Our successful English as a Second Language (ESL) project at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) fosters academic literacy by infusing information and computer literacy skills into an advanced speaking course. In our presentation, library and ESL faculty, plus an ESL administrator will share insights on how advanced ESL students construct a demographic study. The demographic assignment requires students to synthesize information and images into oral presentations. Each student’s final project is the culmination of an incremental process that includes four library workshops. During the workshops, students research U.S. cities and form a learning community as they discuss trends in demographic data and the infrastructure of the various cities. Key questions guide the students’ explorations: 1) “Why has a particular city experienced a dramatic shift in population?” and 2) “What does this shift mean for its infrastructure, industries and labor force?”
Our collaboration integrates ESL students into the academic community. The collaboration has built learning communities between the library and ESL departments, as well as between students and their academic environment as they gain the confidence and skills to cross the academic threshold.
We will motivate participants to consider applications of our model in their professional settings by pondering such open-ended issues as: “Why ESL faculty might be reluctant to include library instruction, and how these factors can be addressed.” Participants will leave with tangible constructs to engineer their own collaborations.
Bealle, Penny; Cash-MConnell, Kathleen; and Garcia, Bernadette, "ESL Students Cross the Academic Threshold: How Interpreting Demographic Data Builds Information Literacy Skills - Three Perspectives" (2010). LOEX Conference Proceedings 2008. Paper 21.