr.3

Oral English Skills: The Culture of Food

Through a focus on food, especially as seen through the medium of American movies and reality television shows, students develop oral language skills (listening and speaking) along with cultural understanding. Students master listening skills (such as listening for the main idea and guessing vocabulary from context) and, through reading about dominant cultural values and seeing them played out in media, develop culturally-appropriate speaking skills for a variety of purposes. Seven week course. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and/or appropriate score on ESL placement test and/or successful completion of Level 2 of the ESL Institute Program. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESL 255 Cr.1-16

Special Topics in ESL

Focus for these content-based courses in ESL is on strategies and techniques for success in academic classes, including vocabulary development, lecture comprehension, textbook reading, note and test-taking. Topics may vary by semester and may be offered as adjunct courses to those in the regular university curriculum. Repeatable for credit - maximum 16. Prerequisite: non-native speakers of English and/or appropriate score on ESL placement test. Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

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