264. Let’s Speak English

It was the first day of class. Two her new ESL classmates wanted to know where was from. They were both from Iraq. Because looked Iraqi, one of the women asked Tara, English, if she was from Iraq. Tara replied, “, I’m not.” Then the women took turns asking if she was from Iran, or Syria, or . To each question, Tara responded with a simple . Laughing, one woman said to the other, “She's from anywhere!” The two went to their desks, to each other in Arabic.

The next day, teacher divided the students into groups of four. students in each group asked introductory questions of other. A student in Tara’s group asked her, “ are you from?” Tara answered that she was Iraq. The two women who had questioned Tara day before were sitting only a few feet . Both of them heard Tara’s response.

“Aha!” they exclaimed. “You ARE from Iraq!” Tara smiled and yes. Then she apologized to both of them lying the day before. She explained that she not wanted to get into an Arabic conversation them. It had been her experience that many students continued to speak their native language in class, and Tara had not come to ESL to practice her Arabic. In her opinion, ESL should try to speak English only.

“I agree,” Rose.

“You’re 100 percent right,” agreed Jennifer. “Rose I must stop speaking Arabic to each other. , Rose?” Rose nodded, and then said something in . All three women laughed.

Over the next four , Tara became friendly with both women, although she spoke a word of Arabic to them during or break.