English Language Center

BYU English Language Center

Teacher Handbook

The Mission of BYU's English Language Center

As a lab school, the English Language Center supports BYU's Department of Linguistics and English Language by facilitating the teaching, learning, and research of English as a second language. The ELC achieves this mission by:

  1. Providing BYU students with opportunities to apply university study in practical contexts and to develop excellence in English language teaching, tutoring, curriculum design, materials development, technology use, assessment, evaluation, and research.
  2. Providing ELC students with the highest quality teaching of foundational and academic English in a research-based curriculum.
  3. Sharing our scholarship by presenting and publishing our relevant experience, research, and resources for the benefit of others.


This handbook is written for teachers at BYU’s English Language Center (ELC). It includes important information to help them be successful in their work at the ELC and to ensure that they are in compliance with all policies and procedures. Teachers with questions related to their responsibilities should consult this handbook first. They should also read and be familiar with the ELC Student Handbook.

The contents of this handbook are organized around the ELC’s mission statement including the introduction and the three focus statements. Teachers should become familiar with the mission of the ELC and how it relates to their individual work.

Note about departmental support:
The ELC supports the Department of Linguistics and English Language by providing faculty with access to ELC resources, language learners, or instructors to facilitate their teaching, the learning of their students, or their research.

PART 1: Teacher Development

From the ELC's Mission Statement:

  1. Providing BYU students with opportunities to apply university study in practical contexts and to develop excellence in English language teaching, tutoring, curriculum design, materials development, technology use, assessment, evaluation, and research.

The ELC provides opportunities for BYU graduate students enrolled in Linguistics 611 and 612 to teach at the ELC under the supervision of a cooperating teacher. These courses are offered winter semester and usually include opportunities for practicum students to teach half of the semester in the CORE Program (Community Outreach English) and half the semester at the ELC with a cooperating teacher. In addition to observing the cooperating teacher, student teachers play an increasing role in planning and teaching in their practicum classrooms. Cooperating teachers are usually paid a small stipend for their work with a practicum student. ELC teachers should understand that this practicum experience is central to the ELC mission.

1.1 Hiring, Evaluation, and Mentoring

1.1.1 Hiring Policy

Because of their central role in the ELC’s mission, BYU’s TESOL graduate students receive priority in the hiring process. First-time teachers who have received at least a “B” in Linguistics 611 and 612 are eligible to be hired for one class. Returning student teachers may be eligible to teach one or two classes. However, students who are not progressing adequately in their graduate work or are past their second year in the program will lose their priority status and may not be offered a class. Depending on enrollment and the number of TESOL graduate students, non-students with a record of excellence in teaching and a willingness to mentor student teachers may also be hired to teach some ELC classes. Continuing employment for all teachers at the ELC is based on quality of teaching and teacher citizenship as demonstrated by the timely completion of administrative responsibilities and the overall contribution the teacher makes to the ELC. Classes will not be offered to teachers who fail to fulfill teaching and administrative responsibilities or who undermine the ELC’s positive learning and teaching environment.

1.1.2 Proficiency Requirements for Teachers

The English language proficiency standard for teaching or tutoring at the ELC is Advanced-High. Exceptions must be approved by the Executive Council.

1.1.3 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

As a lab school, BYU’s English Language Center’s primary obligation is to current students. Nevertheless, the ELC cannot guarantee classes to part-time teachers regardless of student status. This includes international students who plan to stay in the US after graduation for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT status does not change the process for determining teaching assignments for an individual. Applications to teach at the ELC for students who hope to receive OPT status will be processed on the same time table as the other applications. Nevertheless, every effort will be made to inform applicants as soon as possible regarding whether the ELC is able to offer them classes.

1.1.4 Evaluation

An essential element of the ELC’s institutional culture is a desire to identify ways to improve and to take appropriate actions to effect needed changes. Therefore, the ELC strongly encourages ongoing evaluation, both formal and informal.

Student Evaluations

Students will have a number of formal opportunities on an institutional level to evaluate their classes and give their teachers feedback. Teachers will receive feedback from their semester-end evaluation after final exams have been administered and after grades have been submitted. Teachers will also have an opportunity to conduct an additional evaluation that they direct. They share their results with their Program Supervisors. In addition, teachers are also strongly encouraged to conduct their own informal evaluations frequently to identify student needs and specific ways their class might be adjusted to enhance learning.

Supervisor Evaluations and Teaching Videos

Returning ELC teachers are required to have a yearly video observation kept on file at the ELC along with a simple evaluation from a supervisor. Please note that the video observation room may be scheduled through the front office (Room 103) to prepare this teaching video, or iPads may be scheduled to record in the classroom.

Administrative Observations

Teachers should expect to be observed at least once each semester by an ELC administrator. Some classes may be observed several times. The reasons for such observations vary, but may include an effort to provide feedback to a teacher, a need to observe particular students, a desire to see how well a curricular component functions in the classroom and so on. Administrators will usually be able to provide teachers with advance notice of such visits along with an explanation of the purpose of the observation.

1.1.5 Mentors

Most student teachers complete their practicum at the ELC. During this period, they learn a great deal about the ELC, its resources, policies, and procedures. Such teachers are provided with a mentor when they assume their own class for the first time. Mentors receive a small stipend for the time they spend with the new teacher providing guidance and answering questions. Program supervisors coordinate mentoring. First-time teachers should initially go to their mentors with questions they may have. If the mentor does not have the needed information, he/she will ask the program supervisor, and then inform the first-time teacher.

1.2 Teacher Expectations

1.2.1 Principled Pedagogical Practices of ELC Teachers

The ELC has a tradition of excellence. Being invited to teach at the ELC is a singular privilege. ELC teachers strive to exemplify the following pedagogical practices for themselves, their students, and all who may come to observe their classes:

  1. Rely on course outcomes
  2. Teachers understand the course outcomes for the skill and proficiency level in which they teach and effectively communicate them to students. They can describe student behaviors that demonstrate these outcomes, and they successfully design classroom-learning activities that help students progress toward achieving them. Teachers engage in ongoing informal and formal assessment activities and provide personalized feedback based on the course outcomes.

  3. Plan lessons effectively
  4. Teachers carefully plan lessons so language development will be optimized during the class period. Teachers plan to incorporate an appropriate number and variety of learning activities that are meaningful and engaging. These activities build incrementally from more simple uses of language to more complex uses that are authentic and communicative. Teachers consider the best ways to ensure that communication of explanations and expectations are clear and concise in order to maximize student language practice. This includes preparing the board or other materials well ahead of class time. Teachers also prepare contingency plans in order to adjust for a variety of unforeseen circumstances and changing student needs.

  5. Optimize class time
  6. Teachers feel a sense of urgency about using as much of the classroom time as possible for meaningful language practice. They convey this sense of urgency to their students by starting class on time and by carefully managing activities and transitions in order to maximize communicative language practice. However, rather than rushing through their lessons, teachers skillfully connect activities and ensure that students achieve the needed level of mastery before moving on. They anticipate potential threats to effective use of class time such as problems with technology, excessive student questions, inappropriate student behaviors and so on. Their responses to such challenges are principled and appropriately bring the class back on course. Teachers also end class on time.

  7. Cultivate a positive learning environment
  8. Teachers understand the necessity of a positive learning environment in order to optimize learning. They recognize that positive teacher-student interaction is at the heart of the environment they seek to cultivate. They foster genuine concern for their students and their learning based on principles of respect and trust. They leave personal concerns behind as they plan and teach their classes. They are consistent and equitable in their classroom practices and help students to see how classroom policies and activities facilitate language development. They create a non-threatening learning environment that is cheerful, upbeat, and optimistic. They inspire students to do their best, and they help them experience the joy of effectively applying what they learn. They sincerely praise students and regularly express confidence in their abilities.

  9. Evaluate learning effectively
  10. Teachers are committed to the ongoing evaluation of student learning. They skillfully use diagnostic tests, classroom instruction, language practice, and formal and informal assessments to clarify individual learner needs in relation to established course outcomes. They also regularly solicit qualitative input from their students regarding learning materials and methods. This information is then used to make appropriate adjustments in lesson planning and the selection of materials and methods used in the classroom. Teachers help students to understand the rationale for adjustments that are made as well as areas where continuity may be necessary.

  11. Utilize homework strategically
  12. Teachers understand the potential for effective homework to help students achieve course outcomes. Rather than assigning busy work, they carefully consider the quantity and the specific kinds of learning activities that are needed by their students in order to diagnose learner needs and foster language development. They are able to effectively communicate the rationale for various types of homework to their students. They demonstrate the value of the homework in the way they follow up and process the homework. They know when it may be appropriate to review certain types of homework in class and when the class time should be used for other activities. They utilize student performance on homework to inform their ongoing instruction in the classroom.

  13. Provide meaningful and timely feedback
  14. Teachers know that feedback is essential to effective learning. They regularly provide students with feedback that is meaningful—it focuses on the most important language elements for each learner; students understand the feedback, why it was given, and how to apply it. Though teachers ensure that ongoing feedback is timely, they are careful not to overload the students’ cognitive ability to process and apply the feedback. Along with feedback, teachers provide students with abundant opportunities to practice and apply the feedback in a variety of learning contexts.

  15. Exemplify professionalism
  16. Teachers value and participate in orientations, training, and workshops. They are well prepared, punctual, and complete all administrative tasks on time. They act and look the part of a professional in the classroom including adhering to the dress and grooming standards and maintaining appropriate teacher-student boundaries. They are respectful and courteous with their students and other teachers with whom they share resources such as classrooms, offices, technologies, and learning materials. They consistently evaluate their own teaching and seek to improve through feedback from students, administrators, and peers. They appropriately apply the relevant feedback they receive.

1.2.2 Professionalism

Teachers at the ELC are expected to:

  1. Attend all required faculty meetings and workshops;
  2. Complete administrative tasks and paperwork on time (e.g., course outlines, grades, evaluations);
  3. Be punctual and require punctuality of the students;
  4. Be well prepared for every class and use class time wisely;
  5. Require proper titles from students (Mr., Ms., Dr., Brother, etc.);
  6. Represent BYU and the Church well in dress and manner;
  7. Maintain appropriate boundaries between themselves and students;
  8. Be respectful and courteous to other teachers in the treatment of shared resources, such as classrooms, offices, and materials;
  9. Be an example of respect and Christian kindness to students, staff, and co-workers, and require the same high standard of behavior of the students at the ELC.
  10. Communicate with program supervisors in a timely manner regarding student concerns such as plagiarism, classroom disruptions, attitude problems, honor code issues and so on.

1.2.3 Children

Children (non-students between the ages of 0-17 years) cannot come to the ELC except under certain conditions as specified

  1. Under NO condition should children be brought to the ELC during instruction time. This policy applies to teachers and students.
  2. Children are not allowed in the computer lab or SASC.
  3. Children cannot be in the public areas of the building (hallways, lobbies, chapels, gym or classrooms) unless accompanied by an adult.
  4. Children are permitted to attend ELC activities if it clearly states that children or families may participate, and only then, if accompanied by an adult.

1.2.4 Dating

ELC staff such as administrators, teachers, tutors, lab employees, administrative staff, and interns must demonstrate the highest level of professionalism in their interactions with currently enrolled students. Therefore, no ELC staff is allowed to date or maintain a romantic relationship with currently enrolled students. In order to pursue a romantic relationship, either the student or the staff member would need to voluntarily leave the ELC. Please talk to the Associate Coordinator if you have questions about this policy.

1.2.5 Student-Staff Marriage at the ELC

The ELC usually does not admit students who are spouses of members of the ELC staff such as administrators, teachers, tutors, lab employees, administrative staff, and interns. Similarly, the ELC usually avoids hiring the spouse of a student.

1.2.6 Dress and Grooming Standards

ELC teachers are concerned with dress and grooming at three levels. First, they adhere to the standards outlined in the BYU Honor Code. Second, they adhere to the additional guidelines required for teachers at the ELC. Finally, they help their students to follow the dress and grooming code as well (see section 2.4 Honor Code).

Honor Code

The dress and grooming of both men and women should always be modest, neat, and clean, consistent with the dignity adherent to representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and any of its institutions of higher education.

Modesty and cleanliness are important values that reflect personal dignity and integrity, through which students, staff, and faculty represent the principles and standards of the Church. Members of the BYU community commit themselves to observe the following standards, which reflect the direction of the Board of Trustees and the Church publication For the Strength of Youth. The Dress and Grooming Standards are as follows:

A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, revealing, or form fitting. Shorts must be knee-length or longer. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles or colors, and trimmed above the collar, leaving the ear uncovered. Sideburns should not extend below the earlobe or onto the cheek. If worn, moustaches should be neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth. Men are expected to be clean-shaven; beards are not acceptable. Pierced ears and other body piercings are not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas.

A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing; has slits above the knee; or is form fitting. Dresses, skirts, and shorts must be knee-length or longer. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extremes in styles or colors. Excessive ear piercing (more than one per ear) and all other body piercings are not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas.

ELC Guidelines

In addition to the dress and grooming guidelines dictated by the honor code, ELC teachers must adhere to a high standard of professional appearance when teaching. No one visiting the classroom should have difficulty identifying the teacher.

Appropriate Women's Clothing:
Blouses, skirts, dresses, suits, or slacks (no T-shirts, jeans, or shorts), dress shoes (no tennis shoes or flip flops).

Appropriate Men's Clothing:
Tucked-in dress shirt, slacks (no jeans or shorts), dress shoes (no tennis shoes or flip flops). When teaching, men should also wear one of the following: a tie, a blazer, or an approved dress shirt with an official ELC logo above the left pocket.

If you have a question about whether or not something is appropriate, talk to the Program Coordinator or simply choose something else to wear.

Assisting Your Students

Teachers are expected to address student violations of the dress and grooming standards with kindness and respect. Students should be asked to resolve the problem. Students may need to leave the classroom or even the ELC in order to remedy the situation. However, students should be welcomed back once the issue has been resolved (though they may need to be counted absent if they miss more than ten minutes of class). The Student Life Advisor may be available to assist with situations that may be especially awkward. Teachers should contact the Student Life Advisor if students repeatedly violate the dress and grooming standards.

1.2.7 Preventing Sexual Discrimination and Harassment

For the benefit and safety of students and faculty, teachers should include the following statement verbatim in all course syllabi:

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is intended to eliminate sex discrimination and sexual harassment in educational contexts. Any ELC student, teacher, staff member, or administrator who becomes aware of sexual harassment, discrimination, or misconduct of any kind, directed toward them or any other member of the ELC community should immediately contact Dr. James Hartshorn (801-422-4034, james_hartshorn@byu.edu), or Ms. Sandy Hatchett (801-422-5318, sandy_hatchett@byu.edu). If they are unavailable, please leave a message and then contact the Equal Employment Office (801-422-5895, 1-888-238-1062, www.ethicspoint.com) or the Honor Code Office (801-422-2847).

1.2.8 Memos & Email

Generally, the ELC administrators will contact teachers through one of two ways—email or messages placed into teachers’ boxes. Some of this information will be time sensitive. Therefore, it is essential that teachers check their boxes in room 103 and their email every day.

1.2.9 Office Use

Teachers will be assigned a shared office space when they begin teaching. Teachers should keep in mind that the UPC building is used by student wards and that their offices are also used by the bishops of those wards. Therefore, the offices must be kept clean and tidy. All teacher belongings should be stored in the carrels, not under or on top of them. ELC personnel may use their assigned office space until 6:00 p.m. when offices must be turned over to ward bishops. Teachers should clean their area and close their carrel before leaving. If teachers need a computer or workspace after 6:00 p.m., they should use Room 119. Nothing should be tacked or taped to the office doors, walls, or windows at the ELC. Instead, the bulletin boards should be used for this purpose. Teachers should not expect the building to be open for use on Saturdays.

1.2.10 Parking at the UPC

The “A” parking lot immediately to the east of the UPC is designated for non-student faculty and staff. Other “U” parking is provided north of the UPC. Teachers need to park in the areas that correspond to their current status. For example, students should park in the “U” lot and non-students are permitted to park in the “A” or “U” lots. Neither teachers nor students should park in visitor parking as this will likely result in a parking ticket. All vehicles must be registered with the BYU Traffic Office in the JKB. Registration can be done online at the following link: police.byu.edu/content/parking-services-general-information

1.2.11 Teaching Substitutions

ELC teachers sign a contract agreeing to teach during the semester. Therefore, planned time off should be reserved for rare, extenuating circumstances. Additionally, disruptions in teaching may undermine several of the ELC's principled pedagogical practices including optimizing class time, cultivating a positive learning environment, evaluating learning effectively, providing meaningful feedback, and demonstrating professionalism. Teachers at the ELC reduce these threats by minimizing the demand for substitutions. Very few class hours each semester require and are approved for non-emergency and emergency substitutions to the benefit of our students and our mission.

Before making any arrangements for substitutions, teachers must receive approval from the Curriculum Coordinator using the Substitution Request Form. Teachers can obtain a copy of the form from the Curriculum Coordinator. Next, teachers must find a substitute from among those currently teaching at the ELC, complete the Substitute Request Form, and submit the form to the Curriculum Coordinator. The Curriculum Coordinator, the teacher requesting time off, and the substitute must each sign the substitution form. According to BYU policy, substitutes may not be paid, so substituting in return is recommended. Teachers are encouraged to contact potential substitutes individually.

1.2.12 Emergency Substitutions

On a rare occasion, a teacher may be unable to teach a class due to an unexpected emergency such as a debilitating illness or accident. In such cases, teachers should make every effort to immediately submit the online ELC Emergency Substitution Request form (elc.byu.edu/esub). The should include their name and the nature of the emergency, class information such as skill, proficiency, and room number, and any lesson plan information they are able to provide.

If possible, the teacher should also make an effort to contact one or more of the following administrators by phone to ensure the message is received. If an administrator is unable to answer the phone at the time of the call, please leave a message so the vital information can be relayed:

  • Curriculum Coordinator 801-422-8521, 801-319-6625
  • ELC Administrative Assistant 801-422-4632, 801-494-4720
  • Program Coordinator 801-422-4034, 801-400-9790
  • Coordinator of Technology 801-422-4042, 801-669-1547

ELC teachers should never cancel a class but should do their best to work with ELC administrators to optimize the learning experience of their students in their absence. If a teacher who needs and emergency sub is unable to reciprocate teaching for the substitute, the teacher’s contract may be adjusted to cover the cost of the substitution.

1.2.13 Assisting Your Students

The primary role of the teacher is to assist students as they learn English. Students may approach you with immigration, legal, or other personal issues. Rather than attempting to address these issues, refer your students to the Student Life Coordinator who can help them find accurate information and professional resources as needed. If a student declines to speak with the Student Life Coordinator, you may choose to make the Student Life Coordinator aware of the situation. The student can then be contacted if necessary.

1.3 Teachers' Administrative Responsibilities

1.3.1 Course Syllabi

Teachers are expected to prepare a syllabus for each course they teach. Syllabi should contain the following information:

  1. Basic information (course name, time, location, semester)
  2. Instructor Information (instructor name, contact info, office hours)
  3. Materials (required textbooks, other materials)
  4. Course Information (Course description, purpose, learning outcomes, routines)
  5. Grading (Grading policies and grade calculations—see "Grades" in student handbook, citizenship and proficiency grade percentages)
  6. Assignment Descriptions (for both citizenship and proficiency)
  7. Program Assessments (Placement, Diagnostics, Midterms, LATs)
  8. Student Rights (Preventing Sexual Harassment, Students with Disabilities, CES Honor Code)
  9. Calendar (Homework Assignments, Assessments, Other activities and topics)

If you require assistance preparing your syllabi, you may contact your Skill Area Supervisor, your mentor teacher, or the Curriculum Coordinator. They can also provide you with samples of effective syllabi.

1.3.2 An Overview of Placement, ELC Grades, and Advancement

Diagnostic Tests

During the first few weeks of class, teachers should gather important diagnostic information. In addition to helping confirm placement decisions, this information can help inform the development, pacing, and focus of instruction to best meet the needs of students enrolled in the courses relative to the curricular outcomes.

However, since quality teaching and learning are essential during the first week of class, gathering diagnostic information should not interfere with these experiences. Here are three approaches to gathering diagnostic information that preserve class time for valuable teaching and learning during the first week of class: (a) assign diagnostic testing as homework rather than take class time, (b) extract relevant information from placement tests that can be used for diagnostic purposes, and (c) if class time is needed, wait until the second week for diagnostic testing. These recommendations come with the expectation that meaningful teaching and learning experiences in class during the first week also provide useful information for diagnosis and placement verification.

Skill area supervisors will help ensure that established diagnostic tests function properly and that teachers are adequately trained to implement and interpret diagnostic test data.  Skill area supervisors can also help a teacher to access data that has previously been collected. This may include performance data and test content for their students from LATs or placement testing. Teachers should use this information to supplement or enhance the information they collect and reduce the amount of first week class time that is spent on testing rather than instruction and practice which should be a high priority.

In regards to a student’s placement in their level, teachers should never tell students that they will or should be moved up or down a level. Nor should a teacher ever recommend to other teachers that a student should be moved up or down during the first week of class. If they feel that a student is better for study at a higher or lower level, they should indicate it on the form given to them by the Administrative Assistant (see the paragraph below), and tell the Assessment Coordinator. Any changes will be decided by the administration after looking at all teacher recommendations. Changes, if any, will take place the second week of class.

Diagnostic Ranking
5 Student could advance to the next level and be successful.
4 Student is in the top 20% of their level but placed correctly.
3 Student is placed correctly.
2 Student is in the bottom 20%), but placed correctly.
1 Student should be placed in a lower level.


Students at the ELC receive two different grades: a proficiency grade and a citizenship grade. The ELC uses these grades to help measure language proficiency and student engagement in class, respectively. Consider the following principles while using grades to evaluate your students’ proficiency and citizenship.

  1. Show respect for your students.
  2. Inherently, grades can create an adversarial relationship. As a teacher, try to use grades to benefit students’ progress. Be open and understanding when talking to students about grades.

  3. Make sure grades are accurate, up-to-date, and accessible.
  4. Grades should be accurate and recorded in a timely fashion. Students should receive feedback and grades within a reasonable time after submitting an assignment, taking a test, or completing an activity. Make updates to your citizenship and proficiency grades at least weekly and ensure that your students have access to them.

  5. Grade equitably.
  6. Every student deserves the same attention from the teacher. In addition to being equitable, avoid situations where you may appear to be in favor of or oppositional toward one student in comparison to the others.

  7. Provide evidence.
  8. All grades should be evidence based and defensible. At any given point you should be able to explain why a certain grade was given. This may be found in the submitted assignment or test itself or by clearly articulated comments that are attached to a grade.

Citizenship Grades

Citizenship grades at the ELC demonstrate student effort to learn, practice, and apply the language learning principles taught in class. They should encompass learning experiences that support the learning outcomes in the curriculum. High citizenship grades also suggest that a student meets expectations for contributing to a positive environment that will maximize learning. Citizenship grades determine whether a student will be allowed to return to the ELC the following semester. (See section 2.4.3 Inappropriate Student Behavior) They also may be used to determine whether a student will be allowed to work or take a vacation. To remain in good standing, students must earn a citizenship grade of at least 84% (GPA 3.0) in each class. Citizenship grades should always be current so students are aware of their standing and can make informed decisions about their homework and class participation. Students should receive feedback from their teachers about their citizenship grades on a weekly basis. Citizenship grades are based on the following two components, which are weighted equally.


Purpose: to show student consistency in completing assignments or other preparation outside of class time in order to maximize learning in class.
Calculation: the percentage of the total volume of homework that is completed on time (rather than how accurate or proficient the work is).
Considerations: Teachers are free to determine whether this will include one score per day or one score per assignment. Teachers also are free to weight assignments equally or to determine various weighting schemes for different assignments. Teachers must differentiate timely completion of homework, which is part of the citizenship grade, from the language skill or proficiency demonstrated by their performance on the homework, which is not part of the citizenship grade. Because much of the learning at the ELC grows out of language learning experiences, many assignments are worth a grade for simply completing the assignment. Thus speaking logs, vocabulary logs, daily reading and weekly journals are examples of citizenship assignments. If teachers feel that an assignment measures a students’ proficiency as well, it is acceptable to attach a citizenship and a proficiency score to the assignment. While no extra credit is allowed at the ELC, students may be given opportunities to make up late or missed homework, in accordance with their teacher’s class policies.


Purpose: to show student cooperation with, contribution to, and active engagement in classroom activities in order to maximize learning during the class period.
Calculation: the total number of class days where the student appropriately participated in class over the total number of days.
Considerations: Teachers are free to determine whether participation will be a dichotomous decision on their part or whether the score will be broken down into subcomponents such as punctuality, being fully engaged in the class activities, completion of classwork, maintaining appropriate behavior, and so on. Teachers can decide if participation points can be earned for students who have missed class. In calculating student participation, teachers should consider factors such as student preparation for class, alertness and effort in classroom activities, attitude and respect for teachers and students, and so on. If students are disruptive or disrespectful, teachers should consider deducting participation points for that day (See section 2.4.3 Inappropriate Student Behavior). In this way, a student who does all the homework and attends class may still receive a low participation score if he or she fails to participate in class activities, behaves inappropriately, or demonstrates patterns of poor behavior or conduct that inhibits the learning for the students.


  1. Ensure that your methods of determining the homework and participation components of the citizenship grade are clear to you and completely transparent to your students.
  2. Make sure that you implement your grading methods consistently from one student to another.
  3. Make updates to your citizenship grades at least weekly and ensure that your students have access to them.
  4. Clearly indicate why points have been deducted. This may be recorded on the submitted assignment or test itself or by clearly articulated comments that are attached to a grade in Canvas.
  5. Teachers may deduct participation points from students who show disrespect for the teacher or classmates or who exhibit behavior that is disruptive, confrontational, or adversarial. However, teachers should communicate with the student (in person or electronically) about the behavior and clearly annotate the grade with the reason for the deduction. (See section 2.4.3 Inappropriate Student Behavior)

Proficiency Grades

This grade measures students’ ability to use English well enough to fulfill the objectives for a given class. The proficiency grade is representative of a student’s actual English proficiency improvement throughout the semester. One purpose of this grade is to provide students concrete feedback on this improvement. This grade also shows how students will perform in the next level. Though a minimum proficiency grade may not be required to move on the next level, a score of 74% is considered passing. Teachers should determine and explain to students whether their proficiency is sufficient to handle more advanced tasks in the next level.

For example, if using a scale of 0-100%, the teacher might determine that 70-80% means that the students’ English work falls below the level norm; 80-90% might signify that the work satisfies the level expectation; 90% and above might signify that work exceeds the level requirements. Whatever grading scale the teacher uses, the grades should give an honest assessment of students’ abilities. Sugarcoating grades does no favors for students. If the teacher is unsure of a student’s ability, he/she should compare the student with the rest of the class or ask a more experienced teacher to give an opinion.

Examples of activities and assignments that might fall under proficiency include: quizzes or tests, final drafts of process writing, first drafts of writing/speaking in grammar classes, presentations, reading rate, vocabulary acquisition, etc. Because this grade needs to reflect ability, extra-credit should not be included in this grade. In order to have a proficiency grade that truly reflects student proficiency, teachers should take extra care to create classroom assessments (quizzes and tests) that will produce a true and accurate measure of each student’s language performance level. Teachers who are unsure about the reliability, validity, and quality of a quiz and/or test they produce are responsible to seek help from their Skill Area Supervisor or the Assessment Coordinator. Supervisors are responsible for regularly providing information and training to teachers to help ensure that accurate assessment occurs in each classroom.

Submitting Grades during the Semester

Teachers should make updates to citizenship and proficiency grades at least weekly and ensure that students have access to them. They should take time to talk with students whose citizenship grades are below or approaching 84% (3.0). They should also commend students who are excelling or whose grades are increasing from a failing grade to a passing grade (above 84%). Throughout the semester, teachers are also required to submit the citizenship and proficiency grades for each of their students at the three-week, six-week, and nine-week mark of each semester as well as at the end of the semester. Using a form provided in their boxes, teachers report the citizenship grades and return the form to the front office.

Level Achievement Test (LAT) Rating

As a final proficiency assessment, all students will take the Level Achievement Tests (LATs) at the end of each semester. Each teacher is responsible to help rate Level Achievement Tests (LATs) and to participate in the rater calibration meeting for their assigned skill. At the end of the semester all ELC teachers will be given an assignment to rate either Speaking, Timed Writing, or Portfolio LATs. Teachers will be notified of their assignment before the end of the semester and will receive a rating training packet for their assigned skill. The rating sheet from this packet must be turned in prior to the rating calibrations meeting to check for discrepancies. The calibration meeting will be held on the day before the computerized LATs, before teachers begin rating. Teachers will be scheduled and paid to rate three hours for each class they teach. (The actual time spent rating may vary, as some raters are very adept at rating quickly while still remaining accurate; others are more methodical and may take more time.) On the day of ratings, teachers will receive a list of student IDs of exams to rate. All LATs are double-rated for reliability. If two raters give an exam a score that varies by more than one ranking, it will be triple rated.

Submitting Final Grades

Toward the end of the semester teachers will receive a grade form in their box— one for citizenship grades and one for proficiency grades. These forms must be turned in on time to the front desk in 103 UPC. In the first column for both the citizenship and proficiency grades, teachers should record each student’s current grade percentage rounded to the nearest whole number. If a student receives a citizenship grade lower than 84%, teachers should explain the reasons why, such as missing assignments, poor attitude etc. In addition, teachers are requested to mark if they would want the student to return the next semester. If a teacher marks “no,” the teacher should give an explanation why. Students who are dismissed for low citizenship grades may ask questions as to why they are not allowed to return. Explanations in the comments column help the administration explain the rationale for their decision, if asked by a student, parent, or sponsor. For proficiency grades, teachers may want to note things that are important for the Executive Council to know when considering student promotion. For example, a teacher might share concerns if students have a learning disability or something else that might have affected their proficiency grade.

Proficiency Ranking

In conjunction with diagnostic testing during the first week and when teachers are asked to submit final grades, they are required to give each student a Five-Point Proficiency Rating and a Student Class Ranking. The purpose of these measures is to provide the Executive Council with multiple sources of evidence from which to make promotion decisions, as well as assist in validating the LATs. The Five-Point Rating allows teachers to give a holistic rating of the students’ preparedness for the next level. Sometimes numerical grades do not translate into what the teacher feels the students’ actual ability levels are. This rating gives the teachers the opportunity to express their expert opinion on the students’ readiness for the next level. For this reason, teachers should not simply convert the proficiency grade to the five-point scale unless they feel it truly measures their students’ abilities. The scores for a five-point rating should be determined as follows:

Midterm Ranking
5 Student could have skipped this level and would have been successful.
4 Student is at the top of their level (in the top 20%), but placed correctly.
3 Student is placed correctly.
2 Student is at the bottom of their level (in the bottom 20%), but placed correctly.
1 Student should have been placed in the lower level at the beginning of the semester.

Final Ranking
5 Student could skip one level and be successful.
4 Student will be at the top of the next level, but placed correctly.
3 Student will be placed correctly in the next level.
2 Student will be at the bottom of the next level, but placed correctly.
1 Student should remain in the same level for the next semester.

The Student Class Ranking represents a student’s language proficiency in relationship to his/her classmates. As above, teachers should not simply convert the proficiency grade to a rank order unless they feel that it truly measures the student’s class standing. If a teacher has two (or three) students that seem to have an equal ranking, standard mathematical procedures should be followed for handling a tied rank. For example, if there are 10 students in the class, and a teacher feels that there are two students in the middle of the ranking who are of equal ability, the ranking would be as follows:

*Notice that students 3 and 4 both receive a ranking of 3.5. This is the average of 3 + 4 divided by 2.

Advancing from One Level to Another

To advance to the next level, students must have proficiency grades of 2.0 or higher in at least two classes AND have three teacher recommendations to advance.

Repeating a Level

If students have a proficiency grade below 2.0 in three or more classes, they automatically repeat their current level. If they have a proficiency grade below 2.0 in two classes, and two teachers recommend that they stay back, then they repeat their current level. Since the ELC is a short-term language program, we do not allow a student to repeat the same level three times. If they do not pass after the second semester, they cannot return to the ELC.

Skipping a Level

In order to skip a level the following conditions must be met:

  1. The student must have a proficiency grade higher than 3.6 in all classes.
  2. The student must have a five-point rating of 5 in all classes.
  3. The student's LAT results must be at the 85th percentile or higher.

1.3.3 Attendance

Teachers must pick up their attendance roll from their box in Room 176 each day before class. They must not add students to their roll unless instructed to do so by the Student Life Advisor. The roll should be marked at the beginning of class and put on the clip outside the door. An “A” is marked if a student is absent and an “L” or “Late” if a student is late. Teachers should mark nothing if the student is present. If all students are present and on time, a line should be drawn down the column for that day to show that attendance has been taken. A student who misses more than 10 minutes of class during any part of the class period is considered absent. Office workers will pick up the roll approximately 20 minutes after the beginning of class. If the class roll is not outside the door, they will open the door and ask the teacher for it. Though teachers are responsible to mark the roll accurately each day, teachers are not authorized to excuse tardies or absences. Tardies and absences will only be excused for special extenuating circumstances approved by the Executive Council (e.g., attendance at the funeral of an immediate family member, doctor visits or medical treatments with a doctor’s note, or other unique circumstances that may warrant an excuse). The Student Life Advisor will mark excused tardies and absences on the roll within one week after the event. Students must have 80% attendance to receive a completion certificate; they must also maintain 80% attendance to remain at the ELC. For additional information, see the ELC Attendance Policy included below from the Student Handbook:

ELC Attendance Policy(from Student Handbook)

Consistently attending class is a central part of learning and improving your English. When you are absent from class, you miss important information and practice opportunities that you need to improve your English.

The US Government allows each English program to establish its own attendance policy. The following requirements reflect the ELC’s commitment to create the right environment to help you improve your English.

ELC students must maintain 80% attendance in each and every class at all times. As soon as your attendance drops below 80% in any one of your four classes, you will receive a warning letter. If you have any unexcused absences before raising your attendance back to 80%, you will be dismissed.

If your attendance drops below 80% a second time in any one of your four classes, you will be dismissed from the ELC. Once you receive your attendance dismissal letter, you must go to Anna Bailey’s office (4056 JFSB) immediately.

The US Government states that if a student is dismissed for violation of a school's attendance policy, then their student visa is immediately terminated and the student will need to leave the US within two weeks.  If students want to transfer to another school, they will have to reapply to be reinstated. However, attempts to be reinstated rarely successful.

If you are sick and unable to attend class, please provide a note from your doctor. Within two days of returning to class, the doctor’s note must be received in the ELC office (103 UPC). Be aware that forging a doctor’s note is a violation of the BYU Honor Code and will result in an immediate dismissal from the ELC.

If you know that you will be absent from class for any reason other than an illness (i.e., a family wedding or a death in the family), you should notify the ELC administration in writing and deliver your letter to UPC 103. These absences will be considered on an individual basis and may not necessarily be excused.

Being absent also results in missing class participation points that are part of your citizenship grade. Whenever you are absent from class, please contact each of your teachers to receive information on the assignments that you missed. Students who are ill should go to the Student Health Center (see Health Care or health.byu.edu for more information).

1.3.4 Students on Probation

At the end of the semester, enrolled students who plan to return to the ELC who have one or more grades below 2.0 and/or have an attendance percentage of less than 80% in one or more classes will be considered on a case-by-case basis for one of the following:

  1. Dismissal with no permission to transfer to another school,
  2. Dismissal with permission to transfer to another school, or
  3. Permission to return with the proviso that they must bring grades and attendance to the above standard by midterm in order to be allowed to complete the semester.

Students on probation for grades or attendance will usually not be allowed to take a break. Consideration will be made for, and not limited to, ill health and learning disabilities.

1.4 Curriculum and Classroom Policies and Resources

1.4.1 Homework

Teachers are strongly encouraged to consistently utilize homework effectively to help students reach course outcomes, but homework should not exceed 30 minutes per class per night. Depending on student motivation, student progress toward course outcomes, and the nature of specific homework assignments, teachers should carefully decide whether to assign homework on Friday and Saturday in addition to class days.

1.4.2 Tutoring

Depending on available funding, the ELC provides a limited number of tutoring hours to support self-regulated learning. Teachers should not assign homework that requires interaction with an ELC tutor. Teachers should not rely on tutors as a substitute for effective teaching.

1.4.3 Eating or Drinking in the Classroom

With the exception of bottled water, eating or drinking in the classroom is not generally permitted. Rare exceptions must be approved by the Curriculum Coordinator. If teachers desire to have food or a celebration as a part of a learning activity, they may reserve half of the gymnasium to use during class.

1.4.4 End of Semester Activities

Oftentimes teachers and students want to celebrate their learning during the last week of classes. Class time is a valuable resource that cannot be replaced. Learning and LAT preparation is a priority. Therefore, teachers of a particular section of students who wish to have a class party should coordinate their efforts and limit in-class celebrations to one per section. The ELC provides a large activity at the end of the semester after the closing assembly where students and teachers can celebrate together.

1.4.5 Technology Use

Effective technology use can contribute positively to effective language teaching and learning. As a result, it is expected that teachers at the ELC gain both technology skills and an understanding of what technologies can best help their students meet certain objectives and how and when to use these technologies in the language classroom. In order to accomplish this, the ELC provides access to an abundance of technology resources for student and teacher use.

For student and instructional use, the computer labs and various checkout technologies are available. Other checkout technologies may be reserved. Laptops are to be used specifically and only for classroom teaching and during designated teaching time. For our teachers' preparation, the computers in 119 are also available. Students are not allowed to use the computers in this room; they must use the computer lab or SASC computers. Because Room 119 is a shared space, teachers should not leave personal belongings and classroom materials there to clutter the room. All who use these resources should do so in accordance with all of the policies related to their use and be conscientious of the shared nature of these resources.

While the ELC does its best to maintain and manage these resources, problems may arise as these resources are used. If this happens, please consider the following:

  1. Always include a description of technologies that could be alternatively used in your lesson plans.
  2. Immediately raise the awareness of the lab staff to the issue. During normal operating hours there should be at least one lab attendant at the service desk in the computer lab (119 UPC). Depending on the issue, they may be able to immediately service your needs.
  3. If the lab attendant on duty is unable to meet your needs, please complete the Technology Request form found at the ELC website: Teachers/Class Resources/Technology Request Form or at elc.byu.edu/teacher/tech_request/form.php.
  4. After you have done this if the problem remains unresolved, please contact the computer lab (801-422-7289; elc-csrs@byu.edu) or the Technology Coordinator (801-422-4042; judson_hart@byu.edu).

1.4.6 Copies and Printing

Printers are available for teachers throughout the building for work-related printing, including room 176, room 119 and the computer lab. (Note that everyone who prints in the computer lab is charged printing fees.) Teachers may request that a lab attendant set up their personal computer to print to ELC printers. Refill paper for these printers can be requested in room 103.

Teachers must never print multiple copies on a printer. Copy orders may be submitted to the “To Be Copied” box in room 176. Lessons and activities should be planned ahead so that copies can be submitted in a timely manner. Teachers should allow 24 hours for copies to be completed. Copying is done on a first-come, first-served basis, not on demand. Copies for the semester are limited to 100 copies per student per class. All copy requests must be accompanied by a copy request slip and put in the copy request box in room 176. Paper colors are shown in the Teacher Resource Library. Personal copies and printing need to be paid for at the time of service. Completed copies will be placed in your box in room 176.

Copy requests that violate copyright laws will be refused. For information about what these violations may include, please see the Copyright Policy below. Incomplete or unclear copy requests will be returned for further information.

1.4.7 Copyright

It is the policy of Brigham Young University that all faculty and staff (including ELC staff) must comply with state and federal copyright laws. The following guidelines will help teachers determine what constitutes lawful use of copyrighted materials. These guidelines are an abbreviated version of BYU’s Copyright Policy; for the complete policy, please see BYU Copyright Policy.

Copyrightable subject matter includes virtually all conceivable type of expression that is fixed in tangible form. Thus, copyrighted works can include:

  1. Printed or other written materials;
  2. Computer programs and databases;
  3. Audio and audiovisual recordings and motion pictures;
  4. Paintings, sculptures, and other artistic work

Date of creation also helps determine whether something is copyrighted. All copyrights for materials published prior to 1906 have expired, and works published before 1971 are now in the public domain. Works published between 1906 and 1976 have a copyright protection for a total of 75 years from the date of publication. Materials created or published in 1978 or later have a copyright that endures the life of the author plus 50 years; this protection is extended to unpublished works as well as published works.

Most government documents are not copyrighted. Documents prepared by employees of the U.S. government as part of their official duties are not copyrightable and can be copied freely. However, documents published by others with the support of government grants or contracts do have copyright protection.

As a general rule, copyrighted material can be copied only with permission from the copyright owner. Some copying of copyrighted materials without consent is permissible under the “fair use” stipulation. “Fair use” exceptions are limited to the following:

  1. Teachers may make a single copy for scholarly research or teaching.
  2. Multiple copying for classroom use is permitted only if it satisfies limitations on length, cumulative effect, and spontaneity. For example, the fair use guidelines provide for copying and distribution to students of a single chapter of a book, a short story, a single poem of limited length, or an essay where the copied item is used for the first time and the inspiration to use the piece occurred so close to the time of use that insufficient time was available to obtain permission.
  3. Copyrighted television programs may be recorded for the purpose of classroom instruction only if it is not retained more than 45 days. These recordings must be shown during the first ten school days of the 45-day period; and may be shown again once for review.
  4. A motion picture, music recording, or other audiovisual work may be presented in class if it is part of a teaching activity, if it is shown in a classroom, and if it is presented from a copy that was lawfully made and obtained.

No materials for distribution on campus, which are published without consent, (even if considered “fair use”) may be duplicated at commercial copy services. Anthologies do not fall under limitations provided by fair use. Anything accessed by the Internet falls under the same guidelines and limitations as the above materials. Copying computer software is prohibited unless the new copy or adaptation is an essential step in its utilization or if the new copy is used as a “back up” copy. Under no circumstances are students, faculty or staff permitted to copy ELC computer programs for their own personal use.

Teachers are responsible for obtaining consent and encouraged to allow sufficient lead time for obtaining permission for materials to be used in class. For print or digital media copyright clearance or questions contact the Copyright Licensing Office in 3760 HBLL, email copyright@byu.edu or call ext. 2-9339. For questions relating to any of the above guidelines, please see the BYU Copyright Policy.

ELC Ownership of Materials Created for the ELC

Work that is done on BYU computers or with other BYU resources, or work done as part of a job for which a teacher is being paid, belongs to BYU and/or the ELC. If teachers use BYU resources and wish to maintain ownership of anything they create, they should talk with the ELC Program Coordinator.

1.4.8 Observation Room

The observation room (263 UPC) is available to teachers who wish to create a video recording of their teaching. This recording can be done as a requirement for supervisor evaluations (see below) or for personal and professional development. The observation room can be scheduled by directly contacting the ELC Secretary in Room 103. When you schedule your observation, you will be informed how to access your video. Please note that access to the observation room may be limited. This is especially true during Winter Semester since it will be used heavily by the practicum students and their professors.

1.4.9 Teacher Resource Library

The Teacher Resource Library (176 UPC) has a variety of teaching materials available for teacher use and study. ELC students are not allowed to use or check out these materials. Textbooks may be checked out for the entire semester, resource books for two weeks, and pictures for one class period only. CDs that accompany textbooks can be checked out from room 103. Nothing should be removed from the library without being properly checked out. All materials should be returned promptly to the Return Shelf. Teachers should not re-shelve materials themselves, especially pictures. At the end of the semester all textbooks, CDs and binders need to be returned, even if the teacher plans to use them the next semester. At the end of the semester, teachers should verify with one of the office workers that they have returned all items.

1.4.10 Textbooks and Workbooks

Students are required to buy their textbooks, including readers or required magazines for reading classes. They are told upon admission to the ELC that their textbooks may cost up to $300.00 per semester. Teachers should warn students not to buy or to attempt to turn in pages from used workbooks. Teachers should help enforce this by not allowing students to reuse books in the classes that require students to write in the answers. Teachers should also encourage students to get the appropriate edition of a textbook. In order to keep costs low, students may have the option of renting some of their books or using e-book readers. Teachers will be notified if these options are available for their classes.

1.4.11 Extracurricular Activities

In an effort to enhance students’ cultural experiences and to give them meaningful language experiences outside of the classroom, the ELC hosts three or more extracurricular activities per semester. Teachers should encourage their students to participate in these activities. Teachers can also be paid to assist in planning and hosting these activities. If they are interested in participating on the activities committee, they should indicate this on their teaching application.

1.4.12 Out-of-Class Activities

Teacher-sponsored activities away from the UPC, such as fieldtrips, are usually discouraged. Any activities teachers may want to have with their classes outside of class time are also discouraged; nevertheless, the activity may be approved by the Curriculum Coordinator or Program Coordinator if there is a compelling pedagogical justification for it. If a fieldtrip or out-of-class activity is approved, the following guidelines must be followed. Because of increased transportation expenses, university vehicles may not be used. Teachers may have their students meet them at the activity site as long as students have enough time to arrive and then return to the ELC before the next class, in the case of fieldtrips. Teachers should not allow students to ride with them for liability reasons. The students may organize carpools on their own. However, students traveling by private vehicle must not be required to carry passengers, though they may voluntarily elect to do so. For a full disclosure of BYU’s student travel policy, please see the following link: https://purchasing.byu.edu/dept/trvl_docs.asp?id=321

1.4.13 Scheduling Facilities and Resources

Generally, teachers may sign up for facilities and available technology resources through the online scheduler accessible from the ELC website (elc.byu.edu/scheduler). The scheduler allows reservations for the computer lab, LCD projectors, document cameras, the chapels, the kitchens, the gym, NEO keyboards, iPod/Chrome lab, the observation room, and other technology resources. Teachers will usually be limited to advance reservations for once a week per resource throughout the semester. Later in the semester they may sign up again if the resource is still available within one week of the date they would like to use it. Nevertheless, resources should not be monopolized. Everyone should have a fair chance to access them. If teachers only need a resource for half the class period, then they should sign up only for that half period so that other teachers who want to use the resource for the other half of the class will be able to do so. Please note that if you sign up for a portable resource for the first half of a period, it is helpful to indicate the room you will be in so that a teacher signing up for the same resource for the second half will be able to find it. Also, to use resources as efficiently as possible, teachers should make sure to cancel a reservation if the resource is no longer needed. Repeated reservations that are not used will be noted and may result in the inability to use that resource in the future. Upon finishing use of reserved resources, items checked out from 103 UPC should be returned immediately. (e.g. cables, laptops, white boards, etc.) Use should not extend to tutoring, meetings, or any outside-of-class use.

Using the Kitchen, Chapels and Cultural Hall

Teachers are welcome to use the kitchen, chapels, and cultural hall for their classes. The online scheduler should be used to reserve the specific area the teacher wishes to use. It is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure that everything in the area is clean and put away before leaving. If the kitchen is locked, an office worker can be asked for assistance. The key will not be given to a student, only to a teacher. Food must not be left in the refrigerators after class. Teachers need to furnish their own utensils and paper goods.

The chapels should also be treated with singular respect because of their dedicated purpose. When the curtains are closed across the front of the chapels, they become classrooms. The curtains will usually be closed during the week. If the curtains are open and classroom activities will be noisy or lively, contact the front office for assistance in closing the curtains.

1.4.14 Recommendations for Curricular Changes

Curricular components at the English Language Center have been carefully designed to achieve stated outcomes. They also have been designed to complement preceding and subsequent curricular elements in adjacent proficiency levels as well as to fit well with other components across the skills within a specific proficiency. Nevertheless, the curriculum at the English Language Center is viewed as dynamic rather than static. Although frequent changes may undermine the stability and effectiveness of the curriculum, a principled approach to curricular change ensures that it remains dynamic and cohesive. Changes may be appropriate when the adjustment better facilitates instruction, helps students reach curriculum objectives, or reflects current understanding of second language acquisition and pedagogy. Ideas for curricular change may come from theory, research, or experience, and might originate from the Coordinators’ Council, individual supervisors, members of curriculum development teams, or insightful teaches. Recommendations may be associated with a variety of curricular texts, materials, and resources, as well as proficiency descriptors and learning outcomes. In each case, the Curriculum Coordinator should be informed and involved from the outset. If teachers have recommendations for changing a curricular component or modifying the designated materials that are used within a course, they should discuss their ideas with their Skill Area Supervisor prior to making any changes. The supervisor will involve the Curriculum Coordinator. When a recommendation may warrant further action, there will usually be a two-step process. The first includes approval to pilot the new element and the second includes approval to implement the new element. If a change is deemed necessary, the following principles will be used as the new element is under consideration. Effective curriculum development happens at the intersection of these three principles as illustrated in the accompanying figure.

  1. Stability: How would the new materials affect the stability of the curriculum?
  2. Responseiveness: Would the new materials better meet the needs of the students or faculty? Do the new materials better reflect our understanding of second language acquisition and pedagogy?
  3. Cohesion: How would the new materials affect the cohesion of the curriculum?(Other supervisors will need adequate time to review the proposed change and to determine its probable impact on their skill area across proficiency levels).

With the approval of the Curriculum Coordinator, teachers who make a request for a curricular change may work with their skill area supervisor who will be responsible to address these three principles in a proposal, Recommendation for Curricular Change. This should include (a) costs and (b) when the new element might be piloted. This should be approved by the Executive Council under the supervision of the Coordinators’ Council. Before final approval is given, two additional elements should be added to the Recommendation for Curricular Change. These include (c) results and recommendations from the piloting and (d) recommendations for when and how the new curricular element will be implemented. The final decision should be approved by the Executive Council under the supervision of the Coordinators’ Council.

PART 2: Classroom Teaching and Learning

From the ELC's Mission Statement:

  1. Provding ELC students with the highest quality teaching of foundational and academic English in a research-based curriculum.

2.1 General Classroom Management

2.1.1 General Classroom Management Issues

As ELC teachers adhere to the following guidelines, classes will have continuity and learning will be maximized. Classes must start and end on time. Teachers should not dismiss class early and should make effective use of the 65 minutes they have with their students. Usually “teacher talk” should be minimized to ensure adequate time for students to practice applying the appropriate principles. Good planning ensures that teachers do not have to leave class for forgotten materials. Back-up plans also help to handle any unforeseen circumstances. Neither teachers nor students are allowed to bring children to class. Any visitor must be approved by the Program Coordinator or the Curriculum Coordinator. Teachers must enforce the BYU Honor Code, the Dress and Grooming Standards (see below), and attendance policy.

2.1.2 Students with Disabilities

If you suspect or are aware that one of your students has a disability, please contact the Student Life Advisor (801-422-5318) who can help the student, teachers, and administrators identify the most appropriate way to address any special needs or accommodations.

2.2 Distributing Grades to Students

Because stakes are high for citizenship grades, students need to be able to track their grades. Therefore, teachers must do the following on a weekly basis: (1) update student grades, and (2) ensure that students have access to their grades. This will allow students to make course corrections if necessary. Students will receive a formal notice of their grades from the Administrative Assistant twice each semester, once at midterm and once after the LATs have been completed. These grades are distributed by email, so it is imperative that students keep their contact information current.

2.3 English Use at the ELC

The following is from the ELC Student Handbook:

English use at the ELC can be captured in one sentence: We expect excellence; you should too. The ELC is an English language school. As such, you are expected to speak English as much as possible in and out of class. Most teachers will insist that you speak English all the time you are in their classroom. We expect you will do the same outside of class. You are here to improve your English, the greatest language development will occur when students are using English.

Teacher responsibilities

  1. Make it very clear to students the first day of class that we expect them to use English while in the ELC. This is a matter of their personal progress, and respect for others.
  2. Throughout the semester positively reinforce with students the expectation of excellence and their diligent efforts to improve their English by using it.
  3. Teach students the etiquette of language use.

Student responsibilities

  1. Be self-regulated learners. Excellence is only achieved if you make the necessary effort to improve.
  2. Set goals for how you will use English while at the ELC.
  3. Have a positive attitude towards other students who are use English especially those who speak the same native language as you. Help each other improve.

2.4 Honor Code

ELC students, faculty, administration, and staff at the ELC seek to live by those moral virtues, which are part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will:

  1. Be honest;
  2. Live a chaste and virtuous life;
  3. Obey the law and all campus policies;
  4. Use clean language;
  5. Respect others;
  6. Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse;
  7. Participate regularly in church services;
  8. Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards;
  9. Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code.

Specific policies that will be addressed here are the Academic Honesty Policy (including cheating, falsification, and plagiarism) and the Dress and Grooming Standards. If teachers have problems with students who violate the Honor Code, they should refer to section 2.4.3.

2.4.1 Academic Honesty

Teachers must be aware of the high standards regarding academic honesty upheld by Brigham Young University. It is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure that students are aware of these standards and encourage and/or enforce their compliance to these standards. Teachers should remind students often that their integrity is more important than their grade. Students may view a complete listing and explanation of the ELC’s Academic Honesty policy in the Student Handbook. These standards are abbreviated here to help teachers know what students have been told.


This is a form of dishonesty where students attempt to portray knowledge or skills, which they do not have. Examples include:

  1. Copying from another person’s work while completing an assignment, quiz, or test;
  2. One student allowing another student to copy while completing an assignment, quiz, or test;
  3. Talking with others without permission while working on an assignment, quiz, or test;
  4. Using unauthorized materials, such as a cell phone or notes, while working on an assignment, quiz, or test;
  5. Completing an assignment, quiz, or test for someone else;
  6. One student allowing another student to complete an assignment, quiz, or test for him/her;
  7. Continuing work on a timed assignment, quiz, or test after the time has ended;
  8. Using your work from a previous class without approval;
  9. Completing an assignment, quiz, or test and then telling a classmate what was on it;
  10. A student asking a classmate about an assignment, quiz, or test that he/she has not yet taken.


This is a form of dishonesty where a student attempts to make up or change source material for an essay or other research project. Examples include:

  1. Citing a source that does not exist,
  2. Citing a source for ideas and information that are not included in the source,
  3. Intentionally distorting the meaning or applicability of data,
  4. Inventing data or statistical results to support conclusions.


Intentional plagiarism is the act of representing the words, ideas, or data of another as your own without citing the author through quotation, reference, or footnote.
Inadvertent plagiarism is the act of using another’s words, ideas, or data without citing the author properly. This usually results from not knowing the rules for documenting sources or from not being careful in research and writing. Students who have questions about citing an author should talk with their teacher.

Examples of plagiarism include: direct plagiarism—copying an original source exactly without citing the author; paraphrased plagiarism—paraphrasing ideas from another that the reader might mistake for your own because the author is not cited; plagiarism mosaic—the borrowing of words, ideas, or data from an original source and blending this original material with your own without citing the author properly; and insufficient acknowledgment—not completely citing the authors for their words, ideas, or data from an original source. Plagiarism may occur with unpublished as well as published writing. Acts of copying another’s work and submitting it as your own individual work without proper credit to the author is a serious form of plagiarism.

Teachers should have a specific disclosure in their syllabus about these academic honesty standards and how they will address any problems that may occur with them in class. If teachers have an issue with plagiarism in their classroom, they should notify the Student Life Advisor. Because plagiarism is a serious issue, this should be done the first time an offense occurs so the issue can be addressed in a timely manner.

2.4.2 Dress and Grooming Standards

Teachers are required to facilitate the BYU Dress and Grooming Standards. Please see the Student Handbook for an explanation of what these standards entail. As a teacher, do not allow violators of this code to attend class. Mark them absent (or late) until they comply. The Student Life Advisor can aid in such situations, such as providing students with a razor from the front office. If the violations become serious or there are recurring problems with the same student, the student should be sent to speak with the Student Life Advisor. Students should understand that non-compliance will adversely affect their citizenship grades and may result in dismissal.

2.4.3 Inappropriate Student Behavior

The teacher has the primary responsibility for addressing behavior issues in the classroom. New teachers should work with their mentors to address issues they find challenging. For additional advice on dealing with inappropriate student behavior teachers can talk with the Program Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator, or Student Life Advisor.

Periodically students may exhibit inappropriate behaviors in the classroom that are inconsistent with the Honor Code or ELC standards. These might include but are not limited to Honor Code violations such as plagiarism, cheating, or falsification, as well as negative classroom attitudes, disrespect or mistreatment of teachers or classmates, or any other behavior that may disrupt classroom learning. While the response to inappropriate student behaviors may vary depending on a variety of factors, the ELC will usually adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. The teacher meets with the student, addresses the inappropriate behavior, and warns the student of the potential consequences if the behavior is repeated (e.g., probation or dismissal).
  2. The teacher sends an email message to the Student Life Advisor to document the behavior and the meeting with the teacher.
  3. The Student Life Advisor meets with the student to ensure that the student understands why the behavior was inappropriate and the potential consequences if the behavior is repeated. This is recorded in the student record.
  4. Future violations usually involve a meeting with the Program Coordinator and may result in probation or dismissal.

If teachers have knowledge of or suspect a serious Honor Code violation involving illegal activity, immorality, or Word of Wisdom issues, or if they feel threatened addressing inappropriate behaviors, they should contact the Program Coordinator or Student Life Advisor as soon as possible.

2.5 Level Achievement Tests (LATs)

All students are required to take the Level Achievement Tests (LATs) at the end of each semester. These tests, along with teachers’ citizenship and proficiency grades, determine whether students will be allowed to return the next semester, and if they do, to what level (also see in section 1.3.1, Level Achievement Test Rating). A student’s failure to take the LATs will result in failing proficiency grades for all classes and may result in dismissal from the ELC. The best preparation for students to do well on the LATs is to simply review what they have been taught in class.

All students will take a single test that has questions that cover the range from Foundations A to University Prep. Students will be expected to have mastered all the items that are associated with their current level and lower. For example, a student in Foundations B will be graded on all the items that are at level Foundations A and B. If they successfully complete the tasks associated with the next highest level, they may be able to skip a level. So, a student in Foundations C who passes all the Academic A tasks and has teacher recommendations would be able to skip to Academic B.

LATs are administered over two days. During the first day, students take the computerized tests, which include speaking, writing, listening, grammar, and computer-adaptive reading tests. On the second day students will take paper and pencil tests for reading and vocabulary. For more specific information about these tests please see elc.byu.edu/student/finals/finals_info.php.

Students must know that LATs will not be administered early or late. The exams are a firmly scheduled part of the semester, and students must not make plans that interfere with them. Teachers should inform students that if they arrive after the posted start time, they will not be allowed to take the test unless they pay a late fee (up to $20). If illness or uncontrollable circumstances prevent students from taking an examination on the scheduled day, they are responsible to inform the Technology and Assessment Coordinator as soon as possible (801-422-5755). Students should note that travel plans are not “uncontrollable circumstances.”

2.6 Self-Access Study Center (SASC)

The Self-Access Study Center (SASC) is a place where students can check out resources for out-of-class use and where they can receive help from tutors. Students can sign up on the ELC website for a tutor during the lunch break and after school. Teachers can remind students that if they want a better chance to get a tutor, they need to sign up 24 hours in advance.

Students and teachers may check out materials from the SASC at the desk. Certain materials, however, may not be removed from the SASC, such as the TOEFL materials and dictionaries. Students must return checked-out materials on time otherwise they will be charged a fine. This fine must be paid before students can take the LATs. Teachers may also check out materials from the SASC by completing a checkout slip in the brown checkout box behind the SASC counter. Teachers must return any checked out materials before the end of the semester.

2.7 Testing Schedule

Teachers at the English Language Center are encouraged to use class time effectively. Administration of quizzes and tests can use class time that could otherwise be used for instructional purposes. For this reason, teachers are asked to have students take quizzes and tests that would take more than 20 minutes of instructional time in the ELC Testing Center. Testing Center resources are available on Friday from 8:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.

All tests begin on the hour, and a maximum of six classes (90 students) can take a test at a given hour. Three in the computer lab and three in the paper pencil testing center on the second floor. Teachers sign up for a 50-minute slot on the ELC Testing Center Scheduler at elc.byu.edu/test_scheduler. Tests need to be scheduled by 5:00 p.m. the Wednesday before the test is administered.

Teachers must submit a Test Cover Sheet that includes the class name, teacher name, test date, test time, test room, and student list. The Test Cover Sheet can be downloaded from: elc.byu.edu/teacher/Testing-Reservation-Sheet.pdf

If a teacher is teaching two sections of the same class, it is helpful if the printed test materials are different colors. This makes it easier to sort when the tests are complete. Teachers must have all test materials copied and submitted to the Testing Center Box in 176 UPC by 5:00 p.m. the Wednesday before the test is to be administered. This box is marked “In” to remain unobtrusive. The unscored tests and coversheets indicating student attendance will be placed in the teacher’s box following the conclusion of the test hours.

When they’ve scheduled a test in the testing center, teachers must give the following instructions to their students:

  1. Students that arrive late will not be able to continue working on the test longer. Their test will be collected with all others at the designated completion time ten minutes before the next test hour.
  2. Students may be sent a way if their dress or grooming is not Honor Code compliant.
  3. Students must bring their BYU photo ID (printed or electronic will be accepted, a pencil, and an eraser with them.
  4. Backpacks, purses, cell phones and other electronic devices should be left at home or stored in lockers they can not be accessible during the test.
  5. Students may not bring any books, papers, or dictionaries into the testing center unless indicated as appropriate on the test check in sheet.
  6. Students are not allowed to talk during the administration of tests.
  7. If students have questions about instructions on the test they may ask the proctor for clarification but no questions can be asked about specific test items. Teachers are encouraged to review test instructions with the class prior to the exam.

2.7.1 Late Exams

If students miss a paper and pencil exam it is up to the teacher to allow the student to make up the test or not. Teachers may proctor late paper and pencil exams on their own.

PART 3: Sharing Scholarship

From the ELC's Mission Statement:

  1. Sharing our scholarship by presenting and publishing our relevant experience, research, and resources for the benefit of others.

3.1 Class Observation Policies

ELC classes may be observed from time to time by Linguistics and TESOL students from BYU campus. On occasion people from the local community also ask to observe. Teachers should not allow students from campus or anyone from the community to observe their class unless they have been notified by the Administrative Assistant and have confirmed with the observer prior to the date of observation. Teachers should respond promptly to someone requesting/confirming a scheduled observation. Unscheduled observers should be referred to the Administrative Assistant. When being observed, teachers should strive to successfully demonstrate the principles outlined in 1.2.1 (Principled Pedagogical Practices of ELC Teachers). BYU students should adhere to the following guidelines for requesting to observe a class.

3.1.1 Requesting to Observe a Class

The English Language Center faculty encourages observations, especially from students who are enrolled in teacher preparation courses. The purpose of class observations by students enrolled in Linguistics courses is not to be evaluative but descriptive. All individuals wishing to observe classes at the ELC must follow the procedures outlined below.

  1. Email the ELC Administrative Assistant (arwen_wyatt@byu.edu) at least one week prior to the desired observation. Please tell her your course title, the name of your professor, the dates and times you want to observe (see Note below) and whether you have a preference for a particular skill area or level. She will email you the schedule and teacher contact information and send copies of the email to your professor and to the teacher(s) to be observed.
  2. Contact the teacher to confirm that the observation has been scheduled on a date appropriate for observation (e.g., not a test day or during scheduled lab time). Discuss with the teacher beforehand the level of participation you will have in the class.
  3. Go to the observation prepared by following the BYU dress and grooming standards. Bring materials for taking observation notes.
  4. Arrive at least five minutes before the start time of the class. Ask the instructor where he/she would like you to sit.
  5. Be as unobtrusive as possible. Do not interrupt the class or make a disturbance of any kind.
  6. Following the observation, thank the instructor for the opportunity to observe. Ask if he/she would like to meet with you to discuss the observation.

Note: ELC classes are 65 minutes long and are held at 8:15, 9:30, 12:15, and 1:30 Mondays through Thursdays. No observations will be scheduled the first or last two weeks of ELC classes. The semester ends one week prior to that of BYU.

Student Internships
Sharing scholarship at the ELC partly means sharing the resources and knowledge of our faculty with current TESOL students, both graduate and undergraduate students. Internships are available for undergraduate students with limited teaching, tutoring and supervising. Graduate student internships may include working with Executive Council members, testing or other needs as they occur. For more information please see the internship application here (linked) or direct questions to the Program Coordinator.

3.2 Curriculum Development Release Time

The curriculum at the English Language Center is viewed as dynamic as opposed to static. Reviews of the curriculum will be conducted on a three-year cycle. Curriculum reviews should be made in order to be assured that the curriculum is current, meeting the needs of the students, and that faculty are properly educated on appropriate ways to teach each skill. We want the best teachers engaged in classroom instruction. The members of the Executive Council should be among the very best teachers we have at the Center. These teachers should also be among the best engaged in curriculum development.

Curriculum development projects at the ELC will be coordinated through the Executive Council. Members of the Executive Council can propose a curriculum development project and request release time for the project. The members of the Council may also make recommendations of other individuals who should be involved in curriculum development projects.

The following procedures and considerations will be followed in approving release time for Executive Council members for curriculum development projects:

  1. Projected student enrollment for the semester should be at least 225.
  2. No more than two Executive Council Members can receive release time for curriculum development projects within the same semester.
  3. Except under unusual circumstances, release time will be granted for the equivalent of one course.
  4. Except under unusual circumstances, an Executive Council member may only be granted release time during one semester each year.
  5. A project proposal should be submitted to the Executive Council six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which release time is being requested.
  6. A monthly report will be given to the Executive Council on the work being completed during the release time granted.
  7. A final written report will be submitted to the ELC Coordinator within two weeks of the close of the semester in which release time was granted.

3.3 Research at the English Language Center

The English Language Center strives to facilitate research that is meaningful and well designed, especially studies conducted by our TESOL MA students or department faculty. Due to ethical obligations and logistical constraints, all research conducted at the ELC will need to be approved in advance by the ELC's Coordinators' Council. Due to federal regulations, almost all research will also need to be approved in advance by BYU’s Institutional Review Board.

Before work begins on an IRB application to determine the feasibility of the study at the ELC, interested parties should complete the linked Request to Conduct Research at the English Language Center. This request is used to identify how studies conducted at the ELC may impact learning or whether one study may undermine another study. This request helps the ELC’s Coordinators’ Council balance various needs of stakeholders and ensure the greatest likelihood of success for each study.

Since it may take time to ensure that all logistical elements are properly in place for some studies, requests should be submitted as early as possible. Some studies may greatly impact specific courses (e.g., require regular time in particular classes, alterations of the curriculum, use of specific teaching methods or materials over an extended period, etc.). Requests associated with such studies should be submitted by the following dates for their respective semesters:

  • February 20 for summer semester
  • June 20 for fall semester
  • October 20 for winter semester

Please contact James Hartshorn, ELC Program Coordinator, with any questions regarding these deadlines (james_hartshorn@byu.edu).

Requests to elicit data not associated with classroom research can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed in the order that they are received. Researchers will usually receive a reply regarding their request within two weeks. In some cases, an ELC administrator may want to discuss possible adjustments to the research design or timeline to allow the study to fit with other research currently being conducted at the ELC.

If the research is approved by the ELC, and the work is intended for publication, it will also need to be approved by the IRB before work can begin. This includes thesis and projects. The ELC needs to receive a copy of the approved IRB application before work begins. The only studies that will not need an IRB approval are those associated with BYU courses, conducted under the direction of BYU faculty and that are not intended for publication.

3.4 Funding for Conferences

The ELC encourages faculty to attend and present at TESOL-related conferences. Full-time faculty and part-time student faculty may receive funding for these conferences from the Linguistics and English Language Department. However, the department does not fund other ELC faculty for conference attendance. Therefore, the ELC would like to provide financial support for part-time, non-student faculty to attend conferences when sufficient ELC funds are available. This includes providing funding for registration fees for attendance at I-TESOL and International TESOL if ELC funds are available. Other finances associated with conference attendance (e.g., travel, food, hotel costs, membership fees, etc.) will be the responsibility of the faculty member. Registration fees for other conferences related to the faculty member’s work at the ELC may also be considered. If available funds are insufficient for all faculty who apply, those who are giving presentations will be given priority. Length of service at the ELC may also be considered.

The faculty member should submit the form ELC Financial Assistance Application for Conference Participation for Non-Student Employees to the ELC Administrative Assistant in room 103. The Executive Council will make these decisions. Applications should be submitted by the end of the first month (i.e., September, January, or May) of each semester. Alternative deadlines may be determined by the Executive Council as needed. Information concerning this policy should be made available to part-time, non-student faculty at the beginning of Fall and Winter semesters.

Directory: Executive Council

You may obtain a copy of the ELC Executive Council Directory from Room 103 of the UPC.