1. Daily Lives
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * by Janet Isserlis * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
JANET ISSERLIS has worked with refugees, immigrants, and visiting students in the United States and Canada since 1980. She has taught in community-based organizations, schools, adult learning centers, worksites and housing projects. Her work has focused on literacy and language development, primarily with adults, most often with women. Most recently she has worked with adult parents and community members in elementary schools as part of the Rainmaker Project, and as a volunteer tutor in Vancouver, B.C. In addition to classroom work, she has worked as a teacher educator and program evaluator, focusing on action research, assessment processes and learning strategies.
The ideas suggested in this chapter are designed for small group tutoring sessions of one and a half to two hours each. Some topics may require a number of sessions, depending on the interests and abilities of the group. Topics are framed by generative questions. With beginning learners, these questions might be easier to ask if a visual prompt is first introduced. For example, in the case of everyday events, the photo on page 32 could be shown to the group.
Attentive listening to and observation of learners' responses is important in shaping subsequent oral and written language work, and in giving learners control of this work and content.
Learners may not be willing to talk about a particular topic at the moment, but may want to come back to it. As well, some topics, such as family, may be loaded for refugees, immigrants, lesbians and gay men and people who are suffering abuse, or have in the past.