Workshop aids frustrated students trying to learn English

“Don’t let your anger get the best of you.”

This was the title and theme behind a weekly, Saturday morning workshop that hoists a hybrid of an English as a second language (ESL) and General Education Development (GED) class for foreign students and members of the community.

This University program was made possible by a grant from Dr. Alina Camacho-Gingerich, Chair of The Committee on Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

Dr. Rafael Javier, a psychology professor at the University, has worked in these workshops for about 30 years.

“I believe it’s important because it makes you live your life better” said Dr. Javier.

“It is a personal development to handle challenges.”

“It is okay to be angry sometimes but when people run away from their problems it becomes more and more difficult to treat them,” said Dr. Javier.

The workshop allows participants to identify stressful situations, identify how they cope with them and understand when anger becomes a problem.

It is divided into a psychology and sociology course that lasts for a couple weeks.

Gerry Lifrieri, a returning student who graduated years ago from St. John’s with a BA in Business Management, believes students get a lot out of the classes.

He believes that these classes are a fantastic idea and opportunity for the community because they weave the workshops into immigration, which relates to the ESL students.

“I like being able to sit in on a sociology lecture” said Lifrieri.

“CLACS has done some really great workshops that give people great exposure to these classes and a great University.”

Participants were able to ask questions, and interact with each other and the professor to talk about what was being discussed.

During the workshop, ESL students were able to discuss stressful issues that came up in trying to assimilate to a new language and culture.