Our First ESL Experience

I enjoy learning English very much. My favorite activities have been those where I have had to interact with other students. I like speaking English.

Mohammed

In an effort to give more to our beneficiaries, last year, we decided to start teaching English as a Second Language. In order to give our students the best experience, we contacted Alexandra and Catherine – two Concordia students in the Education department. They have since volunteered their time to create ESL booklets tailored to our students’ needs and interests. Since the introduction of ESL classes to Say Ça! in January 2018, three of our students have successfully finished the first booklet created by our two ESL experts – Alexandra and Catherine, and guided by our tutors.

Three of our students have recently taken the ESL Level 1 exit tests, which are designed to get feedback and better understand our students’ learning strengths and shortcomings. There were no entry tests as our students’ knowledge of the English language was basic prior to being introduced to this booklet; this was recorded in a questionnaire given late last year. Knowledge of the language was limited to 3 to 5 words per student, which included “hello”, or “thank you”.

Our first three students to have successfully completed our Level 1 booklet have given us the following results:

Student A scored 90% showing to have learned a wide variety of vocabulary. She has learned a lot of words regarding food, clothes and family members, but shows difficulty remembering words regarding the weather. She also showed to have learned how to give directions in English and properly write numbers. This student claims to practice her English outside of Say Ça! and believes she understands almost everything in her Level 1 book.

Student B has a bit more difficulty writing English, and he scored a 58%. This student had troubles with sentence structure, as his native tongue is not one which uses the latin alphabet. His test does show understanding of the vocabulary and the questions at hand, however, he struggled to answer properly as there seems to be confusion with the French writing style and spelling. Nonetheless, he did very well in sections where matching was required and/or the vocabulary was given.

Student C scored 77% where most of the points were taken due to spelling mistakes. In this scenario, the student in question shows confusion in her spelling, mixing up English with Spanish and French – her first and second languages respectively. Like student B, she did very well in sections that involved matching or answering True or False. Following the completion of Level 1, student C considers she can have a small conversation in English.

Overall, our first experience teaching English has been a success. The way the courses have been designed for our students’ interests makes the learning experience an enjoyable one for students and tutors alike.

Thank you Catherine & Alexandra! We look forward to working on our Level 2 booklets.