English for Speakers of Other Languages

Barbara Britt-Hysell

The ESOL office is located on the lower level of Buttrick Hall.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it”
      -Atticus to Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird


Hamilton College has a nationally recognized writing program, an outstanding Oral Communication Center, and an array of distinguished language study programs including a Critical Language component and study abroad opportunities ranging from Beijing to Madrid. An impressive network of connections binds these programs together, and this includes the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program.

Hamilton College's principal language of instruction is English, and the dominant cultural framework is North American and academic. Multilingual students thrive when they engage in ongoing opportunities for academic and social advancement while maintaining their skills in American Standard English. The ESOL program offers individual and small-group tutoring, independent study. and informal conversation tables.

Our students enhance their English reading, writing, speaking and comprehension skills in order to fulfill their intellectual potential and to take full advantage of all that a liberal arts college has to offer. Multilingual students, whether from the United States or abroad, bring a richness to Hamilton that must be matched by making resources available to them.


What is the ESOL Program about?

English for Speakers of Other Languages 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. Our purpose as an ESOL program is to “walk around in” Hamilton language minority students’ skin and help them build confidence to become better learners and writers.

ESOL students no longer fit into neat categories of language minority students, ESLLs, or international students. Hamilton students have complex literacy experiences. As a language program, ESOL provides native second language speakers, native bi-lingual, non-native native bi-lingual, immigrant, and Generation 1.5 students with key opportunities to gain insight into how English fits “their literacy and linguistic identity” (102). Through the ESOL program’s classes and prescriptive tutorials, Hamilton offers native and non-native English speakers on campus the opportunities to reach their full potential as American English language speakers, writers, liberal arts students and members of the college community.

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 Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees allows students to complete upward of 120 hours of field experience in the adult education.