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A Change For the Better

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amy-and-adli

As one of the final assignments I gave to my elementary EFL class this session, I tasked my students with writing a poem in the form of a letter to one person who changed their life in some way. The only parameter to the assignment was that it outline the impact that this individual had  made on their life trajectory— that is, that they clearly describe themselves both before and after the change had been made.

This session, I was blessed with a group of students that was imaginative, creative, and idealistic. Because of this, the assignment came easily to them; even in a second language, they produced poignant metaphors to describe these important figures in their lives. As for myself, I am not much of a poet. While I have developed a certain affinity for academic writing over the years, when it comes to personal and creative writing, my words escape me.

However, in reflecting on the three months I have spent in Palestine, I was impressed by the extent to which my students inspired growth in me as both a teacher and a person. The irony was not lost on me that it often felt as though I was learning as much from them as they were from me. Thus, I came to the conclusion that there was no more apt way to capture my sentiments towards my students and the impact they had on me than through the same assignment that I gave them in the final week of class.

And so, with apologies for my vastly underdeveloped creative writing skills, here is my poem:

students-in-a-link

Dear Amy’s Elementary PM Class,

For my whole life, I have known I wanted to be a teacher.

Sure, there where nights when images of myself as an adventurer or a princess crossed my mind,

(Hey, it never hurts to dream big, right?)

But, for as long as I can remember, I have relished the feeling of helping others.

To hold someone’s hand and lead them to a new understanding

There’s no feeling in the world that can compare.

 

My life has led me to the front of many classrooms.

And year after year I become more sure of my path.

I like to do this, I don’t like to do that.

I can work with these students, but not with those.

This is what works, and this is what doesn’t.

And then I met you.

two-girls

Bursting with opinions and laughter and life,

You were older, louder, and brasher than any class I had seen.

It put me in a frightening yet exciting position:

I was at once inspired by your enthusiasm,

And daunted by your energy.

Little did I know that it was me who would learn the most from our time spent together.

 

You taught me many things.

You taught me that it’s OK not to write everything down on paper,

And to simply trust the ideas that come naturally.

You taught me to never stop using my imagination,

And that the simple phrase “Yes! And…” can lead to the most incredible stories.

You taught me to smile in the face of hard work, and to laugh at my own mistakes.

 

And more than that, I see things differently now.

A classroom is not just a place to study.

It is a place to laugh, to cry, and to forget the problems of daily life

It is a place to support others and to be supported.

It is a place to let go of fears and to try new things.

It is a place where lifelong friendships are formed and memories are made.

amys-class-dances

And above all else, I know now

That a class is not always just a class, a class can be a family.

Yes, sometimes your family drives you crazy

And you feel as though you will never see eye to eye.

But sometimes it is the people who you love the most

Who stir up in you a confusing storm of emotions.

 

Because beneath the nerves and the frustration,

You know that your family will always be there

No matter the obstacles that the road puts in front of you.

So thank you all for this new perspective

Thank you for allowing me to grow alongside you.

I will never forget my new family.

 

Sincerely,

Amy

 

– Amy, Summer 2016 EFL Fellow

The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

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9 Weeks is a Short Time

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smiling boys

9 weeks is a short time, and every successive week of this fellowship felt as if it went faster than the last. First and foremost, I am grateful to have been given the time and resources to live in and explore Palestine and the myriad issues facing its people with patience and tact. There is no doubt in my mind that I have just scraped the surface, but, again, 9 weeks is a short time.

The frustrating aspect of leaving Nablus and TYO is the feeling that there are so many loose ends left behind. One of the most rewarding experiences was assisting a teacher for the Academic program with her English lessons to students age 8-9. Yet when I spent my last day with the children, it felt like the start of a strong relationship and not the end. We played English games, handed out certificates for the end of the program, and took an arguably unnecessary amount of pictures. Their comfort levels with me had increased so much, but then it was a quick goodbye.

A similar, if less extreme, feeling comes from saying goodbye to my English students. Though we had the time to build our relationships and work extensively on English, I am sad that we cannot go further with their English skills together, or share our thoughts and experiences anymore. I will miss laughing with them and annoying them with my insistence to ask “why?” when they don’t explain a statement.

Class photo_ White

Unequivocally, this fellowship made me a better teacher. My love for education came from the ability to push students to think interactively—to push their critical thinking skills and ask them to analyze topics from multiple angles. I had little experience, however, teaching a foreign language to students at the beginner level and could not engage their minds with only the kind of discussion and analysis I used to prefer.

Instead, I learned to make the activities the foremost interactive component of my lessons, maintaining student interest and building language skills through activities that varied from one another and guided students to implement different styles of communication.

When you look back on experiences, though, there is always something small that you miss—something seemingly mundane. Whenever I would play soccer with students after class, our guard Mohammad would invite me for tea. He would hand me a small glass with fresh thyme floating at the surface, and I would practice my Arabic by learning about his wife and daughter, his house in the old city, or his grandfather who is from Syria. This is a memory I will keep with me because it represents the willingness of the Nabulsi people to let me enter their lives and the privilege I was given to learn about their experiences.

-Darren, Summer 2016 EFL Fellow

The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

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Creating Culture Vultures

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The Step II EFL instructors at TYO use many methods to inspire and encourage their students’ English Language Learning. Language learning should be enjoyable, as well as academic. Therefore, the English Fellows at TYO incorporate various mediums in our classrooms, including music and movies. These alternative teaching tools enable our students to hear different native English speakers with varying accents and cadences, familiarize themselves with informal phrases and tones, and discuss various cultures. It also breaks up our day and brings more laughter into our classrooms.

Three EFL students show their movie posters created after discussing film vocabulary during Pop Culture week.

Three EFL students show their movie posters created after discussing film vocabulary during Pop Culture week.

As Leo, one of EFL Fellows states, “We use films to deepen our students’ understanding of the cultures and societies. In addition to learning a lot of vocabulary—we watch films subtitled in English to help with writing and pronunciation—we learn about how people look and interact in other countries when we watch films in class. These tools are useful because they enable us to discover things outside of what is immediately available to us here, think about different points of view around the world, and expand our own horizons.” His students watched Zootopia and then discussed women’s roles as potential superheroes in their societies.

The use of music, lyrics, and art give students a way to express themselves creatively and in a new language.

The use of music, lyrics, and art give students a way to express themselves creatively and in a new language.

After doing workshops linking colors and emotions and music, Katrina—another EFL Fellow—asked her students to bring their favorite songs into class and then instructed them to paint how the song made them feel. “I had some students who were uncomfortable expressing themselves and I wanted to encourage them to build those skills. They did not have a lot of vocabulary in this area, so we used art to put them more at ease and give them another way to show emotion. Then the students gave short presentations about their paintings.” The exercise was meant to give the students different avenues through which they could practice expressing themselves in a foreign language.

Two students re-create a scene after watching a film in English.

Two students re-create a scene as eagles after watching a film in English.

Many of the English language teachers use these mediums as a jumping off point for games and other activities. My students were asked to take the animated short videos that we watched online and act out basic summaries, encouraging creativity and silliness—both excellent avenues for language learning. They listened to songs from various genres of music and then had to connect the songs to emotions that we discussed in class. We watched “The Bucket List” which proved perfect for deep conversations about priorities and what everyone wants from their lives.

I want to teach English that is actually useful for my students, not simply random vocabulary words that they will never have a use for, but meaningful ways to express themselves and their ideas. I want to encourage laughter and silliness, but also thoughtful and holistic engagement with every aspect of their lives. These soft skills will enable them to bring themselves into the language learning process and help them better relate to the individuals with whom they are conversing—an often difficult task in another language. If done well, watching movies and listening to music in the classroom can create spaces for conversation that might not otherwise be possible.

 

-Emma, Summer 2016 EFL Fellow

The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

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Humans of Nablus 27

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Islam Standing

Tomorrow’s Youth Organization is investing in the Palestinian leaders of the future, and I want to be part of that process. I want to make a lasting difference in the community by helping others. The real meaning of happiness is in helping those in need, and I am happy here at TYO because I was given the opportunity to collaborate with amazing youth to help children grow in a better environment.

ان منظمة شباب الغد تستثمر في القادة الفلسطينيين المستقبليين واريد ان اكون جزءا من هذه العملية واريد ان اصنع فرقا من خلال مساعدة الاخرين. ان المعنى الحقيقي هو مساعددة من هم بحاجة الى مساعده. انا سعيد جدا هنا في منظمة شباب الغد لانني اعطيت الفرصة  لاكون مع الشباب الرائعين لمساعدة الاطفال يترعرعون في بيئة أفضل.

 

Islam is a student in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program as part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

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Getting Comfortable in the Classroom

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My students love to laugh. Every day in class they will erupt into laughter multiple times over. Their laughter makes the classroom a comfortable and exciting space.

Teacher Darren laughs with students as they practice their A,B,C's.

Teacher Darren laughs with students as they practice their A,B,C’s.

Students’ comfort in the classroom is one of the strongest tools to build as a teacher. The ability to push their levels of communication and creativity intensifies when they are at ease with the rest of the class, when they feel free to laugh and make jokes. In the final weeks of class, however, I have become acutely aware of the need to balance the comfort that students feel—the peals of laughter they share—with a regulated flow of classroom activities that still keeps students on task.

No blame can be placed on university-aged students if their own laughter becomes a distraction. And as my students grow more confident in their English, I normally appreciate their off-topic humor if it is not in Arabic. But there are times when the flow of the classroom becomes disrupted, and this needs to be dealt with in a way that helps the students focus while also, and perhaps most importantly, does not scold students for the comfort they are feeling.

For example, my class is very comfortable joking with each other about their English by saying, “Speak louder,” when someone is presenting or asking, “Why?” or “Because?” when someone doesn’t explain a statement. These have been some of my favorite moments in the class because the jokes are actually pushing their abilities. But when a student is given the time to present their work and are interrupted by multiple jokes, the presentation itself suffers and the class can bring itself to a point of laughter that is hard to rein back in.

The simplest way to fix this problem is to set clear rules with students that presentations are times for only one student to speak—that we need to show respect as a listener.

What I have found even more helpful, however, is to assign specific activities that call for humor. When learning about careers and the workplace, I had students compete for jobs by coming up with the most convincing qualifications and experiences. There was also a segment of the activity where students got to say why their competitor would make a bad employee. When competing to be chefs, a student said that their competitor got their restaurant shut down because all the customers got sick. For a police officer, another student said their competitor could not see at night and accepted bribes. Students were able to make jokes about each other in a safe space using the content from that week.

EFL students participate in a skit using humor to practice their English skills.

EFL students participate in a skit using humor to practice their English skills.

Amy Olson, another Summer Fellow teaching in the Step! II EFL Program, has also seen the positive benefits of harnessing the energy students get from their level of comfort in the classroom and directing it towards the learning goals.

“My students find it fun to argue—not out of anger but from passion in their opinions. For example, I had a student present about the coach of Real Madrid, and all of my Barcelona football fans kept interrupting him and making jokes. One of my most successful activities was when I staged a murder mystery where students got assigned roles and were allowed to interrogate each other and argue about who committed the murder. Their questions were funny and creative, and they were all very dramatic when taking on their roles.”

Creating activities that call for humor gives students the positive outlet they clearly desire for making jokes and laughing with each other, but it also helps create a defined line between appropriate and inappropriate uses of humor in the classroom. Their use of humor is not seen as tangential—or even worse a hindrance—but instead a propellant for classroom learning. I have seen my students push their language capabilities when faced with difficult assignments, from writing and performing dramatic skits to giving presentations without notes, because they find comfort in their ability to laugh with one another and are willing to make mistakes in front of peers. Not only does their laughter make them enjoy the class more–it also brings me more success as a teacher.

 

-Darren, Summer 2016 EFL Fellow

The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

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Humans of Nablus 26

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Ihsan

I came back for a second class because I benefited so much from the first one. I am more experienced in the language now and the methods used at TYO are different than other places. At school we just read from the book, a very traditional way of teaching.  At TYO, teaching is given in a fun way through activities. We learn vocabulary while playing- learning and playing at the same time.  I hope that this way of teaching will be applied in schools around here. I can now understand when people speak to me in English, and I want to do it again and again. If I had the time and I wasn’t applying for jobs, I would continue with TYO forever.

عدت لبرنامخ اللغة الانجليزية للمرة الثانية لأني استفدت كثيرا من المرة الاولى. أصبحت أكثر خبرة باللغة الان و الاساليب المستخدمة في منظمة شباب الغد مختلفة عن اي مكان أخر. في المدرسة كنا نقرأ من الكتاب باسلوب تدريس تقليدي جدا. في منظمة شباب الغد يعطى التعليم بطريقة ممتعة من خلال الانشطة. نتعلم معاني جديدة من خلال اللعب – تعليم و لعب بنفس الوقت. أتمني لو يطبق اسلوب التعليم هذا في المدارس هنا. أفهم الان عندما يكلمني احد بالانجليزي و اريد ان اكرره مرارا و تكرارا. اذا كنت املك الوقت ولو لم اكن ابحث عن وظيفة كنت سأكمل مع منظمة شباب الغد للأبد

 

Ihsan is a student in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program as part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

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Striking a Balance

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Across the education field, a major shift in focus is taking place: while the teacher was once viewed as the sole purveyor of all knowledge, with learners sitting passively as empty vessels, we now consider students’ active participation in classroom activities to be of central importance to the learning process. As such, teachers are now increasingly viewed as facilitators of educational experiences, by which which students inquire, experiment, and, ultimately, discover new ideas for themselves. This innovative, “student-centered” instruction draws upon the existing interests and competencies of the student body in order to determine curriculum content, with instructors tailoring activities according to the likes and dislikes of their particular students.

In the American university system, the notion of selecting a course of study based on one’s particular interests and aptitudes is taken for granted. Indeed, through a system that is unlike that of most other countries, freshman at American colleges enroll without having to declare a course of study, thereby allowing them to explore their interests before embarking on the path of their choosing. Thus, as a recent graduate of the U.S. tertiary education system myself, I was surprised to learn that the interests and career aspirations of my college-aged students in the STEP! II EFL Program did not always so neatly match up. In fact, many of them had initially intended to pursue a different field of study and were forced to change course due to unforeseen circumstances.

Mahfouza, now a local intern with TYO’s  After-School Academic Support for Kids (AASK) program, was one such student. In Nablus, Mahfouza explained, nearly every aspiring college student encounters some unwanted change to their planned course of study due to unsatisfactory test scores, lack of funds, or familial obligations. In her case, though she dreamed of one day becoming an engineer, Mahfouza’s tawjihi exam scores fell just below the qualifying score for engineering, so she enrolled as an economics major. “I was so disappointed and angry,” she remembered, “it took me nearly a full semester to recover.”

After that first semester, however, Mahfouza’s outlook began to change. She recalled with excitement the classes she took— each full of new and interesting information to acquire— as well as the many friends that she met through her program. She harbors no regrets about setting aside her engineering dreams; on the contrary, the experience inspired her to seek out further opportunities for learning and personal growth, and it was this inclination that initially brought her to try her hand at working with youth at TYO.

Students play an English matching game during class to help them learn English letters.

Students play an English matching game during class to help them learn English letters.

In the classroom, Mahfouza strikes a delicate balance between appealing to the interests of her young students while still introducing them to educational material. Mahfouza explained this balancing act, saying, “kids have big imaginations and I can’t put that in a small box. But there are also rules to follow and we need to teach them something new every day. I try to use games to get them to trust me, and to learn. That way, when I say, ‘we are going to do math!’ They know it will be fun.”

This summer’s EFL Fellows have employed similar tactics, embedding vocabulary practice inside of engaging races, puzzles, and creative projects. Fellow Darren Spirk uses these games not only to build students’ English ability but also to develop a sense of rapport in the classroom. In so doing, he explains, “it’s it’s become a very comfortable and humorous classroom atmosphere where they feel free to make mistakes and laugh.” Thanks to this heightened sense of confidence Darren’s beginner-level students are now able to deliver lengthy, improvised speeches on a variety of topics, a task which, a few short weeks ago, would have seemed out of their reach.

Students

Two EFL students listen as their classmate reads a poem written and delivered in English.

In my own EFL classroom, one of the most powerful moments of the session occurred during a spoken word poetry reading, during which my elementary students shared poems written in the form of a letter to a person that changed their life. Though the assignment initially garnered a combination of groans and wide-eyed looks of fear, with the help of EFL Fellow Kyra Zimmerman and International Internship Coordinator Lindsey Nave, who graciously offered to share stories of inspiring figures in their own lives, the students eventually warmed up to this creative writing task.

The final results surpassed my expectations: the poems were heartfelt and replete with creative imagery. Thus, through gradual, gentle encouragement, the students were able to surpass their linguistic and personal boundaries to complete high-caliber work.

While the task of balancing student motivation against rigorous curriculum might seem daunting, across TYO’s education programs, examples of innovative teaching can be found which simultaneously engage students’ existing interests, while motivating them to try novel experiences.

 

The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

 

-Amy, Summer 2016 EFL Fellow

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Humans of Nablus 25

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Mutaz

When I graduated from university, I wanted to work in Dubai with my brother. I went, but I wasn’t able to stay because I didn’t have good English speaking skills. So now, I work with my father in his restaurant during the week and with an electricity company on the weekends. I am studying English at TYO because I want to try to go abroad again. I love my city and my country, but I need my brother’s help. He has a good job and I can work with him, once I learn better English. I love TYO; it is a great experience and I am hoping to get even better at English so that I can improve my opportunities.

عندما تخرجت من الجامعه  اردت العيش في دبي مع اخي وذهبت لزيارته ولكن لم استطع البقاء لانني لم يكن لدي مهارات التحدث بالانجليزية ولكن الان انا اعمل مع ابي في مطعمه خلال ايام الاسبوع ومع شركة الكهرباء في ايام العطل , ادرس في منظمة شباب الغد اللغه الانجليزية لانني اريد محاولة السفر الى الخارج مرة اخرى . احب مدينتي وبلدي ولكنني احتاج مساعدة اخي فلديه وظيفة جيدة واستطيع العمل معه ولكن عندما أتقن اللغه الاجليزية . أحب المنظمة فهي تجربة رائعه واود ان اصبح افضل بالانجليزي وذلك لفتح فرص افضل لي

 

Mutaz is a student in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program as part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

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From the “English Only Zone” to the World

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A STEP! II EFL class works together on a project to share their love of English.

A STEP! II EFL class works together on a project to enhance their skills in English.

“Salut! Vous êtes là pour le cours?” asked me my language teacher in my first French course at the university ten years ago. I must admit, I froze up and looked at her with shy and timorous eyes, while searching deep in my mind and childhood memories for an appropriate answer. I was lost in one of those rare moments when you don’t know what to respond or even how to react. Just like me at that time, the incursion into the world of bilingualism for plenty of new language learners may not be a very pleasant experience.

Listening to a recent edition of the BBC, I learned that more than half the world’s population is bilingual. “Some people may have been forced to learn a language at school or had to pick up one because they moved to a new country. Others may just love learning new tongues and do so before they visit a new place”. Speaking a second language is beneficial not only for professional career development, but also for personal understanding of the multilingual world we inhabit. For our STEP II EFL students, being able to communicate in a second language is one of their top priorities as it may increase the probability of landing a job position or even the possibility of understanding other cultures. Eman Suwan, an EFL student at TYO affirms that “learning English would help me in my future professional life as it will open many doors”. Student Renad Sawftah puts her focus on a potential career outside Palestine. She manifests that being able to communicate in a second language will help her achieve her dream of completing studies abroad. However, for Eman, Renad, their classmates, and thousands of Palestinian youth, developing communication skills in a different language in their country is indeed a major challenge. STEP II EFL students agreed that some of the major challenges they have to face on a daily basis are the lack of available learning programs, materials and opportunities to practice with native language speakers. TYO, through the STEP II program, aims at bridging all these gaps by providing intensive EFL courses for Nabulsi youth like Eman and Renad, and help them achieve their dreams.

Students

Students smile and laugh with each other during classes at TYO.

Learning a new language requires passion, effort, commitment and complete immersion. At TYO we are aware of the importance of capturing the true essence of foreign language. We want our students to use English to live with passion, to learn more about the world they inhabit and to use their English skills to better themselves, the community and the people around them no matter the challenges and obstacles. Keeping that in mind and with the purpose of facilitating my students’ learning inside and outside the classroom, I have very recently shared with them five tips that will offer them the key to success in language fluency and will indubitably boost their confidence when communicating in a foreign language. These tips have been compiled over the past years as a result of reflecting on my personal language learning process and are now available for all our readers:

Know your purpose

Understanding why you are doing it and what you will get from it will unquestionably help you stay motivated over the long-run. Dedicate a relevant amount of attention to define the reasons that push you to invest your valuable time and go for it. Whether it’s for your own professional development or for personal motivations, your reasons to learn a new language must be a constant reminder of why you should keep going no matter what.

Create your own language learning space

In all probability, one of the most effective ways to become fluent in a language is by packing your luggage and spending a certain amount of time living and interacting with language native speakers on a daily basis in their country. The latter, it’s a privilege that not so many learners can afford. By creating your own learning space and fully submerging yourself in the target language you will be exposed to the essential amount of interaction human beings require to develop stronger communication skills.

Read news, magazines, books, texts online, modify the language settings on your phone and on Facebook, and create a visual learning environment. Write personal notes, grocery lists, send text messages in different languages to your friends on WhatsApp or Viber. Listen to radio, podcasts, watch Youtube documentaries subtitled in the language you are willing to learn,  and speak in languages as much as possible, Skype with international friends on the other side of the globe, and asked them to correct mistakes when necessary. Make this new language an eminent component of your daily routine.

Talk to yourself

According to Psychologist Linda Sapadin, talking to yourself can be actually a beneficial sign of sanity as it helps you clarify your thoughts putting into evidence the power of words. In the case of language learning, talking to yourself in a foreign language might imply for you a way to train your pronunciation, to keep new words and phrases fresh in your mind while going for a walk, on the bus,or even at work, and to build up your confidence for the next time you speak with someone.

Don’t focus too much on grammar and make mistakes

Elbert Hubbard once said: “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one”. Never fall into the sand trap of inaction, never be afraid of being wrong, you are not the only one, we all make mistakes in life, that’s a fact; and the best way to overcome your fears is by taking action and facing every challenge you encounter. Face it, don’t hide from it! Every mistake will get you one step closer to achieving language fluency.

Teach it and preach it!

Last but never least, use your acquired talents and what you have learnt to facilitate other people’s learning experience. Everyone needs a hand when it comes to learning a new language and you will be rewarded for doing so. Teaching languages over the past eight years has guided my personal language learning process, and I must admit, my life has been plenty of gratifying experiences alongside my students. Teaching while learning or learning while teaching at TYO STEP II program has become a powerful and beneficial tactic to my own languages learning. Interacting with my students on a daily basis has helped me keep new words and expressions fresh in my mind in one, two and even three languages.

An EFL class learns English skills through games and activities.

An EFL class learns English skills through a relay activity to help increase skills while having fun.

Now that you have read through these simple five language learning tips,  you decide what’s best for you. It is time for you to go outside and put all this in practice just like at TYO.

In the meantime, I will keep helping and learning from this fruitful new adventure at TYO, developing new language skills in Arabic and certainly after a while, I will go visit my French teacher back home, I need to let her know about my experiences and progress in various foreign languages. Inshallah, she will be proud.

 

Please subscribe to our blog feed, share with us your stories and let us know how you learned a new language.

 

The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

 

– Leandro, Summer 2016 EFL Fellow

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Humans of Nablus 24

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Sujood_ short

I hope to become a writer. I love writing. I started when I was 10 years old by writing about what happened in my day, then about what I was thinking–what I loved. Now, I love to write poetry. When I write poetry, I don’t have to think. I just write, and the words become poetic.

اتمنى ان اصبح كاتبا , لانني احب الكتابة , فقد بدأت الكتابة منذ كان عمري 10 سنوات حيث كنت اكتب عن ما حصل معي خلال اليوم وعن ما يجول بخاطري من خواطر وهذا شيء كنت احبه كثيرا والان احب كتابة الشعر فعندما اكتب الشعر لا احتاج الى التفكير فقط استرسل بالكتابة وتصبح الكلمات شعرا
Sujood is a student in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program as part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.

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