Origami As A Second Language!
by Lynn Norris
(Norwich, CT, USA)
About five years ago I encountered a few of ESL children which included Japanese and Chinese students. Not only did we have a language barrier, outside of math it was nearly impossible to communicate. The cultural and linguistic barriers were frustrating for the students as well as myself.
The other students didn't have the maturity needed to take the time to embrace these new cultures. One of the many days I was seeking classwork to integrate these students I came across your origami site!
I printed a few simple pieces, distributed them to the students and we experienced a small miracle. My ESL students not only were able to figure out the origami in less than a minute, but they were helping the other students, even without speaking the same language.
Needless to say they inspired the other students to forge ahead with the challenge of creating an origami piece, but they went on to create the most beautiful pieces we had ever seen. From that point on, we developed a group of students in the school interested in origami.
Our ESL students made new friends and felt more at home in their new environment. They now have mastered the english language, and we have mastered the art of origami!
My students went back a few years ago to their homelands and on occasion I receive e-mails from both. It was an unforgettable experience. I continue to use origami in a multitude of ways in my lessons. Thank you for opening the door for me, my past students and future students.