This semester's English as a Second Language class (ESL) has students from eight different countries.
The class is being taught by Charles Quigley, Language Institute Program Instructor.
The origins of the students are as follows: Brazil, Columbia, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Out of the eight different nationalities, Quigley says “there a five different languages between the students.”
Quigley, who has been teaching the course full-time at the EPCC Valle Verde Campus for eight years says, “It is unusual to have that many different origins in the ESL class, and that the more prevalent number is six.”
However, he believes that a student from Hungary, which he previously had in a class, was the rarest since after 20 years of being as a Bi-Language Educator, that is the only student he had from Hungray.
Students enroll for different reasons.
There are doctors, nurses, and dentists that come from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to learn English for their cliental.
There are military spouses, individuals seeking employment or citizenship in America, and people interested in enrolling in credited courses at EPCC in order to transfer to the UTEP.
There are housewives who learn English in order to communicate with their children’s teachers.
The course contains six levels that are broken down into A & B modules, meaning there are two classes for each level, totaling 12 classes.
The course is seven weeks, and students may choose to enroll in the Fast Track class which is 30 hours a week from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
There is also the Intensive class which is 15 hours a week from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.
Although long, the benefits of the Fast Track classes are worth it.
Students take the A & B model within the same seven weeks, and have the opportunity to complete all six levels in one calendar year rather that two.
“I can see the nervousness among their faces, and that students may even experience ‘mental blocks’ while trying to learn a new language,” said Quigley about the first day of his level one class.
“I try to make them feel at ease and joke with them.”
Although Quigley speaks Spanish, he is adamant that the students respond to him in English.
He attempts “ice breakers” which are usually done in the form of a “play act” or “charades.”
“At first, the students are quiet but after a few days they act like friends,” Quigley said.
He finds the experience “over all enjoyable.”
“(The students) become more proficient when they are forced to speak English” said Quigley, “and they are not afraid to make mistakes since everyone is on the same level.”
He likes the fact that students are “very accepting, and curious” and that they “usually get along.”
Quigley believes that the course would attract more students if financial aid would provide funding.
Students enrolled in the ESL courses must pay the full payment at time of registration.
The prices of the courses are $534 for the Fast Track, and $267 for Intensive.
There are no refunds on or after the first day of the class in each Fast Track Level, according to the EPCC Workforce and Continuing Education Spring 2016 Class Schedule Catalog.