July 23, 2007

And then there were ten

Posted in English as a second language, Second language learning at 3: 03 pm by MK

When I showed up to teach A. & K. and their family Friday night, only the children and K. were home. However, shortly into the lesson A. came home. And then W. & B., the two Burmese men that live downstairs, showed up. Then five more guys trickled in; I hadn’t met them before but word must be out that there are free English lessons being offered. At one point I shifted my chair to enlarge the circle, looked around at the ten faces surrounding me and mildly panicked. Somehow lesson plan ideas for a family of five didn’t seem so transferable to a larger group. But in the end they were. . .

One that worked particularly well: I went around the circle and had each person say three descriptive things about the person sitting next to them. Some of the newcomers were more advanced and had an easier time. For the less advanced, there was a lot of prompting and Burmese translating, but it seemed to work well. Great practice of colors, and articles of clothing.

A. & K.’s case manager stopped by during the lesson. The church across the street has offered her free classroom space to teach English classes. She asked me if I wanted to teach some, and I said sure! If folks are going to be piling into the small apartment, it would be great to have space to work in and a blackboard to use. She also mentioned another English teacher that may be interested in helping–double plus as far as I’m concerned. It would be great to be able to work with someone that has experience I can learn from.

Oh, and E. stood me up. But she promises to meet me Wednesday night, so we’ll see.



  1. Elizabeth said,

    Wow. Word is sure getting around. Nothing like jumping in feet first!

  2. housegirrl said,

    Excellent!! What books are you using to help you prepare your lessons? I think the larger group is great because they can really watch each other learn. One thought: it sounded like a pretty male-dominated group. Does this shift the dynamic? How many women are there?

  3. mariakristin said,

    So I must admit I have yet to purchase any books….I’ve been using Web sites to generate ideas for new activities or to work off of to create my own activities. As I progress, though, and as the group gets larger, I will need to invest in some good teaching materials.

    Yes the group is all male except for K. and her daughter. Aside from K. being expected to maintain child duties during the lessons, the men treat her and her daughter with the same respect as the other men in the room. When it is K.’s turn to participate the men are equally encouraging and helpful, they don’t seem to hold a superior attitude. However, I wonder how much I’m missing or not able to judge correctly because I cannot understand with they speak in Burmese. I’ll have to see how it all plays out as the lessons continue…

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