EMSB faces questions on international students

An audit of the international students taking adult education classes at the EMSB showed that many were unable to understand English or French.

Full disclosure here: I taught briefly in that system around that time. One of my classes had only people from China, and the other was more diverse, with Chinese students and local people.

I was teaching a graphic design course, nominally about proofreading, but you can’t teach proofreading for 60 hours so I included aspects of typography and principles of adapting layout to content and using type to create emphasis and convey meaning. It was kind of fun.

The Chinese students were great and they all passed my final exam, which partly tested their comprehension as well as their spelling. In China everyone learns English in school, albeit often a slightly broken-telephone English learned from people who learned from people for whom it wasn’t a first language. Still, they all knew enough to learn from me, and pass the module, even the young guy who seemed to be napping in the back of the class most of the time. I was agreeably surprised.

Yes, some of these folks were probably signed up for the course because it gave them enough educational hours to qualify for permanent resident status. So what? They were willing to put the effort in, and if none of them actually became a graphic designer*, many of the skills are transferable. And my folks can proofread.

Incidentally, I don’t really see where French is relevant to this story, because the EMSB was not giving instruction in French.

*I had one student whose illustration work was topnotch, so I hope he got into video game work, which would suit his style, and a trio of young guys from Chengdu who were already making websites. The EMSB may be at fault but they were not wasting their efforts in the long run.