Speaking Groups Program

East Shore

Join the English Language Support Office’s Speaking Groups Program as a participant or facilitator to make meaningful connections across campus in weekly small group discussions. 

Why should I join the ELSO Speaking Groups Program (SGP)?

  • To gain more linguistic confidence and increase opportunities for meaningful interactions in English
  • To be a part of an academic community and build connections across campus by meeting with others from a range of programs, disciplines, and backgrounds
  • To share your linguistic, cultural, and research knowledge
  • To learn from the linguistic, cultural, and research knowledge of others
  • To develop a greater understanding and acceptance of diverse populations who are all part of Cornell's global community
  • To make new friends!

Key Dates for Spring 2024

  • February 16: Facilitator registration deadline
  • February 23: Participant registration deadline 
  • Feb 21, 3:30-4:30 pm & Feb 23, 11 am–12 pm: New Facilitator Orientations (online)
  • February 28-March 4: Participant Group Sign-up
  • March 6-May 7: Groups meet once a week (except for Spring Break)
  • April 12, 11 am to 12 pm: Midpoint check-in for facilitators (online)
  • May 9, 4:00-5:00: Final Reception (in person)

FACILITATORS: To Lead a Speaking Group

What does a facilitator do? Facilitators commit to leading small weekly discussion groups for 8 weeks during the second half of the semester. The groups can meet  in person or online. Facilitators do not teach English or assign homework, but instead create a comfortable and supportive space for practicing conversational English. Facilitators are also asked to maintain communication with group members, keep attendance, attend a mid-point check-in meeting, and attend a final reception

What are the requirements to be a facilitator? You need to be (1) affiliated with Cornell (e.g. an undergraduate, staff member, graduate student, post-doc, alumni, retiree, or faculty), (2) fluent in English and (3) have knowledge of U.S. culture. 

When do groups meet? They meet all throughout the week. When you complete the application form, you will be asked to identify two times during the week that would work for you, and we do our best to give you your first choice. Most groups meet for an hour, but you also have the option of a 30-minute meeting. 

How  do I sign-up?  Complete the Spring 2024 SGP Facilitator Application by February 16.

PARTICIPANTS: To Join a Speaking Group

Who is eligible to join this program?  All Cornell multilingual and international graduate students, professional students, and postdocs, at the Ithaca campus and Cornell Tech, are invited to join. 

What do participants commit to? We ask all participants to commit to attending weekly meetings during the second half of the semester (between March 6 and May 7, excluding Spring Break).  If you need to be absent one week, we ask that you email your group facilitator. 

What happens during group meetings? Each group chooses its own focus. Some groups meet to talk about daily life, while others take walks on campus or play games. 

When and where do groups meet? Meetings will be offered throughout the week. Group facilitators choose the meeting location. There will be options to join groups that meet in person as well as online. Most groups meet for an hour, but there may be options to join a 30-minute meeting. Once we have facilitators in place, we will email you so that you can choose a group that best fits your schedule and needs. 

How do I sign-up? Complete the Spring 2024 SGP Registration Form by February 23. 

Contact Us

Questions may be directed to ELSO Speaking Group Program Coordinator Michelle Crow by clicking here.