April 7, 2008

English classes

A few months ago, I started an English class two nights a week for an hour here in Danli. This is something that I was reluctant to do at the beginning of my service. Yes, it’s true, I do have a Masters in English but because teaching English was my job before I came to Honduras, I decided that I wanted to learn different skills while here. I also hesitated to teach English for other reasons. One of them has to do with the misconception of language learning that I find to be very common here. For whatever reason, many Hondurans believe that learning English is 1) much easier than learning Spanish and 2) only takes a few months to learn if you have a good teacher. Language learning as a life-time endeavor is not something commonly believed and I felt that starting an English class would only result in dashing dreams of becoming fluent after a few months (if only!!). Another hesitation has to do with the goal many people have behind learning English. Many people who want to learn English do so because they want to go to the US to work. So I decided that I would only teach English to Hondurans who appeared that they would use whatever they learned to improve their skill sets for their jobs or studies here in Honduras.

The lady who owns the internet café that Luke and I frequent asked me before Christmas if I would be willing to teach English to the two girls that work there. I told her I’d think about it then decided I would. I had remembered several nurses at the hospital where my counterpart works mentioning if I ever started an English class to let them know. So I called them up and then through word of mouth, we ended up with a class of about 14. A Cuban volunteer doctor is part of the class, as well as a friend of Luke and I’s, a young boy who is now in private school and feels behind in his English class since he went to public elementary school, two nieces of the internet café owner, a few friends of the nurses from the hospital that are in the class, and a few others.

All in all it’s been a good experience. I do the planning for the classes but Luke comes and helps out. Hondurans are used to route-type memorization in learning situations so we try and make the classes dynamic and fun by using games, dialogs, roll-playing, etc. The students seem to have a good time. We started the class in mid-February and as of yet, don’t know when the class will end. That’ll either be when Luke and I get tired of teaching or when the class number starts dwindling but for now, we’re enjoying it.

Teaching at the internet cafe last week


Anonymous said...

I was also under The impression that I could learn Spanish in several months :) and have been dissapointed ever since :)

Lila is off to a better start though!!!

Miss you!

Darvin said...

Luke and Annie, I was standing in the kitchen today and absentmindely looked at your picture on our fridge. That's all it took and I finally googled into this blogspot and read it through from beginning to end. Great read! What's this nonsense of your being in Honduras for three years? Make it a lifetime! Just stop in Iowa now and then and we'll be satisfied. Right now if you come to Iowa, you should come on foot. The oceans of quickmud, which we call "roads", devour cars, and inflame emotions. Your ideas of rural development may or may not be having an enduring effect on Honduras, but I wonder what kind of development aid the Peace Corp might suggest for Iowa county.

Keep up the good work and keep asking the big questions. Now that your photo on our fridge finally moved me to encounter your engaging thinking on this blog, I think I'll be hooked. "Let's see... have I checked Luke and Annie's blog today?" Darvin (and Martha)