In the fall of 2004, First Baptist Church launched a new ministry called ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages. Our first class included students from Romania, Russia, Mexico, and the Ukraine. As with most new ventures, ESOL’s early years were a series of fits and starts. We had three different instructors, considerable turnover among students (and helpers!), and a relocation of our classroom. But then David and Jama Mosher accepted the responsibility to lead the program; ESOL stabilized and became much more effective.
The class meets from 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm on Wednesday evenings at the church; we usually have 8-12 students, sometimes more. Every session begins and ends with a prayer, reminding the students that God loves them and is watching over them during good times and bad. Childcare is provided for the students’ children, although the youngest ones often stay with their mothers in the classroom.
David and Jama are uniquely qualified to teach ESOL. They are both teachers at King’s Academy, and they speak Spanish fluently (almost all of the students are Latino now). When a student is having difficulty understanding a word or phrase in English, David and Jama can explain it in Spanish and the student immediately makes the connection. David also uses his musical talents to good advantage. Frequently he will play his guitar and teach the students a song or hymn; everyone joins in the singing, including the helpers.
David does more than merely teach English to his students. He has explained our monetary system, map-reading, occupations, and family relationships. During last year’s presidential election, David explained how our political system works. You should have heard him describing the Electoral College!
David uses drama very effectively. He is quite good, and funny, at acting out a word or phrase to impart understanding. He frequently lets the students role-play with each other to teach them how a term is used in conversation. And they get great enjoyment out of participating in David’s mini-plays.
David and Jama are committed to giving their students a voice that can be heard and understood in our country. They do it in a Christian environment where the students know they are safe and welcome.