Lee offering free ESL classes
The Language and Literature Department has begun its ninth year of offering free English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. This program seeks to provide free English instruction to students and community members who are interested in better learning the language.
ESL Director Dr. Chris Blake said this was the most promising year to date.
“We had approximately a hundred adults show up from 15 different countries last night,” Blake said. “We work with those students who start right at the beginner level and take them up to the advanced level.”
Blake said the courses have a positive impact—with many students regularly coming back.
“We had a guy that came last night that I had met when we first started this program in 2011,” Blake said. “He is from Ukraine, and when he came to the program, he could hardly speak any English at all. Last night he thanked me for our program because he just passed his citizenship test.”
Blake said that free childcare is also provided to families that come when classes are in session.
“We provide free childcare, so we had 40 children show up last night,” Blake said. “All these kids come, and they learn English while their parents are upstairs learning English as well.”
Since the start of the ESL courses, the classes have evolved into five different levels from beginners to advanced students. Within these levels, small class sizes make it easier for teachers to cater to various learning styles.
Dr. David Broersma, associate professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and linguistics, said the courses also benefit Lee students through teaching opportunities.
“The thing that is really unique about this particular course is that it not only provides a service to the community, but it gives our students in an undergraduate program an opportunity to teach in a real classroom with adults,” Broersma said.
Annabelle Morris, a senior TESOL major, cited the opportunities that the ESL courses offer to the community.
“It can help open new doors for adult learners to be eligible for more jobs and navigate daily survival English,” Morris said. “It also helps youth students with their English comprehension for school.”
Classes are offered every Thursday evening in the Walker Memorial Building from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and will be available from now through Nov. 21. To learn more about ESL, contact email@example.com.