featuring the work of young journalists from Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District High Schools
Learning a new language can be a daunting task, but with the right environment, it can be easier. This has been the case at Jean Vanier Catholic High School in Collingwood. Before last year, Jean Vanier had never needed a course for English Language Learners (ELL).
This caused a unique scenario for both the students and the teacher. Ms Bollozos was the teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) which ran in the second semester of the 2018 – 2019 school year. She explained that the course was taught with an emphasis on word structure and grammar while also focusing on the life and culture of Canada. Students in the course gained a formal education on English in an area where English could be practised without judgement.
One of the challenges of the course was the fact that not all students were at the same level of language ability. A former student named Avjin I. articulated the point well. She commented that the course was beneficial but a better emphasis on English structure and grammar would have been valuable.
The students were able to work and practise English in an environment where they could feel comfortable to make mistakes while also learning from them. Questions of “what” and “why” led to discussions about the more complicated details of the English language. Ms Bollozos commented, “Sometimes when you say or do something in English it is done without a second thought, but from an ELL learners’ perspective it is “why” we do that which creates a greater understanding of English.” The course helped students adjust to Canada and the Canadian way of life.