ESLI at West Texas State University (WTAMU) is located in Canyon, Texas, a small, friendly college town in the flat but beautiful Texas panhandle. The WTAMU campus is also beautiful, its students are friendly, and it is less than thirty minutes away from the majestic Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which is the second largest canyon in the United States.
All of these are good reasons to study English at ESLI on the WTAMU campus, but maybe one of the best reasons is that the ESLI office and classrooms are located together, which allow our instructors to work closely with each other and with our director to ensure that our students receive the best education we can give them.
Coordination and collaboration are important when different teachers teach different subjects to the same group of students. For example, one instructor may be teaching English grammar while a different instructor is teaching reading and writing and a third instructor is teaching speaking and listening, all to the same group of students. With the close proximity of our classrooms, it is easy for our instructors to share information, exchange ideas, and coordinate lesson plans.
For example, this semester our Basic Reading instructor has collaborated with our Basic Writing instructor to use the reading exercises from the writing textbook in his reading class. This benefits both instructors because the reading instructor gets good readings to teach in his class and the writing instructor gets more time to focus on teaching writing in her class, which means the students also benefit. Another example of how our instructors have collaborated this semester involves James Cameron and the movie Avatar
Pre-U Writing students have to write a film review. This assignment works well with a reading assignment: “An Interview with James Cameron”. After the students have read the interview and completed the accompanying exercises in the text, the classroom is set up as a movie theater, complete with popcorn and drinks, and students watch the movie Avatar
mentioned in the interview.
The movie is close to 3 hours long, so students view it during two class periods and one lunch hour. Our director readily agreed to order in pizza for everyone. This semester, the Speaking and Listening teacher and Basic Writing teacher allowed their students to join the movie viewing and then tailoring lessons from the experience to meet their learning objectives.
For example, the Foundations Speaking & Listening students learn to discuss films as part of their class. By watching the movie Avatar
with other classes, students from the Speaking and Listening class were able to practice their newfound vocabulary and conversation skills with their peers.
Not only did instructors collaborate in the Avatar
movie lesson, but instructors at ESLI WT collaborate on a regular basis. As a result, materials are reinforced in all classes so students are sure to get lots of practice! In addition, collaboration brings new ideas, helping to make classes fun and interesting.