Friday, August 29, 2008

Bir, iki, uc, dort...

Dr. Kerry Segel didn't speak a word of English the first thirty minutes of TESOL 1 (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) class on Wednesday afternoon. He even took roll using Turkish. We wrote out first and last names on the whiteboard, practiced "matematik uygulama" (bir arti bir ayni iki means one plus one equals two), and sang (while Dr. Segel snapped his fingers to the music) a traditional coming-of-age song. I learned that mum is candle and on is ten and that with the right mixture of gestures and words it's possible to follow simple instructions even when you don't understand the language. 

There are more people in the world who speak English as a second language, Dr. Segel informed us, than speak it as their native tongue. English is changing. It is becoming a universal language. Methods of teaching English have been perfected over the past few years, and Dr. Segel assured us that experts now know the best way to teach English. That is why we're in the class.

There are ten of us in the class--three taking the class for graduate credit and seven of us taking it toward our undergraduate degrees. One classmate is himself an ESL (English as a second language) student from Omar. Though all of us complete the same course, we do it for a variety of reasons--ESL endorsement to a teaching certificate, TESOL certificate for teaching adults, or just to the fulfill the language requirements of an English Education degree.  

Sorry no photo of Dr. Segel moving to the music. Use your imagination.


  1. Although I wish you well, I'm not so sure that English is, or should be the universal language.
    I'm in favour of Esperanto as an auxiliary language.

    Take a look at

    What do you think?

  2. Interesting. I'd never heard of Esperanto before.

  3. "Dr. Segel assured us that experts now know the best way to teach English"

    If A History of English Language Teaching is anything to go by, they first said that in 1453, and once every ten years or so since that. If he tells you there is one thing that teachers and applied linguists agree on as well as physicists agree on e = mc2, he is lying- and that is what makes the job interesting!

    TEFLtastic blog-