Learning English in Arizona
September 03, 2007, 03:24 AM
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As an English teacher in Mexico (I currently teach high school and college levels) I find this article interesting, it's entitled "Not Even Teachers Can Speak English".

It's about the recent inspection of schools in Arizona that revealed the poor English skills of many of the state's English teachers.

Now common sense would tell us that, if the kids' English teachers can't speak English well, that's an impediment to the students learning English well.

Some of us might even conclude that it's a sign that we're importing too many people to successfully assimilate, especially if the teachers themselves aren't fully assimilated.

Being a second-language speaker of Spanish myself, I can sympathize with immigrants whose native language is not English. I make mistakes all the time when I speak Spanish. But on the other hand, the Mexican government does not pay me to teach Spanish to non-speaking Spanish immigrants in Mexico. In fact, I recommend they don't hire me for that job.

As for the Arizona problem, don't worry, the Arizona educrats have a plan.

"The state under a new plan is requiring that schools put language learners into four hours of classes each day where the students will learn English grammar, phonetics, writing and reading."

OK, great. But once again, what if the teachers don't speak English well?

Well, there's another program:

"It also has a new program to help school managers train teachers in the new procedures."

OK, that's great. But will it help the English teachers (remember, we're talking about English teachers here) to speak English better?