Teaching English to Refugees

Table of contents
Teaching English to Refugees

Paperback €22.00

eBook €14.99

About the book


“Robert Radin’s Teaching English to Refugees does it all, weaving together memoir, philosophy of language, social-justice advocacy, and graphic narrative into a haunting meditation on what can happen when the least powerful among us escape oppression and seek refuge in the United States. With the unerring precision of both linguist and poet, Radin tells a story of teaching English to refugees from such troubled areas of the world as Iraq, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. As he struggles to find ways to reach across languages and cultures so disparate they do not even seem to be part of the same world, a quieter story plays out—his own, where multi-generational Jewish legacies get compressed into incisive and singular moments of prose you won’t soon forget. Through it all, the voices of his Muslim students—haltingly at first, and then with increasing confidence—carve out a space for being all their own. Like Jenny Erpenbeck’s Go, Went, Gone, this spare, unsparing, and intrepid book takes a close, unwavering look at some of the hardest stories of our times until nothing is what it seems at first and students become teachers to us all.”—Katharine Haake, Professor of English, California State University Northridge, author of The Time of Quarantine and That Water, Those Rocks
The author

About the author

Robert Radin is the director of citizenship and immigration services at a prominent social-service agency in Massachusetts. His work has appeared in various publications and has been recognized in The Best American Short Stories 2016 and The Best American Essays 2019.


“Part parable and part memoir, this powerful meditation on language and memory, teachers and students, has a mysterious and magical force to it. It’s a beautiful gift from Robert Radin to his students, and to us, his fortunate readers.”—James E. Young, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Amherst, author of The Stages of Memory, At Memory’s Edge, and The Texture of Memory

“Robert Radin’s book Teaching English to Refugees is a major achievement. This compassionate memoir explores the author’s engagement, as a friend and a teacher, with students who seek to find their places in a foreign world. Rather than teach language in the standard ways, Radin takes a different approach, one that imitates the process by which young children first learn. An impressive and stirring story.”—Merrill Joan Gerber, Professor of Creative Writing, California Institute of Technology, author of Glimmering Girls and The Victory Gardens of Brooklyn

“Robert Radin’s Teaching English to Refugees is brilliant, poignant, and profound. A master storyteller, Radin offers powerful portraits of his adult students, thoughtful commentary on language acquisition, and vivid personal narratives. Teaching English to Refugees is superb creative nonfiction at its best.”—Miriam Kotzin, Professor of English, Drexel University, author of Reclaiming the Dead

"Radin, who lives in Western Mass and is the director of citizenship and immigration services at social service agency, writes of teaching adult learners from Iraq, Eritrea, Bhutan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, people who have fled violence and upheaval to make new lives in the U.S. His lessons, on kitchen tools, laundry, driving, serve as scaffolding for exploring larger questions of language and meaning. “Words are tools, not the indications of the ultimate nature of reality.” We are introduced to his students, their specific triumphs and hardships, their moments of joy and fear, and he writes with candor of his own Jewish upbringing and gestures with grace and specificity at painful moments and memories in his own history. The book braids philosophic inquiry and intimate personal narrative examining what it means to teach, to learn, to speak, to read, the power language, and its limits.“—Nina MacLaughlin, The Boston Globe, 25.03.2021
Additional Information

Additional Information

Delivery time 2-3 Tage / 2-3 days
Author Robert Radin
Number of pages 124
Language English
Publication date Mar 16, 2021
Weight (kg) 0.1560
ISBN-13 9783838215020