Learning English, How Long Should It Take?

My daily routine includes chatting with parking lot employees at the place where I park.  Over the last few years I’ve met workers from Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Ukraine.  All speak English well enough to have a conversation with me.   When I ask, “how long have you been in the United States?”, their answers vary from 2 to 4 years.  Impressive.  A young man from Ukraine, who’s  been in the U-S- for 8 years,  speaks almost perfect English with hardly a foreign accent.  That blew me away.   He said he learned by talking to Americans and listening to music in English.    What do you think should be done in our schools to speed up the time it takes to help students, whose first language isn’t English, learn English?

photo courtesy: http://fortlee.bccls.org/

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