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English language learners offer advice to President Obama

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Ann Kopel, who teaches English as a second language and adult basic education at the Southeast Center, did something pretty interesting in January. She asked her students to offer suggestions for President Obama, shortly after his inauguration.

(Ann also is the mother of freshman lawmaker Jules Kopel Bailey, House District 42, which explains how this is in the Capitol blog.)

Anyway, Ann’s students are on Level 3 of 8 as foreign-language learners, and are considered low-intermediate. “Most of them basically understand this basic grammar,” she explained to me.

So, here are a couple of examples of how immigrants view our new and historic president:

One African student – and I told Ann I wouldn’t be using students names — wrote the following four bits of advice for President Obama:

‘ You should help the people in Darfur.

‘ You should help the people in the Congo.

‘ You should help people in America.

‘ You should help homeless people.

OK: interesting order of events.

Other advice from the students included:

‘ You had better fix the US economy!

‘ You should create many jobs for everyone.

‘ You should find more money for schools and education.

‘ Reduce taxes for the middle class and increase taxes for the high class.

‘ Keep good relationships with European countries.

‘ You should keep your promises.

‘ You should not have more taxes.

On the whole, sounds like Ann’s students have grasped the complexities of American politics pretty well.


About Dana Haynes

Dana Haynes, joined PCC in 2007 as the manager of the Office of Public Affairs, directing the college's media and government relations. Haynes spent the previous 20 years as a reporter, columnist and editor for Oregon newspapers, including ... more »


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