Please give some of your impressions of our school, the students
and the English learning environment here at ASPECT/Manhattan College.
I believe it's the best experience of my life. I have met students of all different backgrounds and interests. I'll never forget some of them for their courage and enthusiasm and a lot more.
Most students are fairly serious about being enrolled here, it seems. They are respectful for the most part. There has been room to contribute, for example, the creation of a Jazz and Choir class.
Good overall organization and student-teacher, teacher-teacher and student-student interaction. Support here for development is strong.
I think the environment is very friendly. A little hectic at times in terms of ISR's (not used to paperwork). The majority of students are very motivated, good for the teacher.
I believe ASPECT is a great language school located on the beautiful campus of Manhattan College. I really like to work with some of our staff and I think that we have wonderful students here, especially those who really want to learn. I love to see the progress each of them makes every single day, and the learning environment seems to be great for that. The only disadvantage I see here is when students come here only for a very short time. Then our curriculum can be a minus, since students sometimes expect to learn different things than what we have on our curriculum.
What limits my scope is the fact that everything is so intensive, moving so quickly, and this makes it hard to see beyond my own classes. My students are bright and motivated--they seem to appreciate what I do. ASPECT has many backup books and materials--good. The director seems genuinely to care about the program, and that is good, too.
Very, very hectic. Though all of the teachers seem very dedicated, I was a bit bewildered when I arrived.
I was very impressed with the students in both of my classes. They all seemed eager to learn and put out a lot of effort. This surprised me knowing that they were here on holiday. I thought I was going to have a much harder time getting them to participate and do their homework assignments, but for the most part they were very cooperative.
All very positive, friendly, accommodating and enthusiastic impressions I receive from teachers, students and the staff.
Great new academic director--very creative, supportive and competent. The students seem to be happy. Things feel under control even with the large enrollment. The staff is happy to help out and pitch in because there's a sense of mutual respect and professionalism. I'm sure the students feel the positive environment.
It's a tough perspective for me, coming in at the last minute. It seemed a little hectic at first, and the students are a little unmotivated, but the classrooms and campus are great, and the staff has been really helpful.
A Short story:
It was a perfect summer Friday morning. The verdant Quad and the slightly cool air were just too inviting for a few ASPECT teachers--and their students--to resist. Natalya Brook brought her advanced integrated-skills class outside to continue a discussion in a corner of the lawn near the northwest entrance of Miguel Hall. David Papier's advanced grammar students worked in small groups at another corner of the yard, just 25 feet from the window of their 203 Miguel classroom. Leah Scalese had her advanced skills learners sitting on the steps that lead down from Smith Hall to the Quad, playing a game based on an information gap.
Just a short time later, all those students had finished and gone to their next classes, while a few other teachers ventured out with their groups. Charles Parish's high intermediate grammar students sat, lay and crouched in the late morning sunlight as they read various sections of the New York Times, preparing for reports they would later give in class.
"There is so much culture in New York City," says Charles, a former U.S. Marine and retired U.S. State Department diplomat. "I want my students to see what is available here." In the idyllic setting of the beautiful Manhattan College campus, he and a number of other ASPECT teachers helped their students experience a feeling that many will later remember fondly as part of their unique American journey.
But there was a sense of purpose behind every outdoor activity that day. For example, David Papier's students were referring to a handout that showed a new arrival to the United States, full of hope and enthusiasm, with--on the reverse side of the paper--the same individual several months later, looking frazzled and worried. "What are some of the problems that a person from another country might encounter at first when living in the United States?" David asked his students, whose outdoor task was to work in groups coming up with lists of personal problems someone might have to face as a newcomer to this country.
"We could have done the same activity indoors," admitted David. "But it had been kind of hot the day before and some of the students hadn't slept too well ... The air outside kind of woke them up." One of the risks of taking the class outdoors, he explained, is that it is much harder to keep them focused. But the crucial thing is to go outside with a clear objective in mind, according to David.
He'll be heading outside again soon, he said, for a short walk along a
route he has carefully staked out and analyzed. After following up the
problem handout with a more abstract classroom discussion about
"solvable and unsolvable problems in the world," now David is taking
his students out for some much more concrete language learning, with
vocabulary like "crosswalk" and "dumpster." He feels it is important
to give students experience with language "on different planes," from
ordinary, everyday things to concepts and personal judgments.
Are you interested in a future ASPECT mini-conference?
De La Salle Hall, 4th Floor
4513 Manhattan College Parkway
Riverdale, NY 10471
718-549-4838 / fax 718-549-4837