Learning English as a Second Language

1 decade 2 years 1 week ago Thursday, November 02 2006 Nov 2, 2006 Thursday, November 02, 2006 1:16:50 PM CST November 02, 2006 in News
And, many Columbia residents learn to read, write and speak the language through the English as a Second Language program called English Language Learners.

"We always say it's the best-kept secret in town for our job," said teacher Beckie Hocks. "It's the best-kept secret in town because working with the ELL population is really a joy."

Hocks has experienced that joy for the past three years, teaching students who don't speak English.

"Columbia's different, we have 41 languages," explained ESL Coordinator Judy Trujillo. "We can't teach a bilingual education, and our teachers, while some of our teachers are bilingual, they obviously don't speak 41 different languages."

Hocks teaches at Hickman High School, one of 13 schools in the district that offer ESL.

"Most of the time they're here because they want to learn English, and they want to study," she said. "And their academic goals range from just wanting to learn English and not necessarily graduate from high school to not only graduating high school but going on in secondary education."

ESL enrollment rose 13% last year, while overall district enrollment increased only 2%.

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