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Language lessons at the Laundromat

A multimedia artist in New York City is planning to teach English – at a Laundromat.

Hector Canonge will teach two one-hour English classes a week, as part of his public art project, The Inwood Laundromat Language Institute. What was the inspiration behind the project?

“There are a lot of newcomers [to the United States] in the area, and I see that they struggle with a lot of the concepts that we take for granted – the wash cycle, the spin cycle,” he explained. “Sometimes they even have difficulty asking to buy soap or for change because they don’t speak the language.” (Source: Manhattan Times)

Canonge will teach vocabulary essential to using the Laundromat, including “clothes”, “soap” and “machines” before moving on to more complex aspects like verbs and possessive nouns. He will use flashcards, a brochure and the environment to support his teaching.

At the end of the project a graduation will be held for the students. The art comes in at the end of the ceremony – Canonge will unveil a multimedia interactive kiosk installmant in the Laundromat which will “outline the process of the project and highlight individual experiences that took place over the course of the month”.

This sounds like a great way of reaching out to the community and involving them not just in language, but art. What’s the most unusual place you’ve learned a language?