Saturday, October 20, 2007

ESL Students and Political Correctness

As a private ESL tutor of adults, I feel that it's part of my responsibility to my students to answer questions and offer suggestions related to culturally appropriate expressions and terminology. This includes "political correctness." These things aren't usually part of my formal lesson plans. I just address them when they come up.

Politically correct expressions were part of one of my ESL lessons today with one of my advanced ESL students. We were specifically looking at the word "chick" when referring to girls and women. The first step here was to discuss what "politically correct" means and its abbreviation "P.C." We then talked about literal and slang definitions of the word "chick"; and we talked about the context in which my student heard this word being used.

When I have a particularly advanced ESL student, I may spend some time going over the history or background of a particular term or expression or word. The trick here is to remember that most of my students want to improve their speaking skills, so I have to not do too much of the talking!


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