Just to begin with, I would like to emphasize that in this discussion, I am interested in determining the academic progress in the English language of a student by the name Sandra. This is because the student is an immigrant with little knowledge in the English language. She lacks the support from her parents to learn English since all the parents are immigrant. Therefore, the main support she gets is from her teachers who are working tirelessly to ensure that she learns English as a second language. I am also to see how she progress in terms of socialising with her classmates in class.
The interview subject for the sake of this report was an immigrant in his mid 20’s. The name of the subject is Sandra. The subject have been living outside Columbia for approximately six years; the last two in Canada. At the time of this interview, Sandra was in level five of the intensive English program at the George Brown College. Her main goals are to become a nurse and then integrate into the Canadian society. Despite the fact that many similarities exist between the Canadian and the Columbian culture, she prefers the directness of Canadians. The fact that she is comfortable in North America implies that she has to adjust in her English.
This is because despite being proficient in reading English, she has difficulties in writing and speaking English and therefore she find it difficult to relate with his/her colleagues in class. However, it is interesting that she is very willing to improve. She is curious to get help with her writing, speaking and grammar. Sandra believes that the most important thing to do is practice, whether it is with her fellow students or preferably with the native speakers.
Some of the hypothesis that can be stated in this paper and what concerns the expectations of the subject include the following.
- Sandra will improve in speaking and reading English.
- Sandra will actually become independent with her work and use correct English.
- Sandra will improve in her grammar.
The fundamental and main method used to collect data for the purposes of this research was direct interview. From the interview, the general background information was gathered along with the perception of social differences between her native country Columbia and Canada.
The name of the student is Sandra; the student is in her 20’s and speaks Spanish English. At the time this interview was being carried out the subject was in level five at the George Brown college intensive English program. At the course of the interview, the subject successfully graduated to level 6 or grade six. Despite the fact that Sandra had been living in Canada for just under two years, she had been living outside her native country Columbia for approximately six years.
Before coming to Canada, she had been living in a Spanish community in Florida where she had no opportunity to learn English because of the community being dominated by the Spanish community. Sandra left for Canada because she had passion in learning English which could help her successfully deliver in her future career nursing. She also left for Canada because of having the opportunity to learn or study at a university a privilege she had never had while in Florida. At the time the interview was being carried out, the subject specified that she preferred Canada because of its multilingual nature.
As had been mentioned earlier, the main goal of Sandra is to become a nurse. This implies that English language should be part and parcel of her. Therefore, Sandra is taking English subject to enable her develop her communication skills which is critical to successfully deliver her services. She finds writing and speaking English as the most difficult aspects of learning English. Having been brought up in Spanish, she has difficulties in speaking English and punctuation use particularly the comma.
She herself admits the fact that the difficulty she is experiencing in punctuation and speaking English was as a result of direct influence of her learning of the Spanish language. She revealed to me that the Spanish language uses the comma more extensively compared to the English language. For instance, in Spanish a comma is always used before the equivalent of because. According to Sandra, English language is more direct compared to the Spanish language. In order for Sandra to improve in her grammar and speaking fluent English, Sandra is reading a lot more. She is also trying to use correct grammar while speaking English.
I would like to emphasise that my first encounter with Sandra was through the tutoring sessions. During that time, Sandra seemed fairly proficient when it came to speaking English. During the first tutorial session, I requested the group in which I was to tutor whether they were interested. I was surprised and interested with Sandra’s enthusiastic about participating. The following week, Sandra was again present at the tutoring. Because of her enthusiasms in the English, Sandra was very interested in taking part in the study and then set up times for the interview.
I would like to emphasise the fact that I was impressed with Sandra. During the time I met her, I would like to say that her accent was present though she was still understandable. In terms of grammar, she seemed to be good in idioms. She used idioms appropriately during conversation and the correct form. After having a talk with her, I find her useful in choosing her to help me carry out my interview.
It is prudent to note that most part while speaking, Sandra doesn’t hesitate. However, it is also important to state that while considering some of the questions, there was an additional pause indicating that she was making use of a monitor so as to verify her speech. This implies that Sandra is struggling to ensure that she uses proper grammar while communicating.
Sociolinguistic Differences between English and Her Native Language and Culture (Columbian Spanish).
It is also important to note that while in Spanish, you become more formal especially when greeting strangers. There are personal pronoun that is used for people which you have loser relationship with strangers. Some other general greeting rules are that you address older people more formally and you also much more informal with children. It is also prudent to note that there are no rules for addressing people of various professions. However, it is also important to note that the two countries are quite similar in their approaches to greetings.
The social norms are similar in both countries and can apply in both countries. However, the difference in the two countries is that English has a simpler language structure for greetings.
For instance, Sandra when invited to a Canadian home for supper, she noticed the difference in the arrival time. For instance, the Canadians arrive in time while the Colombians arrive slightly late may be by 20minutes. However, concerning the meals, Sandra realises that fast food are more common in Canada compared to Columbia. She therefore feels that North America eats faster and is also more impolite at eating meals. For instance, she realises that it is common in North America for people to eat with their mouths wide open. This behaviour is considered more impolite in Columbia.
In dating, Sandra realises that it is very different in North America. For instance, in Columbia, a man pays for everything unlike in Canada where it is shared on a 50/50 basis.
Other sociolinguistic differences between the two countries include the difference in religion, politics and the same sex marriages. For instance, impolite to use bad words and also to bring up belching and disgusting topics during meal hours. Such behaviours are not allowed in Columbia. Also sneezing without apology is not allowed and it also constitutes bad things. Another thing that is considered bad and impolite is failing to greet people especially after arriving at a social gathering. Another difference is also in greeting people. According to Sandra, Spanish people stand closer while greeting people unlike Canadians.
Discussion of the Second Interview.
The above interview concerning the sociolinguistic background of Sandra shows a lot about the cultural background of the subject. The interview in fact unfolds a lot concerning the similarities and the differences between the attitudes in Canada and Columbia. However, where the difference exists, she seemed to support the Canadian way. For instance, in dating relationship, she prefers the Canadian way where the gifts are shared on a fifty basis. However, the difference exists in her perception of the eating habits of Canada and Columbia. For instance she finds the eating habits of Canada impolite and distasteful.
It is prudent to note that some of the sociolinguistic similarities existing between the two cultures: Canadian culture and the Columbian culture help her in avoiding sociolinguistic failures. However, where there is difference, Sandra seems not to have any problem because of her long exposure to the Canadian culture. Sandra has adapted to the new life in America because of her long stay in North America.
The fact that Sandra is comfortable and admiring the North American life implies that Sandra is in the recovery implying that she is developing intrinsic motivation meaning that she is adapting to the new life in North America.
Analyzing The Strategic Competence Of The Learner And The Strategies She Employs.
Sandra employs different strategies to communicate to make her understandable. For instance, if she realises that she is not being understood by the person she is speaking to, she will write the word for the person to understand. However, where she doesn’t know the word she tries as much as possible in order to find the synonym for the word. This is the strategy she always applies in cases where the person she is communicating to does not understand what she is saying. In cases where Sandra is to speak, she is always worried more on the aspect of pronunciation. This is because, she believes that she is bad in pronunciation and therefore not many people might understand her.
In the area of writing in English, the hardest aspect of writing English is the use of prepositions and articles. This is a strong indication of the influence of her native Spanish language.
It is prudent to recognise the fact that the hardest things to learn in a new language are the speaking and listening. Therefore the most suitable technique that the teacher could help her with in order to learn speaking or writing English is to have her work with the partner. On the other hand, the most suitable way to help her learn listening or reading skills is to advice her to work on her own through practising.
Sandra strongly believes that the language program should be built using the building blocks. This implies that the current process should be based on the previous stage. She also believes that there exist both the positive and the negative aspects of the teacher especially with having them speak the way they are speaking. According to Sandra, on the positive side, you may be able to understand the teacher while on the negative side; you may not be able to understand the teacher. She therefore strongly believes that the best way to learn vocabularies is through writing using the dictionary. Therefore, regular practice through the use of dictionary can enable an individual to improve in her/his vocabulary use.
In conclusion, it is prudent to note that this report has identified some of the similarities and the differences which exist between the Columbian and the Canadian culture. The interview has made use of the student of Columbian origin who is struggling to learn how to speak and write English. The report have looked at the background of the study and the subject and incorporated the most useful ingredients needed to make the report clear and relevant to the topic of discussion.
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