Renton Technical College
ESL for the Trades
Level 2 ESL
The following outline provides some ideas for organizing a
Trades ESL class. Most of these topics
and activities were included in the pilot project during Summer Quarter 2006 at
RTC. However, they were not all
presented in the order outlined here.
There was considerable overlap, review and discussion to connect various
topics. In addition, the class visited
several apprenticeship and training programs, and those “field trips”—with
related pre and post trip activities—were integrated into the class at various
In addition to the trades-related content, this ESL class
incorporated some “regular” ESL course content. For example, since it started
at the beginning of July, we read a short story and discussed the Fourth of
July in America. Other “regular” ESL activities included, for
example, discussions and writing about weekend activities (i.e. practicing past
and future tenses), daily activities, and The World Cup. That content, of course, would vary according
to the particular ESL class. The outline
here focuses only on the Trades ESL content.
the ESL for the Trades course
the syllabus to preview the course and to introduce key vocabulary: syllabus
up (a day or two later) with an informal mini-quiz
as review of key vocabulary, such as: career, trade, construction,
manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and apprenticeship.
is it? à
class brainstorms ideas; T writes on board
does it? à continue to
brainstorm, match names of trades to various duties, skills, and procedures.
the DVD: That’s How We
Build a House to see a construction process (Recommendation: watch it
once, all the way through. Then go back
and watch segments for discussion with the cloze exercise.)
exercise and review it to generate discussion about the construction
process. (Recommendation: Divide this
into at least 3 sections, to complete over 3 or 4 days, to allow for plenty of
discussion & review)
a crossword puzzle (Trades ESL
Vocabulary) as homework. Then use it for
additional discussion and review in class.
other resources to fill in details, answer questions, and compare with general
info in the DVD. This may be integrated with a tour of the library and lessons
on finding more information. Examples:
(available in RTC library): e.g. “Structure
of a House” (p 252).
by Leonard Koel (available at RTC library)
and discuss a video, such as Drywall Hanging
and Taping. This not only
demonstrates specific procedures and provides opportunity for discussion, but
also shows the students how they can use these kinds of videos to study the trades
and ESL on their own.
construction-related apprenticeship and training programs, such as:
Skills for Trade and Industry (pre-apprenticeship)
Acoustical, Drywall Systems (LADS)
& Frost Insulators
Note: Program contact information is available in
Handbook and the program brochures produced by RTC.
Example: manufacturing a car or car parts vs. building
list of manufactured items
does it? Examples:
the work using a video, such as: Basic
Milling Machine Operation
the Machine Technology Links at RTC Library http://www.rtc.edu/library/ProMachineTech.htm
Note: This lesson can be integrated with the lessons
on computer basics and the Internet.
the work with a video, such as: Heavy Metal:
Hot Careers in Welding
manufacturing-related training programs:
the ESL Instructor’s Notes
from the July 14, 2006 tour of the program with Francisco Martinez (Mach. Tech
Instructor). This is an example of one
method of gathering information and reviewing it with students, while
incorporating lessons on using the Internet.
Note: Program contact information is available in
brochures produced by RTC.
is the difference between maintenance and manufacturing(or construction), examples:
Change the oil in your car vs. manufacturing a new car
electrical mockup panel to discuss installation (as part of construction process)
vs repair of electrical fixtures
and repair trades
Major Appliance & Refrigeration Technology
(1) use program
brochure and photos to introduce the trade
program at RTC
program at RTC (which has the same classroom and ESL instructor (David Dickson)
as the ESL Trades pilot course)
ESL / Technical Skills program
need to be Level 3 ESL, so could enter this program soon (i.e. for the pilot
course students that were Level 2 ESL)
Building Engineering (program in Auburn)
Note: Program contact information is available in
brochures produced by RTC. It is also available on the RTC website.
of reading for ESL students
this early in the quarter; during the first week if possible.
with example books related to the trades – especially children’s books. Examples from King County Library System (See
If You Were a
Happens at the Building Site
and practice how to choose a book
For general “free” reading: no more than 3 or 4 new words per page
“studying” textbooks, e.g. Carpentry
by Leonard Koel, you may have to use a dictionary more often, but the easier
books will help to build vocabulary so you can read more difficult material.
Free Voluntary Reading time at regular times throughout the course (at least 20
minutes, 3 times a week; more if time is available.) Note: For an excellent discussion on the value of
free reading, see The Power of Reading
by Stephen Krashen.
Career in the Trades
the program brochures
published by RTC as guides
(a) Examples: Job Skills for Trade & Industry, Welding,
Machine Technology, Major Appliance & Refrigeration Technology
(1) Use the
Opportunities Affiliated with Renton Technical College (available from
Trade, Industry & Apprenticeship office) as a guide.
Note: Since the program brochures and the handbook
are mostly text-based, we need to supplement them with photos and videos. (See Resources)
with paying for school / training
benefits of “earn while you learn” as an apprentice
school counselor(s) visit the class to discuss financial aid options
Aid, Work First, Working Parent, WIA: Amy O’Donnell, WorkFirst counselor(x
Retraining (Unemployment) – Jane Winkler (x
How does the process work in America?
the process the same or different in your home country?
are the major components of the process?
ready – identifying skills, etc.
resumes, cover letters
open positions (want ads, Internet, networking etc.)
for a job
terms. such as hire, fire, lay off, unemployed, unemployment compensation,
*Note: Only the basic job search concepts and
vocabulary were introduced during the short pilot course. However, in other classes, such as the
Property Maintenance Assistant program, the complete job search process is
integrated into the course. Apply Yourself
is a very good resource.
you have a job
Understanding pay and benefits
(pay period vs pay date)
are the qualities of a good employee? Imagine
you were the boss. What kind of employee
would you want?
importance of reliability, one aspect of which is reliable transportation and
the ability to get to work on time. This
discussion can be integrated with the lessons on map reading and how to use the
Internet to get maps and directions.
7. Finding more information – throughout the
career building process
Arrange library workshops (such as Library Orientation,
Using the Online Catalog, etc.) in advance with Debbie Crumb, librarian.
and discuss sample materials, including videos and DVDs that can be used to
learn about the trades and to study ESL.
Integrate with discussion about importance of reading
all students to have public library card and to use it often
field trip to one of the libraries
and support staff at RTC
(J-218): Michelle Iko, Susie Navone
Counselors: Amy O’Donnell, Ha Nguyen
Security Counselor (J-218): Annie Nelson
Retraining: Jane Winkler
Intro to computers (hardware components, software)
procedure for booting up and shutting down computer
Internet Explorer (or another browser)
to www.RTC.edu. Then navigate to Machine
Technology program. Print the one-page program description for practice (and
for later discussion of the program)
(2) use Carpenters
web sites as example of links
Google as search engine.
(1) Find the Machine Technology page via Google
(contrast with following links to get there.)
(2) Practice searching for other specific
an example, see the Machine Technology handout
of the apprenticeship and training programs usually bring up numerous questions
which can be researched on the Internet.
Internet-based map resources, such as www.mapquest.com
Note: Integrate this lesson with
discussion of importance of reliable transportation / keeping a job.
safety-related vocabulary and acronyms can be introduced throughout the
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
(Material Safety Data Sheets)
and I (Labor and Industries, Washington
TPR (see Notes on TPR) to introduce and practice the
names of PPE items, such as goggles, rubber gloves, face shields, safety vests,
Equipment & Machinery
Informal “pre-test” to see what students already know.
TPR (see Notes on TPR ) to introduce and practice the
names of tools; using as many of the real tools that are available.
vocabulary tracking grid can be used to assess the students’ progress.
to read a tape measure
Laying the Foundation: Construction Math Booklet
includes material that can be used for learning how to use a tape measure. (The
link should go to the Resource page at the Construction Center of Excellence on
RTC’s webpage: http://www.rtc.edu/CCE
similar procedure as with hand tools, but may have to
use more pictures if power tools are not available in the shop/classroom
Job Skills for Training and Industry shop a few times to learn the names of
power tools. (Arrange with instructors, Rick Ducharme and Lisa Grothen).
Use easy-to-read books, such as Highway
Builders, and photos to
introduce some of the major types of heavy machinery used in construction.
using the Internet to find more information, examples:
a piece of machinery, then find the cost of a new and a used one.
information about a career as an operating engineer.
is a blueprint? (review / already
introduced in construction process; see the cloze exercise for the DVD, That’s How We Build a House)
plan view – looking down on the object(s)
– looking at the building (etc.) from the side; shows height
– cutaway that shows the inside of an object or building; shows the
construction materials and how the parts fit together
– shows an enlarged view of a special feature
plan or plot plan: shows property lines, buildings, driveways, etc.
(introduce idea, not details)
Trades Print Reading, part 1
Note: The following topics were discussed briefly in the
pilot class, but the lessons could be developed further for longer courses.
do they do?
are they related to apprenticeship programs?
Have a union representative talk with the class.
12. Department of Labor and Industries
do they do?
regulates and provides information about apprenticeship
workplaces for safety
can be integrated with lesson on computers and Internet. Web site: www.lni.wa.gov.
Rules about construction & maintenance
fire code tells us how many fire sprinklers must be in this classroom
of various codes:
Plumbing Code (UPC)
Electrical Code (NEC)
– example phrases:
Is that to code?
not to code?
does the code say about that?
can you find the codes?
Some are in books in the RTC library (Could be a good
Library Practice / Finding Resources activity)
may be online (find web sites as part of Internet search practice) Example:
need to get most recent codes because they are updated periodically
need to get the code for your area (international vs. state vs. local)