Viewpoint 181: Supporting students learning to speak English

Viewpoint 181: Supporting students learning to speak English
Posted on 01/26/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Viewpoint 181: Supporting students learning to speak EnglishThe Brainerd lakes area is a diamond in the rough. We have an immense and growing untapped treasure of languages and cultures in our midst.

As the kindergarten through 12th grade English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and the coordinator of Adult Basic Education program that includes ESL classes for adult learners, we both have the privilege of being a part of support systems that have been created in recent years to serve students in Baxter, Brainerd and the surrounding areas who are native speakers of languages other than English. We have been delighted to find and share that knowledge of other languages helps build bridges and opens up opportunities to connect with new neighbors who have had different life experiences.

Brainerd Public Schools is working to inspire a spirit of celebration of our community’s diversity. In Brainerd Public Schools, and Adult Basic Education (ABE) housed at CLC, programs are being created and expanded to capture the potential extensive learning that can come with exploring cultural differences and valuing those differences and experiences.

During the 2017-18 school year, there were seven Brainerd Public Schools students identified as speaking another language at home. This school year, over 35 students have identified a primary language other than English or have English as a second or additional language. Our ESL students speak 11 languages; some speak more than one language in addition to English. That growth in students needing ESL instruction has brought the positive challenges of creating additional and enhanced programming as well as shifts in thinking and awareness.

The K-12 program addresses the needs of students identified as non-native speakers and works to help support teachers in modifications and adaptations for those students within the Brainerd Public elementary and secondary settings. The English Language learner program is part of the Teaching and Learning Department and currently has an office in room 215 at the Washington Education Center. Information or questions about the K-12 program can be directed to Stephanie Chamtcheu at [email protected].

Adult Basic Education, part of Community Education, serves adults residing in the areas from Pine River-Backus, Brainerd-Baxter and Crosby-Ironton. In 2016, Brainerd ABE served one ESL student. This school year, Brainerd ABE is proudly serving more than 10 adult ESL students through classes offered free of charge at our location on the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College. Brainerd ABE is excited to announce new five week ESL classes starting Jan. 21. All adults are welcome. For more information, please contact Brainerd ABE at jessica.turner@isd181org or 218-855-8166.

Stephanie Chamtcheut is a K-12 ESL Teacher and Jessica Turner is an Adult ESL Coordinator with Brainerd Public Schools

Jessica Turner
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