5 tips for staying organized at ESL school

intensive English program in Canada

Life as an English language student can be very busy, as you balance classroom studies, social activities and rest. However, there are plenty of ways to organize your time which will help you to get great results in school and have lots of fun during your stay in Canada, too!

This advice is easy to follow, and they are great habits to learn for later in life as well. Here are five simple ways to get organized during your stay at English language school in Canada.

Research the country before arriving

It’s normal to be nervous during the first few weeks at English as a second language school, especially if you are studying in a new country. Before arriving, take some time to research the city and country that you are visiting.

Find out about the transport routes and the price of everyday products or services. Learn what kind of weather to expect there, too. This can often be different depending on the time of year you arrive. For instance, you should be prepared for the extreme cold if studying in Canada during winter, but there’s no need to pack heavy jackets if you are arriving for the summer.

Use calendars and to-do lists at ESL school

Once you’ve got used to the country you are in, then it’s time to concentrate more on your studies. You will have different tasks to complete for different classes, so prioritize what you need to do on a daily basis.

Create a colourful study calendar for your work desk
Create a colourful study calendar for your work desk

Put a calendar at your desk, or keep it updated on your laptop or smartphone. Give yourself enough time to complete all tasks and keep a to-do list to make sure you are not forgetting anything. Completing all your work on time will reduce your stress levels and help you to get great results.

Use technology correctly

When you are studying in your room, it’s a good idea to keep your smartphone or laptop out of reach unless you need them. But there are times when technology can help you to stay organized. For example, you could organize a group chat with your schoolmates on WhatsApp or Messenger, where people can ask questions about the course.

You might be confused about an assignment, or what needs to be done for class the next day, and being able to contact other students quickly can make it a lot easier. Of course, ESL school teachers are always happy to help, but this is another great option for staying organized.

Take effective notes

There is lots of vocabulary and grammar to learn in the English language, so you will be taking plenty of notes in the classroom. However, you should avoid writing too much. Use short sentences and keywords, because it is much easier to remember smaller pieces of information.

Make sure that it’s easy to read the notes, too, because you will need them when you are revising information before an exam. Use different coloured pens to write words in English and in your own language and use different notebooks for separate classes.

Eat right and get enough sleep

Your brain works much better when it is well rested. Try and get eight hours of sleep every night, and you will have a lot more energy to study the following day. It is not always possible to eat full, healthy meals as a busy student, but there are lots of simple things you can do. Keep some simple fruit or nut-based snacks in your bag on campus, which will give you an energy boost. Remember to drink lots of water, and try to eat plenty of fish, too, which is great brain food.

Get enough rest from study during the day
Get enough rest from study during the day

Study a new language the right way by choosing an intensive English program in Canada.

Find out how CultureWorks can prepare you to succeed.

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!

Fun indoor activities to try this winter while at ESL school

English for University study

Winter can be a wonderful time for having a snowball fight with friends, tobogganing down a local hill, snowshoeing along a beautiful trail, and enjoying other fun outdoor activities. However, that doesn’t mean students can’t enjoy activities indoors as well. Whether you’re looking to have a fun evening with friends, or simply want to stay inside on a cold day, there are many things to do during the winter that don’t involve wearing a snow suit.

Here are some activities you can try!

Enjoy an escape room with the friends you make at ESL school

Escape rooms have become very popular in Canada, and it’s not hard to see why! It’s a fun challenge, and can be a great way to spend time with the friends you make at ESL school. Together, you are locked into a room. You then have to solve different puzzles in order to “escape” before your time runs out.

Escape rooms can often have different themes. You might have to escape the lab of a mad scientist, or find a lost treasure chest in order to complete your mission and win the game. Whatever the theme, though, one thing is certain: you’ll have plenty of fun with this challenging indoor activity.

Rock climbing is another fun activity to try during the winter

If you want to get some exercise while also staying inside, then you might want to try rock climbing. Plenty of facilities offer rock climbing in Ottawa and in London, so you can try this activity no matter which city you choose for your studies. In addition, you don’t need to have any previous experience to try rock climbing, although you will need to follow important safety precautions to make sure you stay safe.

CultureWorks students enjoy an afternoon of rock climbing for a fun challenge
CultureWorks students enjoy an afternoon of rock climbing for a fun challenge

Play a few board games with your friends from ESL school

Playing board games can be a wonderful way to spend a day inside when it’s cold. In fact, students enrolled in CultureWorks’ intensive English program in Canada can enjoy scheduled events that include board game nights. These events are held right on campus, making them easy to get to even when there’s plenty of snow outside.

In addition, many Canadian cities such as London and Ottawa also have what are known as board game cafes. You can go to one if you want to play some new board games and even enjoy snacks or a cup of hot chocolate. It can be a great way to spend time with friends during the winter while staying warm indoors.

Try indoor archery for an unusual afternoon activity

If you’re looking for something a little more unusual, then indoor archery might be the perfect activity to try this winter. Just as the name would suggest, indoor archery can involve learning how to use a bow and arrow to shoot targets. However, many facilities add a fun new spin to this activity by tipping arrows with soft foam and encouraging teams to play archery tag together. It’s a perfect option for students who want a little adventure added to their studies!

Of course, winter is just one of the seasons you can enjoy while learning English for University study.

Discover the many other activities you can try as a CultureWorks ESL student!

These Clever Grammar Tricks Can Give You a Head Start on Your ESL Program

intensive English program in Canada

Are you considering coming to Canada to study English as a second language? If so, you’ll have the chance to improve many of your English language skills. You’ll improve your academic reading, writing, public speaking, and more! Your studies will also include plenty of instruction on English grammar.

English grammar can be difficult. Even native English speakers have trouble with its many rules. Fortunately, while many grammar rules need to be learnt through memorization and practise, there are some easy tricks you can use to avoid making common mistakes.

Keep reading for three tricks you can use to improve your English grammar!

When to Use “I” or “Me” During Your ESL Program

When learning English, it can be difficult to remember the correct way to refer to yourself in a sentence. Do you know which of the following sentences is correct?

A. “Me and Jenny went to the restaurant.”

B. “Jenny and I went to the restaurant.”

The correct answer is B. The words “me” and “I” are both singular pronouns. This means that they can both be used to refer to yourself in a sentence. Many native English speakers as well as students in English as a second language school struggle to remember which word to use in a sentence, but there is an easy trick to it!

If you’re trying to write a sentence like the one above, remove the other person from the sentence to determine if it still makes sense. Does “Me went to the restaurant” sound right to you? If not, you’re correct!

The reason why the first sentence is wrong is because “me” is an object pronoun, which means it’s used as the receiver of the action verb in the sentence. For example, “Jenny told me to come to the restaurant.” In this case, you are the one being told, which means that you are the object of the sentence and “me” is the appropriate pronoun to use.

The word “I” is a subject pronoun. When you use it in a sentence, it means that you’re carrying out the action, like in the example “I went to the restaurant.”

Knowing when to use “I” or “me” will help improve your English proficiency
Knowing when to use “I” or “me” will help improve your English proficiency

How to Write Numbers Correctly During Your ESL Program

When it comes to writing numbers, even some native English speakers don’t know the correct rules! However, writing numbers is actually pretty easy.

There are two ways you can write numbers: writing them as numerals (1, 2, 3) or spelling them out (one, two, three).

But which option should you use? There’s a simple trick for remembering when to use numerals and when to spell out the number. If the number is from zero to nine, write the number using letters (one, two, three). If the number is 10 or higher, use numerals (10, 11, 12).

There are a couple extra tricks that you can remember, too. If the number is the very first word in a sentence, you should always spell it out. Also, if you’re writing a list that includes numbers that are below and above 10, it’s best to keep them all the same and use numerals.

If you forget these tricks before starting your ESL program, don’t worry! You can always ask one of our friendly instructors for extra assistance.

Use FANBOYS to Remember Coordinating Conjunctions

In English, there are two structures that can be used to make a sentence: independent and dependent clauses. An independent clause can stand alone, like in the sentence “I ate the apple.” A dependent clause like “If I ate the apple” can’t stand alone because it is not a complete thought. Sentences can be formed several ways. They can be:

  • An independent clause
  • A dependent clause combined with an independent clause
  • Two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction

When making sentences with two independent clauses, you must use a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction to link the two together. But how do you remember coordinating conjunctions? A quick trick for remembering them is to use the acronym “FANBOYS.” Each letter represents one conjunction: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So.

For example, “I ate the apple, so I wouldn’t be hungry” is a complete sentence with two independent clauses. In this case, they are linked together by the coordinating conjunction “so”.

If you’re thinking about enrolling in an intensive English program in Canada, these tricks are sure to help!

Want to learn more? Contact CultureWorks today!

4 Reasons to Enroll in a Canadian English as a Second Language School in 2017

Find out why 2017 might be the time enroll in an ESL program here

Have you been dreaming of enrolling in an English program, but keep putting it off? 2017 is the perfect year to come to Canada and join the 1.75 billion people around the world who speak English.

There’s a reason Canada was named the top place to go in 2017 by The New York Times. Our picturesque landscape, friendly people, and welcoming culture creates the perfect backdrop for learning English.

Why might 2017 be the best year yet for you to take ESL classes? Here’s a look at some of the reasons why learning English is so important, and why Canada is the perfect learning destination.

1. Enroll in an ESL Program in 2017 to Open Up Career Opportunities

English is becoming more and more prevalent around the world. So much so that it is now considered the global language of business. As a result, completing an ESL program and developing your English skills will open up many career opportunities around the world you may never have had before.

Knowing English will give you the confidence to work in a variety of industries like science and engineering, the business sector, or healthcare. Whether English will become your second, third, or fourth language, employers will find your ability to speak more than one language, and especially English, very valuable.

2. Students Who Are Fluent in English Can Tap Into a Wealth of Articles and Content Online

As English becomes a globally accepted universal language, more and more content on the Internet is being produced in English. In fact, over half—55 per cent—of all website content is written in English. By learning to read English you will be able to tap into many online resources including blogs, academic articles, and research you might have had difficulty understanding before.

3. Enroll in an ESL Program in 2017 to Access a Top Canadian Education

Many ESL students want to complete an intensive English program in Canada so that they can eventually attend a top-notch English speaking university or college. In fact, many of the world’s top universities teach in English.

To help students make a smooth transition into a Canadian university, CultureWorks students can gain conditional acceptance into Canadian universities and colleges when they apply to our ESL school. Once they complete the CultureWorks ESL program, they can then begin their university studies in Canada, without having to complete an IELTS or TOEFL test.

4. Students Living and Studying in Canada in 2017 Get to Enjoy Canada’s 150th Birthday

ESL students who decide to learn English in Canada will have even more to look forward to this year. That’s because this year Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday! To celebrate this historic achievement, cities across Canada are hosting extra fun events. There will be plenty of special museum exhibitions, concerts, and other once-in-a-lifetime events that you can attend while studying in Canada.

In addition to these special celebrations, Parks Canada is making admission to all of Canada’s 200 National Parks and historic sites free. It’s the perfect year for ESL students to explore Canada’s unique culture and beautiful outdoors while completing their English studies.

In 2017, ESL students can celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday!
In 2017, ESL students can celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday!

Are you ready to enroll in English as a second language school this year and enjoy all that Canada has to offer?

Contact CultureWorks today to get started!

Is the Gateway Intensive English Program Right for You? 4 Ways to Find Out!

intensive english program
Gateway intensive English programs let you learn English from home

Are you looking for a way to develop your English skills from your home country? At CultureWorks we offer an online Gateway program, which lets you learn English from your own home.

Although our traditional programs take place in classrooms and schools in Canada, the Gateway program lets you take courses online without needing to come to Canada right away.

The Gateway program is offered to ESL students at Levels 4 or 5 in their studies. Once they complete the online Gateway program, students can either finish their Level 6 ESL studies in Canada at a CultureWorks campus, or simply use their new English skills at home or at school anywhere in the world.

Does this option sound appealing? Keep reading to find out if our Gateway English program is right for you!

1. Online Intensive English Programs Are Perfect for Students on a Budget

Moving to another country can be expensive. With visa costs, flights, and travel expenses to consider, it may be hard to make the financial commitment to study English abroad. By staying in your own country for Levels 4 and 5 of your ESL studies, you won’t have as many costs to worry about. Our online Gateway program is less expensive than our traditional on-campus ESL program. By staying in your home country instead of opting for our intensive English program in Canada, you’ll save about 20 percent on tuition, fees, and textbook costs.

2. Students With Family Responsibilities Might Benefit from an Online ESL Program

If you have family at home that rely on you, it may be hard to move to another country to learn English. That’s why the Gateway program is perfect! It lets you stay at home to be with your family. You can even choose how much time you want to spend every week learning English. CultureWorks offers you the choice between an eight-week full-time program and a 16-week part-time program.

3. You’re Nervous About Moving to Study English in Canada

Moving to another country can be extremely exciting. However, we understand it is a big decision! If you’re not ready to make the leap, you can start your intensive English program from your own country with the Gateway program. The Gateway program will allow you to get used to your ESL studies, so that by the time you are ready to move to Canada and begin your Level 6 studies, you feel less nervous.

4. An Online Intensive English Program is Good for Students Who Need to Work

If you need to work while studying, the Gateway program is right for you! With the option of choosing part time studies and the flexibility online courses will give you, you can still work and support yourself or your family. Part-time studies only require 10 to 12 hours per week, while full-time requires 22-26 hours. If you would like to work while you study English, CultureWorks’ online Gateway program could be the perfect option for you.

Are you excited to study English in Canada or from home?

Contact CultureWorks today to get started!

Educator Spotlight: What Kind of People Teach at Our ESL School?

Students and teachers enjoy the giant jumping pillow at Clovermead Adventure Farm
Students and teachers enjoy the giant jumping pillow at Clovermead Adventure Farm

When students come to English as a second language (ESL) school in Canada, they enjoy the experience of a lifetime. They make new friends, learn new things, and get the English skills they need for university.

This all happens because of great ESL teachers!

Excellent teachers are like the heart of CultureWorks: they keep everybody healthy, happy, and feeling good. Our teachers help make CultureWorks the unique ESL school that it is.

Want to learn more about the teachers you can meet at CultureWorks? Read on to find out four facts about our wonderful instructors.

1. Our ESL School Teachers Have College and University Degrees

In Canada, teachers need professional certification to teach ESL. These standards include ‘Teachers of English as a Second Language’ certification (TESL). At CultureWorks, teachers have TESL certification and more.

Every CultureWorks teacher has at least one university degree. We only hire highly-qualified English experts! They know how to help you learn the language skills you need to attend English universities and colleges, because they did it themselves.

2. Our ESL School Teachers Are Fun and Friendly

Some of your best friends at CultureWorks might be your teachers! That’s because our teachers are very professional, but still love to have fun. They know ESL school is about more than hard work. It’s also about having adventures and making friends from all over the world.

Teachers want to work here because they love to meet and help ESL students like you. They are friendly, patient, and always happy to answer a question or share a laugh.

A teacher has fun with CultureWorks students at the Drum Café Activity
A teacher has fun with CultureWorks students at the Drum Café Activity

3. Our ESL School Teachers Have Lived and Worked Abroad

Every teacher at CultureWorks has lived and worked abroad. They love to travel and try new languages, as well as visit new places and meet new people.

Now they work at our intensive English Program in Canada. But before arriving at CultureWorks, they taught English in countries like Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Vietnam, Spain, India, Mexico, and Portugal.

They have also visited many other countries for fun vacations. If you study at CultureWorks, you might meet a teacher who knows (and loves) your home country!

4. Our ESL School Teachers Care about Students like You

At CultureWorks, student success is very important to our teachers. In fact, they are completely committed to helping students prepare for college and university.

Starting with a placement test, CultureWorks instructors help students like you find their perfect English learning level. That way, lessons won’t be too hard or too easy.

Once you begin your studies, these teachers will not let you sit quietly in the back of a classroom—they’re there to answer your questions and will make sure you are doing your best!

Students celebrate the completion of one of our specialty programs with their teacher
Students celebrate the completion of one of our specialty programs with their teacher

With help from our caring teachers, you can finish ESL school with the English grammar, punctuation, and pronunciation skills you need to succeed at a university in Canada. Nothing can stop you from achieving your goals!

Are you ready for a great English as a second language program?

Visit CultureWorks to get started!

3 Ways to Boost Your Listening Comprehension Skills in an Intensive English Program in Canada

Intensive English Program in Canada

Listening skills are an important part of being a university student. If you decide to study at a Canadian university, you’ll need to listen to classmates as you work together on team projects as well as carefully listen during class lectures to understand course material. That’s why developing your listening skills is a top priority at ESL schools like CultureWorks, which are designed to help you acquire the language skills you need to succeed at university.

Through engaging assignments, classroom instruction, and fun class trips, you’ll learn to listen and speak English with ease (as well as develop your reading and writing skills too!). And while our courses are designed to help you develop your language skills quickly, there are a few tips you can use to boost your listening skills throughout your studies.

In fact, here are some top tips we’ve included on how to improve your listening comprehension skills while you attend an intensive English language program.

1. Hone in On Key Words as You Begin Your English as a Second Language Program

If you’re beginning your ESL education, you might need to start developing your listening skills by determining the main idea of a discussion. To do that, it might be a good idea to hone in on just a few key words instead of trying to understand each and every word you hear in a listening exercise or conversation with a friend.

Listen to what’s most important about a topic and not the extra details as you start out your intensive English language program in Canada. This will allow you to focus on specific items when listening, and reduces the amount of information you have to hold in your short-term memory. Then, as you become more comfortable, you’ll be able to broaden your scope and try to catch each word you hear.

2. Top-down: A Successful Listening Strategy to Try at an ESL Program in Canada

The top-down strategy is all about doing research before listening to a discussion, so that you can feel comfortable with the words you might encounter. For example, if you participate in the CultureWorks’ elective called the Daily Boomalang, you’ll get to practice your English through group discussions on current events and other topics. So if you have an assignment on discussing the Tim Horton’s Roll up the Rim to Win contest, for example, then you might want to do some research so that you know key terms like “Tim Hortons,” “donut,” “coffee,” and “prizes.” That way you’ll have an easier time following discussions and won’t be surprised by new vocabulary words you don’t know.

CultureWorks students talk about the Roll up the Rim to Win contest during the Daily Boomalang
CultureWorks students talk about the Roll up the Rim to Win contest during the Daily Boomalang

3. Read Along to Boost Your English Listening Skills

Another top way to boost your listening skills while you attend an ESL program in Canada is to read along as you listen to the words being spoken aloud. By trying this approach, you’ll get to see the combination of sounds, words, and grammar that are used.

Of course, this approach won’t work well for daily conversations with your friends. Instead, try listening to an audio book at the same time as you read the story. This way, you’ll be able to see how the words match up with the sounds, and take your listening skills even further than before.

Want to hear more about learning English at a top Canadian ESL school?

Discover how CultureWorks’ English as a second language program helps you prepare for university in Canada!

Canadian Spelling Basics for Students Enrolled in an ESL Program

intensive english program in Canada

You’ve probably already noticed that English spelling and pronunciation is a little special. Some words like ‘thought’ and ‘would’ are filled with silent letters, while other words like ‘bologna’ and ‘colonel’ aren’t pronounced the way they’re written.

To make matters even more complicated, many English words are spelled differently within each English-speaking country. For example, the word ‘colour’ can be spelled as either ‘colour’ or ‘color’ depending on whether you’re in Britain or the United States.

As you begin your ESL education in Canada, you will learn a bit of both American and British spelling. This is because Canadian English is a unique combination of both. And with the help of our friendly and experienced instructors, you’ll be spelling English like a pro very quickly!

Why is Canadian Spelling Different?

Canadian spelling is the result of Canada’s long history with both England and the United States. When the United States became an independent country, Americans wanted to separate their identity—and spelling—from England. That’s why in 1828, Noah Webster published An American Dictionary of the English Language, which included new words like “skunk” and “squash,” but also spelled many common words differently than British dictionaries did.

Because Canada was still a British colony at the time, Canadians kept British spelling. However, due to Canada’s close proximity to the United States, Canadians also began to use the American-spelled versions of some words.

“Our” and “Re” Endings: What ESL Students Need to Know

When Noah Webster spelled American words differently, his decision wasn’t just political. American spelling often cuts out extra silent letters or chooses options that are closer to the way the word is pronounced out loud.

For example, in the British word ‘colour,’ the ‘u’ isn’t pronounced. That’s why American spelling changed it to ‘color.’ Another example is the word ‘centre’, which is pronounced ‘center’ in all English-speaking countries. To help the written word match the pronunciation, Americans spell it ‘center’.

In Canada, most words that end in ‘our’ and ‘re’ are spelled the British way. This includes the following:

  • behaviour
  • honour
  • flavour
  • humour
  • metre
  • lustre
  • theatre

“Ce” Endings: What Students Learn in their ESL Programs

As you’ll soon learn at English as a second language school, some letters like ‘c’ can be pronounced in more than one way. In some cases, a ‘c’ is pronounced like a ‘k,’ and in other words, it’s pronounced like an ‘s’. That’s why American spelling changed some of these letters to help readers remember how to correctly pronounce each letter.

For example, words like ‘defence’ (British spelling) are spelled ‘defense’ (American spelling), and ‘offence’ (British spelling) are spelled ‘offense’ (American spelling). In this case, Canadian spelling also follows British rules.

“Ize” Endings: Is There a Standard for Students in ESL Programs in Canada?

Even though many Canadian words are spelled the British way, there are some cases where we opt for American spelling instead.

esl program
In Canada and the United States, hospitalize is spelled with a ‘z’

During your intensive English program in Canada, you’ll learn that Canadians spell the word ‘recognise’ (British spelling) with a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s.’ Other words ending in ‘ise’/ ‘ize’ that use American spelling in Canada include:

  • capitalize
  • categorize
  • harmonize
  • hypothesize
  • legalize

Of course, if ever you’re unsure about how to spell a word, you can always ask your instructor. At CultureWorks, our patient instructors are more than happy to answer your questions in order to ensure you fully understand each English lesson in our ESL program.

CultureWorks instructors provide guidance and support to students
CultureWorks instructors provide guidance and support to students

Do you want to study English in Canada?

Discover the CultureWorks ESL program, and learn how we combine fun trips and activities with hands-on language learning.