Here at AELS, the last week of every quarter is called Culture Week. It is a time when we branch out from our regular classroom routine and learn about American culture in unique ways. One of our favorite parts of Culture Week is the day that we invite a guest speaker to come and present to the whole school. While students love our excellent teachers, they don’t often get to interact with Americans who have other professions. On guest speaker day students get to meet a lawyer, doctor, business person, librarian, physical therapist, etc. and learn about his/her life experiences. Our guest speakers are always friendly, professional people who have inspiring stories and valuable knowledge to share with students. We have a different guest speaker every quarter, so students who stay at AELS for a long time have many opportunities to meet various professionals throughout the year.
Some of our guest speakers are immigrants or children of immigrants, so it is helpful for students to hear stories of success in America. Each student has their own goal or ambition that they want to accomplish by learning English in America, and we want to encourage them in those dreams. Students listen to the guest speaker’s presentation and then have the opportunity to ask them whatever questions they want. A lot of students only interact with AELS teachers and their host families daily, and some are not confident in speaking English with the people they meet while running errands or living life here in America. They are grateful for the opportunity to practice speaking English with the guest speakers in an environment where they feel safe to ask questions and learn more about how to accomplish their dreams.
Our Culture Week and guest speaker tradition set AELS apart from other language schools. Beyond teaching them necessary English skills, we want to give students a well-rounded experience and set them up for success in whatever ways we can. We love helping them to make connections with Americans outside of our school and showing them real-life stories of success.
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