NSU Student Creates Program to Help Develop High School Students’ English Speaking Skills

An NSU Fischler Academy student has developed a program to develop English speaking skills for high school students in which English is a second language.

FORT LAUDERDALE/DAVIE, Fla. – A student in Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice (FCE&SCJ) has created a program that helps local high school students, who are non-native speakers, develop their English speaking skills. Known as Shark Speak, the once-a-week community-based class centers around a curriculum that teaches teenage students everyday words and phrases.

Eloise Nieto, a junior in FCE&SCJ’s elite teacher preparation program The Fischler Academy, launched the program after watching her students in her classroom, where she works as a language interventionist, struggle with common English terms. Shark Speak helps accelerate the learning of the 100 most commonly used English words and ties them together with items the students recognize and use every day.

“Eloise is leaving a lasting impact, not only here at NSU, but in the community with this program,” said Luke Williams, director of The Fischler Academy. “She embodies what is means to be a Fischler Academy student and we know that with the skills developed here, she will have an edge as she enters the work force and becomes a full-time educator.”

The Fischler Academy is a unique program to develop highly qualified teachers by allowing students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in four years. It incorporates leading teaching strategies, a mastery-based curriculum and an active learning environment, culminating in a full-time job offer following graduation. During the course work, students become TESOL certified, which awards the students the qualification in the teaching of English for speakers of other languages.

At the same time that the FCE&SCJ students were beginning their TESOL coursework, Daryl Hulce, supervisor of Shark Speak, met a family in the community that spoke no English but had students in school.   They had just arrived from Venezuela and asked Hulce if NSU had anything to help people in their situation learn English.

“I presented the idea to our dean and asked if I could hire our students to practice teaching and help people in the community learn English, said Hulce. “That conversation took about three minutes before I was given the green light to proceed.”

When Hulce presented the idea to Nieto, she said she had a group of students that she wanted to help and Shark Speak was launched. Now, she is able to utilize her TESOL certification and put into practice what she had learned to help out her current students.

At the beginning of the four-week program, students are assessed and an individualized plan is developed for them. By playing games and engaging in dialogue aimed at increasing their vocabulary and reducing their accents, students are learning English while also gaining life skills that build confidence, self-esteem and relationships with their peers.

“When I saw these students struggling to communicate in the classroom, I knew I needed to do something to help them,” said Nieto. “It has been so fulfilling to watch them grow, not only in how they speak to each other, but how they open up and become self-assured in who they are.”

The course is a model community service program supported by NSU and is available at no cost for anyone who wishes to enroll. It aims to serve students and families in the process of learning English, at-risk youth, and those who can read and write but struggle to read fluently.

For more information, or to enroll in the next Shark Speak class, contact Daryl Hulce at hulce@nova.edu.



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About NSU’s Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice: The college offers more than just cutting-edge instructional strategies. Over the last 40 years, it has become widely recognized for shaping the education and criminal justice landscape through its distinguished faculty and global network of more than 70,000 alumni. The college is home to the Fischler Academy, which allows students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees simultaneously in just four years, while providing internship, study abroad and scholarship opportunities as well as a job offer upon graduating. The School of Criminal Justice creates unique synergies and opportunities and expands into critical areas that affect students and their communities including, school safety, child protection, conflict management, emergency preparedness leadership and community planning. Whether you are new to the field or a seasoned professional looking to make a larger impact, NSU’s Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice gives you the edge you need to succeed. Learn more at education.nova.edu.


About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): At NSU, students don’t just get an education, they get the competitive edge they need for real careers, real contributions and real life. A dynamic, private research university, NSU is providing high-quality educational and research programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree levels. Established in 1964, the university includes 16 colleges, the 215,000-square-foot Center for Collaborative Research, a private JK-12 grade school, the Mailman Segal Center (early childhood education) with specialists in Autism, the world-class NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, and the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center, one of Florida’s largest public libraries. NSU students learn at our campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, and online globally. Classified as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is one of only 50 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Please visit www.nova.edu for more information.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Media Contact:
Tasha Yohan