English for Speakers of Other Languages: Classes

What Is The ESL Program? 

Thomas Jefferson Adult & Career Education offers classes for students of all levels, ranging from little to no ability to speak, read, or write English, to those who are ready to learn complex grammatical structures, read complex texts, and improve their writing. 

All classes incorporate civics education and job skills into the course. These classes allow students to progress at their own pace through a combination of teacher-directed lessons and at-home practice. 

What Types of ESL Classes Are Offered?

TJACE@PVCC offers five levels of progressive adult ESL classes and bridges students to GED classes, workforce training and college level ESL and credit classes.

Beginner Levels

ESL 1 is for students with little or no ability to communicate in English and with no or extremely limited literacy in English; they may also lack literacy skills in their native language. Students learn basic literacy – alphabetics, phonemic awareness, phonics (sound-symbol correspondence, short and long vowel word patterns), and basic sight words. They develop vocabulary and basic sentence structure orally (as a precursor to literacy) to function in daily life.

ESL 2 is for students with some ability to communicate in English; this class addresses all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). At this level, students read and write at a basic level in English (sound out unfamiliar words and spell phonetically) although they may not understand what they read. They develop vocabulary and basic grammar. Students with literacy skills but very limited oral skills in English can attend this class rather than ESL 1. 

Intermediate Levels

ESL 3 is for students ready to further develop reading, writing, listening and speaking skills for daily life, employment, and further education and training. Students learn basic and complex grammatical structures, build general academic vocabulary, read increasingly difficult texts, and write paragraphs. Writing instruction focuses on mechanics, sentence structure, and on development of ideas into paragraphs. Students work extensively in groups and pairs.

ESL 4 is for students to continue their development in all four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) for employment, civic engagement, and further education and training. Students develop academic skills needed for success, including academic vocabulary, organizational skills, and an understanding of the expectations of an American classroom and workplace. Grammar instruction focuses on complex structures, increasing accuracy and fluency. Reading includes academic content. Writing instruction emphasizes personal narrative and responses to readings and discussions, using general essay structure (introduction, body, and conclusion). This class serves to bridge students to high school equivalency learning options (GED or NEDP), integrated education and training programs (IET), and workforce training programs and ESL 5 Advanced English for Academics.

Advanced Level

ESL 5 is for students who want to improve their academic English for college and careers. This course helps students develop stronger writing and critical thinking skills through reading, writing, discussion and presentations. Students read and write a variety of essays including narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and expository. Students also learn the meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases within authentic texts and continue to improve grammar, structure and mechanics of writing.

English Now! Free Learning Circles.

Students will improve their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills with fun, interactive, hands-on learning activities including using apps on their cell phones.

ESL classeWoman Teachings are held in multiple locations in order to make them accessible to adults across the region. Class locations are listed on page 14. If you have questions about where a specific class is held, please contact TJACE@PVCC by calling 434.961.5461 or emailing tjace@pvcc.edu.

Women in Classroom

    English Skills For the Workplace

    Some students find it easiest to learn and practice their English skills while they prepare or train for a new career. TJACE@PVCC offers two classes designed to help you build your English skills while providing core training in the fields of health care and hospitality.

    For more information on these two career-focused training opportunities, see page 13.

    Note for ESL students: The Preparation Training for Health Care Careers class must be taken with a regular ESL class. Schedule to be determined. For more information, contact Debbie Tuler at 434.961.5464.

    Practice Your English Speaking Skills - Dialogue Café

    Adult speakers of all levels are welcome to participate in this free, drop-in English language conversation gathering. Dialogue Café is a friendly space and time for people to meet ESL learners and native English speakers from the community. Learn about and celebrate all cultures and share community information as you practice your English. No registration required. Come anytime, come often. 

    For more information about Dialogue Café, contact TJACE@PVCC at 434.961.5461 or by emailing tjace@pvcc.edu.

    Online Classes through ESL to Go!

    What Is ESL To Go! Online? 

    This is an online class designed to meet the needs of independent learners who wish to further develop academic skills and language for academic study. Students learn reading strategies, focused listening and note-taking through online videos and podcasts. In addition, students will learn to interpret data, make calculations, create a budget, express and organize ideas and opinions and use reference materials for writing assignments. This 13-week commitment includes weekly online reading, writing, listening and grammar practice combined with a weekly, 2-hour virtual classroom discussion and an optional, 2-hour in-person learning lab. Students are expected to spend a minimum of 4 hours weekly in independent study. Course content focuses on academic English for college and careers and advanced life skills. Cost is $35.

    Women in classroom settingESL to Go! self-study is a free independent learning option that provides online access to English language learning with the support of an ESL teacher. You will develop skills in vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, pronunciation and writing using online videos, pictures, and stories combined with two hours of weekly direct online instruction with your teacher and face-to-face drop-in learning labs at the ALC on Wednesdays from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

    What Do I Need To Do To Take Part In ESL To Go?

    You will need to have, or have access to, a computer with internet access, a working personal gmail address, basic computer skills, and the ability to work independently.

    How Much Does It Cost?

    • ESL to go! online class $35 

    • Self-study class is Free.

    How Do I Register?

    You must take an assessment at the ALC to register for this program. Call 434-961-5461 for more information.


    • Thomas Jefferson Adult & Career Education@PVCC 935-A Second St., SE, Charlottesville, VA 22902 (map)

    • PVCC JEFFERSON SCHOOL CENTER 233 Fourth Street NW Charlottesville, VA 22903 (Across from the Staples office supply store downtown)(map)

    • VA Career Works Charlottesville Center 944 Glenwood Station Lane, Suite 103 Charlottesville, VA, 22901(map)

    • Albemarle High School 2775 Hydraulic Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22901 (map)

    • PVCC Main Building 501 College Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22903 (map)

    • Fluvanna Adult Education Center 14455 James Madison Highway, Palmyra,  VA (map)

    • PVCC Giuseppe Center (2nd Floor, Greene County Libraray) 222 Main Street, Stanardsville, VA 22973 (map)

    • Greene Technical Education Center 10415 Spotswood Trail, Stanardsville, VA 22973 (map)

    • Louisa County Public Schools (LCPS) Adult & Career Education Center 815 Davis Highway, Mineral, VA (map

    • Nelson County High School 6919 Thomas Nelson Highway, Lovingston, VA 22949 (map)



    Student Resources

    • ESL Students:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How can I get help registering and paying for classes?

    For help using MyPVCC to register and pay for classes: