Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Tuesday is a day of teaching.

During the school year I teach English courses on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During the summer my primary English outlet is weekly English Club.

"I Will Learn English" is a free weekly open event where anyone can show up for an hour and a half of English. It is an incredibly challenging endeavor to create a lesson for "anyone who shows up."

Some students speak English flawlessly and others only know a few words. Some are teenagers and some are in their late 30s.

I work hard to find topics of interest to engage people intellectually. My highest priority is to know everyone by name. There is a core group of 10-12 students who show up regularly. Last night there were 20.

English club begins with some kind of mixer to get people talking to one another. This helps the students find other people with similar English skills. Ideally, this would also build some level of community so that the students keep coming back.

Each time a student comes to English club, they get a hole-punch in their card. It's like a "10th cup free" card at a coffee shop. They can earn candy, ice cream, PB&Js, or private English classes.

The lesson varies from week to week. Some weeks we focus on a topic. I really believe that once students realize that their English level is high enough to discuss important social topics that they will realize that they can talk about anything. In a conversation about poverty, social injustice, or crime it's quite natural to discuss the Christian faith in a non-threatening way with the students.

Some weeks we watch TV shows or play board games. Occasionally we get visitors and the students can practice with an American other than me!

It's a huge challenge, but so far it's been fun to create these lessons. I hope to work more music into the lessons in the future.

Also on Tuesday I went apartment hunting and joined some friends for a World Cup game.

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