If you are an ESL/EFL educator, you must remember the Affective Filter Hypothesis … right? It is one of the five hypotheses about second language acquisition proposed by Stephen Krashen. It refers to a psychological barrier that can hinder or promote progress in learning a second language. The Affective Filter can be raised or lowered as a result of the quality of the learning environment - and low anxiety facilitates success in practicing and learning a second language.
College ESL students experience these barriers all the time even if they cannot exactly identify the causes. At De Anza College’s Listening and Speaking Center (LSC), we try to ensure that ESL students can practice English in a safe environment, where they don’t feel judged based on their “nonstandard” English. Every quarter, about 500 students use the LSC, many coming because their ESL instructors require them to participate in activities outside the classroom. After joining a few workshops and tutoring sessions, they discover that here they can freely express their opinions without being afraid of making mistakes – they feel at home.
Our most popular program is the Conversation and Specialty Workshop program. The workshops cover a variety of topics from idioms and vocabulary to pronunciation and presentation. Whatever the topic, our main goal is to have students speak as much as possible.
Michael Pollan has written “The word “sustainability” has gotten such a workout lately that the whole concept is in danger of floating away on a sea of inoffensiveness. Everybody, it seems, is for it whatever it means.”
So what does sustainability mean to you - do you think of solar panels or wind power? Buying food locally? The term is used in relation to environmental management, science, law, consumerism etc. and in so many different contexts, it can be confusing. But essentially sustainability is about sustaining the environment for future generations through forward thinkingstrategies to solve environmental challenges. It involves energy conservation, clean and green energy, technology that protects the environment, green building, and socially responsible organizations and employers.
But if you would like to work in some aspect of sustainability, how do you navigate your way through this confusing field and find your own path. Where would you start?
Siripat Nengchamnong is from Thailand and came to the US in 2005. She studied English at San Jose State University and took a Hospitality Management course at Mission College to prepare her for opening her own restaurant, the White Elephant in Santa Clara. Siripat describes how she enjoys the work because she loves to cook and to eat and to please other people with her cooking. She also loves to meet people from all over the world and compare experiences. But Siripat makes it clear that running a restaurant is very hard work indeed.
Rita Cai is from China and describes how she learned English at Milpitas Adult School, and then went on to train as a medical assistant, eventually finding work as a dental assistant. She explains that she made this choice because she could not find work as a medical assistant at that time, but is confident that with a background in the medical field, ESL students will be able to find work however bad the economy may be.
A dental assistant ensures the dental office runs smoothly, learning front-office procedures like scheduling, billing and processing dental insurance, as well as prepping for surgery and helping with cleanings. It offers work in a growing industry.
Elia Ruano describes her journey to becoming a radiologist. She explains the English requirements and also the how the Radiology Certificate program at Canada prepared her to practice in the field. The only education prerequisite for admission to a program is usually a high school diploma or equivalent.
Radiology certificate and diploma programs ground students in the techniques used in radiological imaging - imaging procedures and use of imaging equipment. Programs also offer contextualized learning which help students to communicate effectively in a medical environment and develop professional skills