English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students are finding their voice and sharing their own culture through Lone Star College-Montgomery’s newest student publication, “The Global Pen.” A new edition (Vol. 4, Issue 4) of the two-year-old publication has recently been released, and a second edition is in the works to be published by the end of the fall semester.
“The Global Pen” is composed of articles written and critiqued by international students under the guidance of several faculty and staff members, including Linda Kozar, a tutor in LSC-Montgomery’s Extended Learning Center (ELC).
“‘The Global Pen’ provides a voice for international students, who sometimes feel they do not have an outlet for communication, whether because of language barriers or something else,” said Kozar. “Through writing for this publication and working with their peers on articles, many grow in their confidence to communicate using the English language.”
Gabriela Delgado is an international student from Venezuela and a part-time ESOL tutor in the ELC. She is taking classes at LSC-Montgomery, but has plans to transfer to Sam Houston State University to major in bilingual education and ultimately, help others through art therapy. She began writing poetry and reflective stories for The Global Pen to enhance her writing skills and share a little of her life experiences.
“After four years of studying the English language, I knew I needed to keep writing and reading and practicing to get better,” said Delgado. “I consider ‘The Global Pen’ the best practice tool an international student can have to better learn the English language.”
Kozar, who has much writing experience as an author of four books and as a leader in local writing groups, said the student’s weekly meetings are run in the same fashion as a professional writing group, where the group provides feedback on each other’s work.
“In this way, the student can do what they chose with each person’s comments and retain complete ownership of their piece,” said Kozar. “The Global Pen” is published once or twice per semester. It is filled with expressive and creative stories, poems, or interviews, as well as photos and artwork created by the students. Some issues even include recipes or “how-to” tips for topics applicable to that issue.
“The Global Pen is an opportunity for the students to share their culture with others,” said Deanna Watson, a coordinator in the ELC and an adjunct ESOL instructor. “Each edition builds cultural awareness and really gets others thinking.”
“For me, each story is so meaningful,” said Delgado. “By writing for this international newsletter, I began to learn about different experiences and see other’s points of view. It’s a way to express myself in another language that is not my own.”
In early September, commemorating the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ike, a special “Hurricane Edition” was released. It featured unique tales of how the hurricane preparation, destruction, and aftermath affected the students, many of whom were from countries that never experience hurricanes.
“Some of the students really had no clue about the severe threat posed by a hurricane, or how to properly prepare for it,” said Kozar. “That’s why we included a hurricane preparation guide in that issue.”
Several faculty and staff members work with the students to develop each issue. Roland Cirilo, Robin Gawronska, and Susan Hartle, adjunct ESOL instructors, have guided students working on “The Global Pen” since the beginning.
“‘It was fun to begin ‘The Global Pen’ project with the others,” said Cirilo. “Experiencing the growth of the students first-hand made me feel as if I were a part of something special.”
“We’re always seeking highly-motivated students to help with each issue, and we welcome students with other gifts in addition to writing,” said Kozar. “Students can submit their photographs, artwork, or even help with the layout and putting the issue together on the computer.”
“Having your work printed or published for the entire college to read is an incredible thing, so I can only imagine the feeling of accomplishment that our ESOL students experience with each issue of ‘The Global Pen,’” said Hartle.
“What you learn from being a part of ‘The Global Pen’ is not something that you will learn in books,” said Delgado. “Sometimes the best way to learn is simply meeting other people and sharing stories.”
If any ESOL or international student is interested in becoming a part of “The Global Pen” staff, they should contact Linda Kozar at Linda.P.Kozar@LoneStar.edu or Deanna Watson at Deanna.K.Watson@LoneStar.edu.
The current issue of “The Global Pen” can be picked up at The Write Place @ LSC-Montgomery in Building C.
You can also see more writing, pictures, and even video from “The Global Pen” at the publication’s blog: http://theglobalpennews.blogspot.com/.
LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.
Lone Star College System consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Center, LSC-University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. With more than 58,000 students in credit classes this fall, LSCS is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and third largest community college system in Texas. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.