March 1, 2006      
Sherbrooke Police Learning English at Bishop’s

Principal Poupart declared early in his mandate a priority to improve the relationship between Bishop’s and the surrounding community. Our Continuing Education Department has found a way to help make this promise a reality: complimentary English Second Language classes to members of the Sherbrooke Police Services.

“This program is a win-win situation,” says Sue Meesen '91, Co-ordinator of Continuing Education. “The police improve their English skills, which betters their ability to communicate with our students in the community. It also gives them an opportunity to learn more about Bishop’s and to meet our students in a pleasant setting. Normally when individuals (students or others) meet police, it is not under the best circumstances.”

The program began in the Fall semester with nine police officers spending three hours every Tuesday evening at Bishop’s. ESL Instructor Irika Meadows says “the police were a bit shy and intimidated at first, but so was I. They were all in uniforms!”

Ms. Meadows uses course material that is relevant to police work and also brings in Golden Key Honour Society students to work with the officers. “We set them up in small speaking groups,” says Ms. Meadows. “The students ask the officers questions about the reasons for joining the police force and their experiences as officers. The police officers, in turn, find out why students choose Bishop’s and get a better understanding of what occurs during Orientation Week.”

In this current semester eight of the nine students have returned, along with six new students for the ten week program. Sherbrooke police officer Maryse Boulanger is back for her second semester. “The small group size is perfect,” she says. “We need to practice speaking English, and we do a lot of that in this program. Irika is a wonderful teacher who is very committed to our learning. This program demonstrates an improved relationship between Bishop’s and Sherbrooke.”
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