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Grant to Help PCC Enhance ESL Instruction

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College's Basic Skills Department received an English Literacy/Civics Education Grant from the U.S. Department of Education this month to develop online resources that will expand civics instruction for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

According to David Lusk, dean of PCC’s Continuing Education Division, the college received $26,557 through the grant to develop eight short video interviews with representatives from a variety of Pitt County agencies, including the Greenville Police Department, a local fire department and the Pitt County Health Department. Lusk said the videos will provide students with information on community services available in Pitt County and help them improve their listening skills.

In addition to incorporating the videos into everyday civics instruction, they will be used to help students prepare for field trips and guest speakers, Lusk said, adding that the interviews will be posted for viewing on Pitt’s YouTube channel and ESL Facebook page.

Lusk said the videos, which are to be piloted during the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semesters, are expected to serve more than 300 students annually. He said they would be particularly effective in helping teach the 130 nighttime ESL students the school typically serves each year.

“Though the video interviews will prove valuable to all of our ESL students, they will be particularly beneficial to those who take classes at night,” Lusk said. “It’s much more difficult to schedule field trips and guest speakers for nighttime students, so the videos should be helpful in bridging classroom civics instruction with real-life situations.”

The English Literacy and Civics Education Demonstration Grants Program was established in 2000 to help states and communities provide limited English proficient adults with expanded access to high quality English literacy programs linked to civics education.