Since the beginning of programming with Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University, our program has grown from 25 to 80 families from the Met and our surrounding communities. Seventeen Brown students and a staff coordinator work to train the Brown students as teachers of English for speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced level English classes are taught based on placement testing provided by the Swearer Center. Post testing is also provided so participants have a sense of accomplishment and continue to study in the subsequent session. The Brown students range from sophomore to graduate school and have various levels of fluency in Spanish which is the most common language of our participants, although they have worked with native Polish, Italian, African and Southeast Asian families. The Brown students are dedicated, prepared and usually consistent over several years.
A culture of respect and learning for the families we serve is prevalent. Because our classes are at 6-8pm on Monday and Wednesday evenings, we serve a small, one-pot meal prior to classes starting. We have added three levels of children’s classes to accommodate appropriate groupings for pre-school, elementary, middle school aged students. We also have added 2 more classes at the beginning level English because many of our participants are recent immigrants and refugees. We also expanded the program to include high school and college tutoring at the request of our alumni office and individual students whose parents attend the program. We serve Met families first and then open the classes to the community until classes are full and we need to start a waiting list for the next session.