For Immediate Release
Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: March 26, 2021
Darlington Outreach Center spotlight – Sharon BussFennimore -
Sharon Buss is the English Language Learner (ELL) Adjunct Instructor at the Darlington Outreach Center.
Please tell me about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get interested in ELL instruction?
I’m from Belmont, but I teach in Argyle. This is my 26th year of teaching Spanish and English. A few years ago I was contacted by one of my professors from college about joining the Platteville Literacy Council, primarily for teaching ELL to adults.
What benefits do you see from learning ELL?
I think it’s important to learn the language of the country in which you live in order to feel a connection to the community. Being bilingual can also open up more employment opportunities.
Can you share a success story you have had with a student who completes ELL instruction?
When I was involved with the Platteville Literacy Council, my first assignment was to teach English to a lady whose first language was Russian. Her goal was to get a driver’s license, so that was our primary focus. One day I happened to stop by the DMV and asked if the permit test was available in Russian. When I found out that it was, I sent her to take the test. As it turned out, the Russian-language version was not available at that site, so she took the permit test in English – and passed! She then went on to study at SWTC and earned a degree.
What do you find is the biggest obstacle for adults coming back to gain this education?
One of the biggest challenges for learning a different language is being able to practice speaking in that language. It’s so easy for a person to revert to his or her native language when they are at home. A person must consciously practice the language every day in order to become better at it.
What advice would you have for those who would benefit from ELL?
Submerge yourself in the language you are learning as much as possible; watch TV, listen to the radio, read, and force yourself to speak to native speakers.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I have learned so much from my ELL students about their struggles, successes, and cultures. I have been able to take these experiences back to my Spanish classroom and share the lessons with my students. Cultural awareness gives people different perspectives within their own world, and hopefully helps them get rid of their own negative stereotypes and personal biases.
• To learn more about resources offered at Southwest Tech Outreach Centers, visit www.swtc.edu/outreach.