An Update on the Community Classes
As you saw earlier this week, community classes have started in West Oakland. Citizenship Prep students and Beginning ESL students meet weekly, bringing with them great drive and enthusiasm for learning.
Over the year, students have made significant progress. Despite backlogs on the government’s end, two students have passed their citizenship exam. Beginning ESL students have moved from letters, sounds, and sight words to simple sentences and questions. Students have gained independence and basic skills which help them navigate American life.
The classes also have other impacts on the community. They bring together women from different countries who normally don’t interact. Women from Yemen, Eritrea, Mexico, and Guatemala come together to learn, but they leave with friendships across language and traditions.
Classes will continue until the end of May. Your donations allow these classes to continue. If you want to support the classes, please donate here.
Respond to a TOEFL Prompt
How would you respond to these sample TOEFL Speaking prompts? They are questions 1 and 2.
This is an audio recording from our Vocabulary Bootcamp course on Udemy.com. The recording discusses traditions around an American holiday. Listen to the recording and take notes. Try to summarize the speaker’s point of view in the comment box.
If you want to sign up for the Vocabulary Bootcamp course, contact us or visit Udemy to sign up directly.
What Do You Think?
Tradition is sometimes controversial. As society changes, so do the borderlines between what is acceptable and unacceptable. In some cases, public opinion on traditions about gender roles or religious observance change. At the same time, many who immigrate to a different country with its own culture struggle to hold on to the customs they have learned and valued.
How do you feel about changing traditions? Why do traditions change? Is it right to give up some cultural or religious traditions if you are in a new country? Should people practice the same traditions as their parents or grandparents? Why?
Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
How to use TOEFL Cafe to Study
Even if you’re not preparing for the TOEFL, TOEFL Cafe can be a great resource. Here are three ways I like to use it with students.
1. Assess Your Speaking Speed. Since TOEFL Cafe has a timer for your response, it can give you a better idea of how quickly you speak. Of course, speed doesn’t necessarily equate to clarity, but it can indicate some other problems, like inadequate vocabulary or pronunciation issues. If you constantly run over the time limit despite having a well-focused response, you might want to think about asking a tutor to help you with intonation because it can help speed up your speaking.
2. Use the Prompts as a Jumping Off Point. Many of the prompts ask questions about your opinions or beliefs. Students can use these questions to design interviews for peers in order to practice their speaking and listening skills. After picking a question they are interested in, students can do research and conduct interviews to assess public opinion on the topic. Once they are done with their research, they can develop it into a presentation.
3. Develop Your Note-taking Skills. How do you organize information into easy-to-read notes? If you take notes, can you understand them the next day? With short listening and reading passages, TOEFL Cafe can be a good tool for practicing note-taking. Some questions, like prompts #3, 5, and 6 are particularly useful because they involve different speakers and sources of information. TOEFL Cafe can help you create a note-taking system to help you in other situations later on.
What do you think? How would you use this free resource?
East Bay ESL is an English language school for learners in the San Francisco East Bay.