English Language & Communication Skills Development

The College of Medicine is fortunate to have a diverse cadre of educators for medical students and residents. Many of our faculty, residents and fellows are bilingual or trilingual or can speak and/or write several languages. If English is not your first language or if you want to develop more effective communication skills in English, the University of Arizona Center has resources for individual as well as small group tutoring. Below are a few FAQs.

Who at the UA offers English language tutoring?

The Study of the English Language (CESL) on main campus.

How is tutoring done?

Tutoring is, generally, done in person. You could participate one-on-one with a CESL instructor, or you could sign up with colleagues for small group tutoring (2-5 people). There are online activities that could be substituted for in-person tutoring, but face to face tutoring enables participants to receive individualized activities and immediate and personalized feedback.

How much time does it take?

Small group or individual Skill Intensive Workshops (SIW) consist of a total of 10 hours over 8 weeks. The time frame could be flexible to accommodate the clinicians’ schedules. For example, if clinicians needed to do the tutoring over a longer period, they could make that request at the beginning. Adjusting the time frame would be the instructor’s decision.

How could residents, fellows or faculty participate? 

There are two ways to participate in CESL's SIW language tutoring.

  1. As a group of 2-5. The total cost for the group to participate is $750.
  2. One-on-one. This SIW program is called “Elite Tutoring” and is $550 per person.

How would this be scheduled?

Participants arrange the schedule with the CESL instructor directly. For small group tutoring, the clinicians would arrange with the CESL instructor to meet at a mutually convenient time. They could agree, for example, to meet on Mondays, 5-6 pm.

How late do CESL instructors work?

CESL instructors work various hours, depending upon their individual schedules and the schedules of the people they tutor. Typically, the latest a CESL instructor might work is 9 pm. But, this is an individual instructor’s decision. They could work later if they decide to do so.

Would the tutoring be customized?

Yes. The tutoring would be customized to meet the needs and requests of the clinicians. If the clinicians wanted to become more effective at communicating in English with patients, colleagues and students, then that would be the goal of tutoring. If they wanted to develop a particular English accent, for example, they could set that as a goal for tutoring.

Where does tutoring occur?

The CESL instructor can meet anywhere on the UA campus, including at the College of Medicine or Banner University Medical Center.

Who would the instructor be?

Once the request for tutoring is made, the CESL Coordinator will notify several available instructors. The CESL instructor who is available and can meet the needs of the tutoring goals will be assigned. In addition, Sumayya KR Granger, Ph.D., CESL's Assistant Director of Academic Support, might determine which CELS instructor could best meet the specific needs of the person or group requesting language tutoring.

Who do you contact to find out more about or set up the tutoring?

Please contact Courtney Coffey*, Tutoring Coordinator, CESL, ccoffey@email.arizona.edu. (Please copy Sumayya KR Granger, PhD, on any request for tutoring; her email is sracy@email.arizona.edu).

What else?

The CESL language and computer labs maintain an extensive collection of software and other resources for practicing English.

What about student resources?

For students, CESL's Program for Academic Student Success (PASS) offers free academic workshops to support student success.