Posts made in May, 2017

The way it’s supposed to be

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in News |

From Global Sisters Report, May 4, 2017 The way it’s supposed to be by Carleen Reck I grew up in a home where Dad was an organizer, so we grew up expecting everything to be in order. Dad’s workbench had a chalked outline for each tool, arranged from the smallest hammer or screwdriver to the largest. Before we could read, we would line up our Tinker Toy rods by size, shortest to longest. Our building blocks likewise were automatically sorted into small, medium and large. Is it any wonder that — when I went to Kindergarten — I insisted that in the alphabet, the smaller letter “n” would need to come before the letter “m” which was clearly larger. Everyone in my Kindergarten class who could say the alphabet properly was promoted to the first grade. Alas, I remained in Kindergarten because I was unable to reverse my home culture and refused to admit that somehow “m” should come before “n.” Eventually, I suppose I accepted the illogical arrangement, figuring that “they” just didn’t understand. All of us can recall ways that we learned how things were “supposed to be.” We are all formed by the culture around us as we shape our ideas and expressions. Today, many children have been uprooted from their early settings where they could develop naturally and comfortably. They have been relocated to a new world, one where people speak with sounds they have never heard and arrange their sentence-words backwards. Learning — rather relearning — will be achieved at a cost. As we search for ways to help immigrants, we need to make the learning process a bit easier for immigrant children. The English Tutoring Project (ETP), begun in collaboration by several women religious’ communities in the St. Louis area, is an example of a learning program that addresses the differences of immigrant children. Although “pullout programs” in general have been denigrated in many educational settings, the ETP program designers recognized that children who grew up in totally different cultural and language settings would feel freer to try a new language when removed from a classroom of children whose first language was English. These newcomers are able to enjoy mastering new sounds when they are with others who are also discovering that their tongues can make new sounds. They are free to celebrate when they can “arrange their words backwards” with some level of comfort. A special learning area can also be a place where teachers and students can post items that would be either meaningless or laughable in a classroom of native speakers. The English Tutoring Project, for example, can post in its special classroom a sheet where children can record each new plant they recognize and another sheet where they can name each new animal whose name they learn. In that setting, no one laughs at the simple milestones, but all can laugh together at the new world they are claiming. A simple adaptation helps them to expand their knowledge beyond...

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Windshield Poetry Brings Smiles

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in News |

Windshield Poetry Brings Smiles

by Adrian, Alondra and Jason English Tutoring Project students are writing creative windshield poetry. The poetry is about topics such as spring, valentines and love, Christmas, and wishing people a good day. The poetry is for the citizens outside of St. Stephen Protomartyr School. Students write poetry during ETP class as they learn English at the same time. When the weather is sunny, they deliver poems and put them on parked cars. They slide them under windshield wipers. Students in ETP want to make people’s day shine by sharing amazing windshield poetry. 🙂 People who have received a poem said that “it made their day!!” One lady sent a thank you card from Tennessee. She found a valentine poem on her windshield after her father-in-law’s funeral and it made her smile joyfully. The tutor of the ETP students heard of windshield poetry from a news story on television. She thought it would be a great way to “make a difference” and learn English, too!...

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