English for Speakers of Other Languages

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is a multi-disciplinary program incorporating instruction in written and spoken Standard English. In the program, there are opportunities for ESOL students to participate in tutorials, workshops and activities that challenge the limitations of the academic, social, and cultural implications of language use and language identity for the ESOL student.

The ESOL Program supports the unique challenges that many multilingual students encounter in the culture of American Academic institutions. The professional ESOL coaches address students’ performance issues in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in order to ensure their understanding of the academic discourse, and Standard Academic English. The two ESOL courses: the American Academic Essay and the Etymology of American Social Movements, are writing intensive courses designed to reflect the educational goals as well as the ethos of the college.

We also have TESOL Education Studies classes, Methods of Tutoring English to Speakers of Other Languages and Seminar in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, for students who are interested in teaching certification courses. Support from for Refugees allows students to complete upward of 120 hours of field experience in the adult education.


What is ESOL?

ESOL is an acronym for English for Speakers of Other Languages. This course explores the techniques and methodologies in the processes of reading, writing, and critical thinking. By experimenting with genres, students will learn to pay attention to what other writers have to say and why and how they make the genre work for them. Students will deepen their understanding of American academic writing, augmenting the confidence and strengthening the skills necessary for college level writing and beyond.

Where do most ESOL students come from?

ESOL students may include international visa students, immigrants, and permanent residents as well as naturalized and native born citizens of the United States and Canada. We have had students from China, South Korea, Kenya, Vietnam, Nepal, the Republic of Georgia, Romania, Bosnia, Colombia, Nigeria, Lithuania, France, Scotland and Germany. With students from all over the world, the ESOL program vibrantly supports the diversity on campus.

I am an international student, and I studied at an English-medium high school. Is it necessary that I sign up for the ESOL class?

Many international students who come to Hamilton have studied in English-speaking environments. However, most of them feel a need to learn the standard academic English expected in American college classrooms. Students in the ESOL program acknowledge and appreciate classes, tutorials and workshops offered. Most professors strongly recommend non-native speakers to work with ESOL writing tutors in writing their essays and papers.

Why is the acronym ESOL now instead of ESL?

Non-native English speakers are often no longer learning English as their second language. To many, English may be their third, fourth or fifth language. In respect to their knowledge and skills, the terminology has changed, and thus, the acronym.

What are some of the acronyms used in English language learning?

NS Native speaker
L1 Primary language learner
NNS Non-natives speaker
L2 Second language learner
NES Native English speaker
ELL English language learner
ESL English as a second language (NNS living in U.S.)
ESOL English for speakers of other languages
(Multilingual NNS in US, NNS outside U.S.)
EFL English as a foreign language
ESLL English as a second language learner
ELI English Language Instruction (or Institute)
SLEP Secondary Level English Proficiency
TAST TOEFL Academic Speaking Test (Int-Adv levels)
TL Target language
TOPE Test of Professional English
TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language
TOEIC Test of English for International Communication
TEDE Test of English for Distance Education
TFI Test de Francais International (NNFS in workplace)

Is this class only for multi-lingual international students?

No it is not. The students are also immigrant generation 1.5 students who have been educated in more than one country/language, or American citizens who have been educated in the U.S. whose primary family language is not English and who can also be refereed to as ML/ESOL students.

For many international students coming to the US for the first time, the American Academic Style of writing can be challenging. If not learned early, this gap could pose a challenge for these students in the American classroom. The ESOL program helps to bridge this gap by teaching us how to become critical thinkers in order to communicate complex ideas in a clear and logical manner. The courses introduced me to American writers, culture and issues of social justice which have served as a great intellectual foundation going into my other classes. I have grown emotionally and relationally because of the program’s healthy support for and recognition of the multilingual students on campus.

Contact Information

Barbara Britt-Hysell

Director of the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program
KJ 222D and 222E
315-859-4150 bbritthy@hamilton.edu
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