Exploring English

English as a Second Language assists international students with communication skills

BY SAMVEL MIRAKYAN
STAFF WRITER

PHOTO BY SILVIA PARRA DE MCCARTHY|STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER (clockwise from right to left) Instructor Brianne Radke, Hermann Tokou, Estefani Zepeda, Liliana Tellez, Racha Ghaddav, Leijla Bajramoj and Ariadna Urquiza are students from all over the world working together to improve their English skills.

PHOTO BY SILVIA PARRA DE MCCARTHY STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER (clockwise from right to left) Instructor Brianne Radke, Hermann Tokou, Estefani Zepeda, Liliana Tellez, Racha Ghaddav, Leijla Bajramoj and Ariadna Urquiza are students from all over the world working together to improve their English skills.

Schoolcraft College students do not always come from metro Detroit, but instead from various countries around the world. Fortunately, Schoolcraft now offers classes to learn English as a Second Language (ESL), and the program continues to grow and expand to help better serve the community.

“Our new ESL state-of-the-art computer lab is a regular part of our class where we use progressive, exciting ESL learning materials that include comprehensive online learning programs and workbooks. Students can then repeat this learning and listening practice at home as well. Self-paced learning is very effective, and a sound complement to group learning,” said Carole Lowell, who has been teaching ESL at Schoolcraft for over seven years.

Students can be expected to interact with other students on campus and teach other ESL students lessons using computers and cameras, as it is key that students have an active learning experience to gain skills to communicate effectively. The goal is for each student to become confident with their English language, vocabulary and academic skills.

“I want them to gain the skills to communicate effectively in multiple parts of their lives. It’s important that our students become a part of the Schoolcraft community, so we encourage them to join in on-campus organizations,” said Lowell.

Occasionally, students experience culture shock or homesickness, along with the normal challenges of working and finding new friends. Lowell connects them with students from the same country from another class or shares former student success stories with them. She suggests they take advantage of the many resources that Schoolcraft has to offer at no charge. Programs, like the LAC and Writing Fellows are always available to help out ESL students.

Mital Anghun, an ESL student who came from India said, “I understand a little, but I’m getting better in class.”

The ESL program consists of five levels of classes ranging from English Language Skills—Communication, Speaking and Listening (ESL 051) up through English Reading and Writing Skills (ESL 102). Once courses are complete, students with a GPA of 2.0 or better can move into ENG 050, 051 or 101.

“My favorite part of ESL teaching at Schoolcraft is when I see a smile of confidence after my students have made a big jump in learning or they’ve given the best speech of their lives. In addition, I love it when former students come by to visit and share their successes,” said Lowell.

The ESL program at Schoolcraft is not only geared to help students learn English, but also to help students find and connect with others from the same country. Students can contact the Answer Center at 734-462-4426 for more information.

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