Is English your second language? | ESL special

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

ESL is an acronym for English as a second language said Carol Culver, MA director of Adult Basic Education and the School of Adult & General Education.

The ESL program is under the umbrella of Adult Basic Education and has been at CNM for many years, Culver said.

“The students that go to the ESL program are generally not native speakers of the English language, and often English may be the third or fourth language that they speak,” she said.

The ESL department is located in the CNM Connect area of the SCC and anyone interested in ESL classes at CNM can sign-up for an orientation that is offered every three weeks Culver said.

Along with the orientation, the student will need to complete a placement test for proper class placement because the classes are leveled, she said.

Upon completion of the orientation process students can register for classes that they qualify for, she said.

“There is no tuition for classes offered by the ESL program since it is a federally and stated government funded program,  the books are free and provided by the program as well, but there is however a $10 registration fee,” she said.

The classes are non-credit classes, but the ESL program offers co-enrollment classes where the more advanced students can take non-credit and college credit classes, she said.

These types of classes are for ESL students interested in attending college, but might be worried that their English is not quite good enough to take college credit courses, she said.

CNM’s non-credit/credit class program offers a supplemental ESL non-credit class to accompany the college credit class to help support the student, she said.

IBEST which stands for Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training is another program offered by the ESL program;  the integrated basic education is the ESL part and the skills training part allows students to receive training in a specified skill, Culver said.

There are two participating programs currently, she said.

One in Early Childhood/Multicultural Education partnered with the CHSS department at CNM and the other is Nursing Assistant partnered with the School of Health, Wellness, & Public Safety at CNM, she said.

“These programs seem to be extremely popular with the students and have long wait lists,” she said.

Culver said they are hoping to expand these programs as well as offer programs in other areas in the future.

“Students who are not quite at this level can participate in a program called Life Skills English which is geared toward new immigrants that need more help with the basics of the English language,” she said.

Topics of this program cover things like how to function in the community such as shopping, renting an apartment, signing a lease, etc., she said.

“It gives the students opportunities to practice dialogue in these particular settings in the English language,” she said.

Other resources available to ESL students are specified tutors partnered with ACE, English conversational groups, ESL book club, and U.S. citizenship exam preparation, she said.

The ESL program also has a class available for non-native English speaking CNM custodial staff to help them improve their English for their job as well as to support them in becoming U.S. citizens, Culver said.

“The whole program of Adult Basic Education over 4,000 students walk through their door and about 60% of them are ESL students,” she said.

In Albuquerque the highest group of immigrants are Spanish speakers, but there is also a significant population of Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Arabic speakers as well, Culver said.

“I have spent twenty-five years teaching immigrants – thousands of students who said please help me, I want to improve my English,” Culver said.

She said when there is a large group of immigrants there is a great need and desire to learn English.

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