English at home




There is a new, experimental method of teaching English as a second language. It is called Home English, as opposed to Book English. It bases lessons more on students’ lives and less on textbook lessons. In this real life example, a teacher in America and a student in a remote region of Afghanistan sent Skype text messages back and forth as an “interview” lesson. The subject was, “How was your week?” In such an exercise, the student writes his or her answer, the teacher corrects any mistakes and then directs the interview to give the student practice in writing words and sentences that will best help the student. 

Teacher:  Hello! Happy Friday! Did you have a good week?

Student:  Yes, teacher, I had a good week. But we have lots of guests in our house now and my exams are near. It is hard to study, teacher.

T:  Why do you have lots of guests?  Is it a holiday?

S:  No, they came just like that. You know that when Afghan people are going somewhere they will stay there 3 or 4 days.

T:  You did not know they were coming and they will stay 3 or 4 days?! Are you cooking lots of food for them?

S:  Yes, I am cooking lots of food. But I already did all my jobs today, so there is nothing more I should do now. 

T:  How many guests do you have?

S:  We have 5 guests. Sometimes we have more then this, like 12 or 13, but they will stay for just one night. When there are 4 or 5 guests then they will stay for 3 or 4 days.

T:  When you have guests, do the women guests help with the cooking?

S:  No, here in Afghanistan the guests are not helping. We should do everything for them.

T:  When you have guests, does your father go to work or does he stay home?  Do you go to school or do you stay home?

S:  Yes, I am going to my school and my father also he is going to his job.

T:  During the day, who is with your guests?  What do they do when your father is gone and the children are at school?

S:  I have 7 sisters. They do everything, like cooking and other things in the morning when I am going to school. I come home from school at 1 o’clock. After that my 4 sisters are going to school and I am at home. Then I am doing everything, like cooking for the night and other things.

T:  When guests come, do they usually tell you they are coming?  Or do they just come. 

S:  Sometimes when the guests come, they tell us that they are coming. But most of the time they are not telling us, they are just coming.  For example, when there is a new baby born, there will be lots of people coming to see the baby. Then they will let us know that they are coming.

T:  How often do you have guests?  

S:  For the last 2 months every day we have guests except for 3 days.  

T:  What kind of things do you do with your guests when they are with you?

S:  They stay at home and have fun with us at home. They are joking and they are telling stories and other things.

T: Do you like having guests?

S:  Yes, I like to have guests. It is a happy time. But I don’t like the children. They are walking in all the rooms and they are doing some not good things and you cannot say anything.

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - July 2021 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com