English as a second language class

canesisters

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I've had a short, running, email argument going with a friend. She wants us to take an upcoming 'Teaching English As A Second Language' class. Neither of us speaks a language other than English. I say that it would be an exercise in frustration to try and teach a class of folks who don't speak English if we can't speak their native language to explain what we're talking about. She says that most of them speak enough to get started and that it will be fine.
Neither of us have been able to reach the organization to find out (just during the day today)
Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?
 

897tgigvib

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Cane, my dad was a foreign language professor. He was foreign language department chairman starting from 1958. Around 1969 he wanted to develop an English as a second language program. So dad worked with the English department to develop the course. It was taught by the English department by professors who were also very proficient in Spanish.

It does require a good understanding of English. If there is a course for potential teachers, and I believe there are, I think it would be a great course for anyone to take even if they do not follow through with actually teaching it. I am sure a good course plan would also include learning the primary languages at least to some practical and some theoretical extent including verb conjugations and noun declentions.

I say go for it!
 

digitS'

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I was a tutor for ESL kids for 2 years.

It was fun, if a little too much work. Part of the fun was having the boys teach me a few things in their language. Then, I would remember a word or phrase, try to use it - and everyone could have a good laugh :p.

Strangely, I thought that I'd mostly be helping them with English. Nope. They needed/wanted help with Science & Math. These are subjects that I wasn't very good at and had no special knowledge in . . . Darn near killed me!

If you are skilled in English ~ and we know you are ~ and, if that is the limit of your instruction responsibilities, you should be fine. The fact that you have reservations may or may not indicate that doing this is a good idea. It is good that you are serious about it and not just thinking of it as a lark. Still, it is a personal commitment.

Steve
 

Smart Red

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As a retired educator, I believe that knowledge is power. Everything you learn helps you become a better you.

I agree with marshallsmyth and say, "Go for it!" You may find that it you do not want to become an 'English-as-a-second-language' teacher, but you will have a better understanding of your students. I've taken general Spanish classes on my own dime - just in case - in a district that seldom has non-English speaking students. I would have loved to have been offered a specific class for teaching such students.
 

bobm

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Perspective from the other side of teaching English as a second language ... Fine if one's language is Spanish, but what about dozens of other languages . We immigrated to the US. My dad ( spoke 3 languages but not English) was a Veterinarian ( as well as my mother, myself , and my siblings) who didn't speak/ know a word of English much less Spanish. I was thrown into 5th grade and learned to speak English within a month. No one in the area spoke our language so no help there. So, we all learned English in the school of hard knocks in short order. My dad couldn't work as a Vet. without first going back to Vet school for 4 years to get His Vet license to practice. So, he worked in other fields for several years to make ends meet. Then an opportunity came along for him to teach Freshman Anatomy to Vet. students at a University Veterinary Medicine Dept. He did this for 25 years.
In Cal., I have seen entire communities / towns populated by mostly Spanish speakers that make NO effort to learn English, but expect the rest of us in the United States to speak Spanish ... press one for English, press 2 for Spanish. Here, at all government offices English is our official language, however, one is asked if they want the English or the Spanish version of official forms. What about German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, or etc.? In Mexico and other South American countries, Speakers of other languages are expected to learn Spanish and communicate ONLY in Spanish as the only official language. Hmmm !
 

OldGuy43

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I'm not sure that being proficient in the primary language of your students is necessary or even helpful. I knew a fellow once that had learned German, as an adult while in the US Army. They used something called "Immersion Training". According to him they spoke nothing but German in the class after the first day. Seems to me that should work really well. After all, that's how we learned our first language. :cool:
 

BrowningI

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I agree with OldGuy43, your knowledge of their native language would rather be an obstacle. Speaking English only, you don't give them a chance to give up and say: "I don't know what's the English for this word, let's switch to my native tongue".
 

OldGuy43

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While we're on the subject; My sister-in-law was living in California and told us that her electric bill was 14 pages long. It seems that they printed it in a large variety of languages only two pages were in English. Always wondered how much all those translations added to the bill. :rolleyes:
 

897tgigvib

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My father's father learned English on the way over here from Ireland. He spoke Gaelic only. That was in 1897 when he was 20.
 

digitS'

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I learned Spanish when a friend of mine closed his finger in a folding chair.

That was about the only English we learned from Dad. Mom sang to us. "I was dancin' with my darlin' to the Tennessee Waltz . . ."

Kindergarten wasn't free so I had to wait to go off to 1st grade just to get away from home. It was either that, or the barn. Farm kid, ya know.

Steve
 
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