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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW combines departments to enrich experience

ESL/ESOL services works to help students achieve goals. Photo by Hope Sandusky/The Collegian
ESL/ESOL services works to help students achieve goals.
Photo by Hope Sandusky/The Collegian

By Hope Sandusky/nw news editor

NW ESL/ESOL Center hopes to be a one-stop shop for students who are trying to learn English for both academic and lifestyle purposes with a successful open house to kick-start the center.

The process of merging the two departments has been a long journey for ESL and ESOL faculty alike.

“The idea came from our Chancellor’s vision in meeting needs of all students,” said NW president Elva LeBlanc. “Not all students are college ready because of language barriers. This center allows us to create a pathway that is best for the student.”

Up to this point, TCC has offered students two separate options for learning English. English as a Second Language, a noncredit curriculum, teaches students English for work and life. The other option, English for Speakers of Other Languages, teaches students English on an academic level for use in the educational environment and is the credit curriculum.

NW will be the first and only TCC campus to offer both ESL and ESOL combined.

“By combining the two, it helps create a seamless transition for the student between learning English for work life and for getting that certificate or degree,” said NW humanities dean Lisa Benedetti. “We have advisors and instructors on board so that the curriculum is consistent and we have a natural process from beginning to end.”

The development of the center has come with some challenges, NW ESOL instructor Anita Biber said. From creating the curriculum to finding a home for the center, the project has taken a lot of work and passion from the faculty.

“We’ve had great ideas, but now we have a set location and are staffed with many bilingual speakers from Vietnamese to Spanish to Arabic to French,” Biber said. “We want to have a multilingual staff so that we can help as many students as we can.”

Finding ways to get the word out had also been a challenge, Benedetti said. The semester started with a Jan. 10 open house. Through marketing, the center’s faculty have reached out to radio, feeder schools and the Chamber of Commerce in an effort to get the news out to the community.

Despite some of the project’s challenges, the student success stories are the most rewarding part, NW academic and ESOL advisor Alex Vargas said.

“We get students who are too scared to even come into the building,” Vargas said. “They will sit in their car crying, having to talk themselves into just getting out of the car. Then they do come in, and they learn and soon are achieving the goals that they were so afraid of being unable to accomplish before.”

The center’s ultimate goal is to help as many students from different languages as possible to give them a safe environment where they can learn and grow.

“We’re creating a New Student Orientation for the ESL/ESOL students so that they can get the same experience as all other incoming students,” said Benedetti. “We want students to feel as comfortable and familiar with campus as possible. We’ll even personally walk the students to wherever they need to be to ensure that they get everything they need.”

The center is working on having a collaboration between ESL/ESOL students and students taking foreign languages in where they have to speak the language that they are learning in order to practice together. Bilingual students can apply to work for the center.

“Our goal is for students to be able to achieve whatever it is they came in for at the center, whether it’s earning a certificate or degree or learning English for a job,” said Biber.

NW hopes that the center will allow the program to become a leader in the community for ESL/ESOL needs.

“We want NW to come first to mind in the community for ESL/ESOL classes,” Benedetti said.

For more information, students can contact the ESL/ESOL center at 817-515-7063 or stop by for one-on-one assistance.

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