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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 3; Issue 3; May 2001

Student Voices

These voices are those of long term unemployed people in Tower Hamlets, East London. They were on a one month, intensive course offered by Working Links, preparatory to helping them off the unemployment lists. The teaching was provided by Pilgrims. To find out more about the scheme, see Robert Feather's article The full Force of Humanistic Teaching with Immigrants.

.The texts below are letters to their teacher, who had previously written to them about his relationship with his own father.

Dear Teacher,

    I had not good weekend. I want to tell you about my father.
    My father and mother are fighting. My mother is angry and very upset.
    My brother and sitster is upset too. I don't wht to do.

    Yours zincerely,
    ( Chinese Vietnamese in his 50's)

Monday, March 26th

Dear Teacher,

    This week is our last week. Last week I had a good week-end. I hope you had too.
    My father had a big farm. He was kind but sometimes got angry with me. He taught me to read and write. They sent to me primary school.
    Yours sincerely,
    ( Bangladeshi in his late thirties)

Monday March 26th

Dear Teacher I loved my mother my father came to London my father go Bangladesh 1970.

Yours sincerely,

( Bangladeshi in his forties)


Dear Teacher, I had a good week-end I was my aunt and was very very happy
I want to tell you about my father. my father is very very good man.he was always kind.
He had two wives one of them died one of them is tela live. 7 children
same mama. One of them other mama. He was teacher befor new he
not worked.

Yours sincerely,

( Somali, in her early thirties)

Monday, March 26th

My dear Teacher,

I want to tell you about my father He has a shop. He is a good businessman. He is a kind father. He loves me always. I love him too.

He married only once. He doesn't love many women. He always loves my mother. He is always good to other people. He is a very, very, kind man. He loves other people. He tell me always honest is the best policy.

Yours sincerely,

( Bangladeshi in his late twenties)

Monday March 26th,

Dear Teacher,

I want to tell you about my father. he is very very good man now he is Retired. Before he was a factory worker my father. before working long time he loved work My father loves me. I like my father he loves many many women

Yours sincerely,

(Bangladeshi in his thirties)

The letter from the teacher that these students modelled on linguistically went like this:

Monday March 26th

Dear Last Week People,

    I had a good week-end
    Friends came to my house
    I hope you had a good week-end, too.

I want to tell you about my father.

    He had a chicken farm.
    He was a kind father.
    Sometimes he got angry with me.
    He was a bad teacher.
    He loved many women.
    He made my mother unhappy.

What kind of man is/was your father?

Please tell me about your father.

Yours sincerely,

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