Project Title: Community-Based English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Development 

Faculty Sponsor: Emily Feuerherm

Department: English



Project Description: The project is building community-based ESL programs that target families (children, youth, and adults) in order to increase literacy, access to employment and healthcare, and post-secondary education. The proposed research project would first enlist the help of organizations that work with immigrants and non-native English speaking residents of Flint such as the Hispanic Technical Center, Genesee Intermediate School District, and the Arab American Heritage Council in order to identify community members/leaders who would be good contacts or interested in participating in (1) identifying the scope of the problem (i.e. the lack of ESL courses for adults and families), (2) constructing the solution (i.e. the courses, curriculum, tracking), (3) disseminating the results (e.g. to stakeholders, the community, academic audiences, etc.). This research takes a participatory action research orientation to qualitative methodologies of focus groups, surveys, and ethnographic field notes. Some of the research questions guiding the research at this early stage are: Is there a need for adult and/or family ESL classes? Should there be a secondary focus to an ESL course (e.g. naturalization, employment, health, education, etc.)? What is the capacity of our community to support educational programs? Is there funding available? Space? Teachers? Community volunteers?

Student Tasks & Responsibilities: The student will assist in the following areas:

  1. Background research
  2. Transcribing notes
  3. Attending focus groups and meetings

Depending on the student's interest, they may also have the opportunity to:

  1. Help create curricula or lessons
  2. Teach or guest lecture to community ESL classes
  3. Survey/interview stakeholders or students
  4. Present findings to stakeholders or at conferences

Minimum Student Qualifications: Student should have excellent writing and typing skills and be proficient in Microsoft office software. An interest in teaching, English, ESL or international studies is desired.