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English Learning Class

Julie, my wife, leads our English Learning Class that we do at the church building every Monday evening. I am not usually involved, but she needed my help last week and I agreed to help her out. She told me that I would lead the advance group of English learners and my assignment was to talk through this newspaper article about the upcoming election. She told me to define words they might not know, see if they understood the content of the article and talk to them about politics in their own countries. The key was to help them speak about their own country in English and that would help them continue to develop their English skills.

I thought this should be interesting. There were three young women in my group, and they all knew English well enough to have some significant dialogue. As we began, their enthusiasm for learning English was contagious. They were eager to learn and were sitting on the edge of their seats as they wondered what that word meant and what the context of that comment meant. I got excited as I defined words like “filibuster” and “senate” and explained what the two houses of Congress were. We talked about checks and balances in our system and how the founding fathers believed that unchecked power corrupted the leader. I even had fun defining the idiom that the article used, “on the other hand…” I found myself fascinated by their stories of their own countries and some of the issues and struggles in their political system and how their system was organized. The time just flew by and I was fully engaged in the conversation. It was so much fun!

There were 13 people there that night, all trying to learn English and make life better for themselves and their families here in the U.S. It was so cool that our church and the team of volunteers were making that happen for the people who were there. We were being a blessing to those people. And what so often happens when I try to be a blessing, I end up getting blessed myself. You should try it!

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