I have a lot of valuable experiences when visiting classes in MVCC, including ESL classes and other classes. I admire the ESL teachers here a lot when they can use English as the means of communication to teach the learners who are at beginning English level.
In my ESL classes in Kien Giang Community College, there are no international students, and all learners know Vietnamese. When I teach learners at basic level of English, I often use Vietnamese – our native language – to explain the lessons. So the teacher and the leaners do not meet any difficulties in communicating. But here, the ESL teachers and the students do not have the same native language, and I think this is really a challenge to teachers. They have to use very simple English, clear instructions and body languages to help learners understand what they say.
The processes and methods of teaching English skills here are almost the same with those in my college. In a Beginning English Skill Class in MVCC, the teacher gave the rules as well as examples and then explanations, then gave the learners practice exercises. She also asked the learners to work in pairs, in groups and controlled the class to help them. She talked very slowly and clearly so that learners at basic level could understand her. The way she expressed her ideas was very clear and understandable to the learners. Besides using simple words, she used authentic examples, real situations and gave clear notes or explanations on the board. (e.g. / Osama is able to cook. Osama knows how to cook. / Osama can cook. / Luis can speak Spanish but he can’t speak Russia. / Can Luis speak English? Yes, he can. / can + base verb. / base verbs: no ‘-s/-ing/-ed’). She must be a very experienced, skillful and flexible teacher to help learners understand the lessons.
In an Advanced Grammar Class I visited, the teacher was very intelligent to ask some students to have some skits to lead to the lesson about causative verbs. There was a very interesting atmosphere in the class. After each skit, she asked questions and elicited her learners to have the model sentences and the forms. This made the learners involve in the lesson and understand it easier. She also had a very good way to elicit and a very careful explanation.
I had a good impression when visiting an ASL (American Sign Language) Class here. Learners in this class were normal people, deaf people, and burnt people. The normal people in this class always used sign language when talking so that the deaf people could understand them. On that day, I went to the class early when there were just about haft of the class there. There was a very dynamic, humorous deaf learner in the class. He wanted to know me. I introduced myself and his classmates interpreted that for him. He wrote on the board, “Good morning everybody!” and “Welcome One!” (My name is ‘Oanh’, sound like ‘One’). Then he used sign language to introduce his name and asked everybody to introduce themselves to me. He was so interesting and funny. Everyone there were very glad to introduced themselves in words and in sign language.
When I presented about life of deaf people in Vietnam that day, he was very eager to help me set up the computer and the screen. Then when I presented, the teacher used sign language to interpret what I said to the class. The Vietnamese sign language alphabet was different from that of the American. They also practiced using Vietnamese sign language to see the different between them. I showed a video clip in which a girl was singing a song using Vietnamese sign language to help deaf people understand it. They enjoyed the song so much and guessed the meaning of that song. Some people were right when saying that the song was about nature. Some of their guess was very far from the meaning of the song, and laughed a lot when I told them the meaning of the song.