A lot of students don’t know about the ESL program at CHS and the people the program helps.
ESL is coursework in Carrboro High School designed to help students who are looking to learn English as their second, third or in some cases as a fourth language.
It’s a really big challenge for ESL students to come to a place where nobody else may speak their language, and they need a lot of help from teachers to understand English and its vocabulary.
“International students need help more than American students,” said Jeff Roberson, retired ESL teacher, about why he made the switch from English to ESL teacher.
From the student perspective, “I think English learning was hard because of all the big amounts of vocabularies I had to learn to go through one class,” said Faisal Al Zoubi, CHS senior and ESL student.
ESL teacher Mrs. Angela McChesney chose to teach the newcomer class to learn about different beliefs and life experiences.
“I love traveling and to learn about different languages and cultures,” said McChesney, who teaches World History and English for CHS newcomer and ESL students.
Speaking other languages can help teachers connect with students. Roberson can speak different languages, such as Spanish and French, which makes it easier to explain English to newcomer students. McChesney teaches students who don’t speak English by acting out or showing pictures to their students, but best way is repetition.
“Repeating the same thing again and again [helps] because studies show that repeated exposure to vocabulary is necessary,” said McChesney.
The ESL program is an opportunity to get the students to improve their English by practicing it in a comfortable. The students are allowed more time on the test, which can help give time to understand vocabulary.
The program also includes learning about different social skills and American culture. The program gives students the chance to talk with teachers who have an experience with different cultures, which becomes a common connection between the students and the teacher.
In the end of every year, the students are required to take an ESL test. The ESL test is made up of 4 parts: speaking, writing, listening and reading. The test is made to see if the students have improved and to see if the teachers have done their job perfectly.
“I passed the ESL test, but I have experienced it for four years, and it was kind of hard each year, but every year I took it, I improved,” said Gerardo Medina Lopez, sophomore.