The De La Salle Language Institute’s spring semester began with a collaboration involving two undergraduate courses.  Students from Dr. Karen Sorvaag’s ED 445 Advanced Literacy Methods for Diverse Learners class spent several weeks observing ESL teaching and learning strategies within a number of the language institute’s courses.  In addition, the ED 445 students were paired with international students for the purpose of acting as conversation partners and tutors throughout the semester.  These future educators are now meeting weekly with SMU’s English language learners.  Additionally, Dr. Lori Charron’s COM 250 Intercultural Communication class joined a group of international students for an afternoon of activities encouraging reflection on not only the differences but also the similarities of communicating across cultural and language boundaries.  While completing an interview project for the course, the COM 250 students will continue their interaction with SMU international students throughout the semester.  Both of these partnerships are much appreciated.

A few of the ED 445 students shared the following comments:

“Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the language you are native to, and when you are exposed to the time and dedication it really takes to learn another language, I believe your level of patience working with students and or people learning a second, third or fourth language is increased.”  Ciara Kowalczyk, senior

“I reminded myself that I might not know everything about the students because of the language barrier, but I should try my best.  Another part I took away is it is essential for us to be inclusive of others…”  Monika Patel, senior

“One of my favorite parts has been seeing the students around campus more often now and being able to be a friendly face to say hello to.”  Katie Homan, senior

“I was edified by their collaboration with one another as a community.  The classroom experience truly highlighted the beauty of Lasallian education.”  Sister Marie Faustina, RSM, senior

“I have loved working with Firjah this semester!  She is such a sweet young woman, and her desire to learn English is so inspiring.  She never gives up even when it becomes difficult…”  Michelle Wegrzyn, senior