Description of Courses
The Reading Lab
The Starr Lab
The ESL Program at Brooklyn College is housed in the Department of English. It has its own faculty, both full time and part time, full-time clerical staff, and various dedicated support services. It is administered by a deputy chair under the supervision of the English department chairperson.
The ESL Program sees each student as an individual with unique gifts; giving personalized attention within a supportive English-speaking environment is its primary goal. Further, the Program seeks to equip ESL students with the requisite reading, writing, and oral skills necessary for success in the college's required core curriculum and advanced academic courses. The program offers courses that integrate reading and writing, separate reading and writing courses, conversation groups, and small group workshops that meet students' individual needs. The emphasis is on the rapid acquisition of fluency. Lab hours are mandated in all courses to provide more individualized and/or small-group support of work done in the classroom.
At present, incoming students are advised through the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies as part of the Freshman Year Program. Continuing students may seek help at the college Academic Advisement Center or from ESL faculty and staff in the program offices.
Another successful feature of the program is the pairing or "blocking" of ESL sections with Core Studies or other mainstream college courses; this is done both for incoming students and in the Pre-freshman summer program. Such blocks help students form small communities which enable them to feel at ease more quickly within the larger college setting. ESL and core faculty who teach in these "blocks" collaborate to enhance the quality of language acquisition as well as the comprehension of the core subject. Brooklyn College's Block Program has received several grants and awards, including the 1998 Hesburgh award in recognition for its success in enhancing undergraduate teaching and freshman students' transition to college life.
A ten-day intensive program is given in January and June for students who have not passed the university writing and reading assessment tests. An immerse course generally meets from 9 am to 4 pm or 6 pm to 9 pm. Two or three tutors are assigned to each section, and students have access to a computer lab. Most of the day is spent composing and revising with the help of the instructor and tutors. Students are retested on the last day; tests are then scored, and students are given the results that same day so they may register for the course in which they are placed based on their scores. Many students leave the ESL program after Immerse and go right to English 1.
This course, ESL 0.01, is provided for incoming students who have failed one or more university reading and writing assessment tests. Based on their test scores, they are placed into block programs which include ESL 0.01 and a "content" course appropriate to their level of English, such as speech or Classics 0.11 (Vocabulary Building). Pre-freshman instructors collaborate, and tutors are assigned to the program. Both the Immerse course and the Pre-Freshman Summer Institute are run in cooperation with the office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. They are free of charge to enrolled Brooklyn College students and visiting students from other CUNY colleges.