For forty years I taught English as a Second Language at Evans Community Adult School in Los Angeles, a wonderful microcosm of the world of adult ESL. Evans was the largest public ESL school for adults in the USA (average weekly enrollment of 10,000). There were students from over 80 countries, ages 18-88. I loved teaching those immigrants, refugees, foreign visa students and tourists. From semi-literate farmers, doctors and lawyers, teen-agers, and senior citizens in the same class it was delightful as well as challenging to say the least.
I couldn't find any texts to stimulate and realistically address the problems of my students to learn practical English and American culture as quickly and painlessly as possible. I started writing my own lessons, many suggested by the students. The lessons worked so well, they have now become text books. Then in 2006, I met a woman, Helen Reichmann West, who told me her mother, Barbara's, incredible Holocaust survival story. Realizing that my students knew almost nothing about the Holocaust and that Barbara had been an immigrant to the USA, learning English and culture like my students, I decided to take on the project of interviewing Barbara and researching and writing her biography. Claiming My Place was recently released by Farrar Straus Giroux and certainly belongs on this teaching website.
The purpose of this web site is to acquaint you with my texts, theories, practical applications and books. Please enjoy browsing and then e-mail me, feeling free to pick my brain as to any helpful tips I can give you or any helpful tips you can give me. I'm always available for school visits and conferences.
1. Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust ISBN 978-0374305291 $17.99 Farrar, Straus and Giroux
2. Life in the USA: An Immigrant's Guide to Understanding Americans ISBN 978-0-472-03304-1 $21.95 University of Michigan Press
3. Achieving Competency in English: A Life Skills Approach, Second Edition ISBN 0-472-0304204 $23.95 University of Michigan Press
4. Open Sesame: Understanding American English and Culture Through Folktales and Stories ISBN 0-472-08388-0 $16.95 (Cassettes available) University of Michigan Press
5. Eureka!: Discovering American English and Culture Through Proverbs, Fables, Myths and Legends ISBN 0-472-08547-6 $17.95 (Cassettes available) University of Michigan Press
6. Realistically Speaking: a Practical Approach to the Basic Sounds and Rhythms of American English
$19.95 (Video and DVD available) ISBN 0-9766077-0-0.