Frequent Asked Questions

Q: Where is your school located?

A: MVALP classes are in the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School at 100 Edgartown/Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs, MA.

Q: What classes do you offer?

A: We offer English classes for adults that do not speak English as their first language. We have four English classes, beginning with basic ESOL and moving up to an advanced ESOL class. (See our Class Level page).

Q: How do I get into your program's English language classes?

A: To get into classes you need to come to the high school on registration night and fill out an application. You must fill out this application yourself, in person. When you have completed the application, you will then be asked to take a writing test and to answer questions in an interview. This will help us determine which class level will be best for you.

Q: How long will it take for me to get into classes once I finish the application process?

A: Once you are finished with the application process you are NOT guaranteed to start with us immediately. If we have a space available at your level, you will start right away. But if the class level you qualify for is full, we will place you on our waiting list. As soon as we have an opening, and it is your turn, we will call you and invite you to join us.

Q: How much do classes cost?

A: Classes are free. 

Q: If I miss registration night, do I have to wait until the next year to register?

A:  We have on-going registration throughout the year. You can come to room 209 at the high school on a T/W/Th evening between 7:00-8:15 pm to register.  We will put your name on a short wait-list, and place you when we have an opening at your level.

Q: How many nights a week are your classes?

A: You are required to attend classes three nights a week.

Q: How do teachers determine what to teach?

A: MVALP uses a student-centered approach to teaching the English language. At the start of classes the teacher will work with students to determine where students most urgently need to use English. The classroom themes will then be developed from student determined needs.

Q: What are your classes like?

A: The main aim of the lessons will be communicative competence in real-life settings. Authentic, adult materials are used and all students will be encouraged to contribute with their own knowledge and experience. Emphasis is placed on student production of language and on an active classroom.

Instructors use teaching approaches and strategies that can benefit all different learning styles, and they use materials and activities aimed at developing all language skills.

Q: Do you use translation in class?

A: We use the target language (English) to teach English. We do not translate or use other languages during instruction.  Our Communicative Competence approach to teaching is based in solid research, and our teachers are trained professionals. The approach is designed to be taught at a pace that is comprehensible to the students at each level, so that the use of any other language is not necessary.

Q: What do you do when students make a lot of errors?

A: We consider student errors to be a natural part of the language learning process. Teachers model correct language usage and encourage self-discovery and self-correction of errors. Teachers guide students toward recognizing their own language learning strategies, strengths and weaknesses and help them to see the classroom as a place for improving these strategies.

Q: What rules do you have at your program?

A: The MVALP student handbook describes program requirements and expectations of students, such as respectful behavior, attendance, using only English in class, etc.

Q: Is attendance important?

A: Attendance is very important. We require an 80% attendance rate, and we strongly suggest that you come to class three nights a week, for the 26 weeks of the program.   If you cannot maintain good attendance, we feel that you will not obtain the benefits our program offers. If you miss too many classes, we may find it necessary to drop you from our program. This allows us to serve people who can come to class who are waiting to get into our program.

Q: Will I learn all the English I need by attending your program?

A: Second Language Acquisition is a process that frequently takes more time than most learners can spend in an ESOL classroom. Therefore, an important part of our approach is to help students to become secure, confident, autonomous learners so that they can continue the learning process outside of the classroom.

Q: Will I receive a certificate for attending your program?

A: If you are in compliance with the attendance policy and other program policies, you will be awarded a certificate at year’s end.

Q: Does your program offer anything other than classes?

A: In addition to classes, our program offers counseling, educational advice, computer instruction, information on community organizations, and guest speakers.