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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.
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.
“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