Students from both the English as a Second Language International (ESLI) program and the English as a Second Language (ESL) methods course mingled at WTAMU on April 5.
“We have had a project linking ESL education students and international students in the ESL language program,” Catherine Wedding, an ESL instructor, said. “We’ve met three times during the semester.”
The ESLI students’ latest focus is on an elementary school presentation in the Amarillo School District.
“Our international students are presenting speeches that they will give next week at Margaret Wills Elementary School in Amarillo,” Wedding said. “The children have studied the countries [the ESLI students] represent, [and] then they sit down for discussion time.”Margaret Tate, the ESLI Program Director, said the ESLI students have intensely prepared to present.
“They study reading, writing, grammar, speaking and listening,” Tate said. “And [they’re in] a class we call ‘intensive skills,’ which includes vocabulary, pronunciation and online computer programs.”
Education Instructor Elsa Diego-Medrano said in addition to learning a new culture, embracing diversity is important.
“I’ve found we have a lot of diversity here in Amarillo and in Canyon, but yet our students don’t realize it,” Diego-Medrano said. “When they see someone different, they have some assumptions. I want to dispel those assumptions.”
Wedding said witnessing students maintain friendships fuels her passion for the program.
“[Students involved] have a lot of social chances to be together and a lot of them [keep in touch] after meeting,” Wedding said. “You look at those groups together and think ‘this is education, this is why I became a teacher.’”