Women of the World has started tutoring some in its community in English! We are happy to have partners from the BYU Students for International Development group making the long trek to Salt Lake City to volunteer as tutors and Professor Joan Dixon and Education Coordinator Ruth Arevalo developing the experiential curriculum.
Differentiation of English Language Learner Program
The English Language Learning program offered by Women of the World is different from others offered to Salt Lake City refugees…
- Small group seating that fosters social relationships with little instructor lecturing
- Students talking about situations where they used English in real life as opposed to grammar lessons
- Walls covered with the levels of English proficiency that the class developed and the roles where they will use English.
Each discussion will foster the learners taking responsibility for their own learning, developing their own materials including a dictionary built based on subject/situation not the arbitrary alphabet, and doing most of the talking, expressing and being facilitated to learn the English “they wished they’d had” in daily situations of the past week.
Another difference, important for funders, is that the results enabled by the course are not the traditional “teach to the test” but are based on the National Institute for Literacy’s Equipped for the Future (EFF) Standards. From the twice weekly, two-hour sessions, the Women of the World ELL students will define how different levels of learners progress in the below EFF standards and will then be measured on their own scale and their progress reported.
- Access needed information.
- Take independent action.
- Express their own ideas and opinions.
- Keep up with a changing world.
- Exercise their rights and responsibilities as family members, workers, and community members
One example of this from a class taught by Professor Dixon, defined a level 1 learner as “Name and greeting” while a level 2 learner was a “secret English speaker” – the difference being that a level 2 learner could communicate but the broken nature of their communication kept them from speaking. A progression through levels in each of the three roles will be the reported results for each learner. Women of the World expects an average of 1.5 level progression for each 40-class semester.
Salt Lake County Need for Refugee ELL Class
In closing, Women of the World would like to convey the excitement and need the community has expressed for this ELL program. Women who have some English skills express their concern over how their medical interpreter seems to not get all the right information communicated, women who have no English skills get more distant from their English-speaking teens and the whole community suffers, and a family without a second income suffers or is stuck on social assistance. While an improving English language learner targeting education can be measured with a test, because of the broad reach of a woman’s role in society, her literacy must improve in the laboratory of life, the classroom of the community.