Growing number of students face the challenge of a new language

Published: Monday, November 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM.

During that time, the students attend nearly all their classes alongside their American peers. Teachers make an effort to work with them, but sometimes that’s not enough.

That’s where Francis and Diaz de Varela step in.

A typical day

On any given day between 1 and 2 p.m., English Language Learners at Fort Walton Beach go between Diaz de Varela’s room and Francis’ room.

The tasks they accomplish are as varied as the cultures they come from. The goal is not only to help the students expand their English, but to help them through assignments and homework from their other classes.

“They’re just exhausted when they get here —mentally,” Francis said. “In their other classes they’re getting just the same material as native speakers … It’s very, very difficult.”

More often than not, Francis said she tries to make learning English fun.

Less advanced students tend to spend time with pictures and pieces of paper with corresponding words on them that they have to match up if they don’t have homework.

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