Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy New Year to my Asian ESL students and everyone else. This Spring Festival is one of the more (if not the most) important traditional Chinese holidays. It's also celebrated by other East Asian cultures and countries.

While it is important and useful for ESL students to learn about holidays in the English-speaking countries in which they live, I believe it's also important to learn about holidays celebrated by English language learners in their home countries.

PLUS, holidays are excellent conversation topics for ESL classes. They are a great opportunity for ESL students to use their knowledge and to share it with others.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Today is "Super Tuesday" in the United States. That means that a large number of states in the U.S. will have their primary elections today to determine which two candidates will run for the U.S. presidency. This is a particularly historic day as it is the first time in American history that an African American man and a white woman are running for the Democratic nomination for the presidency (Shirley Chisholm, an African American democrat ran many years ago--and Angela Davis has run a few times--but these were more symbolic).

Many of my adult ESL students are surprised by some things about this election. One of the things that surprises the majority of my students is that this is regular work day. In many other countries, people are given the day off to vote. They are also surprised that it's such a big deal to us that a woman is running as many other countries have already had women leaders, even though they are supposedly less "progressive" than the U.S.

I'm surprised, and pleased, to see so many of my students are interested in our primary elections.

In any case, please don't forget to vote today, if you can!