Helping Neighbors: F.I.S.H. OF SANCAP Sponsors ESOL Learning Program!
Imagine living anywhere in the world, and not being able to speak, read or write the native language. Working . . driving directions . . ordering from a menu . . . attending school, all generally considered to be relatively simple tasks, become challenging at best.
There are many families in our region that have moved here from different countries and struggle with learning our native English language. FISH offers English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes on a weekly basis, teaching those to communicate competently in English, which helps them at home, in school and particularly in the workplace. Classes are offered from beginning through advanced levels, and are designed for the adult or older child student.
ESOL classes are designed to develop all areas of language - speaking, listening comprehension, reading, writing, grammar, and pronunciation. Emphasis is on learning practical language skills that are necessary at home, in the community, in school and on the job. The length of the program is based upon the student’s individual needs. As an open-entry/open-exit program, students have the flexibility to enter and exit the program when their individual needs have been met.
“What has been particularly helpful,” says Christine Swiersz, FISH Program Director, “is having the older children of our students attend these classes. At home, the parents and grandparents are speaking Spanish (or another language) while the children are speaking English. Through ESOL, we are finding ways to open communication lines between generations. It’s wonderful to see the elders and the children talk, perhaps for the first time, in English. It’s also really helpful for the kids. Can you imagine moving here as a non-English speaking child, being placed in school, and expected to be able to learn and test in an English setting? There are few schools that offer compressive bilingual education programs, where students receive half of their education in each language, and that can create a learning loss,” Swiersz said. The benefits of the ESOL program are many, including better work relations, possible work advancement and more.
ESOL is held every Wednesday afternoon at the FISH Walk-In Center from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Class sizes vary. Please contact Christine Swiersz, L.C.S.W., or Jessi Zeigler, M.S.W., at the FISH Walk-In Center (239-472-4775) for additional information about the FISH ESOL program.