English as a Second Language

Students in orange shirts during Convocation

Students practice casting
Orthopedic Technology/Technician Program

Adult Education English Language Learner (ELL) Healthcare Pathway

This program that prepares individuals, under the supervision of physicians, to cast, splint, and brace orthopedic injuries. Includes instruction in patient assessment; casting, splinting, and orthopedic appliances; radiographic interpretation; traction; and wound care.

Welcome to the West Valley College ESL Program

West Valley College offers beginning level to advanced classes. Our five-level program has two courses at each level:

  • 4-unit listening/speaking (LS)
  • 5-unit reading/writing (RW)

Step 1: Apply to the College

Fill out a free application to the college. Instructions and application can be found here.

Within a few days, look for your West Valley Student ID number and WVM username/email in an email from the college.

Step 2: Complete the ESL Guided Placement

The placement process will take about 10 minutes. It is not a test. You are the best judge of what you can and cannot accomplish in English. You need to think about what you can do now in English in your reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Then you will choose the appropriate level for your skills in the ESL program.

Learn more about the ESL self-placement.

To access the guided ESL placement, you need to sign into the Portal. Find your username and password.

For more assistance after your ESL self-placement, visit the ESL homepage or the Welcome Center.

Step 3: Register for Classes

Register for credit (ESLW) or noncredit (NCEL) classes.

Please note: If the class you want is full, you should add your name to the waitlist. When enough students are on the wait list, the college may open a new class section.

Wait Waitlist for a Course video.

Step 4: Pay Fees

Pay tuition fees for credit classes.

Buy books online.

Choose classes that fit your schedule – take one or both classes (LS and RW) at each level.

Step 5: Attend an Optional ESL Information Session

Attend an optional ESL information session on Tuesday, August 20 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM in SSC 105A.

Step 6: Attend Classes

Attend the first day of class starting on Saturday, August 24.

Lab for ESL Students

Students are encouraged to use the lab. Extra practice in the lab helps students improve their language skills.

World Languages Center

The World Languages Center (WLC) is located in the Language Arts Building, LA/SS 42. The WLC has 37 computers with microphones available. Use the WLC to access your language class software. You can practice speaking and listening, pronunciation, or access language websites for multi-skill practice, Monday through Friday. The World Language Center also hosts workshops on topics including: Microsoft Word, Canvas, and email for ESL students. Call Ellen Goldman, Coordinator at (408) 741-4042 for more information.


Come to the World Language Center with your ID card. No enrollment is necessary.

International Partners Program

Whether you speak English fluently or English is your second language, the International Partners Program can help you to...

  • increase your confidence in dealing with unfamiliar situations
  • learn ways to talk to anyone about anything
  • develop your ability to take risks
  • strengthen your sense of humor
  • speak with people from California and around the world
  • prepare for a job

What is the International Partners Program (IPP)?

The International Partners Program is an on-campus international student exchange program available to all West Valley College students. The program was developed by teachers in 1993 to help American and international students to get to know one another better. It is similar to a pen pal service; however, students actually meet their "pen pal" face-to-face. Students are matched according to their weekly schedules and interests. Partners meet each other at times that are convenient for both of them, for one hour minimum during three consecutive week. Many West Valley instructors give extra credit for participating in the program.

How do I get an international partner?

Contact the coordinator, Sylvia Ortega, at [email protected], directly by phone (408) 741-2465, or in LA/SS 3L at West Valley College. Fill out an application form. Once you are matched with a partner, the coordinator will contact you with information about your international partner (name, age, interests, phone number, best time to call and a brief letter of introduction).

What should I do when I meet my international partner?

Most students spend the first hour sitting in the WVC library cafe or cafeteria and just talking. They talk about everyday things like family, school, work, hobbies, and other interests. They share pictures of their family and friends and learn new words or expressions in their partner's language. When they meet a second time, many students like to:

  • go off campus, relax, and talk at a cafe
  • compare food in the U.S. with food from other countries
  • visit an ethnic grocery store or restaurant
  • visit a bookstore together
  • take a walk in a park
  • share idioms, jokes, and slang
  • share photos of family, friends, and pets

Comments from IPP Participants


"I don't feel nervous anymore when I speak English."

"I feel more comfortable talking with Americans now."

"I can speak English a lot [better] than before."

"I met my partner at the school cafeteria and coffee shops at convenient times after school. The program gave me a good chance to talk with a native speaker and understand American culture."

"My partner was so open-minded! I didn't have to hesitate to start a sentence."

"I learned some American slang and [more about the] young people's culture."

"I got along very well with my American partner because both of us are married and we have a lot of things in common. We talked about our culture, family and our foods. I think this is a great program to [become] familiar with people from other cultures and to find good friends."


"I feel more comfortable starting conversations with people from other cultures [now]."

"I am able to understand people with accents better."

"I was surprised at how much my partner's English improved this semester."

"We 'traded languages'! I learned a lot of Spanish from her and she learned a lot of English from me."

"I'll always remember how friendly she was and how easily we got along."

"I appreciate other cultures more now because I saw how difficult it was for [my partner] to adapt to American culture. I am also more inclined to listen to news reports about my partner's native country because I know more [about it]."

"Sometimes people feel that immigrants don't want to have anything to do with our society. One positive thing I learned from our interactions was that my partner was very interested in learning about American culture."

Resources for ESL Students

At West Valley College

Grammar, Writing, and Vocabulary on the Web

Listening on the Web

  • Randall's Cyber Listening Lab a great place to practice listening at various skill levels
  • Elllo Lots of listening activities with a transcript and interactive vocabulary and comprehension quizzes
  • Breaking News English Current world news based on date or theme
  • Listen and Write  23 levels of dictation difficulty.  A fun way to practice listening and spelling from news, popular songs, & more!
  • English Central  speaking and vocabulary practice from commercials, movies, lectures, and news
  • English Club - dictations and listen to the news with vocabulary and comprehension questions
  • Voice of America worldwide news for English learners

Multi-skill Websites

  • Computer skills - great presentations on Microsoft Office, internet, email, and computer basics from the Everyday Life Project. Practical interactive presentations on food, money, jobs, and more. 
  • Many Things - word games, puzzles, spelling, stories, scrambled sentences, and fun stuff for ESL students
  • BBC Learning English - word games, grammar, pronunciation, videos, and a fun soap opera series, The Flatmates.
  • Rong Chang's ESL page  - short stories, sentence structure writing practice, listening, vocabulary, pronunciation, and more!

Sources for Authentic Listening on the Web

Employment Opportunities for ESL Students

Instructional Lab Assistant

We'd love to have you work for our lab if

  • you can interact effectively with people whose first language is not English
  • you can meticulously look at sentences and find the grammar errors easily
  • you can answer the phone, keep records, and multitask

Work Study Aide for ESL Department

We'd love to have you work for our department if you are a full-time student and qualify for the work study program. Please contact the Financial Aid office for information on the Work Study Program at (408) 741-4639. See our Job Opening postings at the Financial Aid Office.

Professional Resources for Teachers, Graduate Students, and Publishers

ESL Class Observations

The faculty of the ESL Department would like to invite you to visit the program. Just choose the class(es) you would like to observe using the course schedule. Then contact the instructor(s) that you would like to observe (give them at least a week's notice).

For directions and a map of the campus. You'll need 12 quarters for parking.

Professional Organizations

If you want to keep current in the field, consider becoming a member of one or both of these organizations:

Relevant Websites

West Valley College does not offer graduate-level TESOL courses. If you're interested in getting a certificate or MA in TESOL, here are four institutions in the Bay Area that you could consider.

Employment Opportunities for ESL Professionals

Associate Faculty Pool

The West Valley-Mission Community College District maintains a joint associate faculty pool.

For general questions, call HR at (408) 741-2155 or visit Human Resources.

Last Updated 6/17/24