Connecting English Teachers to the United States
“What do you call the food- you might eat it at the movies- it gets puffy when it’s cooked…”
Dr. David Gutmann asked this open-ended question to a unique class today at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). The class consisted of NKU students learning English as a second language and English teachers visiting from Algeria, Mexico, Burkina Faso, and Iraq with the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council (GCWAC) as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). The question was part of Dr. Gutmann’s vocabulary card game he regularly utilizes in his classrooms. Also from NKU, Dr. Lisa Kirk agrees that the interactive learning is an essential part of student development:
“Some of the students early on are disengaged; it’s important to get them excited about English.”
Ana Lara Rodriguez from Mexico described a few basic and effective ways she engages her students:“I ask them ‘what did you do yesterday’ so they will practice past-tense verbs.” Augustin Palenfo from Burkina Faso uses a similar technique: “I draw pictures on the board and ask them what they did during the holy days.” The classroom was alive with practical teaching tools being shared across cultures and students shared how they benefit from NKU’s program.
Lisa, a NKU student studying English from Vietnam shared her love of learning with the class. When a visitor asked if she wants to continue to get her undergraduate degree at NKU she replied emphatically, “of course!” Dr. Gutmann elaborated, “maybe even over at Griffith Hall!” A NKU student from Saudi Arabia, Ali shared that over his ten year experience learning English all over the world, he thinks “NKU’s program the best. There are a lot of good things [at NKU].” Ali’s favorite part of the program is the individual time his professor Karin Hauschild takes to ensure he does not make the same grammar mistakes twice. Dr. Hauschild confirmed that one-on-one time is important; “that is definitely our goal!” Learning isn’t always easy; Ali expressed frustration with his accent, but a visitor was quick to encourage him. “Whatever you say is true! It is important to say what you want to say and convey your message to your friend.”Explaining why she teaches English the visitor continued,
“We are united by the English language and it makes connections possible. My passport is speaking English.”
Learn how you can get involved with GCWAC’s international visitors.
Read about the importance of international visitors in education.
Discover NKU’s English program.
International visitors are asked to fill out a survey evaluating their experiences during their stay. This particular group group especially enjoyed interacting with NKU students. Below is a chart illustrating the survey responses.
Hannah McGahee, Social Media Intern