High school students get lessons in language

Moving to a new place as a teenager may seem daunting because you have to make new friends in an unfamiliar place. But some teenagers move to places where they can barely communicate.

In the Clark County School District, students who don’t speak English are placed in an English Language Learners class, or ELL. In this class, students of different cultures, speaking different languages, learn together how to read, write and speak in English.

Luis Marroquin, a junior at Liberty High School, said not only is learning how to read and write in English confusing, but learning in America is a very different experience than learning in other countries.

Two students in Marroquin’s ELL class, junior Pangsakorn “Fiat” Bandit and freshman Phiraphong “Pete” Phimphrae, are from Thailand, where high school lasts for six years instead of four.

Senior Jiajie Tan, a native of China, said one of the largest differences in schooling is the size of the classes. In China, he was used to classes of 50 students for every teacher. And instead of students moving from class to class, the teachers did.

And when it comes to learning English, the students have different ways to practice, and face different obstacles.

For freshman Bruno Nascimento, the most difficult part of learning English in class is that they’re all speaking with their own accents.

And not only do ELL students find it difficult to adjust to classes, some find it difficult to socialize with those for whom English is a native tongue.

Freshman Nathaly Velazquez, a student from Mexico, finds it difficult to speak with people in school because they don’t speak Spanish and she speaks minimal English. For Nascimento, it’s easier to practice English in his own home, where he feels that he can make more mistakes.

In contrast, Marroquin finds that learning English at home is more difficult, because all of his friends and family speak Spanish.

For students who are learning English in a new world, going to a new school is difficult, but according to Bandit, “It’s not that hard, if you try.”

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