The English as a Second Language Program was created to serve international students who have been accepted by Baptist University of the Américas and who need to develop their skills in the areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Our ESL instructors use a variety of second language teaching methods in order to help students develop communicative competencies that will allow them to succeed in an academic and professional setting.
The ESL Program offers a four-level (low-intermediate, intermediate, high-intermediate and advanced), two-year program.
A required entry exam, the Comprehensive English Language Test (CELT) / Language Test/Examen de Comprensión del Idioma Inglés), is administered to all students entering the program in order to place them at the appropriate linguistic level. The CELT test is also the main exit criterion for the program. Students in Level 4 (advanced) must pass the CELT and their three classes (Grammar, Writing, and Reading) in order to exit the ESL program.
Students typically begin at the low-intermediate level and advance to high-intermediate in eighteen months. They concentrate on developing fundamental English skills in listening, reading, speaking and writing in the context of an interactive classroom and with the aid of a video series titled Connect with English. Course content focuses on the development of practical vocabulary, basic language structures, and the skills for effective oral and written communication. Classes meet Monday through Thursday for 4 hours a day plus one hour for computer lab work.
In Level 4, students continue to develop language skills as well as fluency and grammatical accuracy. They enroll in a class that reviews major grammatical concepts and terms, such as nouns, verbs, adverbs, modals, gerunds, infinitives, direct/indirect objects, passive constructions, etc. They also take another class in Writing that enables them to compose a well-organized, grammatically correct multi-paragraph essay. A third class helps them expand on their Reading strategies, including vocabulary and comprehension skills.
One of the highlights of the ESL Program, and the one that proves to be very beneficial to students, is the use of conversation partners. Students in Levels 3 and 4 are paired with native-speakers of English to spend one-hour a day speaking sessions, two days per week. Students meet with them on a one-on-one basis in order to develop oral fluency. Students and their partners work in an organized way every session to complete 40 oral tasks adequate to their level of skill.