Questions & Answers

How long have you been using the arts to teach English?

The last 15 years as an Adult Literacy ESL “maestra” & 14 years before that as a high school English teacher.

For which ESL levels is Art of English appropriate?

Intermediate & Advanced although Unit One: Those Who Were Here Before and Unit Eight: Cinema as Culture can be adapted to lower levels.

For which grades is Art of English appropriate?

Grades 4-12

What are your teaching goals?

To engage language students in the best practices for  reading, writing, speaking and understanding English well. To inspire them to improve their language skills by providing them with enriching, challenging and relevant arts-based, historic and cultural models.

How many weeks does it take to complete each course?

Between 8-10 weeks depending on the degree of difficulty and the length of the teaching unit. This time frame is assuming between 8-10 class hours a week are spent on the course.

Why do you think the arts are so important in language instruction?

The arts as inspiration level the “learning” field and allow for the enthusiastic participation of students of varying “intelligences”.

How does Art of English teach grammar?

It doesn’t. There are sections called “Grammar Check” throughout which use the whole language approach of selecting grammar issues from the reading or writing models. Practice in using standard grammar is  provided within each vocabulary lesson and is implicit in the reading and writing exercises.

How can students improve if they don’t “learn” grammar?

After 25+ years of teaching adults and young adults, they only improve their language skills if they are engaged in the language. Teaching grammar disengages students in that it focuses on applying arbitrary rules rather than improving communication.

What makes your teaching units unique?

They are student and teacher friendly. Words such as Model, Practice, Enrich are simple, direct. Instructions like Read, Write, Speak, Listen are mistake proof. There is room for immediate written response within each lesson and room for teachers to use each lesson as a lead-in to their own views on the topic. There is also room for re-writes.

What are some of your favorite lessons?

I am attached to every lesson in each unit in some way because they represent two decades of creating my own curriculum. I love using music for pronunciation practice because it makes everyone smile and lose their self-consciousness. The illustrations of 20th century artist Norman Rockwell inspire everyone to speak, write and interpret his wonderfully distinctive characters. Using the “Talking Circle” for discussions!

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