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Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

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ESOL Program Supports Non-Native English Speakers

Media by Eli Ferguson
Yan Zhao, assistant ESOL teacher, helps an ESOL student. The program uses various strategies, such as modifying phrases, to assist these students in understanding English assignments.

Alejandro Gonzalez, senior, is from Mexico. He said he was initially nervous about taking classes in a setting different from his native country until he was informed about the English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program.

After speaking with Carol Logue, ESOL teacher, he understood its importance.

“There are a lot of students from other countries,” Gonzalez said. “So they want to help them grow in the U.S., especially high school.”

Gonzalez said teachers in the program showed him around the school so he could better understand the language. He also said they helped him with the assignments in his Intro to College Writing class.

“It’s not hard to write stuff in English, but I don’t know certain words,” Gonzalez said. “They helped me fill in the blanks for connecting sentences and stuff.”

Other teachers also help Gonzales by sending him to the ESOL classroom whenever he struggles significantly and communicating with his ESOL teacher to inform them of what he needs help with.


Understanding ESOL

English Speakers  of Other Languages (ESOL) 

Logue said the central purpose of the program is to support students who do not speak English as their first language.

“We support them in all ways we can, whether it be reading, tests, helping with projects, getting them to know the school culture,” Logue said. 

Having taught ESOL for 32 and half years, Logue said the program has grown in size as more students moved to the U.S. and enrolled in ESOL classes. Currently, there are a total of 48 ESOL students in the program at MHS.

“It’s certainly grown bigger,” Logue said.

Logue said the program plans to evolve to provide the right help for students. 

All of us have had a history in our families where people needed help, so we have to serve everyone.

— Carol Logue

“Kids have the right to be in school,” Logue said about the importance of ESOL. “All of us have had a history in our families where people needed help, so we have to serve everyone.”

Yan Zhao, assistant ESOL teacher, said the ESOL program uses various strategies to help this population of students understand the content within assignments in English. These strategies often involve modifying the language to make it easier for students to understand, Zhao said.

“If they come for math problems, we don’t just tell them ‘the answer is A’ or ‘the answer is B’,” Zhao said. “We will use examples to explain, and if they understand that example, they can use their knowledge to solve the problem on the quiz or test.” 

Zhao has served as an assistant ESOL teacher at MHS for two years and has seven years of experience as an ESOL teacher in China. She said the ESOL classroom acts as a “small community” where students who don’t speak the native language can feel safe and confident.

“They know that their classmates, their friends here, have the same issues,” Zhao said.  

The program is not only beneficial to the students, but for staff members and administrators as well, Zhao said.

“We try to help the teacher reduce their working load because we can deal with these students,” Zhao said. 


Impact at MHS 

Monica Bremer, Spanish teacher, arrived in the U.S. from Panama in 2002. In her country, learning English was a required course since her childhood, making her move somewhat easy for her.

“You get better with time because language is a journey that takes a long time,” Bremer said. 

However, Bremer still found early struggles with understanding English in her classes.

“I came here to study, to do my masters in education,” Bremer said. “ I remember my first semester. Taking the classes fully is very exhausting for the brain because you really want to understand and the teachers often are not aware.”

When she began teaching at MHS 15 years ago, Bremer said she had difficulty understanding events in American schools as well as holidays popular in America, such as Spirit Week and St. Patrick’s Day.

Bremer’s experience is similar to those of many students who migrate to the United States. They speak English that is still “in their journey,” making it important for them to be given support.

It’s hard for me to understand some particular words, but ESOL helps a lot with that.

— Mehrou Darwish

“When you insert those kids that are coming from other countries, and they don’t speak the language, they don’t understand the culture,” Bremer said.

Because of this, Bremer is thankful for the ESOL program, since these students “need the support.”

Mehrou Darwish, sophomore, speaks Dani Persian as her native language. She moved from Afghanistan and lived in Turkey for six years before coming to America two years ago.

Darwish said adjusting to American English and culture has been difficult to deal with. She said she has struggled specifically with understanding certain words. 

“When you learn out of America, English is way different when you’re in America and around people who speak English,” Darwish said. “When you come here, you realize that and it makes it more difficult to adapt and be able to speak as well.”

Darwish said the ESOL program is beneficial to her for better understanding her classwork.

“It’s hard for me to understand some particular words, but ESOL helps a lot with that,” Darwish said.

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About the Contributors
Luke Graves
Luke Graves, Business Manager/Page Designer
Luke Graves, junior, is the business manager for the Marquette Messenger. This is his first semester on staff. His favorite subject is math and he is a big St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Justin Small
Justin Small, In-Depth Editor
Justin Small, junior, is the In-Depth Editor for the Marquette Messenger. This will be his second year on staff. He is a part of the Marquette Academic and Cultural Club and participates in track and field in the spring.
Eli Ferguson
Eli Ferguson, Features Editor
Eli Ferguson, junior, is the Features Editor of the Newspaper and this is his first semester on the staff. He is the Co-President of Marquette Model UN and is part of RSD Lives, Key Club, and Tri-M. He enjoys writing and playing violin in the Symphonic Orchestra.
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