Courses at Ayrshire College

 Drop-in support sessions for select Ayrshire College students

Drop-in support sessions for select Ayrshire College students

Ayrshire College is offering extra support to students whose first language is not English.

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) drop-in sessions will be available at every campus to help students, whose second language is English, with their academic writing.

The ESOL drop-in meetings were a huge hit last year, however Essential Skills and ESOL lecturer Ann Gentilomo believes more students could benefit from the support on offer.

Ann said “Students gain confidence from getting accepted for their course after an initial interview. Their confidence can soon reduce however when they can’t tackle certain styles of writing. The drop-in allows us to help them become more successful students.

“They can use the drop-in to get help with their essay and report writing. They might be very articulate with their spoken English, but they may lack skills with reading and interpretation of certain questions.

“When a student comes to the ESOL drop-in saying ‘I have a report to write’, we need to take a step by step approach. We break it down and help them learn the correct format. I show them examples, they write examples and through practice they build up skills and confidence. The target is to get them to write a report of the highest standard.”

Two students who benefitted from last year’s drop-in sessions wrote to Ann over the summer to express their gratitude.

A Polish student who has returned to complete the next level of her Hair and Beauty course, said “When I first came to college I was shy and my English wasn’t good, but after these classes it’s much better. I feel more comfortable in conversation with people and I always get very good feedback on the projects that I’m doing with Ann’s help. I think the ESOL classes are very helpful for students whose English is not their first language.”

Another student, who has since returned to her native Japan, wrote “I could not have achieved an ‘A’ in my graded unit without your help. You gave me a lot of great advice for my essay and my lecturer said that my work was exceptional. Thank you for giving me your support.”

Ann Gentilomo is also a Literacy Development Worker for South Ayrshire Council. She believes this helps the students when they arrive at the drop-in sessions, as they may have already met her.

She said “The College and South Ayrshire Council work in partnership, and students who start with language learning within the community would initially be interviewed by me. I’d put together an individual plan to meet their needs, and part of the review process would be to refer them to college provision when they have reached National 3 level. 

“Having a familiar face helps with the transition process. Working in partnership means we can direct our students to the right provision.”

As well as the ESOL drop-in sessions, Ayrshire College offers short ESOL courses for students.

Ten ESOL students took part in a programme over the summer, where they explored North Ayrshire and documented trips to Largs and Kilwinning’s Abbey Church.

Ann said of the summer school “The impact was that it gave them more integration within their community through language and learning. They have since emailed to say that they’ve visited with their parents.”

The ESOL drop-in times are as follows:

Ayr Campus: Monday 9am-11am and Tuesday 3:30pm-4:30pm.

Kilmarnock Campus: Friday 9:30am-11:30am.

Kilwinning Campus: Thursday 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm.

If you could benefit from the ESOL drop-in sessions, you can email for further details.

13 September 2017

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