… hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves. This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic …You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America [and world]; … and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.
President Barack Obama’s farewell speech Tuesday night in Chicago, IL
A community leader shared with me that she learned English from singing and recommended the Backstreet Boys for the students. The BB’s pronunciation and body language are good for teaching English. It also makes learning fun. My class below started singing to these videos with the lyrics which helped them learn English and made class very enjoyable. Perhaps I saw in them what I could not see in myself at their age which is a sense of sacredness.
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that, “Music is the universal language of mankind”. Music is one of life’s simple pleasures, but did you know that it can also help you to learn English? A recent study discovered that we are able to distinguish between words much quicker when they are set to music. Research from the University of Edinburgh found that singing words or phrases in a foreign language makes us twice as good at speaking it later.
Additionally, my Saturday conversation class asked me if they could choose a topic and then write a couple paragraphs about it to present to the class.
The topics chosen varied from marriage equality, bullying, family, human rights, hate, fear, discrimination, poverty and freedom. These were topics provided by the school.
Below is just a few comments from the students that made an impact on all of us and in a very good way.
I couldn’t help but think of Obama’s quote from above as they all demonstrated the traits he sees in the younger generation.
They are the future.
I was asked by the class to help correct their grammar. This was done to some extent without losing the main point they were trying to convey.
A portion of their comments and topics are listed randomly below from their papers.
1. Marriage Equality: I can’t understand why gay people are discriminated against. They should receive equal rights and respect. They should be able to work, enjoy their life and have someone to love. Society should move beyond tolerance to acceptance as we all live together in harmony. The class all clapped after the person read this out loud. We are on the right side of history and love is ever with us. I shared a question asked in an earlier class: Teacher, what would you do if you found out your son or brother were gay? I responded by saying: I would love them unconditionally.
2. FEAR: The most common fear for the world is death. The best way to get over this is to learn and read more on this topic. Another class also stated their greatest fear is having an incurable illness such as cancer or losing their family.
We discussed overcoming discouragement or hopelessness by taking intelligent action such as being grateful. I showed the Oprah Life Class clip on Gratitude and the importance of keeping a gratitude journal because when you write down the words they become powerful.
3. Mexico Discussion: When I hear about Mexico, the images that come to mind are food, customes, and colonial buildings. In terms of history, I think of independence and the Mexican Revolution. But we also have our problems with poverty and corruption.
4. Discrimination: I think of discrimination people face when they are from another country and, for example, when people in the United States are attacked because of the color of their skin. But discrimination exists all over the world because the lack of education equals ignorance. People should live together globally in peace.
5. Hate discussion: This human emotion is a bad trait because it ends up destroying oneself. Hate results from stereotypes placed on people.
6. Human Rights: My rights shouldn’t end where you rights begin. We must claim our rights without disrespect. Human rights in different countries are not always respected. People don’t all have access to education and healthcare. Human rights are the most important thing people should have.
7. Family: The family is the center of our life. The family in Mexico is the most important thing. But sometimes they have their problems.
Our grandmothers have taught us the importance of family with special dinners on Sunday when they teach us to remain close, trust and love one another.
8. Poverty– Some people don’t have the same opportunities bacause of poverty. It seems some are left out of the benefits of capitalism. We discussed the importance of education to provide opportunities for them.
They were a great and intelligent class. They all thanked me at the end after the group photo and expressed their appreciation and how they have grown in their listening and understanding of English. I thanked them too.
And my hope for them is that they all go on and live good lives.
Never feel that the gift of “hope” is a negative thing to get stuck in. It is a a sense of hopelessness or discouragement where people get stuck.
Perhaps The CSMonitor could find a better commentary to write about with all that is going on in the world than “getting stuck in hope”.
Perhaps they just didn’t “get it”.
How about writing an article on overcoming discouragement of hopelessness. That was my focus in one class discussion. The result of which was that a student took my handouts home and shared them with his dad. He stated he has never done that with any other teacher before. He also stated it helped his family.
Another example cited in an earlier blog was when “hope” which was taught in my class helped lift the spirits of children with cancer by a student who works with them. This student stated that she also feels the benefits of leaving them inspired. Perhaps this is an example of love being reflected in love.
There is hope for the ones coming behind us to be the change they want to see. I saw this so clearly in each one of my students.
I will miss them and have learned from them.
Perhaps the best way to conclude this blog post is with Obama’s comments cited at the top: You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands. – Former President Barrack Obama.