Linguistics Department

Human Health Building, Room 1024
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-2175
Fax: (248) 370-3144

TESL Outreach and Programs


Community Outreach

Adult Education ESL Program at Hispanic Outreach La Casa Amiga

The Department of Linguistics at Oakland University, in cooperation with Hispanic Outreach Services: La Casa Amiga of Pontiac (now a division of Catholic Social Services), coordinates and oversees an adult English as a second language (ESL) community outreach program. The program provides English language classes to non-native speakers of English. Oakland University graduate and undergraduate students, who are working toward certification in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), fulfill their student teaching requirements at Hispanic Outreach La Casa Amiga. Student teachers gain valuable teaching experience and the sense of accomplishment that comes with community service.

The program was launched in academic year of 1998-99. Graduate students in the Department of Linguistics Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Certificate Program provided instruction under the guidance of a faculty supervisor. During this pilot period, the program was sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences at Oakland University with the support and encouragement of Dean David Downing.

The original mission of the program was to teach English to members of the local Hispanic community so that they could better understand American culture and customs. With a stronger grasp of English these students would be able secure or advance in employment, and become fully participating members of American society. Over the years, the program has now expanded to include all non-native speakers of English. Student teachers in the Linguistics Department's TESL training program continue to provide English language instruction under the guidance of two faculty supervisors. The program addresses the language difficulties of the ESL students by providing ESL and literacy intervention strategies.

Non-native speakers learn English so that they can interact effectively in the community, assimilate into the mainstream, and secure employment. These are readily accomplished by focusing on oral proficiency, basic reading skills, and grammar within the context of conversation and discussion that uses authentic language materials. Students in the ESL program are grouped according to their English skills, ranging from beginner to advanced. By grouping students with similar needs, classroom activities and materials can be built around the situations the students are most likely to encounter.

The vast majority of participants, feel that the classes have helped them to improve their English skills in the workplace, and assist in obtaining naturalization, employment, or advance in their current employment position. Participants report that they use their newly acquired English skills to help their children with homework and to interact with teachers and other professionals. Approximately half of the participants achieve sufficient mastery in the advanced level class, so much so that many of them no longer need assistance to function effectively in the English speaking community. The remaining students, typically continue to work on their English language skills until they, too, reach fluency.

Classes follow the yearly academic semester schedule of Oakland University for fall, winter, and spring classes. Registration and placement is held during the first week of these semesters during the regular class meeting times. Classes meet twice a week -- on Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00-12:00 noon and on Monday and Wednesday from 6:00-8:00 in the evening. Classes are held for beginning, intermediate, and advanced ESL students.

If you are interested in taking ESL classes, please contact Hispanic Outreach Services La Casa Amiga to schedule a time to complete a placement test.


Classes are held at:

Hispanic Outreach Services La Casa Amiga

76 Williams St

Pontiac, MI 48341

Phone number (248) 338-4250

Mondays and Wednesdays:  6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays:  10 a.m. - noon (Childcare is available)


 K-12 ESL Summer School Program Held at Avondale School District


K-12 ESL summer classes are available during July each year in Avondale School District Rochester Hills, MI. Children who have completed grades K-12 are invited to register for classes held Monday through Thursday mornings; 8:30 AM through 12:00 noon. These classes are taught by Oakland University Department of Linguistics graduate level K-12 teachers and undergraduate K-12 student teachers minoring in teaching English as a second language. These students are completing their requirements for a Michigan Department of Education endorsement in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).  Teachers plan their lessons to improve students’ ability to communicate in English in the four major skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. 

If you would like enroll your child, please contact:

Rebecca Gaydos
Special Instructor and TESL Coordinator
Department of Linguistics
Oakland University