ESOL program offers language help to students

Vadim Dozmorov

Staff Writer



Some students at Brookhaven College have to overcome the difficulty of learning English before they can tackle other courses needed to earn their associate degrees. According to The Student Fact Book for 2011, 21 percent of students reported that English was not their primary language. Though many passionately argue otherwise, it is not the official language of the country, according to Whatever industry a person works in, English may be very useful and beneficial for careers in the United States.

The Coca-Cola ad for the Super Bowl, which sparked both debate and glorification, is a prime example of The United States’ language diversity. The commercial features people from various cultures singing the national anthem in their native languages. Brookhaven has quite a few students who know either little or no English, with more than 500 international students transferring from more than 85 countries around the globe, according to a pamphlet on international students available in the Multicultural Center in S Building.

Judith Saunders is a campus tutor with 10 years of teaching experience in ESOL, or English for Speakers of Other Languages, two of which were at a private language school. As she tutored a student, she concisely explained each word with gestures and diction. “I love it,” Saunders said, without blinking an eye. “You see someone make so much progress.” Many students stick with level three of the program, Saunders said. She compared this level to being college-ready, as reading and writing for students at level four can get quite difficult to the point where Saunders’ husband, an English major, has trouble with it.

The ESOL program consists of four levels, each with five tiers to pass that progressively get more difficult, Elena Webb, an ESOL assistant, said. The program’s efficiency is determined by the amount of time and exposure the student has had. Because students are being taught entirely in English, they are immersed in the language and therefore receive an integrated approach, Webb said.

Brookhaven students interested in ESOL should go to the Multicultural Center located in S Building, Mari Karlova, a current Brookhaven student who passed the ESOL program, said. “It was not difficult,” Karlova said. She recommended students get out, communicate and use the language in addition to learning from the program because it takes hands-on experience and mistakes to learn. The practical application of a language that is foreign is what helped her in her progress thus far, she said.