Focus on the Learner
Category : Articles
Focus on the Learner
The student I interviewed for this assignment was Bartek, a 29 year old Polish student who was born in the city of kedzierzyn kozle, Poland. He arrived in England with his wife in October 2005 to look for work and learn the English language. For the past 5 years Bartek has worked for a door and window company in Hampshire called Dorwin ltd. His job requires him to read surveys that have been written in English handwriting as well as word processed. He also needs to speak in English with delivery drivers and work colleges.
Bartek studied at Alton College, where he did a basic course in English, which centred mainly on speaking and communicating. He told me that he likes to learn English by speaking, writing, looking at pictures and working with the teacher as well as friends, as he finds these methods more comfortable and therefore easier to learn, but he doesn??™t like to watch English TV / films or read English books. So from this interview and questionnaire alone I believe him to be an Active Studial learner. He really wants to improve his spoken English and receptive skills so that he can communicate more effectively in the workplace, and also, to make a better future for himself and his wife with the chance of better job prospects. So When I meet up with him again I shall suggest that maybe he should try and watch some English TV preferably with subtitles at first as he is a very visual learner,
Though he does not read English books outside of the classroom or the workplace he still has to use a lot of his English reading skills when he is out and about in towns shopping and going for meals. He did however, do a good job at understanding large parts of the questionnaire I gave him, which focused on the interview.
Barteks written grammar seems to match his spoken grammar. For example when I asked him if he liked to make notes in class he answered ???Yes I like make notes because help me remember lesson??? And after the interview when I gave him a questionnaire based on the questions of that same interview, he wrote the answer to question 10: Do you like to make notes in class Exactly the same way he spoke the answer.
The 3 areas of weakness that I??™ve identified are:
Tense weakness: Bartek often uses the past participle of the simple past eg. ???I come to England in 2005??? or ???I come with my wife???
Suggestion: lots of drilling of the correct form eg. ???I came to England in 2005???. And refer him to a Time line exercise to help with past and present perfect to coincide with their arrival to England, as used in ???The Oxford ESOL Handbook??? by Philida Schellekens, Oxford University Press, pgs 32 to 33, steps 1 to 4.
Punctuation weakness: no commas used in written work except 1 which was in the wrong place eg. ???Yes I like make notes, because help me remember lesson???
Suggestion: I would give him a simple worksheet on ???The Comma??? from the website http://worksheetplace.com (see attached) first, so that I can see how much help he may need and also to try reading an English newspaper as it will not seem as long as a book.
Vocabulary weakness: spoken answers to questions eg. When asked the question, When you do not understand something in class, what do you usually do He replied ???My question is ask others for help???.
Suggestion: I would advise him to try the exercises in ???New Headway Upper-Intermediate Students book??? by Liz and John Soars, Oxford, pgs 13-15, Ex T1.7 to T1.13 (see attached)
I would then ask concept checking questions to make sure Bartek has understood the concept of time in relation to the tenses and the time line.
* Where did Bartek live in 2004 Poland
* Does he still live there No
* Does he live in England now Yes
* When did he start living in England October 2005
As a follow up activity, I would ask Bartek to talk about his favourite restaurant which he and his wife like to go to. Using these following questions:
* What is the name of the restaurant
* Where is it
* When did they first go there
* Have they gone back to the restaurant again
* What do they like eating there
I would monitor him closely during this activity to make sure he uses the right verb tenses.
(Schellekens, 2007) (Soars, 2008) (Worksheet Place.com)
Schellekens, P. (2007). The Oxford ESOL Handbook. Oxford University Press.
Soars, L. a. (2008). New Headway Upper-Intermediate Students Book. Oxford.
Worksheet Place.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from worksheet place web site: http/worksheetplace.com