Friday, November 30, 2007

ESL Craziness

They're, their, there; I'll, aisle, isle; two, too, to; due, do, dew; through, thru, threw.

Not to mention read and read, live and live.

Why have we done this to ourselves?

Today was our first ESL (English as a Second Language) class. I have three students. Two of them are women, and the other is an older gentleman. I've been friends for a long time with one of my students, (the one who's about my age) and the others are her friend (about ten years older than us) and her husband's grandpa (in his late seventies). The two ladies know a little bit of English already because they have kids that are in the school system, but el anciano does not know very much at all. Tricky for class time.

We're using the Laubach method, which is apparently a popular one. I don't know if I'm crazy about it, but then it's only been one session, so I probably ought not judge it yet.

I speak a little Spanish, so I tend to talk to my students too much in Spanish. This was my problem with teaching my friend, in the past. She taught me Spanish instead. I'm doing better this time since we have actual curriculum and instructions.

We did have some interesting discussions, though, about the whole issue of learning another language. They were saying that English is frustrating because there are so many words that sound the same, but have completely different meanings, or mean the same, but are completely different words. They also have issues with our spelling. I tried to reassure them that we, too, have issues with our spelling, and that many native English speakers never get comfortable with spelling.

I'm glad we're finally having these classes officially, (under the aegis of the OK Literacy Council) but every now and then I ask myself, "Self, what have you gotten us into?"


aftergrace said...

English is the hardest language to learn, so I've heard. or herd? lol

Happymama said...

I'm confused just reading the blog post so I can imagine how it must be for those learning the language. LOL


Joshua said...

You speak a little Spanish? I think that once you have a Spanish minor, Converse daily en espaƱol with your friend, and teach an ESL class I think you can take the words "a little" out of that sentence.

Babystepper said...

Ahh, but you see, it only seems that way if you aren't fluent. To fluent speakers, trust me, (or ask Mom)I only speak "a little" Spanish.


I also speak "a little" Spanish...grin...being cursed (blessed) with the same fluent relatives to which you refer.

I have found that most Spanish as a first language speakers I encounter still insist that I speak more than "a little." I guess they are comparing me to all those other "gringos" who attempt to practice their Spanish upon them.

You'll do great with the class...and it is a praiseworthy endeavor to pursue.