Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Photos from Recognition Night

The following photos were taken by the photographer son of one of Katrina's students. They vividly captured the vitality of the Recognition Night on May 12.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Perfect Timing

If you teach academic writing and require an in-class final writing exam, you might want to spread the word among your students that the ESL Tutoring Program is hosting a free workshop this Friday, 5/1, in the ESL Computer Lab in H-118 to get your students ready for their in-class writing finals.  The hour-long workshop will start at 11am. The students will learn some of the best strategies for handling different types of essays. They will get their questions answered and hopefully get some hands-on practice. Informative handouts will be provided, too.

An encore workshop will also take place next Monday, 5/4,  in the ESL Tutoring Center in H-222. It will start at 7:30pm.

Here's hoping that these workshops enable your students to ace their writing finals.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Board Game to Enhance Your Students' Classroom Experience

As a program coordinator, I have the privilege of observing fellow teachers in action. I learn something new every time I observe one.

Recently, I was in a level 4 classroom and saw Trevyan showcase an activity that incorporates fun to increase participation, sustain students' interest, strengthen group interaction, and expose students to more of the targeted grammatical structure. The fun activity was a teacher-prepared, superlatives board game. Trevyan brought in paper game boards inserted into plastic protective sheets along with Ziploc bags, each containing several multicolor chips and a die in them. She put students into groups and gave each group a set of the playing material. The rule was very easy to follow, and soon the whole class roared with excitement.

So impressed with that, I quickly searched the Internet for an editable board game template, the next chance I got. I wanted to enhance teaching practices through board games. Fortunately, I was able to find and download a free "monkey and croc" Word file and produce my own superlatives board game in practically no time. Then, I was also able to duplicate the success of my same-level colleague.

Now, I am thinking this fun and instructive tool can be used to practice other topics that we discussed regularly. For example, we can type in general statements and the players must generate specific details to support the generalizations. It has been a struggle to get some of our ESL students to figure out levels of specificity in academic reading and writing.

By the way, in case you are wondering, the web site that I went to to download  the free editable game board is

Monday, April 6, 2015

Preparing Our Students for Academic Demands

Academic or professional language is different from everyday language. That is one of the reasons why students come to school to learn, both orally and in written form.

At a recent San Diego regional CATESOL conference, Dr. Kate Kinsella gave a keynote speech to emphasize the necessity of facilitating students' academic interactions, starting with us teachers modeling professional vocabulary and providing language frames for them to emulate. This recent publication of hers in the Language magazine, though geared towards K-12 educators, describes tasks that may have a very relevant classroom impact for us.

As well, for one's writing skills to be college ready, we need to expand students' command of precise vocabulary, adjective clauses, and nominalization, among other items.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Curriculum Alignment

An important goal of our CDCP Noncredit Certificate of Completion program (i.e. our NESL 301 to NESL 304 sequence) is to get our noncredit students into (better) employment or a college major.

At recent statewide faculty forums organized by the Board of Governors Task Force for Jobs and the Economy, it was pointed out that a topic missing from the thread of structured career pathways is how to align basic skills curriculum, including ESL, with workplace skill requirements. ESL faculty at the listening events expressed frustration that current ESL curriculum still feels a bit too irrelevant.

Not coincidentally, some more academic-oriented ESL departments of community colleges have sought to bring their ESL curriculum in alignment with their English counterparts. LA City College is one such example. Dr. Lane Igoudin, who teaches at LACC, has just published an article in CATESOL News to describe a few strategies for aligning ESL with English. Click here to read more.