posted 2011-04-06 12:00:25

NYC and CUNY Join Forces

NYC and CUNY Join Forces

Local TV program created to teach English

DAN SEMINARA

Layout Staff & Staff Writer

According to a recent talk given at Hunter, Mayor Bloomberg and City University of New York have joined forces to increase English Lan­guage proficiency in the five boroughs and help adult immigrants better integrate into their new home.

To that end. the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education and the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs have created We Are New York (WANY), a local TV program aimed at bolstering English language proficiency amongst the New York immigrant population. In conjunction with the show, there are free conversation groups located throughout the city.

ClubESOL, a graduate club here at Hunter affiliated with the MA program for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TE­SOL) recently hosted an event in which WANY representative and former Hunter student Stella Ma spoke about the program.

The event was a mixture of a social gather­ing, information meeting, and recruiting ses­sion. Ma spoke to the crowd about WANY and its techniques.

According to Ma, WANY uses television dra­ma to enhance its conversation lessons, making them both interesting and applicable to every­day life. The program, which won two New York Emmy Awards for Best Writing and Best Pho­tography, contains real-life situations that use English in practical ways so that the students can pick up phrases easily and use what they’ve learned instantly.

The programs also have the actors speak slowly so that non-native speakers of English can better comprehend what is being said, which makes the program a more effective learning tool.

After showing part of one of the episodes, Ma took the audience through a sample lesson, drawing from an outline passed out before the program began.

Ma then opened up the floor to the audience to get thoughts on the program, and how the at­tendees - most of whom are in the TESOL mas­ter’s program, and several of whom are already teachers themselves-- believe the tools might be integrated into lessons.

Ma concluded the event by saying that any­one wishing to participate in the program as a tutor need only give two hours a week for ten weeks. She also noted that the program is still fairly new and growing, and is seeking more classroom space throughout the five boroughs.

Anyone wishing to participate in the WANY program as a tutor is invited to contact Stella Ma at sma@cityhall.nyc.gov.