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Southport and Haughville public libraries to offer IUPUI-developed ESL program for adults

INDIANAPOLIS — This fall, The Indianapolis Public Library again will offer English as a Second Language classes developed and taught by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis graduate students for adult immigrants and adult English language learners.

An “English for the Workplace” course will meet from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays, Sept. 9 through Oct. 28, at Southport Branch Library, 2630 E. Stop 11 Road. “English for Everyday Living” will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 7 through Oct. 26, at the Haughville Branch Library, 2121 W. Michigan St. Both courses are free of charge.

In 2010, after receiving hundreds of calls from adults asking for English as a Second Language classes, Jessica Moore, immigrant outreach specialist at The Indianapolis Public Library contacted the English department, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, for assistance.

In response, IUPUI professor of English and associate dean for faculty affairs Thomas Upton encouraged one of his beginning graduate students in the department’s Teaching English as a Second Language Program to develop an ESL course as part of her master’s degree thesis. Amanda Snell, with assistance from three other graduate students, designed an adaptable curriculum that includes pragmatics, or language use in context, as well as grammar and vocabulary. The first course, “English for the Workplace,” was offered in October 2011 and enrolled more than 100 students.

“This close collaboration between The Indianapolis Public Library and the IUPUI  Teaching English as a Second Language Program in order to serve residents of Central Indiana is a wonderful example of civic engagement in action,” said Upton, who is also associate dean for faculty affairs. “These ESL classes are designed specifically to help immigrants in Indianapolis who do not speak English well to be more comfortable and confident in using English both in their jobs and in the community.”

Snell earned her master’s in English at IUPUI in 2012, and certificates in Teaching English as a Second Language and Teaching Writing in 2011. The project is in cooperation with The Indianapolis Public Library, the Burmese American Community Institute, and Esperanza Ministries. Classes are sponsored by The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund, and Fifth Third Bank.

For more information about the classes, call 317-881-4673 or 317-731-5537.