Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is 9/11 an Appropriate ESL Conversation Topic?

It's hard for Americans not to recall the events of seven years ago. In so many ways, we are still recovering. But are the events and causes of this day appropriate for ESL class topics?

Last year, I made a comment to one of my ESL students from Europe. I said that the events of that day have not only changed life for Americans, but have also "impacted the whole world." As an educated American, I thought that was a valid comment.

My ESL student pointed out to me that that was indeed a very American perspective. Her opinion was that we Americans think that the whole world has changed due to the events of 9/11. However, it was her opinion that this was not so. That people in her country do not think about these events as particularly significant.

I won't go into the rest of the conversation we had. The question is whether this is an appropriate topic for conversation. I'd say it is. But we have to remember that in an ESL conversation class, the point is to get the English language learner to talk, whatever the opinion, whatever the perspective, whatever the topic.