Interpretive memo What surprised me?

Because there are different levels of understanding in this ESL classroom, and because this is a multi-level English language understanding set of classroom students, the need is to find multilevel ways of teaching these multi-level tested language students. The ESL instructor found that by using word cards to pronounce and indicate the word on the card, this type of instruction provides the students with learning to read and speak English language words. These instructors are also very good to understand the need to repeat words distinctly and slowly and repeat everything numerous times. By using the dry erase board to show the singular to plural change usage of each word to help these students comprehend and work on the writing portion of learning this language, I feel this instruction verbally supports language instruction, and is a positive indication that helps show the students’ they are managing to understand and their night’s instruction. By working on language terms and what all that term can consist of helps these students understand picture to word comprehension. By using a lot of hand motions in the instruction since even in different ethnicities hand signals are still hand signals; plus using facial expressions to indicate pain, such as the squinting of the face, these universal terms describing to all present a similar action in all language learning instruction. Tiffany is very well versed in speaking English, a fact that she explained comes from her job at Daylight Donuts in Paris. She excitedly told me that the customers’ she addresses on a daily basis at the donut business is a huge factor in her advanced English language speaking skills, and that she has some of her customers at least speaking “hello” and “good-by” in Khmer. I think the success to learning a new language goes back to constant repetition, whether hearing or speaking these words and phrases. Kathy helped me interview Laura because Laura reads and writes better than she speaks the English language. Laura says that she doesn’t speak the English language well enough and it is because she has a lot of trouble knowing which words or terms will appropriately answer the questions. Her hesitation suggests to me that maybe she doesn’t fully understand the question she hears. I wonder if her difficulty is due to the Texas accent used by society member from this ethnicity. I realize that repetition of words, word-terms, word-phrases, etc. are much a needed means to learning and instructing how to comprehend a second language. We [Kathy and I] also agreed that using her class time for these surveys could help these students work on their reading and writing language skills. One similarity I found from the interviews was that no one I spoke with is yet confident about all three English language skills (reading, writing and speaking), they are either confident about reading and writing or they are more confident in their speaking skills; but not in all three combined. I think reading and writing should be a more connected skill since people learn one

with the other, but this observation also brings to mind the question, “why is it difficult to succeed in the spoken language skill at the same time one is learning the reading and writing portion?” Ana informed me that for her it is the difficulty of word pronunciation and forming the different sounds properly. What Intrigued Me? The advanced ESL class attended with only females read a story about Orville and Wilbur Wright, a relatively lengthy one, to which they answer questions about the story. This style of instruction offers them practice in reading, writing, speaking, and cognitive English language skills; that of putting thought patterns together; although Jeanne will occasionally draw a picture to help explain the ideas behind the sentences in question or the story being read. The advanced ESL students manage complex questions like, “Tell me what you learned when reading this story?” to which these students respond using proper regular-tense verbs in their answers. Jeanne also asks them to write as many sentences (making a story) that they can remember from their reading assignment. So my question becomes, “because both ESL language learning-level instructors use similar behavior patterns (such as the hand gestures and facial expressions), do these ESL students copy this style of learning when they practice or prepare for their reading assignments?” The saying “seeing is doing” comes to mind when learning another language, because people tend to copy the language behaviors they witness. This observation allows me to think that learning any language comes from speaking it, just as Tiffany mentions about her job at Daylight Donuts, learning the language comes from conversations with someone who has the patience to explain, repeat, explain, repeat, etc. that I see the ESL teachers and Kelli Ebel administer. At first I thought the hand signals and physical explanations are mainly used by the ESL students. I thought I could assume that this was because they were being taught the English language with lots of physical gestures accompanying the verbal sounds so that they can associate the sound with the word and that combination with the object. This combination of learning behavior is a necessary and much needed part of language instruction, yet Kelli’s students seem to watch for hand gestures and listen for the pronunciation sounds and accents. It appears that whoever is trying to learn a language wants repetition, clear pronunciations and patience when retaining this much new information. As there is a difference in the subject/verb sentence placement in reading, writing, and speaking these two languages, the speaking of both languages seems to be the hardest to grasp. I think I’ve discovered the similar behavior patterns I been searching for. I see the ESL students using hand motions, using hand directions to help ensure they are saying what they are intending to say and to ensure they are understood in what they are saying, just as their instructors do when teaching the English language. While I hear humor used in these interactive conversations and I

hear someone say that there are a number of similar ways to say the same thing between the English/Spanish languages; when the groups change to speaking Spanish, I see exactly the opposite. The students learning Spanish as their second language use hand motions when they speak and squint their faces with uncertainty when they respond, whereas the ESL students repeat their comments to help the Spanish learners comprehend. These performance variables are the input and output channels of language clarity. It is these relational similarities that I looked for in ESL students. My skills of looking, listening, observing, questioning, collecting, and interpreting will be put to a test and that by “reading” my surroundings, I will find the multiple layers of meaning that lie inside language, in words themselves and in expressions. In listening to these audio interviews, I am noticing a similar re-current theme, that of “multiple layers of language learning and that English language learners seem to make use of the behaviors that work best for their style of gaining awareness.” This theme complicates my study to some extent because this isn’t one familiar behavior, but separate individual tactics that lead to language retention. Maybe the familiar behavior is that they choose to learn the English language because they all simply want to become a part of their present society. Learning to speak, read and write the English language collectively seems to slow down certain individual progress, although research finds that cognitive aging is indeed a crucial factor when attempting to learn and retain language; research also mentions that the different age-level learners are also uncomfortable working in the same classroom where the needs and pace of learning does not match their own My goal is to provide evidence that utilizing hand motions while speaking simple nouns offers a distinct advantage to comprehending and retaining new language awareness. The literacy is in their individual self-study of learning vocabulary which reflects their ability incorporate their vocabulary in active use and their ability to learn a language. This is actually referred to as sub-cognitive behavior, are those which can be exhibited where the student really isn’t aware that this style of literacy is considered a behavior, or the meaning of what they are writing or saying. Richard R. Lee discusses exactly the same behaviors I have been writing about this entire semester, he refers to them as specialized behaviors and are specified as: repeats, imitates, differentiates, recites, permutes orally, associates, names, reads orally, answers orally, copies, spells, lists, transcribes, permutes in writing, answers in writing, chooses, matches or identifies (215-16), making this study written by Lee the perfect hook up to my research project. Although I was surprised about finding his research listing the very behaviors I have been observing, I was, at the same time, surprised to read research about these behaviors. But, it has encouraged me in that I have been on the right observation and behavior track all along. In the ESL program, I think the power of learning the English language comes from continuous repetition, body language indicating a particular part relating to the word these students are trying to understand and repeat; also referred to as sub-cognitive behaviors.

Lee, Richard R. “A Taxonomy of Second Language Behaviors.” TESOL Quarterly 6.3 (1972): 209-220. Web, 21 Apr. 2010.

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