This month the Intensive English Program (IEP) is enjoying one of the benefits of learning online: togetherness. Even though we are not in the same state, or even in some cases on the same continent, we have come together as a team to help each other learn and grow. In addition to several students living local to ILI, we have students joining us from New York City, Missouri, and Ukraine. Although we miss taking classes in person, we are loving the friendships we have formed and strengthened in our online classes.
At the beginning of May, Janelle’s class voted on a big challenge: to read a book together in English. After perusing different options on OpenLibrary.org, the students voted to read the book The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis. Several students voted based on their desire to learn more about U.S. history and culture. The Mighty Miss Malone takes place during the Great Depression and chronicles the life of a precocious 12 year old girl named Deza. A rich source of vocabulary and grammar, the book has also been a springboard for discussions and research about topics related to the United States in the 1930s. To mark the final week of the May program, each student will give a presentation related to the Great Depression era. Among other topics, we will be hearing about FDR and the New Deal, The Dust Bowl and even the movies of Shirley Temple!
The IEP is also well into the second month of a new class called Debate and Discussion. Every Thursday, all IEP students in both classes focus on their academic speaking and listening skills by practicing debate phrases and discussing controversial topics. This month, the focus of the debate class is on worldwide movements aimed at tearing down statues. As a final project, students will each give a presentation about a famous person. After the presentation, the audience will weigh the pros and cons of the person’s accomplishments and decide whether or not a statue of them would be an appropriate way to commemorate their legacy.
Janelle Rivers, Lead IEP Instructor and Operations Manager