"At first glance this picture may just seem like two young girls posing for the camera, but in reality one of the girls is holding an English/Spanish dictionary. After speaking with these girls in broken Spanish, I learned that they were really eager to learn English, but did not have the resources in their local schools to do so. So I gave them my pocket dictionary and showed them how to use it - after that, they were engaged in it for the next hour. This just really meant a lot to me, because children are so eager to learn, and want to be educated so bad, especially when it comes to learning another language.
I want to inspire kids back in the US to feel the same about foreign languages, and that is why ESL and dual language programs are so interesting to me. I feel like Latino students are stereotyped as not wanting to learn English - the fact is they do, the resources just aren't there for them to do so. And when they do learn conversational skills, it takes an additional 4-10 years to become academically competent. The excitement that these girls showed in the pueblo of El Gusano just made me more determined to spread the gift of education.
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