Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Limited English Proficient Students

San Jose City College Support in Electronics Labs

Title: English as a Second Language Support in Electronics Labs

College: San Jose City College 2100 Moorpark Ave. San Jose, CA 95128

College Contact: Kathy Werle, Dean, Applied Science, Technology, and P.E.

Kathy.Werle@sjcc.edu or 408-288-3781

Target population: Limited English Proficient Students. At San Jose City college approximately 48 languages are spoken by students. Vietnamese is the primary second language spoken by the students in the electronics program.

Goals: To increase the educational and employment success of limited English proficient students studying electronics.

Description: College officials noticed that even though limited English proficient students had the technical skills, they often had difficulty obtaining employment because they didn’t have enough English language proficiency to interview well. The faculty encouraged students to enroll in English-as-a second-language classes, but few did so. The college Career and Technical faculty discussed this issue with their advisory committee and the ESL faculty. A strategy was developed to employ two ESL teachers to work in the electronics labs. These instructors challenged the students to speak English and explain the experiments they were performing, and assisted students with lab write-ups. The students were also encouraged to work in groups and use English with each other.

Staffing: The lab is staffed by the regular instructor. Two ESL instructors assist in the lab. The instructors are not fluent in Vietnamese, but have expertise in strategies for teaching ESL.

Facilities, equipment, materials: No additional facilities or materials are required.

Costs, funding source: VTEA funds were used for the additional lab support. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, the college has been unable to continue offering this assistance.

Outreach and marketing: The outreach that is conducted is to encourage students to increase their English language proficiency. A poster was developed to encourage Career and Technical Education students to enroll in ESL classes.

Evidence of effectiveness: The activity was deemed very effective by faculty in building students’ language skills, helping with critical thinking, and helping them become work ready. Electronics faculty learned to challenge students as they had observed the ESL teachers, and the ESL teachers learned a lot about the demands of this occupational area that they could take back to their general ESL classrooms.

Suggestions for replication: Close cooperation should be maintained between ESL and Career and Technical faculty.