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By Lynell Wiggers
Special to The SUN
Can you imagine living in another culture and not being able to speak the language?
The loss of self-confidence is particularly difficult for well-educated individuals who are highly respected in their country before relocating to our area. Even if you have considerable formal language training, jargon, accent and culture can still be a barrier to easy communication.
Archuleta County Education Center has the only English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults in our county. If you or another adult you know would like to sharpen English language skills, our instructors, Rosalind Marshall and Susan Lawrence, are eager and willing to help.
The need for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in Archuleta County is particularly high because of our historic ties with Mexico. With federal funding from the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) the Colorado Department of Education has allocated funding for Archuleta County Education Center to offer ESL for over 15 years. ESL programs supported by AEFLA must adhere to strict state and federal guidelines, including standardized tests. The system is based on competencies, which encompass more than 300 essential life skills that people need to be successful members of families, communities and the workforce. Test performance reflects proficiency in individual progress over time.
Although most of the students are native Spanish speakers, there have been students from China, Germany and Russia. The goal for our ESL program is to provide basic instruction in English, emphasizing our jargon and culture. Success in the ESL program leads to improved job skills, integration into local culture, better communication with children’s teachers and overall better quality of life.
We have two levels of instruction this year, basic and intermediate/advanced. Both groups are combined into one large group at the beginning of the class, then split into level-appropriate lessons. We have highly-qualified instructors with years of experience with ESL students. Susan Lawrence is new to our staff this year, coming to us with several years experience in teaching English to K-8 non-English speakers. Rosalind Marshall, herself an immigrant from Great Britain, returns for her fourth year of ESL instruction at the Ed Center. Both instructors enjoy teaching with fun and purpose built into each class.
If you know someone who needs to learn English as a new language, you can do them and our community a good service by suggesting that they enroll in ESL classes. These classes are offered 5-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with free child care provided by appointment. There is a $15 annual registration fee, but all other materials and supplies are free.
Other programs we will offer this fall are our ever-favorite First Aid/CPR classes that will be offered once a month throughout the year. Also, we have a wide variety of computer classes being offered for beginners and experienced users. In addition, we will offer jewelry making classes for the first time and even a class in avoiding IRS pitfalls in this volatile time of retirement investment.
For more information, visit the website at www.archuletacountyeducationcenter.com, come by the Ed Center at the corner of 4th and Lewis streets, or call 264-2835 for enrollment forms, available in English and Spanish.