Unique Partnership Fuels Passion for Teaching and Learning

A Promise Realized

Kapiʻolani Community College
Carol A Hoshiko, (808) 734-9568
Dean, Office for College and Community Relations
Shawn Ford, 808 734-9327
SLT Program Coordinator, SLT
Posted: Apr 30, 2015

With the rapid increase in the number of English Language Learner (ELL) students in Hawai'i public schools over the past decade, Hawai'i’s ELL population is currently at 13.5 percent, which is the fourth highest in the nation. Although the state has reportedly been slow to adapt at all levels, the challenges have also created innovation. In the spring of 2014, the Second Language Teaching (SLT) Program at Kapi'olani Community College formed a unique partnership with Jefferson Elementary School (JES) located on the edge of Waikīkī, to provide after-school tutoring to the school’s ELL students. 

Once a week at 2:15 p.m., SLT students along with their instructor, Caroline Torres, provide the program’s foundational courses in the library. They offer an hour of language tutoring with some of the school’s most needy ELL students. As the partnership completes its third semester, it has proven to be mutually beneficial, as the ELL students receive much needed individualized support, instruction, and attention, while the SLT students apply and hone tutoring and teaching techniques that they are learning in a real-world setting.

Garret Zakahi, Principal of Jefferson Elementary said, “The individualized attention and support that is provided by SLT students is important because JES students are gaining confidence in their abilities, and this is translating into success in our classrooms."

Caroline Torres, Kapi'olani CC SLT Program instructor added, “I truly believe that the partnership with JES has been incredibly rewarding for both groups of students. I see the relationships and the successes of the tutoring sessions fueling my students’ passion and commitment to becoming great teachers, while encouraging the young students to become great learners.”

SLT students have two unique certificate and degree options, depending on their career goals and previous experiences: the Certificate of Completion in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and the Associate in Science Degree for Educational Paraprofessionals with an Emphasis in SLT.  Both of these options require students to complete a minimum of 120 hours of service learning.

The SLT Program courses are aligned to the national standards for the preparation of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL International), resulting in a strong foundation for students hoping to work as professionals in the field of education or to pursue teaching credentials.