Conversation English class for ESL families overflowing with advantages

By Brooke Hamann

Eager, firm, and confident was the handshake. Welcoming, calming, and ataratic energy filled the classroom as one entered. The tightly-knit group of individuals gathering as a community, nor nothing resembling a learning class. The excited manner of the group to have a new visitor, an observer, making one blush. 

Meanwhile, the smiles, bright as the lights that shadowed over, lingering behind as I shyly made my way across the front of the room. Simple small-talk of the past week filled the silence, while those deemed instructors demonstrating inclusive mannerisms to all who took interest in attending. 

On Thursday Feb. 27, Marlowe Middle school hosted its weekly Conversation English Class for ESL families. The Huntley district single-handedly formed a partnership with McHenry County College to create this course after noticing a common trend in parents, for whom English is their second language, struggling to assist their children in their academic studies. 

Any and all families are encouraged to attend to be able to effectively communicate in English to benefit their students’ education. 

The group, now meeting every Thursday, provides constant teacher interaction on a personal level. Not only do participants get verbal assistance, and practice worksheets to apply their knowledge but, attendees get the opportunity to meet fellow residing peers in the community who may have similar situations and want this learning for the sake of being the guiding figure when it comes to their children’s’ education.

“I have a few friends who attend this class and they have said nothing but positive things. I’m thinking of joining myself after hearing how well these individuals have done with their children from these teachings. It’s nice to see the district taking interest in it’s Bilingual Community, definitely,” Lake in the Hills resident Dave Peña said.  

This meeting in specific focused around the concept of Idioms, as even people whom English is their first language find themselves lost in these literary forms of exaggeration. 

One could identify the strong connection, teacher and student, eyes focused solely on the mouth of the announcer or the worksheet below. 

Within the span of 2 hours that the meeting took place, families spoke with each other 1 on 1, and more frequently repeated back phrases, helping with pronunciation. 

“Here’s the key about conversation; I say something and you repeat it and then we have a discussion,” director of language acquisition Rafael Martinez-Ortiz said. 

A highly encouraged aspect of the class is the idea that anyone may talk; everyone may be given the opportunity to speak, pronunciate, and most importantly ask questions. 

With numbers on the rise, this partnership has allowed for a vast exploration and has ultimately strengthened these families’ understanding of not only the language but also managed to effectively help communication with children’s education.

You can learn more of the advantages of this course by attending the next class at Marlowe Middle school on March 5.