The course offerings of the ESL Department span five levels of proficiency. Courses during the Fall and Spring semesters are offered during the regular college 15-week semester. If academically feasible, students in Level III and up can enroll in other college-level classes.
ESL students are expected to demonstrate what they know and what they are able to do in three major skill areas: Academic Skills, Functional Skills, and Cultural Skills. These three skill areas recognize that the acquisition of English language abilities occurs simultaneously and interdependently, rather than sequentially.
The curriculum of the ESL Department focuses on writing, reading comprehension, and speaking/listening skills that all students must have in order to be successful in academia. The above skills are offered on each proficiency level and are presented through meaningful content and taught through communicative tasks. In other words, students are taught how to understand and produce academic English.
The ESL curriculum also focuses on functional English. Students are taught effective ways to communicate in American society. They learn how to express their needs and ideas, interact socially, and survive linguistically in American culture. This is achieved through improving the ability to process language in real world situations and to engage in oral interactions with native speakers of English.
ESL students thrive in an atmosphere in which their native language, culture, and values are acknowledged and respected. It is important that ESL students have the opportunity to affirm their heritages and to celebrate them in the classroom. Conversely, it is equally important that students become skilled observers and analysts of American culture. Therefore, a cultural component is woven throughout all of the ESL courses offered. Students are exposed to American culture in the reading selections, writing assignments and oral discussions. In addition, students are given ample opportunities to present their cultures and to compare and contrast them to American culture.