Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2004


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 14, No. 2, 2004. Copyright © 2004 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Noncredit English as a Second Language (ESL) classes often serve as a starting place for new immigrants aged eighteen or older who want to learn "survival English." The students attending these classes are widely diverse in terms of motivations, educational and cultural backgrounds, English-language fluency, life experiences, and learning styles. Classes are designed to equip these adult learners with basic English-language abilities in the context of the situations they are likely to encounter daily at work and in the community. This personal essay explores the challenges faced and the strengths revealed by students in these classes as witnessed by an instructor of these courses. Observations suggest that the strong work ethic, spirit of cooperation, and goodwill toward others that are displayed by these most recent immigrants to the Great Plains not only promise their success, but link them to earlier immigrants to the region.