Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Please Slow Down Miss and Explain What a "Cah" Is

If you talk to me for more than five minutes, you may find it hard to believe that I haven't lived in New England full time in over fifteen years.  I may have left the extreme cold and snow behind, but my accent and tendency to speak quickly (or as I prefer to think of it, efficiently) has followed me south of the Mason-Dixon.  ESOL ninjas are supposed to be models of the English language.  I guess models really do come in all shapes and sizes.

To be fair, when I taught newcomer and beginner ESOL students, I made a conscious effort to slow down my speech and drop my accent as much as possible.  Now that I teach intermediate and advanced students, I rationalize that in order to be fluent in English, students must be able to comprehend various dialects of the language.  It turns out that my fast-paced approach to talking prepares my students to ace the listening portion of the annual language proficiency exam with little preparation.  My students often remark that this was the first time in years that they've been able to keep up with the speaker on the CD.

I recently received an ESOL superstar in my class.  This student arrived to the United States in August and has already advanced to the intermediate level.  She is able to keep up and shine in all reading and writing assignments, but recently confided that she's having trouble understanding me.   I will make more of an effort to slow down with that class, but will also suggest some listening sites for her to practice at home.  Here are some of my favorites:




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