Focus on the Learner

Mumtaz Ahmad

Background The student I am focusing on is a 25 year old boy from Libya. He has been living in Libya his whole life and came to this country to learn English. He has been in this country for the last 11 months. He works for the Local Government in Libya and said due to recent developments in Libya, the country is opening up its trade relations with the rest of the world and English is a necessity to be able to communicate with other people from other countries. He said that English is a national language and without good English skills he cannot carry out his work duties effectively. He said said that in Libya he was taught some English at school, however this was never practiced as there were not any English speaking people to practice with. In this country the student is living with an English host family. He said that he lives with “women and dogs”. He has to communicate with them in English therefore he feels his spoken English is improving quite well as he has no choice but to speak English with his host family.

Motivation for learning English His motivation for learning English is for his work duties and he has an ambition to go to America to study for a Masters and he wants to improve his English before he starts his Masters degree. He also said it is necessary to learn and to be able to communicate in English as it is needed everywhere these days and he feels it is a skill for life. He also feels that he needs to learn English to have good communication relationships with people from other countries to help him with his work.

Learning style From my observation of this student, his enjoys visual learning. He enjoys learning in a practical way. The student does not enjoy the „deductive approach‟ to learning, he enjoys learning English using the „inductive approach‟. From observing the student I noticed that he uses a dictionary to look up the meaning of words. This may help him to understand the overall meaning of the sentence.

Focus on the Learner Mumtaz Ahmad Areas of difficulty The student said that the area he finds most difficult is learning grammar.  Learning preferences.  Specific problems and suggested solutions (language related AND pronunciation related): identify specific problems which are common to several of the students. His English can be understood and he can make himself understood however his English is very broken and the correct use of words are not always appropriate for the context he is speaking in. His pronunciation is a very strong Arabic accent. He has many spelling mistakes and many of the words are spelt wrong. He said from one lesson he wrote down 20 words that he will save and then memorise.  Learning styles.  Motivation. His method of improving his English is to memorise vocabulary.  Learning Background. Where and for how long have they studied English? Have they learned any other languages? Have they lived or studied abroad? Give examples. You may also include your own ideas or materials. Auditory or Kinaesthetic? Is there much variation amongst the individual members of the class? Give examples. Suggestions for improvement. . His also finds written English difficult and he also has difficulty with spelling and he doesn‟t have a good range of vocabulary in order to communicate effectively. Visual. Why are the students learning English? Which reasons given are examples of intrinsic motivation. What types of classroom activities do the students like? What do they dislike? Give examples. He said that when he wants to talk about something that may have happened yesterday he finds it hard to explain what he wants to talk about. and which are extrinsic? Are all the students equally motivated to learn? How is this reflected in the classroom? Give examples. What do you perceive to be the dominant learning styles within the group. He finds it difficult to understand and implement grammar rules. His written English is about the same level as his spoken English. You must include a piece of published material for at least one of the problems below.

writing.  Conclusion: How successful do you think these students will be as language learners? Do you think any will be more or less successful? What advice would you give to other trainees who are going to teach this class? .Focus on the Learner  Mumtaz Ahmad Skills: individual strengths and weaknesses. For the following skills areas (reading. speaking and listening) identify two students who are strong and two students who are weak (in total. write about four different students).

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