ESL – 你好 今日は “Hello”

Saint Thomas provides non-native English speakers two ESL (English as a Second Language) learning programs:

Chinese ESL offers beginner speakers a practical curriculum that focuses on everyday needs, such as making a 911 call, visiting a doctor, shopping at the supermarket, or reading a bus schedule, and more.

Japanese ESL is designed to provide more advanced students an opportunity to improve their English language skills through both written and verbal assignments.

Carla Cornwell, who’s been teaching Japanese ESL for more than 30 years says, “when students arrive, they’re often shy and fearful of making mistakes.” Her standard mantra to reassure them is, “I’m not teaching you English, I’m teaching you courage!” Over time the message sinks in, learning becomes a joy and their shyness is replaced with lively enthusiasm. The classrooms in the Education Building often erupt with chatter.

Students are encouraged to get together for lunch to practice their language skills in real-life situations. What’s remarkable about these classes is that learning flows in both directions. Everyone, teachers and students alike, is enriched through the cultural exchange. The students love their time learning and Carla will plan a potluck or special meal to celebrate their progress. “One day,” she remarked, “for fun, I brought in a green Saint Patrick’s Day cake. Though we try to maintain a neutral environment that does not push political or religious views, I couldn’t resist the cake…and they just burst into laughter.” Somehow, it all makes perfect sense.

Classes can have 2-3 to 21 students at any given time. “They find us through the website, Our Daily Bread, by word of mouth, and through local businesses like Suzuki and Fujitsu that aid families of new arrivals…and we can always use volunteers!” adds Carla.

Chinese ESL meets once a week on Friday mornings – 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. in the Education Building, see Directions & Campus Map

Japanese ESL meets twice a week on Wed. and Fri. mornings from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. in the same location.

For more information about Chinese ESL, Contact Us

For Japanese ESL, Contact Carla Cornwell at (408) 720-0518

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