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I ask my students a lot of questions. I want them to think. I also what to know what they know. I ask them if they know where their food comes from and who makes their clothes and shoes. I ask them about places and people. The answers are sometimes amusing and sometimes frustrating. The answer to question one above was in fact what the student thought ("This is a trick question, right?") but the second illustrates something quite different. I find that knowledge of history and geography are really weak. This saddens me a great deal. I grew up in a homogeneous small town, from which I was rescued by my grandparents with a subscription to National Geographic. Bored no longer, I explored the world and continue to do so. My older ESL students have come from all over the world and my knowledge of their cultures and customs has made for a satisfying and productive experience on both sides. They know first hand about the shrinking world and the importance of knowing other countries... read more

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