How Do These Folks Learn English?

By studying, which you have not done with Spanish
BY: MADELINE GROVE

English is the most widely spoken language in the world after Mandarin. To get ahead internationally, learning English will certainly help you. The Mexican education system is now requiring that students study English, but most local public schools only teach the most basic English, if that. They can’t find teachers who speak it. After all, people who speak English are making the big bucks waiting on tables or working in hotels.

That’s where English programs such as ESL, (English as a Second Language) sponsored by Liga Mac, come in. Liga Mac, a family centered non-profit in San Jose, provides scholarships to deserving kids to stay at school, with emphasis from junior high through high school and into college. They intervene to give students who are enthusiastic to learn this language a chance to get it mastered.

“It’s really important (for children to learn English), in Los Cabos, especially if they want to work in tourism,” explains Dr. Nancy Wayne, a phycologist and the current organizer of ESL at Liga Mac.

The classes are two hours long every Saturday for 10 weeks between the months of January through March at the Liga Mac clubhouse in San Jose.

Dr. Wayne stated, “The goals of the program are certainly to improve their [Mexican children’s] English, but more importantly to develop confidence that they can do i. That they believe they can learn English. Because in the schools, they are feeling defeated and helpless that they just can’t get this language and so for this short period of time they realize that maybe there is a possibility.” Helpless and defeated in English? Does that sound familiar to Spanish learners?

Some of the students we talked to say it’s easy and fun, others struggle. For sure, the earlier the better, as young children have a natural ability with language, which tends to leave them around the early teen years.

Most of those we talked to tell us the hardest part for them to learn is the verb tenses and pronunciation. Well, they can’t go home and hear it, so how do they get the pronunciation? And have they ever heard of the Spanish book called 501 Verb Tenses? Learning Spanish is no day at the beach either.

All interviewees said after taking the 10-week course that they feel a lot more confident while talking in a different language in front of people. The majority of these kids mentioned that they expected to stay in Baja California Sur, and to work here, and they don’t want to be laborers, so they know the importance of learning English for their future.

ESL at Liga Mac is divided into groups according to the student’s level of proficiency. In each class, teaching starts out as a classroom, where everyone in that level learns together. Then, after the first hour, the volunteer teachers divide the students into small groups with one volunteer per group. Here they go into more depth and take some one-on-one coaching.

The ESL program is always looking for more recruits, so if you’re interested, you can sign up for next year by contacting Liga Mac and asking about the program. you don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to be helpful. Just the basics will do: baño, agua, basura, casa, cerveza, is good enough. And just maybe you will learn some Spanish. www.ligamac.org.