Skip to main content

Dual-Language Math, Biology Courses Offered


In any given class on any given day, a student whose first language is Spanish might miss a detail here or a concept there, which can add up to being academically confused and lost. That’s why Salt Lake Community College’s School of Science, Mathematics and Engineering has begun offering sections of beginning biology and math in dual-language formats.

“These students are perfectly capable of high-quality academic work but are held back solely by English language proficiency,” says the school’s dean, Dr. Craig Caldwell. “They want to learn English but just want the support of being able to ask for clarification in Spanish. This makes perfect sense, especially in science classes where terminology is confusing. Likewise, in math classes, the use of word problems is inherently language-driven and can create huge confusion for students new to the English language.”

The courses, Biology 1010 and Math 0980, are being offered beginning in the fall semester. The courses will be taught in English, but instructors will use Spanish to explain “challenging concepts” and to answer questions. The students in these classes will be English language learners, meaning students will be in a “community” of so-called learners who can help each other. The classes will be held at the South City and West Valley City campuses.

Sandra Garcia-Sanchez, an advisor in the school, says students expressed an interest in keeping the courses taught in English because it helps in their pursuit to learn the language. She says they just need the space where they can ask “clarifying” questions in their native language when the English words aren’t there yet. “As part of the math faculty members, I have experienced on many occasions how important this is,” Sandra says. “I have been in the middle of a lesson when I see the faces of some of my students trying to grasp the discussed content. As soon as they hear the concept in Spanish, they click with it and feel very good about it.”

The dual-language format is also intended to take the “intimidation” out of asking questions in class for English learners and to form a mutual support group for like-minded ESL students. An ESL student originally brought up the need for the classes during a student focus group, expressing how difficult it can be to achieve academic progress as an English language learner. Associate math professor Cesar Melo laid the initial groundwork for bringing the course offerings to fruition, while Garcia-Sanchez and assistant biology professor Emmanuel Santa Martinez helped work the classes into the school’s curriculum offerings for this fall.

Emmanuel says he has successfully used his native Spanish language to review complex topics and engage with Hispanic students who are struggling. Students, he adds, feel represented in the classroom and at the college. “As a Latino and native Spanish speaker, I know that I would have appreciated and benefited from a bilingual course during my own studies,” he says. “Our intention is to prepare them in both course content and grow their English language skills. I also want students to feel proud of being bilingual and to recognize their hard work during their academic career at the college. I look forward to teaching the first dual language biology course at Salt Lake Community College.”

Popular posts from this blog

Attending an On-Campus Class? Get Tested for COVID by Jan. 22

  The year 2021 is finally here! SLCC is excited to have students back on campus this spring, and we are looking to get the semester off to a safe and healthy start. To achieve this, we are asking each student who attends at least one in-person class or lab per week to participate in COVID-19 testing by January 22 .   If this applies to you, please make an appointment to get tested at one of our on-campus testing facilities. The current testing schedule is as follows: January 5 - 7 , from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus Student Center. Starting January 11 , testing will be available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at both the Taylorsville Redwood and South City campuses. The South City testing location is at CCM 1-110.  For students who qualify for on-campus testing, if you get tested at one of our locations by January 22, you will receive a $10 credit on your OneCard. This credit can be used at your convenience at any campus locat

Vaccine Clinics Offered at Four SLCC Campuses

  Salt Lake Community College, in cooperation with the  Salt Lake County Health Department , is hosting free vaccine clinics at three campuses for students, staff and faculty. Anyone wanting a vaccination is eligible. The clinics will be outdoor and offer the Pfizer, Janssen and Moderna vaccines. The schedule is as follows (maps to each lot are printed below): SLCC Taylorsville Parking Lot V Sept. 30:  Second dose clinic from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. (additional first doses also being offered) Oct. 28: First dose clinic from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.   SLCC South City Parking Lots 1 and 2 Sept. 22: Second dose clinic from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (additional first doses also being offered) Oct. 20: First dose clinic from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.   SLCC Jordan Northeast J-2 (same as the Covid testing area) Sept. 23:  Second dose clinic from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (additional first doses also being offered) Oct. 21, First dose clinic from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. West Valley Center Sept. 28: First dose clinic from

College Celebrates New Student Center at Jordan Campus

The sun was out, and spirits were high as Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) celebrated the new Tim and Brenda Huval Student Center at the Jordan Campus in West Jordan.   A group of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners cheered as members of the Huval family and SLCC student leaders joined SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin and 2020-21 SLCC Student Association President Emily Hernandez Alzamora in cutting the ceremonial ribbon of blue and yellow stethoscopes, officially opening the doors to the new Huval Student Center. “This is what happens when you listen to students,” Huftalin said. “Today I’m thrilled that their vision is fulfilled.” More than a decade ago, SLCC student leaders identified a need for a place at the Jordan Campus where students could gather, study and collaborate. That need became a student-funded project resulting in the new 41,000-square-foot center that provides student support services and promotes a sense of community among students, especially