Student Language Assessment

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Guild (2001) says “We… are products of external influences, especially within our immediate family, extended community, and culture.” This is important, as an educator, to keep in mind when teaching ELL students. This is important to keep in mind when teaching children from other cultures, also. The information I gained from reading and watching the learning resources in weeks two and three were very valuable in observing the student I chose to observe.

The student I chose, J, is in a team member’s class. He caught my attention at my school’s academic fair. He is Mexican and was born in Mexico. He moved to Winnsboro, South Carolina when he was five years old. He is now nine years old and in third grade. He, his siblings, and his parents all speak Spanish at home. J knows enough English to get by in school and translate for his parents when needed. I believe J takes his schooling very seriously. For example, when I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him, I sensed that he puts a lot of responsibility on himself, as he is the only member in his family able to speak English. He helps translate simple conversations between his family members and others.

The reason he took my heart at the academic fair is because he was trying to solve a multiplication problem and when he could not answer it on the first try he started to cry. I immediately went over to where he was, comforted him and helped him understand that not understanding a question was alright. I assisted him and gave him some tips on how to solve multiplication problems he is not sure of. Just by talking to him for a couple of minutes you can tell that he takes his education very seriously. From what I could gather from him I think his family feels educ...

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...t of the students at my school use it makes it harder for him to understand what they are saying. Even as a teacher I have to ask my students what a slang word they just said means. I give J credit though he does try hard and he tries to interact as much as he can. He definitely is not a wallflower.

J is a strong willed young boy that uses his heart and soul to do well in his schooling. It is plainly obvious that he wants to do well. Overall I think he would be able to do this with more support. My hope is that after sharing some of my findings with his teacher she will be willing to incorporate his language and culture into her classroom. He needs more support and with his teacher’s cooperation he will get that. The little time I have spent with J so far I realized he has the guts and motivation to go out in the world and conquer it and I believe he can do this!
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