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Oral Interview

Problem Scenario

Solution Questions

Linguistic background, linguistic overview, writing ability&reading ability

Describe the nature of formal schooling of the child in the home country-
Elementary and junior high education is mandatory in Japan. More than 90% of Japanese students graduate from high school and over 40% graduate from a university or junior college. Most schools require entrance exams, which makes the Japanese education very competitive. To get ready for these exams, many students take preparation course called juku. At 4-years-old, Tomoko attended a preschool/preparation course in Japan. Because her family moved to American when she was 5 years old, Tomoko is not familiar with the common practices in the Japanese school systems.

What type of literacy education did he/she have-
Tomoko was introduced to the Japanese language well before she entered preschool. At four years old, Tomoko was learning Japanese quicker than most of her preschool classmates. Tomoko’s family placed a great emphasis on communication; therefore, Tomoko has a large vocabulary and is able to express herself in clear terms. Tomoko began learning English as soon as she came to America. Tomoko is making remarkable success in learning English at home; however, she struggles to show this success in the classroom.

What is the priority given literacy / literacy development in the home (are there books at home, do the parents read with the child, are the parents literate themselves, etc?)-
Tomoko’s family understands how important education is and they want Tomoko to have the best education that she can. So there are books in the household, a combination of English and Japanese that they brought over from their home country. Tomoko’s parents try to be apart of her education upbringing as much as possible. But, unfortunately Tomoko’s parents are not around as much as they would like to be because they are running their store. Tomoko’s parents are literate, they can read very well in their own language, and they can also read in English but they have some trouble understanding some things. They allow Tomoko to use her schooling to help them with whatever they don’t understand.

Describe the linguistic development of the 1st language of the child prior to coming to the United States-
Tomoko’s linguistic development was well defined prior to coming to the United States. She was surrounded by many family members that constantly talked to her while she was an infant. Even thought she is young she has a very big vocabulary in her native language.

Describe the nature of English language learning the child had prior to coming to the United States-
Tomoko had little experience with the English language prior to coming to America. Her parents spoke some English in Japan in preparation to coming to the United States; therefore, Tomoko had some experience in listening to another language. Her parents encourage literacy in both languages and ensure she is exposed to both. Tomoko has above average ability in her native language. She was not exposed to English at school in Japan because Japanese preschools teach only Japanese. All of her exposure prior to coming here was through her parents.

Describe the English language competence of the child just prior or at the time of arrival in the United States (the nature of BICS & CALP in the home language)-
Tomoko was starting to develop BICS in her native language through listening and interacting with family conversations. Her English answers only included words such as “Yes”, “No”, and “Please”. She was applying what she was learning, and listening to the pronunciation of words. Because literacy is encouraged in her family and she has such an excellent grasp on her native language, Tomoko should show significant progress in learning the English language. BICS was developed in her native language, however CALP was barely developed because she had not been exposed to any formal schooling in the learning the Japanese or English language.

Linguistic developmental history of child in 1st & 2nd languages between date of arrival in the US and present time-

Tomoko moved to Buffalo when she was 5 years old.



3 months

1 year












L1- Tomoko has a rich vocabulary.  She is able to use descriptive words to enhance her speech.

L2- Tomoko is beginning her ESOL classes.  She has a poor vocabulary.  She knows common English words such as ‘Yes’, ‘No’, and ‘Please’.   

L1- Tomoko’s vocabulary is stable in Japanese.  She uses descriptive words, but has not had many additions to her native language.

L2- Tomoko is slowly progressing.  She is familiar with some of the common sight words such as ‘the’, ‘his’, ‘mine’, and ‘you’.  Tomoko is still unable to communicate with other children.

L1- Tomoko is still talking in Japanese at home, but in school she is using it less for her lessons.

L2- Tomoko is still a little slow in responding to questions asked of her, but she is learning more words all the time.  Tomoko is now starting to put her sight words together.  “Thank you”, and “ Yes, please”.

L1- Tomoko now is starting to use less of Japanese.  When she is talking to her parents she interchanges both her languages.

L2- Tomoko is comfortable with English now.  She can interact with her classmates and understand them.  Some extensive vocabulary words that she is using now are “Dinosaurs”, “Exciting”, “Hungry” and  Predictable”.  Tomoko is able to say these words, but has a difficult time spelling them.

Type and length of sentences

L1- Tomoko can make proper sentence in her native language.

L2- Tomoko can not make a sentence in English.

L1- Tomoko is still making the same progress in her native language.

L2- Tomoko is still not able to make full sentences.  She can put sight words together.

EX. “ He is.”

L1- Tomoko still capable of making full and complete sentence in Japanese. 

L2- Tomoko is now able to make longer sentences, “ My name is Tomoko.”

L1- Tomoko is using less Japanese and more English at home and at school.

L2- Tomoko can now comprehend what her peers are saying.  She is still learning, but she is able to communicate with them.  Some sentences that she makes are “What is the homework for tonight?”  And “ That is cool.”

Stages of:

·         Negation

·         Questions

·         Past tense

L1- Tomoko is in stage 3 of negation in her native language.  She is able to make sentences in her native language using the negative element, but she does not fully analyze her use of the word don’t.

L2- Tomoko is below stage 1 in the English language.  She is able to say the word ‘no’, but is unable to place it in a sentence with other words. Tomoko has very little knowledge of the English language; therefore, she is below stage 1 in questioning ability and makes no references to the past.

L1- Tomoko is showing further knowledge of negation rules, but she is stable.

L2- Tomoko is able to put ‘no’ with sight words such as ‘ball’.  She is at the beginning of stage 1.  Tomoko has reached stage 1 in dealing with questions.  For example, Tomoko can say short fragments of sentence questions such as, “No ball?”  Tomoko still makes no remarks using the past tense.

L1- Tomoko has reached stage 4 in negation.  She speaks well in her native language.

L2- Tomoko is at stage 2 in negation.  She makes statements where the word ‘don’t’ precedes words such as ‘can’ and ‘should’.  Tomoko is at stage 3 in her questioning ability.  Using common words, Tomoko is able to ask questions such as, “Where the dog at?”  Tomoko is experimenting with the past tense in her communication.  She recently stated, “I rided my bike to school.”    

L1- Tomoko continues to make progress with her sentence structure in her native language. 

L2- Tomoko is in between stages 3 and 4 in negation.  She is able to make sentences such as “I was not asleep”, but struggles with tense and verb congruency.  Tomoko has made a great deal of progress in her questioning ability.  She is at approximately stage 4, and is able to use words other than ‘do’ in her yes/no questions.  For example, Tomoko asked, “Do you wear shoes on your house?”  Tomoko is continuing to expand her use of the past tense.


L1- Tomoko is ahead of her classmates in her ability to pronounce words correctly.  Tomoko often leads discussion groups in her native language.

L2- Tomoko is unfamiliar with the pronunciation of most English words.

L1- Tomoko continues to learn new words, and has little trouble learning the pronunciations.

L2- Tomoko is learning the pronunciation of sight words.  She struggles with making the long e sound.  Words like ‘meet’ sound like ‘mit’.  

L1- Tomoko is still making progress in her native language; however, her progress is sometimes hindered by the inconsistent rules between Japanese language and the English language. 

L2- Tomoko is successfully learning her long and short vowels.  She can distinguish between the two in the spoken language and in writing.  Tomoko’s biggest struggle is with the pronunciation of blends such as ‘ch’.  The word ‘church’ sounds like ‘shursh’.

L1- Tomoko is making progress in her native language at a better rate.  She is more familiar with the rules of both languages, and does not confuse them as often.

L2- Tomoko still struggles with the long e and hard ‘ch’ sounds.  The word ‘leash’ sounds like ‘lish’ and the word ‘much’ sounds like ‘mush’.

Cultural/pragmatic appropriateness

Tomoko uses Japanese in many situations.  She is unable to use English in situations that warrant anything more than complex “yes” and “no” answers.

Tomoko is able to use Japanese at school, home, and in public situations.  Tomoko’s ability to use English at home is increasing; however, she is still unable to use the language well in a public setting

Tomoko continues to flourish in her knowledge of the Japanese language.  Tomoko uses both Japanese and English to help her family in their general store.  Tomoko’s speaking is still limited, but she is able to listen and understand very well in English.

Tomoko can communicate in any setting in both Japanese and English.  Tomoko uses mainly English in school, and interchanges Japanese and English in her everyday dealings (home, stores, restaurants, etc.)


L1- Tomoko has a well-developed BICS in her native language, but because she has not attended a Japanese Elementary school, her CALP is not as developed. 

L2- Tomoko’s BICS and CALP are not developed in English.

L1- Tomoko’s CALP is increasing as a result of her schooling.  Tomoko is in a Heritage or Maintenance ESOL program in which Tomoko works on her English as well as her Japanese.

L2- Tomoko is still becoming familiar with the English language.  Tomoko’s BICS is developing as a result of English conversations in her home, as well as at school.  She is still struggling with CALP.

L1- Tomoko has strong BICS and CALP in Japanese.  She is able to function well in social and academic settings.

L2- Tomoko’s BICS is increasing; however, her CALP is not progressing as quickly.  Tomoko’s ability to use the English language in social situations is a result of her family’s use of the language.

L1- Tomoko is strong in BICS and CALP.

L2- Tomoko is becoming stronger in her BICS and in her CALP.  Tomoko is a shy student; therefore, her BICS is not utilized in school often.  Most of her social interactions (at school) are with her Japanese friend.  The two speak Japanese to each other. 

Prescriptive aspects of English: grammar, punctuation

Tomoko is not familiar with the English language.  She does not speak or write in English.

Tomoko is learning to use and write basic sight words.  She is not making use of any punctuation.

Tomoko is making a great deal of progress in learning the rules of the English language.  She uses end punctuation properly, and has a grasp on proper grammar (aside from simple negation problems).

Tomoko is able to write at an average 2nd grade level.  Although she sometimes struggles with the oral part of the English language, she does a good job of using proper punctuation and grammar in her sentences.  Most mistakes that Tomoko makes are characteristic of her grade level. 

 Writing ability in class:

Tomoko is in the second grade. Tomoko’s class is learning about the human body (anatomy). Tomoko worked on a coloring/question sheet about the human heart. This is a record of the sheet questions and her answers.

1. What moves my blood?
T- My heart
2. Of what is my heart made?
T- muscil
3. How big is my heart?
T- The sise of my fist
4. How many “rooms” does it have?
T- four

Tomoko has made a great deal of progress in 2 years. This is a sample of Tomoko’s writing ability. Tomoko wrote and illustrated this brief story about the life of the dinosaur- Pteranodon. Tomoko made use of key words from the class unit on dinosaurs.

Up and Away about Dinosaurs. (There is a picture of a Pteranodon on the cover)
The Dinosaurs is hungre he is looking for some food. He findes mother Dinosaurs’s babbey, egg. The babby crise out for help on this picher. The dinosaurs is comeing Butt he is not afade. Ded. The egg is craking. He is goning to diy and the end of this story.

Basically, Tomoko wrote a story about a Pteranodon who was looking for food. He finds some eggs and the scared babies cry for their mother (Tomoko does not quite grasp that the eggs are no longer the homes of baby dinosaurs once they are born). The mother is coming so the babies are not scared anymore. The mother kills the predator and the eggs finish cracking open. The pictures help to explain the meaning of the story.

Tomoko has a number of spelling problems, but she is progressing in sentence structure. Tomoko is able to express her ideas through writing sufficiently for her age.

Reading ability in class (how might they read?)

Tomoko is still not able to make full sentences.

Tomoko is making remarkable success in learning English at home; however, she struggles to show this success in the classroom. Tomoko is not able to read full sentences, but she is slowly progressing. She is familiar with some of the common sight words such as ‘the’, ‘his’, ‘mine’, and ‘you’.

Tomoko can read descriptive words to a minimum. Tomoko's teacher understands that her reading ability is not the same as the other children, but she knows that Tomoko's reading ability will improve with time. Because literacy is encouraged in her family and she has such an excellent grasp on her native language, Tomoko should show significant progress when she reads in class. She might read Level 1 books to start out, but will eventually be on grade level.


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