Business

Boston makes learning English a city-wide project

Boston makes learning English a city-wide project

LatinaLista — One fallacy of the illegal immigration debate is that undocumented immigrants don't want to learn English.
Across the country there are stories of how undocumented immigrants are so desperate to learn English that they will work all night, get off in the early morning and either head home to check on their families and then go straight to English as a Second Language class.

Some business owners, seeing this desire on behalf of their non-English speaking employees have made special arrangements with local junior colleges to televise special English classes to their employees either during lunch breaks or at special times during the day, taught by the professors.
Well, the city of Boston is taking English classes for non-natives a step farther — they are posting English classes on their website to help their residents virtually sit in on an English as a Second Language class.
The classes, part of a 28-episode series, address different workplace scenarios such as talking on the phone, reading a medicine label, interacting with store clerks, etc.
The internet-vised programs are of a real English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class taught by the director of education at Boston's Asian American Civic Association, who was named Teacher of the Year in 2002 and has taught ESOL for 15 years.
The classes, which are also televised on the city's public cable system, is a part of the citywide initiative called English Works Campaign which aims to make English classes more available to immigrants. Currently, the state registers a 14,000-name waiting list to get into their English classes.
While Latina Lista applauds the idea of making these English classes available 24/7 on their web site, we feel that the classes are hard to follow given that the instructor is having to interact with his class and cannot always directly address the "virtual student."
Since the English Works Campaign is already calling on investments by local businesses to help with the funding for more English classes, the campaign should go ahead and create a lively series that directly address virtual students and includes them in learning English.
After all, English is for everyone!

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