A team of six firefighters from Chihuahua, Mexico, used the VOA Learning English series “Let’s Learn English” (LLE) earlier this year to improve their spoken and written English language skills. They were preparing to attend a five-month firefighting academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that will begin in February 2018, and found that the series prepared them well for their entrance exam.
LLE is a 52-episode online course for English language learners, intended for use over the course of a year. It was designed by certified teachers of American English, and includes videos, activity sheets, and exercises in speaking and pronunciation. Lesson users work to improve their speaking skills, vocabulary, and writing skills. The course’s modular design made it ideal for this study group.
The firemen met 4-5 days per week from May through July at a public library, where staff from the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez facilitated the sessions. From 3:00pm to 5:00pm each day, they typically watched two videos and completed the lesson activities, the facilitator explained the grammar, and then discussed the lesson topic as a group while connecting it to their daily lives. “We used the 52 videos and exercises from the platforms as prompts for extended classes,” explained consulate staff member Teresa Arredondo, who organized the study sessions.
After successfully completing the LLE course, all six of the firefighters passed their academy entrance exams and are looking forward to attending the firefighting course in February. The consulate held a small graduation ceremony in early December to acknowledge the firefighters’ effort and achievements, where they received certificates of accomplishment sent from VOA.