You Are Invited!

Will you bring your friends, family, and colleagues to come, watch, and learn about the US Refugee Program and Somalia, African Bantu people who have been living in our community since 2004 by watching Charters to the Stars at the English Skills Learning Center on Thursday, October 16th from 6-8pm?


Charters to the Stars is about descendants of slaves, disturbed by the civil war, Hassan and Fatouma are Bantu people from Somalia. The Bantu people are facing extinction and live in refugee camps in Kenya. A new life is ahead for Hassan and Fatouma, as well as for 13,000 men, women and children: they are about to come to Salt Lake City in the USA through one of the biggest migration program ever organized.


Hope to see you on the 16th!




Vocabulary Myth

Myth 8: Teachers, textbooks, and curricula cover second language vocabulary adequately.

Most ESL teachers rarely teach vocabulary systematically. ESL textbooks often focus on grammar, reading, or other skills instead of explicit vocabulary instruction. Do something with vocabulary in every lesson. Once you teach vocabulary, you must test vocabulary. Vocabulary practices can take many forms; what appears to be most important is not the form of the exercise as much as the number of forced retrievals of the word or its meaning. The three most important components of activities that foster L2 vocabulary growth:

Noticing – students need to notice the word and be aware of its usefulness. Teachers might have to point it out to the students until they develop this skill.

Retrieval – there are two types of retrieval: receptive retrieval (multiple choice questions, odd man out, matching, defining, word searches) and productive retrieval (fill in the blank, crossword puzzles, error identification, answering questions, original sentences, original story)

Creative Use – using the word in a way that is different from the original encounter.

Let us know how this works for you by posting on our Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn accounts.


ESLC Job Readiness Program Launch

The ESLC includes the Job Readiness program in their English for specific purpose menu. Want to learn more? Below are frequently asked questions about this new program!

The ESLC Job Readiness Program is for people with limited English proficiency who are preparing to enter the workforce or want to become more familiar with U.S. work culture. Potential students should be able to understand frequently used English words in context and when spoken slowly. Students should be able to recognize, read, and write numbers and letters in English. They should also be able write basic personal information such as name, address, and phone number. Please refer students who are serious about trying to get a job in the US and who will be able to attend ten hours a week for six weeks.

The six weeks of class is divided into three – two week modules. Each module has a set of competencies the students will pass off. These competencies allow students to demonstrate what they are learning in class and are directly related to entering the workforce. Examples of the competencies are filling out job applications, giving personal information orally, and calling in sick. The first module focuses on preparing for work. We will discuss things like setting goals, assessing skills and experience, giving personal information, and comparing work in students’ native country to work in the U.S. The second two week module focuses on finding a job. We will practice interviewing skills, filling out applications, and describing skills and abilities. The third module focuses on keeping a job. In this module we will talk about work expectations in the U.S. such as punctuality and efficiency. We will also discuss getting along with coworkers and problem solving at work. At the end of the six weeks, students will receive a certificate which shows the number of hours they completed in the class as well as the work related competencies they passed off.

Classes will be held Monday – Friday. Classes are typically two hours a day. The times of classes differ depending on the location.

The classes will be held at several community locations throughout the valley. Please contact Elin Isakson for information on the locations.

Please send interested students to a registration event. Registration events are typically held during the week before a class starts. At this event we will get relevant information from the students and give them two short screening tests. Based on the screening test, we will match students of similarlevels and put them in a class. If students are too high or too low for the class, they will be referred to another class.

These classes will help to familiarize students with American work culture and expectations via ESL instruction. We will guide students through the process of considering job skills and abilities and setting goals, to applying, interviewing, acquiring, and keeping a job. Our goal is to help students to be ready to work by the end of the course.

Elin Isakson, Job Readiness Program Coordinator


Vocabulary Myth

Myth 7: The best dictionary for second language learners is a monolingual dictionary.

Research shows that dictionary use is an essential skill in learning a new language. Many teachers tolerate the use of bilingual dictionaries with the goal of learners using a monolingual dictionary as soon as possible. There is absolutely no empirical evidence to support this. Dictionaries allow students opportunities to learn polysemous words. Bilingualized dictionaries are the best for ELLs. Bilingualized dictionaries include the word in English, an English definition, a L1 definition, and an example of the word used in a sentence.


The ESLC is Hiring!

The ESLC is hiring for two instructor positions. Be sure to click on our Job Opportunities page to learn more.


Vocabulary Myth

Myth 6: The best vocabulary learners make use of one or two really good specific vocabulary learning strategies.

“Regardless of how much instruction we do in schools, students will actually do most of their learning independently. It therefore makes sense to encourage students to adopt personal plans to expand their vocabularies over time.” Thus, one of the main classroom activities for teachers of vocabulary is the direct teaching of learning strategies related to vocabulary. Research has not proven one vocabulary-learning strategy to be better than the rest. Research has also proven that the cultural backgrounds of the students have a great deal to do with the type of language learning behavior likely to be used by students. The best learners utilize several vocabulary-learning strategies. Researchers have concluded that time and learner independence were the two factors most associated with success in vocabulary learning and higher overall English proficiency. One of the most important factors in learning a word is the number of times the learner retrieves it. Help students make a useful vocabulary notebook and refer to it often. Teachers should introduce students to as many strategies as possible.

  • Morphology: point out the meaning of the parts of a word. For example, review: re=again, view=see, thus review=to see again.
  • Imagery: use the letters of the word, the length of the word, the form of the word to connect it to meaning. For example, a valley looks like a large V.
  • Connotation: to teach the phrasal verb call off, ask students if off has a positive or negative meaning. Point out the negative meaning of call off.
  • Interactive-image mnemonics: a combination of a mnemonic device referring to a L1 word and an image associated with the new word. For example, when learning isu in Japanese, an English-speaker could think of the word easy in English which sounds similar. They then use imagery and come up with the sentence, “It is easy to sit in a chair.”

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