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ELI 396: Migrant Community Outreach and ESL Teaching Practicum

This course is part of ELI’s innovative Migrant Farm Worker Language and Outreach program. This innovative two-course sequence draws undergraduate students from across campus based on their shared commitment to social justice and desire to expand their own intercultural competencies for their future careers.  

Selected students find a challenging academic experience both in the classroom and in the field as student teachers working with diverse local populations with mixed English proficiency.  During the Winter term, students take a course centered on developing reflective teaching practices and exploring the themes of "Language and Community" in the context of migrant farm workers in the US. During the Spring/Summer term, students take their academic skills directly into the community teaching English and providing other services like interpreting, or information on local resources.  Alumni of this program attest to the many ways that it honed their leadership and communication skills, enhanced their ability to think on their feet in unpredictable circumstances, and provided them with a savvy and sophisticated view of the rapidly changing national demographics.

In this summer half-term course, students travel to local farms to teach English. Using materials provided by the ELI, student teachers help migrant workers and their families improve their grammar, reading, writing, and pronunciation skills to better communicate with their employers and participate in the general community. Student teachers work in pairs to draft and refine lesson plans and engage in intensive reflection on the teaching experience, both in discussions and written assignments. They also provide outreach services to camp residents such as pesticide training, interpreting, and translating.

(2-3 credits)