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Hi, Cathy,

At our community college, we offer what we call ESL conversation groups for
students and community members to practice speaking English. The groups are
led by a tutor who has a theme, a reading paragraph, vocabulary, questions,
and discussion based on that day's topic. Sometimes the beginning group
will take a field trip: to our library to learn about its ESL resources, to
the cafeteria to learn about ordering and using U.S. money to pay, that
type of activity. We don't charge because these groups are open to our
students and we don't charge for tutoring. We offer beginning and advanced
groups. This fall, we'll also be offering an intermediate level because our
advanced is a bit too advanced for most of our ESL students.

We tried to have groups, led by tutors, in which students in ESL and
Spanish students could practice each language, with the students spending
one half of the time speaking English and the other half speaking Spanish.
We had interest but couldn't find a time that worked for students in both
languages. The ESL faculty member who put it together developed a
speed-dating type format: five minutes per pair of students per question,
with the speaking partners regrouping after each question (such as What is
your favorite restaurant? What is your favorite movie?--conversational
questions).

We've found that just putting students together doesn't lead to many
conversations in English, but having a leader for the groups, especially
someone correcting idiom or pronunciation at times (the students want and
expect that) but encouraging them to speak at all times, results in much
more conversation among the participants.

Mary

On Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 6:40 AM, Cathy Flores <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> I am working with the Learning center and the Health Sciences/Nursing
> division in a community college to create a communication lab for our
> international students.  These students have completed all their ESL
> classes.  The issue/concern is that these students are not retaining their
> English speaking skills or are uncomfortable with speaking English.  There
> is a strong need in the health professions for the students to be fluent in
> speaking English.
>
> We were looking to create an environment where the students could just
> come and talk to other students to practice their English speaking skills
> in
> an open lab area.
>
> I am curious if anyone is doing this type of lab and is willing to share
> how
> to accomplish this in the learning center and get possible funding. Or does
> anyone know of any research in this area.
>
> Thank you
> Cathy Flores
> CPCC
>
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-- 

Mary Early, Ph.D.
Director, Learning Support Center
Paradise Valley Community College
602.787.7183
www.pvc.maricopa.edu/lsc/

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