English As A Second Language

English As A Second Language (ESL)

Dowling’s ESL Program  is divided into two distinct disciplines:  Expression (Writing/Speaking) and Comprehension (Reading/Listening).  Grammar and Conversation Skills are part of each discipline.  There are three levels of classes – Level 1 (Beginner) and Level 2 (Intermediate) — within each discipline, followed by a 3rd level designed for High Intermediate-Advanced students.  Levels 1 and 2 each meet for 18 hours per week for an entire semester.  The 18 hours are taught as 4 individual classes.

Information about level 3 courses follows the course descriptions for level 1 and 2.


Expression 1 (ESL 0100):

Expression 1 is designed to teach the basic principles of writing beginning with sentence structure to simple paragraph formation.  Stress is on learning the basic principles of grammar, the various types of sentences and using them to write cohesive paragraphs.  After completion of Level 1, students should be able to write sentences which are grammatically correct as well as a well developed paragraph.

(6 hours per week)


Comprehension 1 (ESL 0300):

Comprehension courses emphasize the unique linkage of reading and listening skills.  The focus is on skills used in reading and active listening such as finding key words and main ideas, paraphrasing, understanding written and spoken idioms, and analyzing written texts in its various forms of essays, newspapers, textbooks, and literature as well as spoken texts in speeches, lectures, TV newscasts, radio, and film clips.

(6 hours per week)


Conversation Skills 1 (ESL 0013):

This beginning level course is designed to increase oral proficiency in Level 1 Expression & Comprehension students.  Students will be provided with ample opportunities to speak and interact with the instructor and other classmates in guided speaking activities such as role plays, discussions, and group work to facilitate language learning.  Listening exercises utilizing recorded essays, stories, short lectures, and news clips will also be used to generate discussion topics.  This course will prepare students to acquire the oral skills to place into Conversation Skills 2.

(3 hours per week)


Grammar 1 (ESL 0010)

This required ESL course is designed to provide students with more exposure to rules of grammar of the English language.  Students will review the rules governing verb tenses, prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs and continue with more complex sentence structure.  This course will also introduce and explore the use of dependent clauses as a means of developing variety in sentence structure.  It is the goal of this course to help students write more effectively in both formal and informal written communication in college and business settings.

(3 hours per week)



Expression 2 (ESL 0200):

Expression 2 is designed to teach the fundamentals of English grammar and its correct usage for independent practice as well as in an interactive atmosphere encouraging growth in all areas of language. The use of complex sentences is developed. Students are introduced to skills such as outlining and organizing main ideas and supporting evidence for two or three paragraphs connected by a central idea.

(6 hours per week)


Comprehension 2 (ESL 0400):

This course continues with more difficult reading assignments as well as introducing the difference between explicit and implicit meaning.  CD’s and CNN video clips provide opportunities to develop listening skills. Vocabulary building is stressed and students are exposed to more idiomatic expressions as well.

(6 hours per week)


Conversation Skills 2 (ESL 0014):

This intermediate level course is designed to increase oral proficiency in Level 2 Expression and Comprehension students.  Students will be required to participate in group work and also learn to produce a basic outline and organize short oral informative speeches.  Discussion topics will focus on current events and short recorded lectures.  Listening to short recorded essays will continue to increase effective listening and note-taking skills.

(3 hours per week)


Grammar 2 (ESL 0019):

This required course continues to reinforce the grammatical rules learned in Grammar 1 and support learning in Expression 2.



In addition to classroom instruction, Dowling’s ESL Program offers tutoring labs in both Reading and Writing.  These labs are offered at various times during the day to accommodate the students at each level and materials are prepared specifically to complement the lessons.

There are 2 types of labs: an ESL Writing Lab and an ESL Reading Lab.  The ESL Writing Labs will be for Expression classes (ESL 0100 & 0200) and the ESL Reading Labs will be for Comprehension classes (ESL 0300 & 0400).

These labs are 6 hours in duration.  All ESL Writing Labs will meet from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  All ESL Reading Labs will meet from 1:00 – 5:00 PM.  Labs will be open 3 days a week.

Each ESL class will be assigned a specific day/time to attend a lab.  Attendance will be taken since these labs are required.  A lab grade will be given to each student which will be averaged in with their class grade.  Instructors will be expected to provide either specific work/lessons to be covered in the lab or else material will be generated by the lab supervisors to coincide with the appropriate level of the students.



An advanced level of classes is required as a third level.  These classes include ESL Seminar (9 hours for undergraduates and 6 hours for graduate students) and, if a graduate student is entering the MBA Program, an additional 6 hours of Advanced Composition and Public Speaking.

ESL Seminar for Undergraduates (ESL 0017)

This course is designed for Advanced Level students who need to increase their oral proficiency in English as well as their listening comprehension.  The course is structured in two parts:  the morning seminar focusing on refining writing skills and note-taking for lectures and the afternoon workshop will supplement this material as well as to continue to develop an understanding and usage of English grammar.  ENG 1001 will be offered in combination with this course to better prepare the student for college level courses.

(ESL 9 hours per week)


ESL Seminar for Graduate Students (ESL 0018)

This course is designed for High Intermediate-Advanced Level graduate students who need to increase their oral proficiency in English as well as writing skills.  It is taught by members of the English and Foreign Language Departments who will follow a thematic approach to language learning geared toward graduate level work.  If a graduate student is planning on entering the MBA Program, they must take an additional 6 hours in courses specifically related to that course of study (see Additional Requirement for MBA Candidates).  Graduate students in other disciplines are not required to take any ESL courses in addition to ESL 0018.


Additional Requirements for MBA Candidates:

Public Speaking for ESL Students in the MBA Program (ESL 0011)

This course is an advanced speech communication course for ESL students.  The principles and techniques taught here are similar to those practiced in a traditional public speaking class but they are designed to be more appropriate and relevant to non-native speakers of English.  The main objective is to develop and improve the student’s communication skills while also sharpening each student’s ability to critically observe and evaluate the attempts of others to communicate.  Since the primary focus will be on public speaking, this course is designed to allow each student ample opportunity to inform and persuade others.

(3 hours per week)


Advanced Composition for ESL Students in the MBA Program (ESL 0012)

This advanced course will focus on writing research papers.  Students will be guided through the research process and given clear guidelines and practice exercises in developing research skills.  The course will also include instruction on electronic resources and citation as well as the use of MLA documentation.  Research topics will include both argumentative and informative papers.

(3 hours per week)


EXIT EXAM (University of Michigan Test):

This Exit Exam is used as the standard test to exit the ESL Program for all students in the MBA Program.  Students in Good Standing may elect to take this exam at any time that it is offered during their enrollment in ESL classes and, if they pass, they will be waived out of any further ESL requirements.  If level 3 students should fail, they must repeat the level and retake the Exit Exam at the end of the next semester. A nine hour test preparation class is offered to familiarize students with the test format.