It is reported that ESL classes are being cut as government funding falls short of demand.
This was my experience with ESL (English as a second language) when my parents brought me to Canada in 1928, as a five-year-old – there was none.
At age six, I was enrolled in Grade 1 in an English school without being able to speak a single word of English. After a period of six months, I was able to carry on a conversation with the other students, simply because I was surrounded all day by English children.
As for my mother, she obtained employment in a dress factory. It took her more than a year, but she picked up the language from the employees around her. We would practise with each other and had lots of laughs.
Now, I have no intention of running down the usefulness of ESL classes. They are a valuable tool in helping immigrants become part of our culture and language.
I merely wish to point out that with hard work, people find ways to overcome difficulty and feel proud of what they have accomplished.
When I look back, it seems to me that too much is expected nowadays.
M. Downey, Surrey