teaching about banks

i decided to focus on everyday places for this session of ESL. each class, we’ve covered experiences in everyday places like the workplace (and jobs), the bank, restaurants, etc.

for the bank lesson, i created an illustration. in it, a man got paid cash, thought about depositing his money into a bank, but decided against it, then got robbed. all of my students are hispanics, and north carolina’s hispanic population is fairly new. some of the immigrants dont trust banks, or just dont use them. north carolina’s hispanic population consists of about 50% documented folks and 50% undocumented people, so when the undocumented become victims, they dont always report crimes. in some cities people know this, and therefore target hispanics for robberies, knowing they wont report or cooperate with police. dont believe me?

importance of using a bank

so here’s my illustration. i let the class name the main charachter, and then i had them narrate the story. i wrote down what they said happened in each block, and we read each sentence together after i wrote them, and then we read the entire story. if you teach ESL and want to use it, feel free, as long as you dont claim credit for my work. i would only recommend that you draw a question mark or something above the man’s head in the photo with him in front of the bank. the class thought that he actually went into the bank, and it took a bit of effort to explain that he did not. lesson learned. other than that, it went great. (btw, sorry about the uneven lines, when i started drawing i thought i’d just do a draft, but by the time i finished, i didnt feel like re-doing it…bleh.)

another activity i did in this class was give them each pieces of paper that said things like, “i want to deposit my check,” “i want to apply for a loan,” etc. i was the bank teller, and when they came up to my “counter” and said what they wanted to do, we simulated the transaction. i gave them money, or a receipt or a loan application.

i think the lesson went well, the hard part is that i have students who are at both ends of the proficiency spectrum. with one of my students, i can hold a pretty good, basic conversation in english, and another i believe is not very literate in spanish, so reading english is a bigger challenge. to overcome this, i really try to teach to both sides, engaging them both through dialogue and activities.

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