Course Offering and Support

What does SLU offer for ESOL classes and support?

Students needing English instruction may either be enrolled automatically or chose enrollment in ESOL 201 (Introduction to American Culture, DIV 13) or ESOL 202 (Advanced Stylistics, LANG). Students also have access to individual tutoring with Robin Rhodes-Crowell or an ESOL tutor through the WORD Studio on a non-credit basis. ESOL is housed in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in Carnegie Hall. Students can also participate in the Language and Cultural Exchange Program to practice spoken English.

A few words about acronyms:

ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) – keep in mind many students have English as a third or fourth language. I currently have one student in ESOL 202 who speaks 7 (!) languages. Although this acronym is still widely used, it is becoming outdated as the vast linguistic resources of multilingual students are increasingly valued.

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other languages) – for those who want to teach English to non-native English speakers. This is a specific discipline with doctoral work (PhD, DA, EdD) and grounded in research and theory  -  within the field are areas of focus just like any discipline. If a person teaches ESOL academic writing it does not mean he/she can teach pronunciation. It is NOT a “oh you are a native speaker, you can teach it” kind of thing. This means ANYONE teaching English needs training with a certificate at a very basic minimum.

Lastly, let’s take a look at how the CCCC defines second language writers. 

“The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) recognizes the presence of a growing number of second language writers in institutions of higher education across North America, including technical colleges, two-year colleges, four-year institutions, and graduate programs. As colleges and universities have actively sought to increase the diversity of their student populations through recruitment of international students, and as domestic second language populations have grown, second language writers have become an integral part of writing courses and programs.

Second language writers include international visa students, refugees, and permanent residents as well as naturalized and native-born citizens of the United States and Canada. Many of these students have grown up speaking languages other than English at home, in their communities, and in schools; others began to acquire English at a very young age and have used it alongside their native languages. To many, English may be a third, fourth or fifth language. Many second language writers are highly literate in their first languages, while others have never learned to write in their mother tongues. Some are even native speakers of languages without a written form. Some students may have difficulty adapting to or adopting North American discursive strategies because the nature and functions of discourse, audience, and rhetorical appeals often differ across cultural, national, linguistic, and educational contexts. At the same time, however, other students–especially graduate students–are already knowledgeable about the discourse and content of their respective disciplines, even if their status as “international” or “second language” may mask their abilities. Furthermore, most second language writers are still in the process of acquiring syntactic and lexical competence—a process that will take a lifetime.”