Interview with a comparable ESOL learner
The person that I interviewed is Etee Patel and she is in 6th grade.
She attends a class that I teach in Sunday school. Etee, her parents,
and her younger brother live with ten other members of her extended
family. The extended family members include her grandparents, four
younger cousins, two uncles and two aunts. Etee and her family have
been in America for six or seven months. She normally converses in
her native language at home because almost all of her family members
speak this native language. Everyone in her family speaks and understands
English except for her grandparents. Her parents know a little bit
of English. One of her younger female cousins helps her with English
at times so that she can understand what is going on. For example,
when Etee is reading and she comes upon a word that she does not know
or what the sentence is trying to say, her cousin will translate it
into their native tongue to help her understand it. She is very fluent
in reading and writing in her native language. She practices it at
home on a regular basis.
Etee goes to an ESOL class. She told me that she goes to this class
for FCAT purposes. She has problem with vocabulary words, pronouncing
them and not knowing the meaning of words that she is not familiar
with. Etee sometimes needs the teacher to repeat the question over
again or restate it. For example, during Sunday class, sometimes I
have to translate what I say into our native language because she
does not understand. Another thing is that when she comes upon an
unfamiliar word in a sentence, she needs for it to be translated so
that she can comprehend what is occurring in the story. She does not
fully comprehend the English language like a child who grew up in
America and is in sixth grade. Yet, she speaks moderately well English
for someone who has been in America for only six or seven months.
She does sometimes pronounce words that she knows incorrectly. Etee
is not shy when it comes to answering questions that the teacher asks
the class. Every time that I ask a question in Sunday class, she is
always raising her hand to answer it. She is very active in learning
English and is not embarrassed to ask any type of question. She has
no difficultly conversing in English with her friends and teachers
at school. She does have difficulty in her science and social studies
classes due to the terminology that is used in the class. She needs
to have an example shown or explained on a fourth grade reading comprehension
Etee is able to write relatively well in English. She knows where
to put a comma and a period. Sometimes she writes run-on sentences
without realizing it. When you point it out to her, she does correct
it or needs help to form new sentences. At times, Etee does not capitalize
the word to at the beginning of a new sentence. She makes a lot of
silly mistakes because she is always in a rush to finish her work
and be the first one done so that she can play. I have noticed this
from having her in my Sunday class. She loves to write no matter what
she is writing. She especially loves writing in cursive because it
looks prettier then writing in manuscript.
I had her read the book, “Watch for Bears! The Adventures of
Henry and Bruno.” When she came across the word “Henry”
on the title page she pronounced the word as “Herny” instead.
When she continued reading the story and the name came up again, she
had no problem saying it the right way. Also when she came upon the
word “waffles” she pronounces it like “raffle”.
Another word that she pronounced incorrectly was “meadow”.
She pronounced it as “midow”. The fourth word that she
pronounced mistakenly was “closer”. She said the word
like “clozer” pronouncing the letter “z” instead
of the letter “s”. The last word that she pronounced erroneously
was “whenever”. Instead of saying the “w”
letter, she said the “v” letter so she said it like “vhenever”.
When she came upon the word “when”, a couple of times
she pronounced it right. I do not think she realizes sometimes that
she pronounces the word differently because she usually pronounces
them correctly. Whenever she is speaking or reading, it does not flow.
She has different pitches when she is talking and she pauses often
at times when it is not necessary. Etee sometimes stretches words
out longer then they are supposed to be.