Changing Languages Changes Lives at TAMIU
This Fall, a brave group of students will strive to improve their lives
by enrolling in Texas A&M International University's International
Language Institute's English as a Second Language courses.
Beginning, intermediate, and advanced ESL levels begin Tuesday, August
24. Day classes are intensive, eight-week courses that meet from 8:30
a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the evening classes are
semi-intensive sixteen-week courses meeting from 7:30 to 9:45 p.m., Monday
Shannon McBurnette-Arguelles, ILI instructor, explained the teaching
method is designed to dramatically increase students' ability to communicate.
"One thing that sets our program apart from other ESL courses is
that it is a dynamic program, using interactive methodology and our classes
are small, which encourages rapid language acquisition," said McBurnette-Arguelles.
She said the courses use many methods to help students practice and
improve their English, including using English to discuss coursework,
pair and group exercises, dialogues, skits, contests, games, individual
and group presentations, oral debates, group and individual writing assignments,
and even listening to the Laredo Public Library's "Dial-a-Story."
Multi-media is an integral part of the learning process at ILI, she
said, and provides students with exposure to technology they may have
never used before.
"In our advanced classes, we teach our students how to give oral
presentations while using PowerPoint," she explained, "When
they're done with our classes, they're able to go into any future classroom
or business meeting with the necessary skills. It's a major confidence
In addition to English language skills, McBurnette-Arguelles has one
other thing she hopes her students take away from her classroom: confidence.
"I tell my students, 'When you leave here, we want you so prepared
for your future that you never need to see me again.' It's not that we
don't want to see them; actually, we enjoy seeing their success. The point
is that we want them to feel confident that they can 'make it' on their
own, in whatever field they enter," she said, "Our classes teach
the foundation, nuances, and structures of English and try to instill
a concept of a 'self-learner.'"
Finally, McBurnette-Arguelles hopes her students become involved in
the community while practicing and improving their English.
"We encourage our students to volunteer at local community organizations,
such as Habitat for Humanity or the Laredo Public Library. Volunteering
opens up opportunities for practicing their language without the pressure
of a grade and helps them get to know people from other cultures,"
she said, "Students start to feel more self-assured about their abilities
because they can actually see how their second language helped them to
Registration for ESL courses is underway and prospective students who
need student visas are encouraged to visit ILI as early as possible. Students
who successfully complete ESL 106 with a "B" or better are exempt
from the TOEFL, when applying to TAMIU.
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or visit offices in the Anthony J. and Georgia A. Pellegrino Hall, room
University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
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