ENGLISH SECOND LANGUAGE AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING A COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM1
Some Background on Language Learning Jim Cummins differentiate between social and academic language acquisition. Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) are language skills needed in social situations. It is the day-to-day language needed to interact socially with other people. These language skills usually develop within six months to two years after arrival in the U.S. CALP refers to formal academic learning. This includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing about subject area content material. This level of language learning is essential for students to succeed in school and work. This usually takes from five to seven years. Academic language includes skills such as comparing, classifying, synthesizing, evaluating, and inferring. ( Critical Thinking) . Jim Cummins also advances the theory that there is a common underlying proficiency (CUP) between two languages. Skills, ideas and concepts students 2 learn in their first language will be transferred to the second language.
Implications Adult students will take at least 2 years to become comfortable with speaking English Adults need critical thinking skills in order to survive ; the act of merely finding a job in a new country requires the ability to compare, classify, synthesize evaluate, and infer within the context of a new language and culture. Adults do not have 5 to 7 years of time to learn a language with sufficient CALP to master their environment. Common Underlying Proficiency (CUP) does transfer across language, however if an adult has not had much education or world exposure in the native language, then there is nothing to transfer. 3
ESL and Adult Occupational Training The Proposal This program focuses on increasing workplace English skills for the participant. Course labeled Levels 1-5 focus on language skills for the workplace with emphasis on basic grammar and building vocabulary. Levels 6-8, provides language skills that prepare the participant for a career, work certification or advanced courses. Additional courses are offered that concentrate on critical skills like pronunciation, conversation and interpersonal communication, critical thinking, and communication and writing. Each student will participate in the ESOL component Monday, Wednesday, and Friday The occupational training will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays or in the evenings. 4
Steps Students took an institutional, pre-assessment exam in order to be placed in the appropriate level. Two levels emerged-- a lower level and a higher level Both groups starting by taking Job Search and Employment Skills Language for Non English Speakers One group was assigned level 3A and the other group level 4A. Occupational training choices were: Medical Front Office Assistance, Automotive Technician, Floral Design and Machining. When students started the occupational courses their ESL Teachers visited their classes and began to include the vocational content in Sheltered English Methodology. ESL Teachers were also given development in English Sheltering Lessons. 5
What is Sheltered Instruction? Sheltered instruction is a set of teaching strategies, designed for teachers of academic content, that lower the linguistic demand of the lesson without compromising the integrity or demands of the subject matter. It was originally designed for content and classroom teachers who teach in English. Additional training offered by Brookhaven: GED Preparatory Courses, CALL- Computer Assisted Language Lab. 6
ESL Curriculum Job Search and Employment Skills Language for Non English Speakers (40 hrs Workplace English Three. Part A (48 hrs) Workplace English Three, Part B (48hrs) Workplace English Four, Part A (48 hrs) Workplace English Four, Part B (48 hrs) Workplace English Five (48 hrs) Workplace English Six (40 hrs) Pronunciation and Vocabulary for Entry Level General Office Skills for Speakers of English as a Second Language (48 hrs) Workplace Conversation Interpersonal Skills (40 hrs) Workplace English: Communication/Writing Skills (40 hrs) The occupational training programs vary in lengths and complexities. 7