2:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, 2017
"Did Past Immigrants Learn English Faster than Today's Immigrants?"

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"Did Past Immigrants Learn English Faster than Today’s Immigrants?”a program by applied linguist Dr. Alex Poole, will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 5 at the Betty Strong Encounter Center in cooperation with the Mary J. Treglia Community House. Admission will be free; a reception will follow.

Poole’s illustrated program will look at claims that today's immigrants are slower to learn English than 19th century European immigrants were.

“We’ll look at actual data and show how the same claims about today's immigrants were made more than 100 years ago,” says Poole, professor of English and director of the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) Program at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green.

Poole, a North High School graduate, will show that today’s immigrants tend to switch to English more readily than did European immigrants of several generations ago.

“Many of us are descended from German, Dutch, Scandinavian and other European immigrants who clung to their native languages for generations. Yet, new immigrants tend to be criticized for not learning English quickly enough,” says Poole. “Some European languages persisted for generations in areas of the United States in certain social, educational and religious settings.”

Poole’s program connects with the Center’s exhibit, “Building Bridges to Better Lives: the East Bottoms Roots of the Mary J. Treglia Community House.”  The Community House was established in 1921 at 1604 Fourth St. as a setting for English-as-a-second-language and citizenship classes. Interpreting services were offered in 20 languages. Mary Treglia Community House continues its expanded mission of service at 900 Jennings St.

Poole’s interests include focus on form instruction, Spanish-English bilingualism, and reading strategies. He regularly publishes articles on these topics and presents at national and international conferences. He directs the ESL Endorsement/TESOL Graduate Certificate programs at WKU. He also teaches courses in composition, TESOL methodology, and pedagogical grammar, among others. When not teaching, advising students, or researching, Dr. Poole lectures on issues related to English language learners and reviews scholarly submissions to peer-reviewed journals.