MODEL will offer new services to English language learners

October 2, 2018

McMaster introduces new services for ESL students

McMaster has opened a new centre to help ESL students who may be struggling with English.

The McMaster Office for the Development of English Language Learners – more familiarly called MODEL – will offer a range of workshops as well as one-on-one consultations and individual language assessment. All of MODEL’s services are free.

Developed by the McMaster English Language Development office, MODEL’s program is informed by research into second language learning at McMaster’s Centre for Advanced Research in Experimental and Applied Linguistics (ARiEAL), as well as best practices established through the intensive MELD and MERGE programs.

With MODEL, students can sign up for workshops, which will include sessions on writing, speech, reading and listening, as well as acculturation and academic skills, via OSCARPlus. Academic advisers and faculty members can also refer students to MODEL via the program’s website.

“Our ESL and English for Academic Purposes specialists have used their expertise, their experiences with MELD students, as well as the research that‘s being done at ARiEAL to open our services up to the more general ESL population at McMaster,” explains AB Warriner, MODEL’s program developer. “There are nuances around English that can cause ESL students anxiety – what’s considered ‘quotable‘ material, for example, or how to craft a polite email – and we want to address those issues that are specific to second language learners.”

MODEL has a student adviser with experience in both ESL and counselling who can meet with students to discuss personal, social and academic concerns, and can also act as a conduit for other campus services.

For Provost David Farrar, whose office funds MODEL, the project is an important resource for supporting students’ academic achievement.

“Based both on cutting-edge research and on established best practices, MODEL will provide valuable services and resources specifically tailored to meet the needs of our undergraduate and graduate ESL students,” he says. “I believe the program is a powerful demonstration of the university’s commitment to supporting all students in reaching their academic, personal and professional goals.”

Anna Moro, the director of the McMaster English Language Development office, which runs MODEL as well as MELD and MERGE, says the program allows all ESL students at McMaster to benefit from important research findings about second language learners.

“We’re very excited to bring this programming to life for McMaster’s ESL population,” says Moro. “We’ve designed services and programs that are rooted in evidence-based practices, and that we believe will address the linguistic and cultural needs of ESL students. We’re extremely grateful that we’ve been given the opportunity, and the responsibility, to provide support to a population that is critical to the knowledge ecology of the University.”