A Fictional Report on an ESOL Lesson that Might Have Never Taken Place [Flash Fiction]

I took my students into the middle of traffic on 86th street and generated what they already knew of English warnings and exclamatory clauses. I made sure that before we entered the middle of traffic during rush hour that they only use English. Running, screaming, and panting heavily are universal human responses to on-coming traffic, and I learned that I cannot distinguish among Peruvian, Chinese, and native English screams. One student insisted later that she had difficulty in understanding exactly the level of fear in a Native English scream when compared to the screams of native Arabic speakers, but a man from Cairo disagreed. The Spanish speakers in the class were unanimous in their agreement that screaming is a pan-cultural human expression.


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