Friday, October 31, 2014

Rio Salado Southern Celebrates Student Diversity

a group of friends pose for a photograph in traditional Chinese dress.

Rio Salado College locations have become a melting pot of world cultures, in great part because of the English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA) classes they offer. Students and staff from RSC Southern in Tempe decided to celebrate that diversity by hosting an International Days Festival Oct. 28-30.

Image of attendee holding a flag.

The three-day long festival gave students a chance to share music, food, clothing, stories and traditions that make their culture and country of origin unique.

The celebration kicked off with a Parade of Nations on Oct. 28, which recognized students from more than 35 countries, who proudly waved flags from their country of origin and posed for pictures.
image of map with pins showing student countries of origin

A world map was provided for students to pinpoint their birth country with tacks that included their names. As you can see from this photo, the geographic coverage was extensive.

The event also brought together students who participate in RSC Southern’s Music Club, which meets once a week to improve their English speaking skills through music and song.

Rio Salado Instructor Linda Putnam chooses music that makes it fun and easy for students to memorize lyrics and sing along while they learn and retain correct pronunciation and annunciation.

Rio Salado Lab Technician Francisco Alberto De La Torre-Guiterrez recently joined Linda for weekly classes, contributing his welcomed skills as a trained guitarist.

“It’s really a learning environment,” said Francisco. “The group gets together every Wednesday and we sing traditional American Folklore songs,”

“Students are able to apply what they learn in Music Club to what they are currently learning in ELLA. It seems to really help them to better comprehend the English language.”

Khurram and Francisco
Francisco says he truly enjoys sharing his passion for music and the English language with students from across the globe. He has even begun teaching one of the club’s students, Khurram Shahzad, how to play guitar.

“I was a performance guitar major, so having the opportunity to come to work and share my passion and expertise with students is incredibly rewarding and exciting.” said Francisco.

Khurram attests to the success of the Music Club’s innovative approach to mastering English, and- a side benefit- was inspired by Francisco to learn to play guitar.

“It was something I really wanted to learn, and when the opportunity was offered to students at this location for free, I couldn’t wait to sign up.” said Khurram.

Music also played a special role throughout the International Days Festival, which continued with a talent show, pot luck and other events that gave students a chance to share in a truly multi-cultural experience.

Check our our Facebook page for more photos.

By Aubrie Artiano, PR Coordinator at Rio Salado College