Sunday, May 2, 2010

How I Re-Learned English

6:34 PM

One of my favorite ministry aspects of time in Cambodia last summer was teaching the girls English. They were so eager to learn this language of foreigners and movie stars. And I was more than willing to help them! But after like three lessons of things I could act out and point to, I was out of ideas. Teaching English to someone who has never heard it is very challenging! So I knew that I would want some kind of training before I went back.

Through a work event about a month ago, I found out about 3 day certification class in Teaching English as a Second Language. I was so excited! I signed up and anxiously awaited the weekend. As it turns out, it fell on the busiest weekend of my life. Just like Satan, trying to keep me from something worthwhile. But no worries, I survived [barely] and picked up some great skills this weekend!

Learning English after already having a native language is no easy task. Take a look at some examples at why English can be confusing to foreigners:
- The bandage was wound around the wound.
- The farm was used to produce produce.
- We must polish the Polish furniture
- He could lead if he could get the lead out.
- The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
- Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
- I did not object to the object.
- The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

Confused yet? This course also helped remind me of some grammar that I forgot! We talked in depth about how to write lesson plans for speakers of all levels, and how to use the class as a ministry tool. As first I hesitant, not wanting to force Jesus onto people and into everything. But as the class went on, it became clear how organically Scripture and truth can fit in the class. I can’t wait to put my new skills to work! I even found myself in the church nursery today correcting a 2 year old on the fact she was not holding a “cookie” but a “cracker”, and then repeated myself 5 times and she repeated after me!

So English classes will just be one way I will be serving the girls in Cambodia. Even more important, I won’t just be giving them a practical skill, but life-changing truth as well. I’m stoked.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!