AESL 505 is Irvine Valley College’s highest level course in the Adult English as a Second Language program. The AESL program helps local community members build and refine their English language skills for practical purposes in their daily lives.
While the AESL program is relatively new, it has grown to become one of the most robust and highly sought after courses on campus – both for students and teachers. Though we had entrusted the classes to many of our excellent adjunct faculty, I had the honor and the opportunity to be the first full-time faculty member to run a class. This class was conducted during the intense summer-school schedule, running for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Because of the differing needs of this group of students, who were looking for practical language use opportunities rather than academic language development, I was able to customize the course and build on creative and active language building activities. In particular, Fridays were built on the Genius Hour premise as popularized by innovative educators like Don Wettrick, AJ Juliani and more. These projects led to unique opportunities for students to blend their passions with their language development. You can see a number of examples of student work on the Student Projects page.
My second year teaching the course gave me the opportunity to further refine the student projects, focusing on a theme of “Making English” and allowing students to strongly consider how their language developed and communicated their ideas. In the summer of 2019, we focused on podcasting as a platform for making language.
I was particularly grateful for AESL 505 as it gave me the opportunity to reflect on how vital English language courses are to the survival and upward mobility of so many hard-working residents in our area. This course gave me a more well-rounded view of our community and let me see students in a light I often miss or take for granted. I hope to continue working with AESL students through the foreseeable future.