New York ESL Teachers Puts Creative Spin on Lessons

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Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd

Instructing young ESL learners is hardly easy. Teachers often need to construct lesson plans that engage young students enough to hold their attention and leave lasting impressions. For Carlos Juan Rosello, a teacher at El Puente Academy for Justice in Brooklyn, art is the perfect catalyst for creative learning.

Rosello explained his teaching style in recent article published in the New York Daily News saying, “The best teachers I had in my life were able to harness the arts. I think that is the key to true lifelong learning.”

Staying true to this belief, Rosello had students examine the award-winning play “Anna in the Tropics” by Nilo Cruz to learn about Cuban immigrants in America circa 1929. In another example, he used Pablo Neruda’s poem “Ode to My Socks” to show his class how to write about the banality of everyday life.

Looking at Rosello’s own background, it’s no wonder he cultivates alternative learning methods. Before becoming a licensed teacher, he was an artist. He can also jam on the bass and guitar so he favors music as a learning tool as well.

A son to Puerto Rican immigrants himself, Rosello encourages his ninth graders to explore their cultural heritage through the English language. This tactic serves the dual purpose of developing foreign language skills while still maintaining a sense of pride for their homelands. As a result, many lessons spur on discussions about other countries and causes of immigration.

For his exemplary dedication to imaginative ESL teaching, Rosello is a Daily News Hometown Heroes in Education award nominee. If he wins, Rosello will attend an award ceremony and be featured in the New York Daily News on October 5, 2016.