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ELI 395: Principles and Practices of Teaching ESL in Migrant Communities

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 course students explore the themes of “Language and Community” as they learn about  the experience of migrant farmworkers in southeast Michigan. What is the economic, cultural, and historical context of migrant farm work in the US? Who are the workers? Where do they come from? How do they live? What is the history of migrant outreach and education efforts? As they investigate these questions, students also learn and practice the methods and techniques for teaching ESL to a mixed-proficiency, primarily Spanish-speaking population. These include conducting a basic needs analysis to identify learning objectives, drafting and revising lesson plans, and creating original teaching materials.

(3 credits)