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La Liga de Las Americas

Free survival English classes offered by the University of Toledo

The English Department of the University of Toledo is investing its time and talent in offering the non-speaking-English community free classes to master “basic, survival English,” according to one of its graduate students, Elizabeth Stockham.

Stockham hails from the Columbus area, where she graduated recently from Ohio State University, majoring in English, with an emphasis on ESL (English as a Second Language).

Classes are offered every Monday and Wednesday evening, from 7:10 to 8:40PM, in room 4280, on the fourth floor of University Hall at UT. The first session, which consists of 12 unique classes, began January 23 and ends on March 1, instructed by another graduate student, Kathyrn Plath.  

Plath graduated from Central Catholic High School and the University of Toledo, where she majored in Spanish.  

At last Monday’s class, seven students were in attendance—all had limited English skills. Two were from Africa, one from Colombia, two from Lebanon, one from South Korea, and one from southern China.

Kathyrn Plath and Elizabeth Stockham

This variance in language makes the classes challenging for the instructors. On that particular evening, Plath covered the basic survivorship skills necessary for an individual confronted by police, while driving.

Key words and phrases covered by Plath included: radio, driver’s license, registration, insurance, steering wheel, get out of the car, stand on your left foot, touch your nose, walk backward, walk forward, turn off your lights, stop, hands up, get in the car, buckle your seat belt, and so forth.

With the assistance of Stockham, Plath involved the students in as many driving scenarios as possible, utilizing photographs, handouts, and the game of Simon Says. The students appeared to relish the activities. 

The second session will be conducted by Stockham and consists of 12 unique classes, beginning March 20 and ends April 26, and includes topics such as: returning store merchandise, meeting someone new (introductions and small talk), shopping for clothes, telling time, finding misplaced or lost items (lost and found), entertainment, and making future travel plans.

According to Stockham, registration is not required and students can come to as many classes as they are able, with access to free parking while they are attending the free classes. 

“While students will not receive college credit for the courses, the classes are designed for beginning level students with little or no knowledge of English; the classes will give the students instruction and practice in communicating in basic, survival English,” added Stockham.

The classes, instructed by Stockham and Plath, both of who are graduate students of UT’s MA in teaching ESL program, come under the supervision of  Dr. Douglas Coleman of UT.





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