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ERIC Number: ED334816
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Pages: 23
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Notes from the Underground: ESL with Soviet Jews.
Forman, Gail Feinstein
Experiences gleaned from teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to Soviet Jewish refugees in San Diego, California, revealed many Soviet misconceptions about U.S. culture, as well as a keen intellectual curiosity, and an eagerness for knowledge. Classroom occurrences illustrate the characteristics of this group. Student attitudes and statements showed the extent of institutionalized anti-semitism in Soviet society and the degree to which Soviet Jews feel excluded and are subject to open hostility, even since Glasnost. Some students were intimidated by the cultural diversity and relative openness of American society. Individual freedom and the wide range of personal choices available to U.S. residents, in both home life and employment, were surprising and confusing. Some classroom instructional techniques were successful and some were not. In the U.S.S.R., priority is given to written communication in English, and oral language instruction or instruction in English is given less attention. Students were uncomfortable with English-only instruction, all-oral instruction, instruction without immediate correction, acceptance of common usage over "correct" usage, and open-ended language practice in which personal response is elicited. Experimentation revealed that the most useful teaching techniques were group-oriented or cooperative and were highly structured. A typical class schedule and lists of resources are appended. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: California (San Diego); USSR