1/16/2014 - StoryBlog
Your Own Language
Interesting happening in BOTH Community College classes yesterday.

To begin, we went around the room and asked people to say their name and what they hoped to get out of the storytelling class. In the first class, a woman said she was from Haiti and English was not her first language and was a bit hesitant as she stated in broken English what she hoped for. I asked what her native language was and she replied that it was French. I asked her to tell us in FRENCH what she hoped to get out of the class. She proceeded in French and spoke for a much longer time about her hopes.
I know just enough French to “get by” and caught about every third or fourth word. That wasn’t the point though. I know from my days as a therapist that people are more able to express emotions when speaking in their native language.
In the second class, there was a man who was also from Haiti, and he was even more hesitant to speak and only said a few words. Again, I asked about his native language and he was quite surprised when I asked him to speak in French and share with us. He had a quizzical look on his face, and seemed to freeze up. I said, “Pourquoi vous etes ici?” (my broken French for “Why are you here?”). His eyes became big and he began to rattle off what he wanted out of the class.
The interesting thing is that in both classes, both of these folks displayed the highest amount of participation as they asked questions and offered their own input when I asked the class for their thoughts on other matters…and they did it in English. 
It was a good day!

©Mark Goldman 2014

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For more information contact Mark Goldman - 602-390-3858 - Mark@Storytellermark.com


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