A new approach to teaching is helping English language learners acquire language skills by helping in the community.

English Language Learners Acquire Language Skills By HelpingA summer ELL academy at Salem High School, Salem at SEA is helping English language learners work on learning the English language while getting out in the community to help others and use their new language skills in real life.

The program has been in effect for four years.  Recently, participants gathered in the House of the Seven Gables to show projects they had participated in.  These included conducting a survey of residents in The Point neighborhood about attitudes toward contacting the police, visiting older people at the Council on Aging, organizing a cleanup day, and creating a bilingual pamphlet on community resources in Salem.

The presentations were somewhat personal, as participants spoke about their lives and how they have been helped.

“I wanted to help the community be safer and cleaner,” said Elion Hernandez, a rising sophomore at Salem Academy Charter School in the fall. He moved to Salem with his family from the Dominican Republic when he was 10. He and his group spoke with residents about attitudes toward the police. He used his English language skills while learning more about Salem.

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