Office of Fellowship Training
Boston Children's Hospital's English as a Second Language (ESL) Course
In the spring of 2005, Boston Children's Hospital launched a pilot English as a Second Language (ESL) course through the Longwood Medical Area ongoing program. The program, based at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, offers classes to Harvard-affiliated researchers and technicians at participating institutions in the medical area. Children's Hospital postdoctoral fellows were nominated by faculty (their PI's) and joined the class initially for the first semester, April through June 2005. Children's postdoctoral fellows' participation has been ongoing (with the exception of summer), and with the conclusion of Fall 2011 semester, 20 semesters have been completed.
Each semester the Office of Fellowship Training sponsors 20 postdoctoral research fellows. Most attend for two semesters, although they can attend unless there are new fellows wishing to join. Prospective students are assessed to determine their level, and there are five levels at any given time.
Classes are generally paid in full for postdocs by the Office of Fellowship Training (OFT). (No cost to PI.) The OFT does not pay for any lab members other than postdocs. Participants usually stay for two semesters, although if space allows (i.e. fewer than 20 Children's postdocs), the OFT can pay for an additional semester. If a PI wants to send a postdoc longer, but space does not allow, this could be done at the PI's expense ($400 per individual per semester).
The ESL program originally began around 1998 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and in April 2002 was taken over by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). There are currently five participating institutions: DFCI, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Joslin Diabetes Center, the Immune Disease Institute (formerly the Center for Blood Research Institute (CBRI), and Boston Children's Hospital (CHB).
Participants generally take two hours of class (5-7pm) plus one hour of language lab (at a flexible time) per week. The curriculum for class includes development of communication skills with focus on the workplace, U.S. culture and culture differences, and news and current events. In addition to conversation, some attention is also given to reading and some grammar points. The language lab is composed of computer-based listening programs and also aids with writing (letters, journals, e-mail), as well as identifying grammar needs. Two teachers staff the language lab and assistance is individualized and on a drop-in basis. A list of web sites for learning resources is also provided to participants.
Levels are "high beginner," "intermediate," "high intermediate," and "advanced." Once learners are placed in a class, they generally do not move to another one, but prefer to stay with their initial "cohort," as a comfort level is developed.
The class format primarily focuses on verbal skills (conversation, work on pronunciation and idiomatic expressions, presentations and critique by the teacher, oneself, and the group), and there is an additional hour per week of language lab. In 2008 extra training was made available at no additional charge: 1 hour conversation lunch hour, 1 hour listening lab, and 1 hour pronunciation (open to everyone) . This brings the number of hours per week available for participants' language instruction is six (6). Students self-evaluate themselves at the end of the course, thereby noting where improvement is needed. The class + language lab is 33 hours (11 weeks), although if they take advantage of the "extras," they receive 66 hours of instruction.
The Winter 2012 semester will begin the week of January 9. Registered participants will receive notification of Information sessions. Following Information sessions, fellows are evaluated and then placed in classes according to levels. In order for a research fellow to participate, s/he must be recommended to the Office of Fellowship Training by his or her PI. Contact information: Office of Fellowship Training .
Winter 2013 Semester
English as a Second Lanuguage: Winter 2013 Semester
The Office of Fellowship Training is accepting self-nominations for the English as a Second Language (ESL) course offered through the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The program offers a flexible approach to ESL through a combination of class time and language/computer lab time.
Self-nominations due by 5pm on Friday, November 30.
If you are interested in participating, please provide us with a one-paragraph self-nomination using the following guidelines:
- What is your appointment and department?
- What is your career and/or PI stage?
- What are your reasons for wanting to enroll in the course?
- Include any other pertinent information
- Please CC your PI or Department Head when sending your nomination
Classes & Semesters
There is open enrollment for the ESL course and employees can join the program during the semester depending on timing and availability.
- Students attend one 2-hour class, once a week.
- Classes are held Monday-Thursday, from 5-7pm.
- There are three 11-weeks semesters and a summer school.
- Fall: September-November
- Winter: January-March
- Spring: April-June
The Winter 2013 Semester classes will run from January 7 to March 21, 2013. Information Sessions for the Fall Semester will be on December 10 & 11, 2012.
- English communication skills, speaking and pronunciation, listening, comprehension, reading and vocabulary
- The workplace (including safety issues and other training topics)
- U.S. culture and cultural differences
- News and current events
ESL Language/Computer Lab
Students can attend 1-3 hours per week at their convenience within the office hours. The Language Lab, situated in the Galleria, provides access to a number of computer-based and internet programs and additional conversation, pronunciation and writing groups.
There is also an optional weekly non-scientific writing assignment which is assigned, submitted and corrected via email. Students can also discuss the corrections with the instructor in the Language Lab.
To Participate, prospective students must:
- Submit a self-nomination – DEADLINE:Friday, November 30, 5pm (email:email@example.com)
- Attend an information session
- Be evaluated by the ESL program manager (after information session)
- Placement in one of the five instruction levels is based on the results of an evaluation. The level placement determines the day that a student attends class.
- Evaluations at the end of each semester will provide feedback on skills developed and target areas for improvement.
- The course can generally be taken for two semesters.
1. If you submitted a self-nomination for the Fall 2012 Semester, we have it on file and you do not need to submit another one.
2. If you were enrolled in the Fall 2012 semester and if you are selected to attend the Winter 2013 Semester, you do not need to attend another information session.