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Nicholas Russell

Language Link
September 17th, 2013

Written Assignment One: Focus on the Learner

The student that I chose to monitor and profile from my teaching practice
class is Anh. He is currently enrolled in the Intermediate level English course at
Language Link and has only started to study English intensely for a little over two
months. He is of Vietnamese nationality and is able to speak the Vietnamese
language fluently with ease. Even though he has only studied the English language
seriously for a few months, he is a student who is quite capable of learning the
material quickly and absorbing a lot of information at once. He is able to speak the
English language quite well because he had to practice speaking English at work.
He is able to juggle many tasks at once, starting from working in the morning at the
restaurant, then going to school in the afternoon, to finally working another job as a
receptionist during the night. This goes to show how dedicated and motivated he is
for learning the English language. He wants to improve his English skills so that he
can one day become a manager and to potentially be able to study abroad. He
wants to improve on every area, but would really like to enhance his speaking and
listening abilities. If he can listen correctly, then he will be able to help his foreign
customers when they need translation or just assistance in general. Before enrolling
in the English course at Language Link, he simply taught himself the English
language. Daily conversations with native English speaking customers helped to
improve his speaking and conversation skills. To him, being able to practice and
conversing with native English speakers has been very important in honing his
English skills.
There are four skill areas that he shows signs of both strengths and
weaknesses. With regards to reading, he seems to be very hesitant to do so
because of his fear of rejection by his peers. Many of his peers have been studying
the English language for a lot longer than he has, so they have been able to
practice and focus on the reading skills longer than he has. The fear of pronouncing
something wrong and getting laughed at by his classmates or being looked down
upon causes him to stumble on words or phrases that he would typically not have
difficulty reading. Another weakness with his reading skill is that he tends to miss
punctuations, such as commas and periods. He will read and not pause in the right
places, so then the sentence will run on for too long and not have any real flow to it.
This is the skill area that he seems to have had the least amount of exposure to. In
relations to his writing skills, he exemplifies the typical mistakes such as spelling

errors, but his creativity in his writing pieces more than makes up for his minor
weaknesses. For a certain writing task, he was asked to write down his thoughts
about his hometown. He made small errors in spelling here and there, but his ability
to convey and express emotions that went above and beyond his learning level
showed his creativity potential. The skillset that he shows the most promise in is his
speaking skills. This is an area that he has had the most practice with, even before
he started to study the English language at Language Link. He is comfortable
speaking in class and voicing his opinion or expressing his ideas because that is
what just comes to him naturally. He is not worried about making mistakes with
speaking because he knows that it can easily be corrected once puts his voice out
there to the audience. He is very curious and seems to be able to adjust very well to
any feedback that is given.
The two grammar areas that he seemed to struggle with the most were
articles and tenses. Since the Vietnamese language has classifiers to signify if an
event happened in the past, present, or future, this area is a major weakness for
most Vietnamese students 1. In the English language, its not as quite
straightforward when compared to the Vietnamese equivalent, so that can be very
complicated for the learners. Anh makes these mistakes because he literally
translates what is spoken in Vietnamese to English. For example, some of the
phrases he uses is I meeting you after school and I go to slept at nine oclock.
He doesnt quite know how to differentiate between the different verb tenses to
make it past tense, present tense, or future tense. I believe the instructional
worksheet that is attached will help him clarify and aid him in how to use verbs in
the correct tenses. It shows clear examples with rules and structure formation that
he should be able to understand since Anh is good following rules after being
showed what to do.
Anhs pronunciation of words is actually quite excellent for the fact that he
has had so much little time in the classroom. A certain mistake that I happened to
notice is his pronunciation of the number 6 with the incorrect pronunciation of
sick. Anh is pronouncing \siks\ incorrectly as \sik\, he is essentially leaving out
the s sound at the end of the word. This happens to be true for most Vietnamese
students as they tend to leave out the s phoneme sound in many words 2. Anh
probably heard it pronounced incorrectly from another peer and took what he heard
to be the correct pronunciation form. This leads to the main issue of not being able
to differentiate between singular and plural forms. He often leaves out the s sound
in most plural words. To fix this problem, I would he look at Michael Swans How
English Works, in which the author goes over in detail how to differentiate singular
and plural forms. He can try to work on the pronunciation by trying to practice on
1 Learner English, Michael Swan
2 Learner English, Michael Swan

any foreign customers, such as asking them questions with plural forms and having
them correct his speech if it is not understood. With pronunciation, the best method
for him is to practice with his customers and he seems to learn well with repetition.

Bibliography

Vietnamese Speakers: Learner English, Michael Swan