Positive Impact on ESL Program – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Positive Impact on ESL Program

Four HWS students provided tutoring and translation help to students in the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program at Geneva Middle School. Coordinated through the Intercultural Affairs Center and Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, Jose Alvarez ’13, Lilliana Mendoza ’15, Caroline Lara ’13, and Dollian Garo ’15 helped translate the middle school students’ work and reinforce English language skills.

The middle school students who participated in the program had less than one year of English speaking, reading and writing experience. They learned how to read, write and speak in English by studying American culture and the different ethnic groups which live in the United States.

Emily McCarter ’02 is a Spanish teacher at the middle school; the HWS students helped her students with homework and projects after school two days a week.

“I have found that we were able to support significantly more students than I could previously on my own. The experience played a large role in helping three of my students improve their grades to the point that they are now passing. A positive impact has been made.”

“I translated a good amount of homework. These students are smart because they know the material, but they have a difficult time writing down the answers in English. Therefore, we work in translating their ideas in Spanish into English with a strong focus on word usage,” says Alvarez, reflecting on his experience as a tutor this semester. “Students worked hard and make a great effort to fully understand the work they are given. Teachers also made great effort to support students in a way they can.”

Alvarez believes he benefited from this experience as well. “It’s a great experience for me to use my Spanish skills because I have to think quickly about how to translate their work in a way that they can understand, yet not give them the full answer.”