At the beginning of each term, a handful of students who are linguistically unable to function in an English-speaking classroom appear at the doors of intensive English language programs across the globe. The English Language Center (ELC) at Brigham Young University (BYU) is no exception. In the recent past, five to twelve students have arrived each semester inadequately prepared for the lowest level class available. When placed in that level (Level One), these so-called "Level Zero" students have had trouble progressing and have also delayed the progress of the entire class. Without intervention, these students can continue to lag behind and pull down the level of the class throughout their time at the ELC. Finding or creating a solution to this ongoing problem was the purpose of this project. The solution presented here is to develop and implement a new curriculum designed specifically for these students. This course of action presents its own challenges, such as ensuring cost-effectiveness, providing adequate staffing, and finding or creating appropriate course materials. Each of these challenges has been addressed. Cost effectiveness and adequate staffing are ensured by utilizing unpaid interns from the BYU undergraduate TESOL minor program as teachers, and paying only one experienced teacher who functions as a supervisor and a teacher as needed. Course materials, some only recently developed, were chosen for the All Skills Class, the Vocabulary Class, the Reading Class, and the Lab Class. These classes currently constitute the Foundations Prep Course. The need for this curriculum was reiterated during a needs analysis conducted Winter Semester of 2009 by the students of the BYU Linguistics 677 (Curriculum Development) class. The Foundations Prep curriculum was then developed by the author during the summer of 2009 and implemented by her the following semester at the ELC. It is again being utilized there Winter Semester 2010. Institutional and financial feasibility, progress of students, reactions of members of the Executive Council, of the Foundations Prep Teacher/Supervisor, and of the interns, have all been examined to aid in considering the efficacy of continuing this program into the future.
College and Department
Humanities; Linguistics and English Language
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
McGovern, Jessica H., "The Foundations Prep Course for Low Proficiency Students at Brigham Young University's English Language Center" (2010). All Theses and Dissertations. 2076.
curriculum development, English language learners, intensive English language programs, low proficiency students