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An Adult Community ESL Class in the Portland Metro Area


The Community ESL Project


The Community ESL Project was initiated by the Leaders Roundtable* and Portland State University in 1995 out of a concern for non-English speaking adults in the community to learn English.  The concern was heightened by a presentation to the Leaders Roundtable from Latino students about the inability of their parents to communicate with schools.  A practicum course was designed by PSU.  Students enrolled in the MA TESOL or TESL Certificate programs in the Department of Applied Linguistics earn academic credit teaching ESL classes to adults.  A PSU faculty member supervises the practicum students.

In the spring of 2009, The Community ESL Project was the recipient of a Carter Foundation Award for university and community based partnerships.  Funds from the award were used to purchase picture dictionaries and other materials that can be used in the classes.  You may use the following web address to view the video that was submitted to the Carter Foundation:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVk-sMserNs

        Currently managed by PSU, this project continues to address the ever-growing need for adult ESL classes at public schools serving minority students.  Especially because of long waiting lists for   ESL classes at community colleges, these adult learners have few opportunities to participate in courses designed to help them develop English language skills.

The practicum in Community ESL has provided many PSU students with valuable hands-on teaching experience, which has led to future employment opportunities for many.  At the same time, non-native English speaking adults have been given the opportunity to study the language of their adopted country and thereby participate more fully in their communities.

Most of these classes are open to any non-English speaking adult.  Classes are either free or offered for a nominal fee.  A coordinator for each site recruits and registers class participants. 

For more information, contact Jenny Stenseth at Portland State University in the Department of Applied Linguistics, 503-725-2326, stenseth@pdx.edu.


*The Leaders Roundtable was an ad hoc group of top educational and private sector leaders and elected officials in Multnomah County, Oregon, working toward the goal of student success.  The organization disbanded in December 2010.

Revised March 8, 2012


  • Applicants need to make arrangements to observe at least one Practicum ESL class and complete the application. Click the link below to see detailed information:

  • Applicants must have the consent of the Practicum Supervisor to enroll in the course.


  • Practicum students will develop and implement a course curriculum for an adult community ESL class.  Students teach two sessions each week at various community sites and meet weekly with other practicum students and the course supervisor to discuss issues related to curriculum development and teaching practices. This course is offered as a collaborative effort between Portland State University, public schools, and community organizations in the Portland area.


  • Application Deadline Applications for Winter 2018 are due November 15, 2017.
    Posted Oct 16, 2017, 12:13 PM by Jenny Stenseth
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