Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I want to learn English!

Interesting how the foreign troops I meet almost ALL know a little English, learned in their country. I think to myself as they struggle, "how many US citizens know two languages?" The US should become better at encouraging and teaching students to speak another language fluently, period!

People I meet are eager to learn English, and I would like to oblige them, being a teacher and all. Those of you reading this, any help or suggestions you can think of, would be greatly appreciated.

I have become friends with Afghans, Polish, Korean and other coalition troops who seem to want to practice English and improve their skills. For many, it's their first time using the English they learned as a youth in an English speaking environment. I find it humorous that they are always apologizing for their "bad English" so I keep on encouraging them to speak and practice whenever they can. These people know the potential value of learning English and want to become fluent.

Here is a hint for those of you who WANT to learn. The military is a great place to use a foreign language. If you want to travel the world, are fluent, and don't mind the military lifestyle, then concentrate on countries where we have established bases. Learn their language. From what I have seen, you will use your language skills and be in the thick of things, which will make your experience very interesting. If the military is not for you, people (contractors) are making very good money using their language skills to help the US and foreign militaries. Again, a potentially great experience.

Teachers: What languages do your students know? In class, start exploring their language and set up word walls; label your tables, chairs, door, etc. with it's language counterpart; start the school day with introductions/ welcomes and end the day with good-byes in each language. By the end of the semester or school year, each of your students will be enriched with a slice of language they might otherwise have not learned. Good luck!

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