November 16, 2016 / English as an Additional Language expands at VU
VINCENNES, Ind. - After three decades of helping non-English speaking students, Vincennes University is changing a program to better serve students seeking to improve their English language skills.
Beginning this semester, English as an Additional Language (EAL) became the program’s new name, changing from English as a Second Language. Along with the name change, the curriculum was rewritten to an updated program that will greatly help students with testing. Students are also enjoying a new, larger lab space in the Shircliff Humanities Center.
“We changed our name from English as a Second Language to EAL to better represent our students,” said Jacqueline Klueh, assistant professor of English and EAL. “It was fitting since most students speak four to five languages in addition to English.”
As part of changes to the program, a pronunciation lab is currently in progress. The goal is for students to be able to record their presentations and learn by watching and listening to themselves.
After serving ten years in the Reading Department and the last two years in VU’s English Department, last year Klueh began to teach ESL full-time. “I have been very fortunate to work with a diverse group of students. I absolutely love VU,” said Klueh.
Many students in the program have traveled to VU for the American experience, with the goal to enhance their English skills. Within EAL there are 20 students between the direct program and the Bridge program that branches from it, and there are a total of 13 different countries represented in the class.
Klueh says there are three types of students in the program - international, residential, and citizen - with each of them having different goals. The international students and residential students are working toward a college degree. New citizens and working residential students are not seeking a degree at VU but are working on improving their English.
Klueh said that while all of them may have different end goals, “they are all aiming to improve their English skills.”
Students meet for an average of 25 or more hours a week with Kleuh as their group sponsor. Group and individual-based learning are keys for this program with a focus on speaking, listening, reading comprehension, writing, and proper pronunciation. Typically, students will spend two semesters active in EAL.
“I grew up in the military and attended over twenty schools. I think my background has prepared me well to work with the students I teach,” said Klueh.
Klueh explained that the overall goal of this program for students is “to ensure that they are college ready.” They strive to improve their English skills to take the college placement test. Upon entry into this program, students are required to take a placement test to determine areas in which they are lacking. Based on those test results, students are placed in one of seven levels to help them in their particular area.
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