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Debra McPherson

Debra McPherson, M.A.

English As A Second Language, Language Arts

Email: dmcpherson@cypresscollege.edu

Phone: 714-484-7000 Ext : 48424

Office Hours : Monday and Wednesday 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday and Thursday 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Location: CCCCE Building 2



I did not go directly into teaching or English as a Second Language. Though I had always enjoyed language and writing, my interest in animals and medicine led me to begin my college career at the University of California, San Diego with the intent of becoming a veterinarian.

But my interest in language was renewed when I learned about all of the people in the world today who are cut off from written communication ( books, letters, the Internet...) because they never developed a written form for their language. Some of these language groups are small but others are quite large. I responded to this challenge by changing my major to linguistics, the science of language and communication. I earned my Master's Degree in Linguistics and left the United States to go work among a people whose language was still unwritten.

I spent a year and a half in France learning the French language and then continued to Chad, Africa. In Chad, I lived in the African countryside with the Kera people to learn their language and develop an alphabet and literacy. For the next six years, I lived and worked among the Kera people while also teaching linguistics, principles of dynamic translation, and cross-cultural communication at the university level in Africa, France, and the U.S. When I left Chad for the last time, the Kera people had a working alphabet, several short health booklets, some portions of the Bible translated into their language, and literacy classes in many of the villages.

I enjoy language and other cultures! I know what it is to learn another language as an adult and I know what it feels like to live in (not just vacation in) a country whose language and culture are very different from my own.

After I returned to the U.S., a good friend told me about teaching ESL in the community colleges. I immediately saw that it would be a wonderful blend of working with language and with people from other cultures, so I began teaching ESL in 1991. While teaching at Santa Ana College and Orange Coast College, I completed a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages within the TESL graduate program at California State University, Fullerton. I have been involved in teaching and developing ESL and linguistics curriculum ever since.

I was hired full-time at Cypress College in 1999 and I absolutely love what I do!

Horses remain one of my main interests, together with my church and a large and very close family throughout the state of California.


Recommended Course

ESL 066 C  Advanced Reading

For students eligible for ESL 184 or above, it is a very good idea to strengthen college reading skills.