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Washington and Lee University, English for Speakers of Other Languages

Listing Last Update: January 28, 2020

Location

204 W Washington St
Lexington, VA 24450-2116
esol.academic.wlu.edu/

Primary Contact

Ellen Mayock

(540) 458-8816

mayocke@wlu.edu

Educational services

  • Reading and writing
  • Find a family literacy program
  • To help my child learn
  • To study for high school equivalency
  • English language
  • Information about the GED Test

Instruction Type

  • Classroom
  • Family literacy program
  • Instruction in Spanish

Program Overview

WHO WE ARE

Washington and Lee University's English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), founded in 2001, is a student volunteer organization connected to the Department of Romance Languages and the Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. The organization's mission is to facilitate communication, (English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and occasionally other languages), in the communities of Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County, Virginia.


WHAT WE DO

We provide four specific services to reach these linguistic objectives in the community:

(1) Instruction in English and literacy initiatives in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese: We work closely with the ESL coordinators of
the Lexington City and Rockbridge County schools in order to provide one-on-one and group ESL instruction to Spanish-speaking individuals in our area. Our instruction includes specific homework help, English lessons, and, in some cases, continued work on literacy goals in the home language. Tutors work with individuals both in school and in family/community settings to ensure that students have the best possible chance to learn and to succeed in school. In addition, we have a popular family outreach program, through which we teach English to family members, work on increased literacy in the native language and English, and help adults to prepare for the GED. Most adults receive 1-3 hour tutoring sessions per week with individual tutors. These sessions allow the adult learners to focus specifically on what they know they need to learn. Tutors have assisted the adults in a variety of ways, from preparing for discussions with landlords to learning how to communicate more clearly with their children's teachers. We connect these in-home initiatives with community dinners through Washington and Lee's Campus Kitchen program. One great success we have enjoyed is pairing tutors with the same families over a 3-4 year period to establish more profound relationships and greater long-term impact in the community. In addition, we have partnered with Project Horizon to offer English language classes every Monday night.

ESOL enhances volunteer-student-family connections through a variety of community events held throughout the year. This year, ESOL sponsored a career and college access panel, a book drive, and a movie night. In addition, ESOL partnered with Project Horizon, 50 Ways Rockbridge, the W&L Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic, and the Romance Language Department's literary magazine (Pluma) to launch evening events to discuss issues of migration and relocation in practical, legal, and literary contexts.


(2) Translation services: We have a volunteer corps with advanced skills in English and Spanish and English and Chinese. These volunteers translate documents (English-Spanish and Spanish-English and English-Chinese) for the public schools, the Rockbridge Area Health Center, Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, Rockbridge Area Hospice, and Washington and Lee's legal clinics. In addition, this group is always willing to translate documents for individual ESOL clients.

We provide this service to any organization who requests it. We generally have 5-7 community clients in a year, and we carry out numerous smaller, individual translations for our adult clients. We have completed projects for the Rockbridge County Public Schools, Lexington City Public Schools, Rockbridge Area Hospice, the Rockbridge Area Health Center, the Rockbridge Regional Jail, and the Staniar Gallery at Washington and Lee.

In Fall, 2018, an upper-level Spanish seminar class translated (English to Spanish) over 200 pages for the Lexington City Schools as part of the community focus of the class. Over the 2018-2019 school year, ESOL completed approximately 300 pages of translation in all.


(3) Interpreting services: Many of our volunteers accompany adult individuals to parent-teacher conferences, doctors' appointments, and community agencies to facilitate live communication in Spanish, Chinese, or Vietnamese (and occasionally other languages) and in English.

ESOL volunteers work with Spanish-speaking adults at the Washington and Lee Law School's Immigrant Rights Clinic to interpret (English-Spanish, Spanish-English) information about the new DAPA and DACA regulations. In addition, ESOL volunteers collaborate with W&L Law's Tax Clinic.


(4) Academics at Washington and Lee: The University links the ESOL organization to its curriculum through the Department of Romance Languages and the Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, which offers biannual or annual ESOL-linked courses that examine local, regional, and national demographics and issues for Latinxs in our community, along with requiring ESOL service of enrolled students. Students write about their service-learning experiences in Spanish on the class blog (e.g. http://span204-01.academic.wlu.edu/).

Washington and Lee's departments of modern languages and Global Discovery Laboratories (GDL), under the guidance of Professor Dick Kuettner, are
extremely active in language initiatives in our area. In addition to running the ESOL Program, we host workshops for FLAVA (Foreign Language Association of Virginia), run three of the Governor's Foreign Language Academies, and have our students teach modern languages in the local schools.
In addition, Washington and Lee is currently building a Center for Global Learning, whose mission will be to connect international and regional/state/local learning projects.

The nationally recognized Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability places many of their Poverty 102 students with ESOL to work with English-language learners in our community.

The Romance Languages Department also frequently offers a class, taught by the faculty adviser to ESOL, which connects Spanish conversation skills with ESOL service-learning. Students volunteer through ESOL with school children, adults, the Rockbridge Area Health Center, and the Washington and Lee Law School. The Romance Languages Department also offers an advanced translation workshop, for which students take on a community translation (English-Spanish) project.

Mission Statement

Washington and Lee University's English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), founded in 2001, is a student volunteer organization connected to the Department of Romance Languages and the Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. The organization's mission is to facilitate communication, (English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and occasionally other languages), in the communities of Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County, Virginia.

Hours of operation: By appointment

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Program Status:
Active