Margot Heffernan and Keri Sue Brunk taught an ELL class (English Language Learning) which was sponsored by American Home Life International, an organization that provides cultural and educational learning experiences for students from around the world. Margot and Keri Sue have collaborated on previous ELL teaching projects at Skyline Literacy in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
This class included twenty middle school students from Bejing, China. Students stayed with host families from August 3rd to August 17, 2012. During this time, they attended a daily English class. Students also participated in many organized activities, such as shopping trips, a visit to the Rockingham County Fair, a tour of James Madison University, and a tour of Washington, DC. In addition, each host family introduced their two student guests to interesting and novel experiences.
The ELL class met daily at Lindale Mennonite Church from 9 am to 12 pm. The students were divided into two groups of ten. Each class focused on a topic or group of topics relevant to life in America, such as education, money, food, or family living. The students were also encouraged to talk about the many new experiences that they were enjoying and participating in.
Since this group of Chinese students had been studying English since they were young children, their writing and reading skills were at an intermediate or advanced level. Through the ELL class sponsored by AHLI, they were able to focus more on spoken language skills by conversing in a relaxed and casual setting. By the end of the two week program, the students were speaking to each other about many exciting ideas and experiences. Their conversations were dynamic and interactive!
When these students begin the new school year in Bejing, they will be studying many subjects in English. The supplemental English classes that they participated in through AHLI will allow them to bring enhanced English skills to their future studies.
To learn more about American Home Life International, please visit amhomelife.org.