ESOL

The English for Speakers of Other Languages Program is designed for students to develop a high level of English for academic work in the United States. It prepares students broadly, including language training, content education, study skills, and cross-cultural orientation. Typically, new students take three full-credit ESOL courses for one year, with second-year mainstreaming into non-ESOL courses. Ninth graders, however, take the ESOL Structure and Use class, and join the integrated Humans in the Natural World.

Among the ESOL offerings are two sheltered classes for advanced English learners, one in literature and writing and one in American history and culture. The ESOL program teaches the ability to write and speak clearly, work independently, think critically, act cooperatively, and join discussions effectively. Students must demonstrate proficiency at each level of the program before moving to the next level; those who do not may have the option of summer study to prepare for the next level. All seniors must be mainstreamed.

Advanced Literature and Composition

1 credit (English)

This English department course is for non-native speakers of English. It is a transitional course taken before entering mainstream English classes and replicates the experience of a mainstream class. Students learn and practice a range of writing skills, including sentence-level construction and syntax, techniques for stylistic variety, and expository skills for both personal essay writing and formal literary analysis. Through reading and discussion, as well as through writing, they improve their ability to express complex ideas in English. One goal of the course is to increase each student’s ability to express ideas with nuance and precision. This course is open to advanced non-native speakers of English. A student is not required to be enrolled in or to have taken other ESOL classes to join this class.

Themes in US History and Culture

1 credit (History)

Themes is a content-based class examining the history of the United States thematically. Rather than following a purely chronological approach, each course unit considers the American story through a different lens, with an emphasis on the values that define and reflect the culture. An opening unit, “The Land”, for example, explores the idea of wilderness,
introduces native peoples from various geographical regions, considers the experience of early explorers and settlers, and takes an overview of the geographical expansion of the country. Other units include “From Colonies to Sovereignty” (independence, self-government), “From Around the World: Immigration to The US” (opportunity, assimilation) and “The Struggle for Equality” (civil rights, equality). The course uses a variety of text materials, online resources, and primary documents, preparing English learners from other educational backgrounds for mainstream courses in history and the humanities. Students learn academic skills that are crucial in the US educational system: note-taking, text annotation, outlining, discussion and oral presentations, doing surveys and interviews, basic research skills, and taking exams in English. For ESOL students, this course will satisfy the American History credit requirement from American Studies. It does not satisfy an English credit requirement.

Structure And Use

1 credit (Language)

This course presents advanced grammar structures, varied reading and writing tasks, discussion tactics, conversation strategies, and ample new vocabulary. By course end, students should be able to use the entire English verb tense system, articles in discourse, conjunctions and logical connectors, relative clauses, causative verbs, the subjunctive, and many other stylistic and structural aspects of the language. In addition to the grammatical work, students consider a range of academic, social, political and philosophical themes. News reports, lectures, films, and songs are all sources of language practice. Oral presentations, public speaking, and debates are also included, and some preparation for TOEFL. Assignments include regular grammar and vocabulary practice, readings from newspapers and magazines, and writing and presentation projects.

Advanced Academic English

.5 credit (Language), spring

English language students can choose this elective course to continue the work of Structure and Use immediately after that course’s completion OR when they want to return to formal English study in a later year. Instruction and practice will focus on advanced sentence-level grammatical forms which the students and teacher identify from an analysis of individual writing.  Students will also practice strategies for developing a concise writing style.  Challenging readings selections from across academic disciplines will provide springboards for discussion, writing topics, and vocabulary development, as well as for practice in annotating, outlining, and increasing reading speed.  Students will be expected to keep  error and pattern-practice logs to support individual learning needs and goals. Mastery of academic English is a long-term and ongoing process; this course supports student accomplishment in mainstream classes and future academic work.