Faces of ENL
Meet four current and former members of the ENL Program
Alfonso E. Magaña
School: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School
Grade Level & Subjects Taught: Language Arts/Literature (6th-8th)
Why he joined ENL: "Our school is located in inner-city San Diego and we have many students who do not speak English at home. Their first language is Spanish or Vietnamese and they sometimes have academic difficulties. I wanted to find a program and tools that would assist me in helping my students who need that extra support."
What he found to be the most useful/challenging/fun aspect of the program: "The most useful aspect of the ACE-ENL program was learning from the professors and from the other teachers who participated in the program. Hearing what’s useful (and what might not be) in other schools, was a real eye opener. The class work is challenging, but it is very engaging and speaks to our current needs. Being on campus at Notre Dame over the summer of 2009 was an incredible experience. All the resources there were of great use, as is the support we have from all those who participated in the program."
School: St. Nicholas of Tolentine (Chicago, IL)
Grade Level: 2nd
Subject(s) taught: Self-contained classroom-Religion, Reading, Spelling, Social Studies, Science, Math, Art
Why she joined ENL: "I joined ENL because I realized that I needed the ENL certification in order to truly serve the needs of my students. Since over 95% of the students in my classroom are learning English as a second language, I wanted to be able to utilize more appropriate instructional strategies to help them learn better. I know that my students can bring about change in our world and I wanted to be able to provide them with the language tools that they need to do this."
What she found to be the most useful/challenging/fun aspect of the program: "While the 2 weeks studying at Notre Dame over the summer were very intense and academically demanding, it was incredible to learn from the diverse teaching experiences of the rest of my classmates in the program. Though we are now spread across the country and very busy at our own schools, I have really appreciated being able to rely on such a dedicated network of teachers to test my ideas and ask for instructional advice through our weekly discussions.
The ENL program not only has helped me to become a better teacher to all of my students, it has challenged me to define my goals professionally and seek out leadership opportunities within my school and archdiocese. I have since become an active member in the National Association for Bilingual Education and look forward to helping the Catholic school system develop more dual language schools to serve the needs of our immigrant students."
School: St. Jude Academy (San Diego, CA)
Grade Level: 5th
Why she joined ENL: "I chose to participate in the ENL program because I knew I’d have the opportunity to learn new strategies that would support my English language learners and make my class more accessible and comprehensible for them. Another reason for attending the ENL program was to learn to help my kids succeed both inside and outside the classroom."
What she found to be the most useful/challenging/fun aspect of the program: "I believe that going through the ENL program has helped me to have more confidence in my teaching because I’m using innovative strategies that I learned from Notre Dame. Plus, it has aided me in focusing more on these students and finding effective ways to arrange their learning to help them achieve success.
It was also fun to meet teachers from the different areas of the country. We were able to learn from each other as help each other overcome challenges and support one other in difficult times."
School: Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School (Washington, D.C.)
Grade Level & Subjects Taught: 11th Grade English and College Planning
Why she chose to participate in the ENL program: "I chose to participate in ACE-ENL because I wanted more formal training in teaching and the opportunity to reconnect with the Notre Dame family. I also wanted to learn strategies for understanding, instructing, and serving the many English language learners I teach at the Cristo Rey school in Washington, D.C. In ACE-ENL, I was seeking an academic and spiritual community that would support my mission of promoting global literacy and social justice in the classroom."
What she found to be the most useful/challenging/fun aspects of the program: "Before enrolling in the program, I had taught literature, writing, and ESL at high schools and colleges in the U.S. and in France, but I had never taken a course in education. It took me some time to acquire the lingo of educational studies, but my ENL classmates and professors faithfully encouraged my efforts to grow as a scholar and teacher. They helped me activate what I already knew about linguistics, education, and culture and apply my skills to the teaching of English language learners. Today, I count these patient supporters among my dearest colleagues. They have taught me countless crucial lessons—from how to plan and execute effective language instruction to what it means to embrace teaching as a vocation."