Peninsula READS’ English as a Second Language, or ESOL, program works primarily with foreign-born adults learning to read, write and speak English fluently. Citizenship classes are also available to students in need. Students, after being tested, identify their goals and are placed in a class with other students at a similar level. The typical ESOL class is approximately 3-8 students. ESOL learners may be new to the country and need to learn and/or improve English skills to obtain citizenship, carry on conversations, to seek or better employment, or to enter secondary training. Many students come to us already having college degrees from their native countries, but need their English skills improved upon in order to obtain similar credentials in the U.S.
ESOL learners are initially tested using the BEST plus test to determine a baseline for both placement reasons and as a measure for future progress. There is a $20 testing fee at the time of initial intake, and all services after testing are free to the learner. Trained volunteers conduct ESOL classes and accommodate new students into an existing class, or a new class is created when need arises. It is important for each student to maintain contact with their tutor, and vice versa, to make sure that the tutor-student agreement is being upheld. Groups must meet in a public space; Peninsula READS’ offices and public libraries make for ideal locations. Periodically learners are re-tested to note progression and identify any challenges that the learner may be dealing with.
Adult foreign-born students learn differently from Basic Literacy students, as often they have little to no foundation of the English language to work off of. Many of these adults had degrees and professional jobs in their native countries, but need to pass certain English language requirements in order to achieve similar ranking in the United States. Adult learners must be respected first as adults, and second as learners. Our workshops and follow-up forums are designed to help volunteers feel comfortable and confident helping other adults learn the English language.
Resources for teaching and learning ESOL