Sniffing, then squinting and holding up a Kiwi fruit a Chinese student muttered something I wasn’t sure I wanted to have translated. A classmate from Brazil leaned over, pointing to a photo in a picture dictionary. Two Korean ladies giggled, their hands covering their mouths.
The lesson on food was bombing big time. When the ESL class ended, none of us were satisfied, but at least the topic had been broached. “Review your vocabulary materials before next class”, I encouraged. They were all new to the USA. Some had only been in their new country a few days, others a few weeks. A few for a couple of months or so, but none had yet crossed over into the realm of communicating on a daily basis in English. I had to do something to help my multi-cultural class of ESL students start to internalize the language. Thinking back on my own French language struggles in Paris and French Canada, the answer struck me. The next class I was ready.