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Rosie Maum"When you find yourself in a new culture, you have to figure out how to fit the old and the new together. A lot of it is cultural. A lot of teachers don't deal with that at all, but it is a very important aspect of keeping adults motivated and helping them be more comfortable learning." - Rosie Maum

With almost 20 years of experience, Rosie Maum is an adult educator in the Jefferson County Public Schools Adult Education Department in Louisville, Kentucky. She is also vice president of Kentucky TESOL and conference chair of the Kentucky TESOL Conference, held in Louisville on September 9-10, 2005.

Name: Rhonda
Address: New Orleans, LA
Question: Ms Rosie,
It is nice to meet you, and I do want to applaud you for teaching Spanish. I would like to learn Spanish as a second language. Can you help me somehow? I will tell you I have signed up for asl classes. I always wanted to learn Spanish. Now I may need to have that as experience. What do you suggest?
Thank you for your time,
Answer: Hello, Rhonda.
I noticed that you are from New Orleans, so I don't know when you will be able to read this email, but when you do, please do know that you and all of the residents of your beautiful city and the Gulf Coast area are and continue to be in our prayers. All of us here at LiteracyLink wish you our very best as you begin to rebuild your lives. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult and traumatic it must have been to experience the force of a hurricane and its aftermath… Again, we wish you best of luck and a speedy recovery.

Thank you for your kind words and congratulations for wanting to learn Spanish as a second language. In today's times, it is extremely important to know Spanish and you have made the right decision to take on that challenge. In order for you to start learning the language, I would suggest you begin by checking your local adult education program or university to find out what types of Spanish courses they offer. Check first into Spanish classes that are more informal and last less time than if you took a foreign language course at the college level, because they may satisfy your current needs and may begin to give you a clearer idea of what you might need in the future if you want to learn the language more in-depth. Many programs also offer Spanish for specific purposes, such as business Spanish, Spanish for health care providers, Spanish for travel, etc. You may find one that fits best your needs and interests by looking into those courses. Finally, don't forget that learning a new language is a skill that must be practiced on a daily basis. I would recommend you meet and try to spend a lot of time with native Spanish speakers. This will give you a chance to apply what you learn in the classroom and understand how Spanish works in a real-life situation. I hope these suggestions help. In the meantime, I wish you "Buena suerte" and best of luck.
Rosie Maum

Name: Catalina M. Ojeda
Address: San Antonio, TX
Question: What are the barriers that prohibit Mexican-Americans from reaching literacy?
Answer: As a doctoral student, I am sure you have already found a great number of articles that discuss those barriers. The ones that I am most familiar with, based on some of my latest readings, are socio-economic status, parents' literacy, English proficiency, immigration status, and the level of marginalization / isolation that is experienced in the U.S. by Mexican-Americans. As someone who has worked extensively in the public school system with K-12 ESL students, I have also found that it is extremely important that schools establish a closer relationship with parents so they become better informed of their children's rights as students and of the resources that are available so their children can get a good education. I hope this has answered your question, and wish you best of luck with your research and your work as a doctoral student.
Rosie Maum
Name: Michael Anthony Rodriguez
Address: Summerville, SC
Question: I would like to know how far will my GED can take me in my education, job hunting and finding a good place to work. Also, I would like to know if my GED will raise my education level so I can go to college and make new video games for the future. Keep up the great work!
Answer: Dear Michael Anthony.
You have asked me a very important question and one that I will be happy to answer. Earning your GED could be one of the biggest steps of your life. Getting your GED is very important because it will open up many more doors for you in terms of finding a job, getting a better job, or continuing your education at the college level. Did you know that, on average, high school graduates earn $6,600 more a year than non-high school graduates? Today's employers are looking for workers who not only have basic literacy skills, but also computer skills and knowledge of another language, such as Spanish. Getting your GED will get you on that track and the best thing about it is that you can earn your high school equivalency diploma (GED) for free. Many adult education programs that offer GED courses can also put you in contact with local colleges to help you transition into higher education once you graduate from their program. Remember, the more education you have, the more job opportunities you will have, including reaching your dream of becoming a computer programmer or video game designer.

I hope my answer has helped you. I wish you best of luck with your studies and in finding a career that fits your talents and interests.
Rosie Maum