Local program helps non-native speakers learn English

Local program helps non-native speakers learn English (Photo: Amber Draper/KTVO)

“Every day is rewarding. Just to see the look on people’s faces and when they realize oh, that’s what that means."

Mary Chrisman teaches English as a Second Language and has been teaching the class for almost two years in the Heartland.

She says the program has students from about seven different countries including the Congo, Indonesia, Syria, Russia, and Iran.

Gui Tumilali is from the Congo.

He speaks 5 different langues including English and has been a student in the ESL program for about two years.

“I didn’t speak English before and the first time I came, I didn’t catch anything.”

Since taking the class, Tumilali says his English has improved.

Right now, ESL is being funded by Kirksville organizations.

Chrisman says even though the program lost their funding, the Heartland has been very supportive of the class continuing.

“So we’re being funded from the community now so that’s huge, the community saw the need for ESL for people to be able to speak the language.”

For student Glodi Nshingalela, he says one of his favorite parts of the class is his teacher.

“She is very nice for me, she is a nice teacher.”

Chirsman says while learning a new language is important, it is only one small part of getting fully adapted to a new culture.

"Along with the language, you kind of have to teach-why do we do these things-what is our cultural like and that can change even from state to state."

Right now classes are available four days a week at Kirksville Area Technical Center.

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