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Connections faculty and staff newsletter
 November 2013

Students in ESOL and education departments collaborate

Members of the Conversation Partner Program will present at Ridgeway Elementary.

A partnership between English as a Second or Other Language and education classes this semester will offer students a conversation partner experience.

For education students — who will certainly work with English language learners in their future career — this international experience is practical, not to mention resume-building. For ESOL students, it offers conversation practice and builds socio-cultural awareness.

The Conversation Partner Program matches two non-native English-speaking students from ESOL 102 and 104 (Oral Communication Skills) with one native English-speaking student from EDUC 198 (Field Experience I). The groups meet independently each week for at least an hour in an informal setting (coffee shop, dorm room, athletic event, etc.) and talk about everything from their homes to food to holidays to current news.

One aspect of this partnership is a joint project during International Education Week (Nov. 11 — 15) at Ridgeway Elementary School. Working collaboratively, students will teach 15- to 30-minute long mini-lessons to fourth- and fifth-grade students on aspects of international students' culture/language. ESOL students provide the content while education students help to frame that content for teaching purposes.

The ESOL students will primarily do the presentations with the support of the education students. The presentations fall into four broad themes: holidays; language; crafts, games and etiquette; and music and dance. The groups will present at Ridgeway on Nov. 13.