Below is short but cool account of an experience I had last night. It is a Facebook post but thought it was quite relevant to L2 practitioners too (hence the double posting):
Today, our neighbour – a PhD student from Nigeria – bought one of the biggest TVs I've ever seen, and he asked me, a fellow student from Pakistan (Med School) and one from Sri Lanka (Engineering) to carry that old sucker up to the third floor to his apartment. It was a brutal task, but there was so much laughter and joking in the hallway! Only when I got back to my place, it hit me that tonight I had the privilege of experiencing for a brief but awesome moment what it means for humans with completely different value systems, languages, ethnicities, and cultures to live together in peace and harmony. In stark contrast to events shown in the media every day, these few minutes of carrying a TV up the stairwell were extremely refreshing!
I’m part of a listserv that consists of folks (based around the world) specializing in pronunciation teaching and research. A couple of weeks ago, one of the members raised an interesting point I had never considered: refugees studying English as second language may be unable to hear sounds and subsequently struggle with pronouncing them because of hearing impairment they suffered while residing in war zones. This makes sense, but I now wonder how many of my former students had hearing problems without me knowing about it. Therefore, I think that goes to show that to facilitate our students' learning process (more) effectively, we language teachers would be well-advised to make every possible effort to get to know our students on a personal level.
I am a Lecturer in TESOL at the University of Wollongong in Australia. I blog about L2 learning, L2 teaching, L2 teacher education, and research.