Developing a strong community within a classroom is one of the keys to educational success. This is perhaps even more important in a classroom of adult English language learners. After all, many of them are new to the country, or feel isolated because of their lack of English skills. In our own classes, we strive to create a sense of community in order to lessen some of that isolation and “otherness” that our learners might experience outside of the Literacy Center.
The Literacy Center offers three levels of classes to English language learners each quarter. The classes, which take place three times a week at our office, are led by instructors who work incredibly hard to not only teach English, but to create connections between learners.
Given all of this, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I opened the refrigerator in our classroom space earlier this month and saw a cake: “Congratulations on Your Baby Boy!”. In just the last year, learners have surprised two expectant mothers with baby showers during class. Learners are also quick to push each other to speak English. They encourage each other to ask questions. They may not speak the same language, or be from the same country, but they go above and beyond to support each other.
I firmly believe that our small classroom communities offer our learners a bit of a respite from the “outside world” and an opportunity to enjoy learning English in a supportive and encouraging setting.