English Language Learning
English Language Learning classes help students improve their English language skills to better negotiate their lives, engage in the wider community, and increase self-sufficiency. The main objective of the program is to foster effective socio-economic improvement using English language acquisition as a tool and to build community. The integrated skills curriculum is student-centered and based on national learning standards.
Classes are divided into 5 proficiency level and are offered year-round, serving about 100 students per year. Most students hail from Latin America, but CIELO has also included students from Japan, China, SE Asia, Turkey, Italy and West Africa.
Classes are offered at Radio Ranch on Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00 – 8:00 pm; and on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00 – 11:30 am.
We believe that the starting point for interactions of all CIELO ELL community participants, (staff, tutors, students and children), must be one of mutual respect and collaboration. We believe that the relationship between staff, volunteers and students, must be one in which we acknowledge, value, and learn from each others’ cultures, experiences, knowledge and expertise.
We believe that our goal is more than teaching students to speak English. It is important that students can use what they learn to affect change in their lives to work towards self-sufficiency. It is also important to foster strong community where participants are allies and resources for each other. Meaning is more important than form in language instruction.
We believe that students learn best when content is related to their own experiences. Learning is facilitated by building on what students already know. This means that the curriculum comes from within the classroom. It draws on students’ own cultural and personal lives, both past and present.
We believe that because the curriculum originates from the classroom, tutor training should emphasize dialogue, sharing and investigation, rather than simply prescribing teaching practices or transmitting knowledge. The content of training workshops should build on participants’ classroom experience.
History of Program:
CIELO’s English as a Second Language Program began in 1999, when a small group of Evergreen State College students saw the need in the Olympia area for free English classes for the Spanish-speaking community. They began a volunteer-powered program. The following year the program moved to Radio Ranch and became part of the CIELO Project.
Twelve years later, the ESL Program is driven by students, and powered by no fewer 9 volunteer and childcare providers and 1 CIELO staff member.
- In 2011, the ELL program served 190 students with a total of 1220 volunteer hours.
English Language Learning Coordinator:
Yul Gamboa – B.A. in Socio-linguistics
Dalia (Beg. Level 1 first quarter, first time at cielo)
“[cielo teachers]… tengo una buena impresión, muy buenos maestros que me enseñan mucho…valoran la paciencia cuando enseñan” (I have a good impression [of cielo] very good teachers that teach me a lot, patience in learning is valued)
Ivan (Beg. Level 3)
“[program] it’s helping me speak with more people: co-workers, people on the street, boss…[it]makes life better fot be able to connect through language.”
Irene (Beg. Level 2)
” [program] …feels more comfortable speaking with teachers and doctors, more confident…”
Maria (Beg. Level 2)
” [program]…helping children with homework and uses more English at work”
Alassane Djibril Djigal wrote this about CIELO:
…I feel better about my English than before i came to CIELO… work is easier because CIELO I remember befor my first time at Ostrom I was a mushroom picker I used to have a serious problem communicating with the employees and with my supervisor. After [CIELO] they transferred me to the security guard check. It was scary to me because over there you have to speak very good English so the program of CIELO gave me good opportunity to learn and progress my English. And now I’m so happy to my teachers Kevin, Annjuli, Aviva, and all the CIELO Yul, Stefanie, German, Monty, Scott, Matt, Emmerson and Hailey. They make me feel better about my new life in USA. Thank you CIELO.
Children: What do you like about cielo?
Fátima (age 10)
” I like going outside and playing ping-pong… and the horses. I think cielo es perfect…my mom likes it here, she’s learning a lot of English.”
Rosa (age 6)
“I like to feed the horses”