Over the past two semesters I taught both American and foreign students, most of the latter from Poland, at St Mary's College in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Apart from a course in American culture and another in Poland's recent post-communist history, most of my teaching load was in ESL (English as a Second Language). Some of my students indicated they had improved their English and felt more confident about functioning in the English-speaking world. But I also learnt quite a bit from them.
In addition to vocabulary and grammar, my ESL classes were generously peppered with cultural chats, discussions and, at the more advanced level, even formal debates. One topic that generated a lot of interest was the pros and cons of capital punishment. I also urged my students to candidly share their impressions of America, which most of them were visiting for the first time.