Edward W Batchelder

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| Experience

I've worked as an ESL instructor since 2001, and have taught at all levels—from entry-level classes where the students had command of only a few words of English to graduate-level courses in public speaking and American culture. I currently teach an annual intensive summer session on academic writing to Hubert Humphrey Fellowship scholars in mid-career. In addition, I have five years of experience teaching German to American undergraduates, and have also taught introductory creative writing. While I've taught courses in reading comprehension, basic grammar, and conversation, my experience as a writer has led me to focus particularly on composition. Below are some student responses to an assignment to create an extended metaphor for the process of learning English.

Learning English: A Metaphorical Guide
Learning English is climbing on a mountain. When you are a beginner, you start climbing on low highlands. Here everything seems to be familiar and easy for you. After this you try out higher mountains. It requires more effort and steadiness. But you feel it worse. You can find several interesting things. You get to know different places, animals, plants, and you can see natural beauties like streams, narrows, and valleys. Sometimes you can have a rest on the hillside, but you feel you have to go higher. When you got to the hilltop, for a moment you are satisfied that you have done what you wanted. Then you look around, and suddenly you spot another higher, more challenging peak that you have to climb.
Ildiko, Hungary

Learning English is meeting new people. Every time we meet a new person, we meet new customs and ways of thinking. At first, you do not know anything about these new people, you do not understand them and they do not understand you. However, after some time learning their behavior, you start to get along with them. As soon as you are able to talk to them, to communicate with them you learn how they think and what they like. Through their expressions you discover their customs. Maybe some are familiar to you, maybe not. But it does not matter, you have established a friendship. Well, you know these people. But you never stop learning new aspects of their lives.
Ana, Venezuela

Learning English is hiking on an endless trail. That is to say, you can never study enough. Some people think if you move to the U.S., you can pick up the language very easy, without studying. They think you don't need to read to study, because everybody speaks it around you, you can have mastery. In my opinion, even if you live here, you should never stop studying.
Bela, Hungary

Learning English is taking a medicine. Even though a medicine is bitter, you have to take it to get well. In addition, you have to get a prescription from a good doctor. Like taking a medicine, even though learning English is really hard, you should study English to make yourself a valuable person. Moreover, when you study English, the teacher who teaches you is very important to learn English.
Jong In, South Korea

Learning English is going on a diet. If a fat person stays at home, s/he doesn't need to lose weight. On the contrary, if s/he wants to enjoy outdoor exercises, s/he had better go on a diet. The secrets to succeed in diet are carrying on eating only diet food every day and losing weight little by little. If s/he tries to get a quick result, s/he is likely to lose not only weight but also health and to give up being on a diet. During a diet, s/he will suffer from hunger and starve for his/her favorite homemade dish. However, if s/he continues diet for a long time patiently, s/he is sure to get a slender body and enjoy an active life. And once s/he stops diet, s/he will come back to a fat person soon.
Akisugu, Japan

Learning English is going through a maze. At the beginning, I feel joy. Then I begin to feel anxiety because I pass through the same way many times. Next, I become bored, but I can't give up because I have to escape from the maze. Finally, if I have good luck, I'll be able to escape and to feel happy.
Kosei, Japan

Learning English is getting yourself lost. You had better give up what you have learned about English in your home country to learn English. If you forget yourself, your language, and culture, you could accept English easier.
Hye Young (Linda), South Korea

Learning English is swimming in the ocean. We can meet not only huge waves and storms we have never expected but also beautiful scenery just like sunrise. Morning glory and darkness would be together with us all the time.
Jong Ho (C.J.), South Korea

Learning English for older people is an adventure because they just wonder whether they get something. Such adventure needs patience, spending a lot of hard time, and just trying. Especially, a person who wants to get an achievement always finds something new, although he or she knows to spend a lot of energy.
Hyung Ju (Jo), South Korea

©The Students of Writing 4A, English Language Center, Vanderbilt University