English Clusters

English Clusters are free weekly ESL study groups offered at varrying day/times on-campus to help International Students, Faculty, and community members improve their English and to learn more about local culture. 

English Clusters are led by current undergraduate and graduate students who are studying English Edcuation, or similar fields. All clusters are free and are open to anyone who would like to join. Topics range from speaking workshops to Harry Potter themed classes to everyday conversation hours.

If you are interested in trying an English Cluster, read through the list of English Cluster sessions we offer, as well as the current schedule. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact the Director of Academic Success & English Clusters, Kayla Vonburg at [email protected]

Fall I 2018 Cluster Descriptions

American Board Games
Mondays at 3:00 p.m. with Jordan Hollemon in Library 202
Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. with Virginia West in Library 212A
This cluster will use a variety of board games to practice reading, writing and conversational skills. Whether it be spelling words with Scrabble or describing words to each other with Headbandz, board games are both an engaging and fun way to practice English.

American Cooking & Culture
Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. with Alexis Zosel in Library 212A
This cluster will take participants "into the kitchen" to learn more about American cuisine and cooking. The focus of this cluster is to help participants improve their knowledge on common cooking items, terms, and recipes. Hands-on activities will allow the participants to further master the material.

American Cultural Traditions
Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. with Ty Gill in Library 212A
This cluster will cover American Traditions and Culture from the Continental USA, Alaska, Hawaii and the territories. Participants will engage in conversation as well as well as broaden their vocabulary while learning about the rich culture. Regional food will be available on certain days.

American Culture through Music
Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. with Jeanne Torp in Library 212A
This cluster will use American music to help participants learn English vocabulary and phrases through song lyrics. Lyrics to different songs will be discussed and studied at each session.

American Pop Culture
Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m. with Ali Mitchell in Library 212A
This cluster will expose participants to a variety of elements surrounding American pop culture, including celebrities, politics, media, music, and much more.

Conversation Hour
Mondays at 1:00 p.m. with Madeline Cook in Library 212A
Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. with Julia Charnitzky in Library 212A
Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. with Sydney Mitchell in Library 212A
This cluster is your chance to practice your English in a low-stress, supportive environment on topics from pop culture opinions to current events to wild what-if pondering. Stop by to talk about your day and respond to low-structure discussions with flexible topics. All skill levels and interests welcome!

Cross-Cultural Communications
Mondays at 5:00 p.m. with Kelly Slater in Library 212A
This cluster will include discussions surrounding cultures around the world and how each deals with various issues, including military, natural resources, education, and more. The cluster leader will use these discussions to help students to improve their English skills, particularly in Speaking, Listening, and Reading.

Current Events Discussion
Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. with Alana Mitias in Library 212A
This cluster will focus on developing skills critical to reading, understanding, and speaking about current events through the use of news articles, videos, and discussion. The cluster leader will help students to hone in on their reading comprehension, listening, speaking skills in a fun and laid-back environment!

English for the Workplace
Mondays at 7:00 p.m. with Blake Bione in Library 212A
This cluster will help students develop and practice the English skills needed to be successfull in the workplace.

Harry Potter Discussion
Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. with Sydney Johnson in Library 212A
This cluster will explore the "boy who lived" and focus on literary elements, comprehension, and vocabulary throughout the first book "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J. K. Rowling. The group leaders will guide participants into a new world of magic and will be able to apply the skills learned to future reading and writing. 

Multiculturalism Through Film
Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. with Juyeon Jang in Library 212A
This cluster will discuss issues of diversity, race, and ethnicity in America through film. This cluster will familiarize with key terms and concepts such as racial and ethnic identities, stereotypes, racism, and multiculturalism. The cluster leader will encourage discussion around diverse aspects of race and culture represented in the films while encouraging them to think about related issues in their everyday lives.
​Public Speaking
Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. with Lennis Barlow in Library 212A
This cluster will focus on honing participants' ability to speak eloquently, both one-on-one, through interview practice, and in front of a group, through short speeches given by the participant. Throughout the class, we will go over tips and strategy for speaking oral English that is fluid, professional, and confident.

Pronunciation Workshop
Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. with John Wilkins in Library 212A
This cluster will help participants to improve their pronunciation skills. This will include an emphasis on each vowel and consonant sound and combination, as well as general elements such as stress, pitch, and tone.

Reading Workshop
Fridays at 2:00 p.m. with Emily Ruela in Library 212A
This cluster will involve texts pulled from news outlets, literature works, and other pieces of writing in English.  Participants will read articles, get answers to their vocabulary, grammatical, and comprehension related questions, and have a lively discussion about the work used during the cluster.

Speaking & Listening Workshop
Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. with Shaila Collins in Library 212A
This cluster will use a variety of techniques, mostly interactive, to help participants improve both their speaking and listening skills, primarily focusing on discussion. The cluster leader will help participants to apply what they learn to various forms of verbal communication that they may need to use.

Understanding Campus Life
Mondays at 2:00 p.m. with Laurel Peek in Library 202
This cluster will focus on a variety of student interests or needs such as email writing, campus life, vocabulary they forget to teach you, music, movies, paper editing and more. Our goal for the semester will be flexibility and making connections.

Understanding English Proficiency Tests
Mondays at 6:00 p.m. with Kayla Vonburg in Library 212A
This class will help to prepare participants to take the standardized English proficiency tests, particularly the TOEFL. Students will have the opportunity to work through practice questions with feedback from the instructor.

Understanding Everyday Situations
Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. with Claire Haxton in Library 212A
This cluster will help participants become familiar with English dialogue used in everyday situations.  The group leader will also discuss and provide context to various situations that are unique to the United States all while strengthening conversation skills with the students.

Understanding Writing in the U.S.
Mondays at 4:00 p.m. with Alyssa Eilers in Library 201
This cluster will focus on improving participants' skills, such as organization, composition, formatting, citation, and revision in writing for academic purposes, including essays and research papers. In additon, the cluster leader will help participants apply grammar skills to any academic writing they may do throughout the semester.

Writing Workshop
Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m. with Michaela Watson in Library 212A
This cluster will aim to help participants improve their writing skills through a variety of exercises and writing prompts, covering topics such as essay organization, composition, thesis writing, and communicative forms of writing, including letters and resumes. The cluster leader will help participants apply this information to any form of writing that they may need to do.