by Beth Garstka

Guest Blogger, English Skills Learning Center

At the English Skills Learning Center, one of our most unique programs is the One-on-One Program.  The program has to be unique because each of our students are so unique.  Currently, the program has about 30 pairs who do one-on-one lessons that occur in community centers, libraries, and students’ homes.  Our one-on-one classes are more than just conversation practice. Volunteers make a lesson plan and gear their lessons half toward oral skills and the other half toward literacy or reading and writing. Working in a one-on-one is a rewarding experience for our volunteers, especially as their students read books to their children and write their first shapes, letters, and numbers!

Many of the students in the program are emerging readers.  In a one-on-one situation, they can get the attention they need to succeed. It is an exciting time for the ESLC as we develop and research new testing and teaching materials in collaboration with the University of Utah.  Some of our volunteers attended the in-service in November and January to learn about materials and strategies for teaching our emerging reader students.

A volunteers recently reported, “I remember going to class one day and my student expressed to me that she had gone shopping and had a conversation with someone in English about where she was from, how long she’d been here, and if she liked America. She was so excited that she had been able to understand and reply. I’m glad to have been a part of that.”

Nicole and Khadija using the ESLC’s Curriculum for Counting Beans