Elizabeth Mariscal describes herself simply as “a language nerd.”
Instructor Profile: Elizabeth Mariscal, English Learning Institute
So it’s no wonder she’s been an instructor at UC San Diego Extension’s English Language Institute for nearly 30 years, the longest stint of the department’s instructors.
In her role, she’s often as much learner as teacher.
“Through my students, I love keeping in touch with what’s going on in the world,” she said. “I always enjoy learning how their cultures are changing.”
A specialist in “Teaching of English as a Foreign Language” (TEFL), Mariscal’s mission and approach varies with the many type of classes she teaches. She has also played an integral role in designing the ELI curriculum.
“My primary goal is always to help my students learn English,” she said. “But they all have diverse goals, from getting into U.S. universities, to getting into a professional training program, to simply being able to communicate in English around the world for personal reasons.”
Originally from New Jersey, Mariscal and her husband, Jorge, a UC San Diego professor of literature, relocated to San Diego in the 1970s.
Her teaching style includes a dry sense of humor (“with the advanced classes”) blended with the basics of grammar, punctuation, word derivation and pronunciation.
Her Intensive Legal English classes, a 10-week program she helped develop, is geared toward advanced students who are already practicing attorneys in their home countries, or enrolled in law school.
“When they first get here, I find many students know very little about the American legal system or they have misconceptions about it,” she said. “They’re always surprised to learn how diverse we are, and the wide range of people’s thoughts, views, subcultures, and the role of law in our society.”