CultureWorks students ready themselves for busiest time of the year, keeping their calendars close by

CultureWorks Award winners for this term
CultureWorks Award winners for this term

At this time of school year, the most watched device for ESL students is not a computer. And no, not the student behind or in front of you either. Even pizza at lunch is set aside.

The key now is the calendar. It may be on the wall, but many are still planning where that wall may be and when they have access to it. A smart phone is a likely place to find the dates required.

CultureWorks students are no different than anyone else in the busiest time of the year.

So let’s take a look at some events in August, most of which play into September.

Events taking place at our ESL school

CultureWorks students will be beginning a new term or joining the classes for the first time in London, Ont., or Ottawa.

Wednesday, Sept. 5. No problem.

But what happened in August?

Well, some were packing their bags and leaving their homes in sites far away, getting prepared to come to Canada for the first time.

Others were making certain they graduate from CultureWorks so that they could enter university, either down the street or in another Canadian city.

And some, unfortunately, were heading home to Saudi Arabia.

(More on that in next week’s blog as we look at the recall, along with the tale of one CultureWorks student who managed to stay in Canada).

Meanwhile, last day each term for CultureWorks students includes the delightful poster presentations, where Level 6 and Level 7 two-person teams show off the results of their eight weeks of work.

A closer look at the poster presentations and Independent Study class

Wednesday, Aug. 15. Let’s get started.

In the morning, teachers, moderators and even the CW management wandered through to gaze at pieces of work that seem out of this world in the degree of talent required.

CultureWorks teacher Karen Preston headed up this term’s version of what is known as the Independent Study class at our ESL school.

Karen said the focus of the program is to let the students select a project they are interested in and “run with it” from beginning to end.

“They start Week 1. They are putting together an idea, working with their partner if they have one, perhaps doing a bit of background research,” Karen said.

“By second or third week, they have put together a project proposal where they have to put all their ideas together, look to see how they might put together a project and depending on what level, they will have to present that information in one way or another, either just to the teacher or to the teacher and other classmates to give them feedback and further ideas.

“And they continue to build from there to Week 8 when they actually present their entire project to everyone.”

All sounds simple? No, not really.

Corina and Yiding share their poster presentation project

Corina and Yiding, both in their graduating term, took on a tremendously interesting subject in which the legal and trading name was MC-Dicer. It is an application software that is designed to solve “people’s small decisions that are difficult to make in life.”

Whew, sound tough? That would be true.

“At first, I think it’s a important topic,” Yiding said. “Because it’s a normal situation in our life and we have to face the situation in decisiveness every day, every time in our life. Like what kind of clothes do I have to wear? I prefer Chinese food or Korean food for my lunch? On and on.”

Yiding and Corina designed an app for their Independent Study class
Yiding and Corina designed an app for their Independent Study class

Why choose this subject?

“Because we think it’s an interesting topic and Yiding agreed with me,” Corina said. “At first, we just think it’s interesting and second because we just think that way works for us, so we wanted to make it more professional. We wanted to create an app and we will create more games.”

Yiding and Corina’s poster presentation
Yiding and Corina’s poster presentation

Karen said the effort put forward by such students as Corina and Yiding is noted each term.

“I love how much effort they put into it when they have something that they want to work on, that it’s not us assigning a textbook page or us giving them a topic to work on,” Karen said.

“They are choosing something that they find interesting and then they tend to put more energy into that and want to share and are proud of what they are sharing on this day.”

Corina and Yiding talk about their experience with the CultureWorks ESL program

At the end of the morning presentations and before awards were handed out and the cake consumed, Corina and Yiding took time out to talk big picture about the CultureWorks ESL program. Both are entering King’s University College in September.

“I think it’s a good time because it helped me to seek the life in Canada and CultureWorks helps us to make friends,” Corina, now 20, said.

“We can just enjoy some of the local life and we have activities. And actually it just makes us feel better. We are not afraid of going into the university in September.”

Yiding noted the fact that their final day at CultureWorks ESL learning was on Brescia University College property.

“I think the biggest part is that it’s located in Brescia and we know that most of the students who study in CultureWorks are prepared for their university life,” Yiding, 21, said.

“You can see and talk with the university students: ‘What do you think of the university life? What kind of study habits do you have?’ We can learn from these students who are already studying on this campus.”

Next up for Corina and Yiding? First day at King’s?

Thursday, Sept. 6. You’re welcome.

Would you like to enroll in an intensive English program in Canada?

Discover why so many students choose to study at CultureWorks!

Want to learn English as a second language? Here are 4 ways to improve your reading skills!

English as a second language program

Learning to read in English can be a challenge. To begin with, many words have silent letters. These silent letters can make it difficult to recognize vocabulary students already know, since words can look very different when written. That’s not all, though. English also has a very large vocabulary. In fact, English has more words than any other language!

For students who want to improve their reading skills, the right ESL program can make all the difference. There are also many useful study tips you can use to improve your English reading skills even faster. Want to know what these tips are? Keep reading to learn more!

1. Read books that are appropriate for your level of English

One reason why ESL students might have some difficulty reading certain books in English is because they might be reading books meant for more advanced readers. Instead of picking up some Shakespeare, try easier short stories or novels that interest you. With texts that are meant for your specific reading level, you may start to feel more comfortable instead of frustrated. This can also be an excellent way to learn new vocabulary words. Write new words down and look them up with a dictionary to help build up your vocabulary when completing an intensive English program in Canada.

2. Try reading out loud

Reading out loud is great for helping students improve their reading fluency. This approach also helps students with their pronunciation. Being able to better pronounce English words might lessen the amount of time it takes for an ESL student to read each sentence in a text, which can help them feel more confident as they improve. Reading out loud can also help ESL students remember certain words in English more easily and better notice when they make mistakes. A good strategy to try is to follow each sentence with your finger to keep you from accidentally skipping any words.

3. Playing board games can make you a better reader

Playing board games with friends can be a really fun way to improve your ability to read in English. One of the best and oldest word games is called Scrabble. The goal of the game is to use the letters that you have been given to spell out words on the board to earn points. Students in an English as a second language program can also try fun games such as Taboo and Word Bingo to improve reading skills.

Board games are a great way to improve your English language skills!
Board games are a great way to improve your English language skills!

4. Read with the friends you make in your English as a second language program

Reading with your friends is another great group activity that can help to improve your reading skills. Every ESL student has a different reading level and many of your friends may know the meaning of certain English words that you may not. You can take turns reading a book together, and when someone has trouble with a word, you can help each other understand. Reading together also makes the experience more fun, but be sure to stay focused and not get distracted!

Reading with friends is a great way to support each other’s success!
Reading with friends is a great way to support each other’s success!

Do you want to learn English as a second language?

Contact CultureWorks to find out more!

CultureWorks helps Amberson High School on its way to summer camp success for 41 Chinese students

41 students enjoyed an incredible experience in Canada
41 students enjoyed an incredible experience in Canada

This year, Amberson High School in Toronto put together a summer camp itinerary for 41 Chinese students.

It was an educational match made in heaven with learning grounds based in Toronto; Shijiazhuang, the capital and largest city in North China’s Hebei province; and London, Ont.

There were other Ontario university stops along the way for the students.

The students came from the Shijiazhuang No. 42 High School, with some entering Grade 9 in September, and the remainder heading into Grade 11.

This keen group of students landed at the Toronto airport on July 28th, and will return to China on August 9th.

In those lucky 13 days, they will have crammed in a terrific amount of knowledge about the Canadian educational system, intertwined with learning a great deal about the geography and history of life north of the 49th parallel.

After a stop at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto the first morning, it was off to London for three days of learning just how the CultureWorks ESL program works, and the relationship it has with Western University, Brescia University College, and King’s University College.

An ESL program with a different teaching style

Amberson principal Desiree Dong said it was an easy decision to begin the ESL program in London.

“It was a our plan to come (to London) because Amberson does have an EAP relationship with CultureWorks, so we wanted the students to experience first hand what the university life is like, to see the campus, be in the CultureWorks EAP class, so that they can make a more informed choice about where they want to study in the future.”

Students learn all about CultureWorks
Students learn all about CultureWorks

Desiree said the students noticed the CultureWorks teaching style was quite different than they were accustomed to in China. Teaching is very “lecture style” in China, she said.

“For the classes that we have been doing here, we had the great pleasure of having Derek (Martin) and Meredith (McGregor) as our two instructors. They were really great instructors and the kids were saying it’s so interactive. It’s a lot of fun. There was a lot of team building, collaboration. There’s not a lot of that in China.”

Derek said he and Meredith were equally impressed with the students. Derek had a class with the students about to enter Grade 9; Meredith had the group about to begin Grade 11.

“Both of us had a great impression of the students. They were keen, very interested and their English was actually better than we thought it was going to be,” Derek said.

“I was surprised at everything they knew and they weren’t afraid to try to use their English, so yes, it was a very positive impression.”

Activities abound for students participating in the ESL summer camp

After the London visit and until they head back to the airport for their flight home to China, the summer camp activity continued to be non-stop, both from an educational and cultural point of view.

You didn’t need to be from the Far East to enjoy the remainder of their jam-packed journey.

Fun activities are an integral part of the summer camp experience
Fun activities are an integral part of the summer camp experience

On the school side, the 41-strong also did tours of the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University.

And they did not miss out on many of Ontario’s cultural treats.

The Royal Ontario Museum, Thousand Islands, Parliament Hill, Canadian Museum of History, Niagara Falls, and the not-to-be missed Shakespeare in High Park were all on their itinerary. Romeo and Juliet was a hit for everyone.

Summer camp deemed a resounding success

Desiree said she was happy with the over-all plan.

“This is our first year of doing a full-on camp like this, so we are really excited to start with Western and CultureWorks, because we do have our partnership (with CW) and we want to show off the best first,” Desiree said.

“From (the students’) perspective, they see it as a really big university. They see it as a big umbrella under Western. Obviously, each campus or each university college has its own history. So it’s very interesting for them to see.”

Derek agreed the exercise was good for all parties, including CultureWorks.

“I think it’s a good experience for the students. I think it’s great for them to come and see the campus where, who knows, they might be studying, but just to see a campus in Canada. It’s great.”

“I’d love to see a campus in China so I could see a campus, have a tour and have them explain all these things. It would be great. So I think there is value in it for the students and it’s nice to be a part of that.”

Derek said it’s important for young students to take an early look at Canadian campuses, including CultureWorks, Western, King’s, and Brescia. He sees more of these types of events on the horizon for CultureWorks.

Students get to experience a Canadian campus environment
Students get to experience a Canadian campus environment

“And then in a couple of years if they are thinking ‘hmm, I would like to study overseas somewhere,’ we are going to be what comes to mind then. ‘Oh, I think I know where I am going to go. I think I am going to go where I visited last year or two years ago or whatever’.”

Amberson High School’s Toronto campuses are now offering the UPathway program that allows Amberson High School students a direct pathway into select universities and colleges. The UPathway program integrates the CultureWorks English language curriculum with the Amberson High School curriculum to ensure student success.

Amberson College

Amberson College Locations:
[one_half]North Campus:
2 Simonston Blvd
Markham, Ontario, Canada
L3T 4L1

[one_half_last]South Campus:
3470 Pharmacy Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M1W 2S7[/one_half_last]

Would you like to attend ESL school in Canada?

Discover the opportunities available at CultureWorks!

4 amusement parks to visit when studying English in Canada

studying English in Canada

Canada may be known for its cold winters, but summer here is also a wonderful experience. Festivals, Canada Day celebrations, and visits to local wildlife reserves are all a fun part of studying in Canada during the summer. These aren’t the only activities ESL students can look forward to. Canada also has several theme parks to visit!

For students who want to learn English and have fun at the same time, here are just some of the many places to explore.

1. Take a trip to East Park for many different activities

If you decide to study English as a second language in London, Ontario, you might want to visit East Park during your studies. This amazing amusement park has plenty of different activities and games to try. First, there are the indoor activities such as bumper cars, rock climbing, and even an arcade!

ESL students can enjoy arcade games and more at East Park!
ESL students can enjoy arcade games and more at East Park!

Then you have fantastic outdoor games such as go karting, which allow ESL students to drive around a racetrack with friends. Practising baseball at the batting cages can also be a wonderful activity to try. It’s a perfect way to enjoy local culture and have fun at the same time!

2. Canada’s Wonderland is a must-see for students studying English in Canada

Located near Toronto, Canada’s Wonderland is the biggest amusement park in the whole country. It’s also one of the most popular. This amusement park has several thrilling roller coasters, such as the Leviathan—the tallest roller coaster in Canada. Adventurous students can also try many other rides and roller coasters, including an inverted roller coaster called the Flight Deck, which is a very special experience!

See it for yourself in this short clip:

[youtube]This park is perfect for students who want an adventure, but even nervous ESL students can have fun too. Canada’s Wonderland also has plenty of more relaxing rides, including a beautiful antique carousel. This theme park even has a water park with a wave pool, slides, and more!

3. Calypso Water Park is perfect for a warm summer day

Summertime in Canada can get very hot, which is why many Canadians love to visit water parks during this time of year. For students learning English in Ottawa, visiting Calypso Water Park can be a wonderful activity to enjoy with friends.

This water park is the biggest water park in the country, and is home to some of Canada’s tallest and fastest waterslides. Students interested in studying English in Canada can slide down the mighty Adrenaline, spin around the vortex of the Black Hole, and brave the twists and turns of the Boomerango and Aqualoops! Wave pools, volleyball courts, and more also await students at this fun park.

4. Play some laser tag and more at Fun Haven

Trips and activities help students make new friends, enjoy local attractions, and also practice their English. It’s why top ESL schools such as CultureWorks plan many different activities for students.
Fun Haven is another fun amusement centre in Ottawa where students can have fun, relax, and practice English. For starters, students can work together to solve puzzles in Fun Haven’s escape rooms. Each escape room has a theme and a story, and it’s up to participants to solve the puzzle before the time runs out. Fun Haven also has other great activities such as laser tag and a special game called Laser Frenzy, which is a maze participants need to try to complete without touching any lasers.

For students who want to make memories that last a lifetime, these activities and parks offer a wonderful adventure!

Do you want to learn English with a fun and supportive ESL program?

Join CultureWorks, an English for academic purposes school in Canada!