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English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) / English as a Second Language (ESL)


Adult learners come to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)/English as a Second Language (ESL) programs with a variety of motivations for learning English, a range of personal, educational and career goals, and differing expectations about the learning process. It is important that teachers, program staff, and students work together to identify learners' goals and expectations to ensure that each program's curriculum, instruction, and assessment address learners' immediate and long-term goals.

Some learners may be elderly immigrants or stay-at-home parents. These learners may need English to answer the phone, deal with medical problems, sort out their mail, and handle emergencies. Many of them have family health issues as well as child care responsibilities to attend to. Sometimes whole families rely on them to keep young children safe so that everybody else can work several jobs.

Learning and using a new language is an inherently risky process. Both in the classroom and in the community, limited English speakers will make mistakes as they try to communicate in their new language. Outside the classroom, learners may face impatience or prejudice from native speakers and this may increase their reluctance to use English.

See schools that offer this program.

Related Educational Programs

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Program Admission

ESOL is taught at all levels, for all learners from beginner to advanced. It applies to various program contexts, including general ESOL, ESOL literacy, work place education, family literacy, corrections, or programs that transition students to higher education, vocational training, or employment.


East Side Area

Big Bend Community College

Walla Walla Community College (Clarkston)

Wenatchee Valley College

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Cascadia College

City University of Seattle

Edmonds Community College

Everett Community College

Green River College

Highline College

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

North Seattle College

Renton Technical College

Seattle Central College

Shoreline Community College

South Seattle College

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Spokane Community College

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Pierce College Puyallup

Tacoma Community College

Vancouver Area

Clark College

West Side Area

Centralia College

Grays Harbor College

Peninsula College

Skagit Valley College

South Puget Sound Community College

Whatcom Community College

Yakima Area

GMC Training Institute

Yakima Valley College