The Language of Learning


ESL program enhances Schoolcraft

By Quinn Storm, News Editor

Schoolcraft always strives to create a positive atmosphere for students, staff, faculty and the community surrounding it. Being a community college, all their hard work and effort goes back to the community and affects everyone around them. Whether it’s programs for senior citizens, banquets or specialized programs, Schoolcraft is always working to enhance lives. The English as a Second Language, or ESL, program is a very good example of this. This program offers both credit and noncredit courses, taught in sequence with one another, in an attempt to teach English language, writing and culture to those who struggle with it or come from different backgrounds.
“I think that its benefit to the community is that people who become more comfortable with English are more involved in the community and become more active community members. They’re more likely to be involved in community organizations, their children’s schools or activities in the community. So, all of that is building community and building relationships,” said Leslie Petty, the Associate Dean of Continuing Education and Professional Development.
The ESL program offers both credit and noncredit courses to accommodate the student. Before entering the program, each student takes a placement test in the McDowell Center and is then, based on their score, placed in a certain level of the ESL program. There are five levels and after the fifth level it is assumed that the student is well prepared to go off into the world or perhaps into other classes and be confident in their English abilities. These tests are scored numerically from 25 to 119. A score range from 25 to 50 puts students in level one, scoring between 51 to 70 puts students in level two, between 71 to 90 is level three, 91 to 114 is level four and 115 to 119 is level five. These levels include classes for reading, vocabulary, grammar, speaking, listening, and conversation.

Ann Prenger, of the non-credit ESL program courses, helps students grow through learning English and American Culture.(Photo Courtesy of Ann Prenger)

“To Schoolcraft, I think it gives wonderful exposure to the families. Not only to students, but by extension to families. They see the school as an environment where they’re welcome, where there’s a community for them to improve themselves, it’s very friendly and then they can see all the degrees and all the other things we have too. They know that this is an opportunity for them,” said Ann Prenger of the noncredit English as second language program, Continuing Education and Professional Development Faculty member.
The credit aspect of the program is able to give students the opportunity to further their schooling and career, whether this schooling is going to go forth at Schoolcraft, another community college or a four-year institute. To help with the learning, there is an ESL lab in the McDowell Center, MC 011, which may be used for additional assistance or any reinforcements of skills. Also, there are student tutor stationed in the lab who work to help international and local students to go over lessons learned or to help coach them in their skills.
“The English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Schoolcraft College is committed to providing high quality English language instruction and support to prepare non-native English speakers to successfully achieve their personal, academic, and professional goals in a global society. The ESL Bridge Program enables international students to attend Schoolcraft College and prepare for their academic studies,” said Dr. Dennis K. Genig, the Associate Dean of Education Program and Instructional Administrator of the ESL program.
Any individuals interested in the ESL program or learning more about both credit and noncredit courses offered may contact the Continuing Education and Professional Development Center located inside the Jeffress Center, or call at (734) 462-4448.