Professional English Language Skills (PELS)

The Professional English Language Skills (PELS) program consists of eight one-hour workshops (offered over eight weeks) with a focus on improving English language and academic skills related to spoken and written English.

Who is PELS for? 

PELS is primarily for UTM students who have English as a Second Language (ESL), though UTM students who need to work on their English language skills are welcome to attend.

PELS can help you learn how to:

  1. develop confidence and comprehension;
  2. use and apply academic language; and
  3. create accurate grammatical structures necessary for success in written tasks.

How to Participate

You can come to one workshop that interests you, attend a few of them, or attend the entire series!

If you wish to earn a Co-curricular Record (CCR) notation on your transcript, you must meet all of the CCR eligibility requirements.

View the PELS workshop schedule and registration information.


Co-Curricular Record (CCR) Eligibility Requirements

If you wish to receive a CCR notation on your university transcript, you must:

  1. attend at least seven of the eight PELS workshops; AND
  2. submit a short written reflection piece upon completion of the PELS workshop series. 

CCR Attendance Information

Please allow up two weeks after the conclusion of the final workshop in the series for your attendance to be updated in the online system. Please contact the CCR office if you have questions about your CCR notation.


Schedule and Workshop Topics

Please email us at academicskills.utm@utoronto.ca for more information. 

Workshop 1: Strategically Learning to Learn

This workshop aims to help students make smooth transitions from high school to university and develop their study skills. The session first examines differences between high school and university writing. It then discusses good study skills for international or English Language Learners (ELL). It focuses on note-taking strategies conductive to academic success at the university.

Workshop 2: Preparing to Write

This session is designed for students who need to refine and strengthen their reading and outlining skills in order to effectively begin to write. The emphasis for this workshop is on reading practices and developing specific strategies for understanding the materials assigned by the course instructor. Students are introduced to strategies for comprehension and preparation.

Workshop 3: Writing an Effective Introduction

Writing can be challenging, but one of the biggest challenges can often be simply getting started. In this session we examine the introduction to an essay. Get strategies to help you craft effective sentences that capture your reader’s attention while expressing your main point clearly and concisely. 

Workshop 4: Writing Body Paragraphs

Join us in the Professional English Language Skills (PELS) program this week as we talk about how to effectively use descriptive language in a structured body paragraph. This week we are targeting topic sentences, and mixing in additional vocabulary that is suitable to your academic program of study. 

Workshop 5: Analysis and Argumentation

This week in the Professional English Language Skills (PELS) program, we are discussing analysis and argumentation. In preparation for all the upcoming assignments, this session should build on what you have already learned about writing body paragraphs and allow you to develop your ideas in a more fluid way.

Workshop 6: Editing and Revision

How have you been doing on your papers? If the answer is ‘not as well as I had hoped’ - then I have the solution. The Professional English Language Skills (PELS) workshop series talks this week about the topics of Editing and Revision. Learn how to incorporate instructor comments as well as how to edit and proofread your work. Writing is a process, learn how to improve yours!

Workshop 7: Cohesion and Flow

This week in the Professional English Language Skills (PELS) program, we are continuing our discussion on your essay writing. Using the material we have been discussing weekly, we are talking about cohesion and flow of an essay. 

Workshop 8: Time Management

Navigating the path to success at university can be particularly challenging if English isn’t your first language or if you are an international student. There are resources available to help, but sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin. This session introduces some of the key resources on campus related to Time Management. By participating in a range of fun and engaging activities, participants in this session will determine which strategies might work best as the countdown to Final Exams begins!