Our non-traditional English class met via Zoom to wrap up the first 16-week session.
Non-traditional English Class
The common language among Lutherans in the Eurasia region is English. Unfortunately, not many Czechs within the ECAVvČR (Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Czech Republic) speak English well enough to connect and be understood by their colleagues from other countries. So, part of my job involves teaching English to church leaders in Prague.
The first non-traditional English class started in February and just wrapped up the first semester. One student needed to study for his pastoral exam, and another student got stuck in a different country while traveling right before the quarantine, so the class size shrunk. We also realized that proficiency was quite different among the students. In fall, I will teach two different levels of English classes to accommodate all the students.
Bringing Christ to class
“It’s fine to learn English with stories about John buying apples at a store, but when you learn to talk about your faith, it means so much more,” a student commented at the end of the class.
During the course, we read a short Christian book and students found Scripture passages that related to each chapter. Group discussion questions and short writing assignments focused on topics such as sin, living as a Christian in today’s world, witnessing to others, forgiveness, spiritual warfare, and facing trials and hardships. By the end of the semester, I could see significant improvement among the students.
One of the most difficult things about English for non-native speakers is pronunciation, especially for Czechs. It’s difficult to know how to pronounce “wound” or “read” when you need to consider the context of the sentence. Czech words have little symbols over letters to help, e.g. peče (baking) or péče (caring), so there is no guessing.
I enjoyed seeing the students gain confidence in their English capabilities. But I also learned a lot during the course myself, such as how Czechs construct sentences. Most importantly, I learned that despite our language challenges, we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, trying to share His light with those still living in darkness.
This month we remember God’s faithfulness:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)