Field Trips for ESL Students

Educator Name: Tracy Taylor
School Name: Potters House

Founded in 1981, The Potter’s House is an urban, Christ-centered school located on the southwest side of Grand Rapids, in one of our city’s most economically, educationally, and spiritually challenged districts. The school provides an excellent value-rich education for low-income, urban children who would not normally be able to make the choice to attend a non-public school. We offer a comprehensive, accredited, PK-12 academic program along with extracurricular activities such as sports and drama. In everything we do, we encourage students to maintain healthy spiritual, physical, social, and emotional lives. The Potter’s House is a place where children of diverse backgrounds and perspectives are able to grow in a community of support and trust. From the beginning, it has been our intention that, no matter what life brings outside of school, life inside school will be built on love. With that love, children learn not only to respect their differences but to celebrate and value them. The Potter’s House has an established ESL program. Currently, we employ two ESL specialists to teach up to 24 refugee and exchange students and students from our own community who come from Spanish-speaking families. Our teachers devote more than two hours a day to the students who need individualized learning. We have a great desire to take ESL students on field trips to area businesses and organizations to give them interpersonal communication experience. The students would sign up for library cards at the library and take a tour of the Grand Rapids Public Museum to learn more about our culture.

ESL students have little means of transportation and difficulty with communication, so something simple such as getting a library card and knowing how to use it must be done through a field trip. Students here from refugee camps have probably never been in a library. Field trips are needed to place the students in real life situations and teach them the culture and language needed to experience success in that situation--grocery shopping, using the library, placing an order at a restaurant, etc…