ESOL Writing Class
From Nancy Hayes
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Hi, I'm Maria. I'm part of an ESOL Writing class, and I want to share an extraordinary experience I had recently, thanks to my professor, Prof. Hayes. She's not your typical teacher; she believes in using innovative methods to engage us. This time, she introduced us to the world of virtual reality at the Reality Collab, where we were to choose one out of five VR experiences. After immersing ourselves in these virtual worlds, we were to write an essay about our experiences. Let me take you through my journey.
In class, Prof. Hayes enthusiastically presented our options. The first was the Human Body VR, promising an inside look at our anatomy. Then there was the Anne Frank House VR, offering a poignant glimpse into history. The International Space Station VR, where we could float in zero gravity. "Traveling While Black," a powerful narrative on racial segregation in America. And lastly, a visit to a refugee camp, shedding light on global humanitarian crises.
I chose the Anne Frank House VR. As I put on the headset, I was instantly transported to Amsterdam during World War II. Walking through the secret annex, I could almost feel the texture of the walls, the creaking floorboards underfoot. It was surreal - seeing Anne's room, the pictures she had pasted on the wall, her diary...
This experience was more than just a lesson in history. It was an emotional journey, making me feel the weight of the past, the struggles, the fear, and the hope of a young girl in hiding.
Back in class, I poured my heart into the essay. I wrote about the immersive experience, how it made history come alive, and the emotional impact it had on me.
In the following classes, we shared our experiences. Some classmates spoke about the awe of floating in the International Space Station, others about the profound lessons learned from "Traveling While Black," and the eye-opening realities of life in a refugee camp.
Each story was unique, each experience deeply personal. Prof. Hayes' assignment was more than just a writing exercise; it was a journey of empathy, understanding, and connection. It taught us that learning can be immersive, that history and current events are not just facts in a book but real stories of real people.
And that's the story of how a simple class assignment turned into an unforgettable journey, one that I'll carry with me for a lifetime.