Spring is in the air and students are looking forward to a relaxed summer with less hours of study. In the world of ESL, many students are preparing for intense summer ESL programs that include 20 to 30 hours of ESL classes per week. It can be a daunting prospect to continue with studies when the rest of Connecticut is spending time at the beach. However, for language acquisition, it is most important to continue studies.
A student can spend some hours in the classroom and then continue talking and learning their second language in a relaxed summer setting. There are many students here who will complete their ESL studies and will start their graduate program of study in the Fall.
One such student I met with, will complete summer ESL studies in mid July and will then start Chemistry as a graduate student. As I was talking to this student, we were discussing one of the recent articles that they were reading in class. The article spoke of a "watershed moment" and the student asked me to clarify what that meant. As I explained to the student what this phrase meant, the student began to understand that when a watershed moment happens in ones life, it can be unexpected and is therefore something that one may not be looking forward to. The student had not understood the added subtlety of the phrase. This learning moment ironicially became a watershed moment for that student when she realized that English can have subtle meanings that are not initially obvious. She realized that she will be continuing to learn English for the rest of her life, not just till the end of the summer ESL program.
With this realization, she initially felt disheartened. I encouraged her to look forward to the rest of her life as a continuous learner. I suggested to her that maybe this is what life is all about. A life that is lived with endless curiosty and an eagerness to learn about the world around us, is a wonderful life.
She left my office much happier and the daunting prospect of learning seemed to have lessened. I hope she enjoys her summer and the beautiful surroundings that CT has to offer and I hope she has more moments in her life, when she can reflect upon and enjoy her personal learning and growth.