“It is pink. It is made of plastic. The shape is circular. You can drink something from it. What is in our sack?” Answers ranged from a cup to a glass to a bottle. Pictures are drawn on the board of a cup (with a handle) and a glass (without a handle). The item is drawn from the bag and an argument over whether it is a cup or a glass continues. Such was one my first English classes this semester.
One of my goals for English class is to get students talking, using the English they already know while expanding it. I try to use as many interactive activities as possible to rehearse grammar points and develop vocabulary. That does not seem to be a difficult challenge with this particular class. They are first year students, just beginning at H.A.U. this February. They are in the Civil Engineering department and nearly all are from the D.R.C., which is the neighboring country to Burundi. Although they share many traits with Burundians, they are also very different; quite gregarious, jovial and exuberant. I’m anticipating it will not be difficult to get them involved in interactive group exercises or practicing language through singing (they could sing through the whole class!).
This semester I have three classes of English 101, basic grammar and writing. It’s a challenge due to the wide range of their exposure to English and their different levels, but all of them seem eager to learn English. For although they are already bi-lingual or tri-lingual, they know for their future they will need to speak and understand English. They just need lots of opportunities to practice!