Support for English Language Learners

The following is support the RGASC offers for English Language Learners (ELLs) at UTM. Depending on the form of support, instructors can either direct students to access it on their own or instructors can arrange for that support to be integrated into their courses.


Students in UTM courses can practice and improve their academic skills through face-to-face appointments (currently suspended while the RGASC’s physical office is closed because of COVID-19), online synchronous, and online asynchronous appointments. These appointments often relate to writing skills, including language and grammar, but also can also focus on general study skills, such as time management, note taking, or critical reading. They are open to both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Other supports that are offered include the formal workshop series, Professional English Language Skills (PELS), which can either be offered to students as part of their Co-Curricular Record, or as a component in a first-year course.  PELS can be specifically tailored to meet the needs of students in any course, and instructors are encouraged to contact an ELL Specialist at the RGASC for further information. PELS can be delivered in-person through a traditional workshop format or online where students access asynchronous instructional modules and individualized feedback on their written submissions from an ELL Specialist. In addition to PELS, the RGASC also offers on-demand workshops on a variety of topics, including those based on common language issues, and instructors can arrange for an ELL specialist to deliver these workshops either during or outside of lectures. 

For instructors of upper year courses (200+), the English Language Learner Support Initiative (ELLI) offers support and funding for instructors seeking to implement additional ELL programming in their courses, usually through the addition of ELL-focused TA hours. ELLI is specifically designed for instructors who are committed to working with students on improving their communication skills. 

Instructors may also want to encourage students to enroll in ISP010: Basics of Writing in English (BoWiE), a non-credit course focusing on the fundamentals of writing. As part of the broader set of offerings by the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP), ISP010 is designed to support students who are unlikely to demonstrate success in ISP100, a required course in a number of programs across campus. If space is available, UTM instructors can suggest that students apply to take ISP010 to enhance their writing skills.

The RGASC’s ELL Specialists are Laura Taylor (Associate Professor, Teaching Stream) and Sheila Batacharya (Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, LTA).

Consultations with one of our ELL Specialists are always welcomed. We encourage instructors to reach out for support with assessment or other pedagogical strategies to support ELL students in their courses. UTM instructors can book an appointment with an ELL Specialist by emailing academicskills.utm@utoronto.ca