While one group of Brock University students was busy practising their speaking skills this summer, another was offering guidance and earning valuable leadership experience along the way.
Five undergraduate and graduate students spent several weeks working with Brock ESL Services as Language Monitors, assisting with the 90 students from Mexico, Korea and Quebec who participated in Brock’s Summer English Language Program (SELP) and Canada’s Explore Program.
SELP and Explore are combined into a five-week program that provides quality in-class English language instruction and experiential opportunities to learn about Canadian culture. Students had the chance to practise speaking English in the classroom and with members of the Brock and Niagara community.
As part of the role, the Language Monitors — Raneem Abouchekeir, Angelica Pangilinan, Priya Vyas, Krithika Chandrasekaran and Aiden Luu — led recreational activities, workshops related to Canadian culture and visits to local attractions. They were responsible for designing and organizing opportunities for ESL students to practise their English outside of the classroom.
“Although all of us came from different academic and professional backgrounds, we honed in on our strengths and supported each other through our weaknesses,” says Pangilinan, who held the position of Head Language Monitor. “Working together daily to design these activities allowed us to build friendships and collaborate as a team to provide enjoyable experiences for everyone.
“It was not just the ESL students who learned valuable lessons, the Language Monitors have as well,” she says.
Prior to starting with the program, SELP students are organized in classes based on their English level proficiency. However, as part of the program’s afternoon social activities, students registered for language workshops based on a variety of fun and engaging topics, such as healthy lifestyles, a debate competition, and identities and activism.
“The workshops allowed students to have fun and push past their comfort zone despite the language and cultural differences,” Luu says. “Students engaged and practised their language skills with other students on all levels of English speaking.”
The Language Monitors, four of whom are also international students, understand the challenges and growth that comes with studying in Canada. This knowledge helped to inform their efforts as they organized and led activities for ESL students.
“By engaging as a mentor to other students with different learning and cultural backgrounds, it has allowed me to explore non-traditional teaching methods,” Vyas says. “This is important practice for me as a future administrator.”