Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Limited English Proficient Students

West Hills College Open-entry, Self-paced ESL Classes

Title: Open-entry, Self-paced ESL Classes with Computerized Instructional Support

College: West Hills Community College District

College Contact: Cathy Barabe, Director Grants, Research and Planning

300 Cherry Lane, Coalinga, CA 93210

(559) 934-2147 or cathybarabe@westhillscollege.com

Description: The District serves a highly Hispanic, first generation U.S. community. Many residents are primarily Spanish speaking yet desire to access community college education and training. The goal of this practice is to assist students to gain enough English mastery to mainstream into traditional community college classes. Each semester the college offers morning and evening ESL classes that accept any level of proficiency.

The instructor works with small groups to teach the variable mastery levels. When not working with the instructor, students have access to computerized ESL software that allows them to gain proficiency in computer literacy and to reinforce their language acquisition skills.

One ESL teacher is responsible for the instruction and more advanced students work with newcomers. The classroom is equipped desks and computers and a wide range of ESL developmental software. Instruction includes traditional lecture format, small group instruction, or two students may share a computer. Each semester the students are encouraged to purchase a Spanish-English dictionary and a moderately priced textbook.

To market the classes, the instructor visits the local Adult school program to recruit students, and also works with the international student programs on campus. Referrals primarily come by word of mouth from the students who are successfully taking or have completed the ESL classes.

Within three to four semesters, students are prepared to enroll in basic classes offered by the college.