The following blog post was written by Donald Morris, a faculty member at the School of Global Access.
Bow Valley College has been offering ELL programs for immigrant and refugee youth for over a decade. These programs, Bridge and Youth in Transition are for English language learners between the ages of 18 to 25. The major difference between the programs is the learners in Bridge have less than 10 years of formal education, often interrupted.
The Bridge program consists of four courses. When learners exit the program, the majority of them will transition to upgrading courses at Bow Valley College before moving onto their chosen career programs. Bridge learners are supported by their instructors, and also receive support from a Learner Success and Retention Officer and an Educational Assistant.
Like most ESL literacy programs, Bridge aims to improve learners’ literacy and language skills. The program also addresses gaps in general knowledge due to interruptions in formal education. The program includes themes that address topics in the sciences and humanities.
We also teach numeracy skills, project-based learning, and digital literacy skills. Learners have access to a laptop program, and we recently introduced ePortfolios which has proven to be a great success.
Bridge is a responsive program that strives to meet the ever-changing needs of immigrant youth in our society.