Charlotte's Story by Didi DelphinIt was a dark autumn day, which you’d only prefer to be alone by yourself. Charlotte, who had just completed a long and exhausting work on a book, felt herself very tired, not ready for writing even a single line more, and thought about doing something that would help her relax her mind. A close friend of her had been telling Charlotte about a virtual world platform called “Second Life” for the last couple of weeks. Charlotte liked strategy-type computer games but she knew if she messed with one of them, ten or fifteen days would not be enough and she did not want to be trapped in this new virtual world. She used to think of computer games as “traps” that steal her time in those days but she downloaded the viewer client of Second Life anyway and installed it on her computer’s hard drive, without realizing what a “booby trap” it was! With the first login experience, she noticed she was enchanted with this virtual world which made Alice’s Wonderland a boring child’s play. But with the first day, she felt the sorrow of not being able “to talk and interact” with others. She used to get away quickly, without saying anything to people who greeted her, and knowing that she could not continue a conversation, she used to avoid even saying just “Hi” to people around. A couple of times, she came across some people who wanted help from her but she couldn’t do anything because she could not speak English. She was unhappy to look like a rude, unpolite girl in this “Second Life” of hers. English was one of her essential weaknesses that she felt making her unefficient in her real life too. She was recognized as a qualified and succesful person in her business life, doing high quality works and when she told her business contacts she could not speak English, they thought she could then speak French or Italian instead. Language barrier was her vulnerability! She had got good marks in high school and university life at English lessons with only learning some simple cliches by heart but she tought she was not gifted for learning foreign languages and she had not worked on it hard enough. But on the other hand she was a good student and looked like she’d always be that way. Researching, learning was her essential passions and her life in Second Life was no different. She used to make global searches everyday in SL; having fun to find activities she was interested, like courses or seminaries on personal development or film festivals, book fairs and live concerts. One day, while she was doing her usual routine searches, she came across the announcement of “ESL SL” and immediately visited the “School” without losing time. She was guided by the school’s owner Giovanni Tweak there, who gave her detailed information. He tried to help so sincerely and wholeheartedly that Charlotte thought he definitely was an idealist; and she knew she was very rarely wrong on her first impressions. Giovanni suggested her to join the class for the first lesson and did not accept any payment for it; the first lesson was free of charge. Charlotte was like an “alien” in the class: everybody was talking, chatting but she could not understand a single word and she felt herself frustrated. Could not help her impatient nature, she thought that was totally meaningless and left the class. Giovanni and a class runner, who later became a good friend of her, did their best to get her involved with the lessons in the upcoming days. But she thought, that was useless and the efforts of these nice people would never work. One day, Giovanni called Charlotte and informed her that a new class was opened for people from her own country. Charlotte then felt herself happy and wanted to join the classes. She tought, the lesson would be in her native language and a teacher from her country would come. She realized she was wrong, when she came to class the other day but she never had time to worry about that. Because the lesson was unbeliavably fun, and the teacher was simply excellent! Eventually she’d realize that the contents of the lessons and the main system was constructed very good. Charlotte would soon forget she went there to learn a language, because she’d have wonderful friends and get very much fun! Giovanni presented a very good opportunity to learn English and suggested Charlotte to work for ESL SL. Charlotte felt herself very lucky. That was an awesome advantage because Charlotte would not pay the regular fee for the lessons as an employee and she’d have the chance to make practice while working at the Infohub. Besides, she felt herself as a member of the “family”. Charlotte followed the classes and worked at ESL SL for almost a year. Because of the hard work in her real life, she had to give a break her English education in SL. She still thinks she’s at the beginning of the road. But now, at least she’s able to express herself in English. She can interact with people and join conversations when she logs in SL, without any hesitation. And she smiles happily when from time to time, people she met in SL think she’s English.
Posted by Giovanni Erba at Saturday, March 21, 2009
So many things are not yet globalized! This year SL (North America) changed first. Europe will change the last Saturday of March. Asia doesn't change at all. Check you country here. Take 5 minutes and check the calendar for changes. Some classes have moved 1 hour later in PDT (SL time), so they are at the same time if the time has not changed in your country.
Posted by Giovanni Erba at Monday, March 09, 2009
DRIVE- THROUGH ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) Drive-through A drive-through, or drive-thru, is a type of service provided by a business that allows customers to purchase products without leaving their cars. The format was first pioneered in the United States in the 1940s but has since spread to other countries. Lingua Franca A lingua franca is a language systematically used to communicate between persons not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both persons' mother tongues, often a basic form of speech with simplified grammar. Lingua franca is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic history or structure of the language. Lingua franca may also refer to the de facto language within a more or less specialized field. DRIVE-THROUGH ELF (English as a lingua Franca) When you want, when you can, when you need. DRIVE-THROUGH ELF n. 1.A school where students can come to lessons from their homes, offices, internet cafes or from wherever a computer and an internet connection is available, using free software, without need to register or reserve in advance. 2.An English lesson where students can improve their ability to communicate in English; can ask any question about English. Can you live without the internet? Yes you can. Can you live without a computer? Yes you can. But you're not. Same for the English language. Are you active? Do you exercise, practice any sport, go to the gym to improve your general health and well being? Same for the English language. How did you learn to speak in your native language? How did you learn to write? How do you learn new words? Same for the English language And what about computers, the internet. It's all about information, aren't you learning something every moment? Same for the English language. At DRIVE-THROUGH ELF the first class is free, so you can try. You can contact us in your first language. We'd like to hear from you.