Pittsburg teacher uses technology to teach English as a second language


It’s hard enough to learn a new language as it is, but when you throw in something called an idiom, it can get really confusing.

Idioms are expressions that say one thing but really mean another, like “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Well, it’s not really raining cats and dogs; its raining hard.

Michelle Broxterman, a PSU graduate, teaches English as a second language at Westside Elementary in Pittsburg. She has her fifth graders make short videos to help explain those idioms.

“We’ve been making Idiom of the Week videos that we’ve been sharing with the whole school to teach the other students about idioms and the meaning of them,” Broxterman explained.

Mia Costaneda says it’s a blast to make them and they really are helpful. 

“We get to work on the iPads and edit them and while we’re editing them, we laugh a lot, so that’s really fun,” said Costaneda.

Students get to select music and even special effects to tell their stories.

Broxterman says they work for her students, and she thinks they might have the same results for current Pitt State education majors who will be the next generation of teachers, like John Juarez-Garcia who will have a minor in English as a second language.

“We live in a very technological world where cellphones, iPads and computers are the way to learn,” said Juarez-Garcia. “We’ve learned in our classes that visuals are everything for students to learn, especially if they don’t know the language that we’re actually teaching in.”

Many of the adult students in this particular class will be teaching ESL outside the US when they graduate.

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