English Language Support

English Language Centre

Our Mission

As Canada’s largest boarding school, we are fortunate enough to enjoy a diverse student population each year, welcoming students from more than 25 different countries. To support students from all over the world, the English Language Centre (ELC) offers an intensive English support program as an adjunct to the everyday student experience. Staffed by expert English language educators, the ELC promotes individualized academic language acquisition and personalized student success through Canadian cultural experiences in a warm, supportive, diverse environment. Through a combination of classes, social activities, and cultural sharing, the ELC helps students learn, live, and thrive in English, preparing them for a wealth of post-secondary possibilities.

What makes our English Language Centre special?

The ELC focuses on effective communication, and graduates of the program report better, richer experiences because of English excellence, added connection, and increased confidence. ELC students enjoy experiences including:
• English reading, writing, speaking, and listening classes 
• engaging in subject-specific vocabulary support
• exploring Shawnigan and Canadian culture  
• meeting friends from all over the world
• learning skills to bridge to university 
• developing confidence
• making meaningful memories 
ELC student can also access:
• specialist support for IELTS and TOEFL tests
• mentoring programs
• individualized tutoring with subject-specialists
• peer tutoring 
• BC Literacy and Numeracy exam preparation (graduation requirement)
• AP exam preparation
• university admissions essays assistance
• optional trips during School breaks (very popular, subject to availability)

English Language Team

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Pema Yangchen

    Pema Yangchen 

What Students are Saying

Student Profile

Jenny Z.

"Everyone is so nice at Shawnigan. Everyone really works at making everyone else feel included and a part of this community. Even during COVID, when you can’t actually see people smiling as they walk past you because they are wearing a mask, you know they are still smiling at you because everyone always looks you in the eye, or they wave at you. Even during this challenging time, people still care about one another.

I started at Shawnigan in Grade 9 in the Prep Program. At that time, the most important thing for me was improving my English. The Prep Program seemed like the ideal place for me to do that. I thought I was just going to be improving my English, but looking back, I realize that I learned so much more during my year in the program. My year in the Prep School had a huge impact on me and it helped me become who I am today." Read more


List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • What will a typical day look like for a student of the ELC?

    The student will wake up in their boarding house and proceed through a regular day - a healthy start, breakfast, an academic class, a nutrition break, another academic class, lunch, then two more classes. Two to three times a week, students will attend a class in the ELC for subject-specific support and skill-building. The students will then participate in co-curricular programming after school, dinner, homework, and house events, like all Shawnigan students. ELC students are fully immersed and integrated with English speakers from a variety of backgrounds.
  • My child has been identified as a student who will require language support. What does that mean?

    After the language placement test, our Admissions team will communicate how many blocks of support your child will need. Acting as a second language course, ELC classes enrich your child’s English language to ensure it doesn’t prevent them from achieving their full potential. Your child will take between one and four blocks of support during the regular school day. 
  • Will my child miss out on any necessary credits?

    No. In fact, students who take ELC classes are working to achieve better grades in their other credited classes. 
  • Is there an extra cost for ELC classes? If so, what does the cost cover?

    There is a flat monthly fee associated with enrolling in an ELC class. The specific tutorial support available during ELC classes should replace the need for traditional tutoring. ELC classes have small class ratios, expert teachers, and additional testing support (for standardized tests such as IELTS and BC Literacy and Numeracy exams). Also, ELC students benefit from a designated support person during their time at Shawnigan and are also welcome to visit for drop-in tutorials at designated times.

English Grammar and Composition

English Grammar and Composition (EGC) courses are taught within the English Department as an additional level of support to students for whom English is not their first language. Students who take EGC have a proficiency in English to make them too advanced for the level of support seen in the English Language Centre.

The aim of each course is to develop and enhance confidence and skills, and therefore positively impact grades and improve assessment results in all classes. In many cases, a student will need the greatest support with their skills in English and Social Studies, but if support in expressing themselves through the English language is needed in other courses, this is available. Despite the presence of complex thought in the work they present in their classes, students may be penalized for distracting errors in their writing.

EGC instruction utilizes the patterns of the first language to help remedy some of the common English grammar errors that prevent students from fully realizing their potential. By design, EGC intensifies grammar repair and builds skills for self-editing. Students are placed in the appropriate course (ECG I, II, or III) based on age and English proficiency. Like the English Language Centre, these support blocks have a fee attached to their enrolment.

A student’s core English teacher and ECG teacher consult regularly within the English Department to identify areas of deficiency and greatest need so that an appropriate program of support can be put in place in ECG and supplemented by tutorials with the core English teacher. When support with English in other classes is necessary, the student’s ECG teacher, advisor and other subject teachers will collaborate to put an effective support plan in place.

In some cases, EGC allows for focused practice of exam skills for the Literacy 10 and 12 Provincial Assessments and Numeracy 10 Assessment.

By taking an English Grammar and Composition class, students will learn to effectively express themselves so that any challenges they feel with the English languages can be overcome. The impact of this development can be seen across all classes and academic results.
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.