Real World English teacher Maria Cristina Morales during class at Allen Middle School.

Original Story, written by Julie A. Palm, is available from our Transform Magazine.

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Real World English meets the practical needs of adult refugees and immigrants by providing a safe space for them to learn the essentials of English while their children have fun and learn, too.

Matias was a line cook in a restaurant. Now he manages the place.

Anna was a teacher in her home country and wanted to pursue her profession in North Carolina, too. Today, she’s teaching Spanish at an elementary school in High Point.

A student during a citizenship during the real world English program at Allen Middle School.
Students in the Real World English program studying about citizenship at Allen Middle School.

Salvador* has long worked at a cemetery but now is studying to become a minister.

The Real World English program gets real-world, life-changing results. “We have had students who’ve taken and passed the GED, and several who have taken tests to get a professional license, like cosmetologist. And we’ve had several people take and pass their citizenship test,” says Dr. Barbara B. Levin, professor emerita in the UNC Greensboro School of Education’s (SOE) Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education (TEHE), who serves as a liaison and teacher for the program.

“They feel confident enough to get a promotion at work. And they feel more confident advocating for their kids and themselves, which is really important.”

Since 2015, Real World English has operated as a partnership between the School of Education and Allen Middle School in Greensboro, offering free English and computer literacy classes to adult refugees and immigrants who want to improve their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Teachers include UNCG faculty and student volunteers, as well as current and retired teachers from Guilford County Schools, all using best practices for teaching English as a second language (ESL).

A student, left, during a citizenship class at The Real World English program at Allen Middle School.
A student, left, during a citizenship class at The Real World English program at Allen Middle School.

Read more in our Transform Magazine. Explore the pages of this annual publication and discover how the work of our faculty, students, and alumni is having an impact not only at UNC Greensboro, but in our community, nation, and world.