[ELA 8290] Re: question - ESL vs. learning disability; APTITUDE AND MIMICRY

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Weiss, Estelle eweiss at freeportschools.org
Thu Jul 12 15:06:05 EDT 2012


Yes, Lenore. Those that are uneducated, may have the ability but never had the opportunity. Those who have the education and the opportunity, may not have the interest. There are so many factors. Just because they are in class, doesn't mean they are really "in class." You know, "you bring a horse to water but can't make him drink!"

-----Original Message-----
From: englishlanguage-bounces at lincs.ed.gov [mailto:englishlanguage-bounces at lincs.ed.gov] On Behalf Of lboivin08 at comcast.net
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 5:16 PM
To: The Adult English Language Acquisition Discussion List
Subject: [ELA 8289] Re: question - ESL vs. learning disability; APTITUDE AND MIMICRY

Estelle,
This opens up a huge area of exploration! What other issues may be at play besides resistance?
Stuttering, emotional problems?! I just never thought along these lines before. So we will need to listen and be more sensitive for the "other factors" in our learners' lives!

Thank you for that!
Lenore Boivin

----- Original Message -----
From: "Estelle Weiss" <eweiss at freeportschools.org>
To: "The Adult English Language Acquisition Discussion List" <englishlanguage at lincs.ed.gov>
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 2:02:07 PM
Subject: [ELA 8287] Re: question - ESL vs. learning disability; APTITUDE AND MIMICRY





Ted,

This is very interesting. I found that motivated doesn’t necessarily mean attending class. We had a student who is a pharmacist. Her husband a college professor who got a job at a university to teach so they came here. After speaking with her partially thru another student, I discovered she isn’t doing well, and won’t speak English because she doesn’t want to be here. She wants to go back to Honduras. She is angry that she is here. And although she is educated and they are here legally and if she learned English could work, she is so resentful that she won’t try. She only comes to class because her husband said she had to come.

 

In her case she hasn’t made progress because she is resistant. She wants a job, but resents having to learn the language. Other students who are not as educated as she told her she was throwing away a great opportunity.  It certainly gave her food for thought. We’ll see if she returns in September.

 

Sometimes they don’t learn because there are other underlying circumstances that they don’t tell us about unless pressed!

 

Estelle Weiss

Director Adult Continuing/Community Education

Freeport Public Schools

235 North Ocean Avenue

Freeport, NY 11520

(516) 867-5314  : Tel

(516) 867-5392  : Fax

 

 

 



From: englishlanguage-bounces at lincs.ed.gov [mailto:englishlanguage-bounces at lincs.ed.gov] On Behalf Of Ted Klein
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2012 1:30 PM
To: The Adult English Language Acquisition Discussion List
Subject: [ELA 8286] Re: question - ESL vs. learning disability; APTITUDE AND MIMICRY

 


Lenore,


 


I have observed that a certain number of individuals in language classes, regardless of general intelligence and motivation, are simply not going to acquire a new language, regardless of methods used. I have had ESL students with very little or no literacy in their own languages succeed. I have had students with an excellent education in professional fields in their own countries not move at all. Fortunately, the percentages of non language learners are small, but when they are in a class with peers who are succeeding it is frustrating for the student and the teacher. One of my refugee students from Havana, Cuba who made no measurable progress in English was an attorney, who had held a high position in the Cuban Port Authority. He was very bright and highly motivated.


 


I'm not sure there are any definite answers simply defined by "learning disability." We had a family member in an "institution for the intellectually challenged" for several years. It was in San Antonio, Texas. Perhaps 100 clients were there, some of whom I got to know fairly well. The interesting part is that perhaps 20% of these persons, who couldn't really function in normal society were bilingual in English and Spanish. I chatted with some of them in both languages and even when I switched languages they were able to switch with me. There was a young man there in his 30's born in Europe and mostly reared in this country, who was trilingual in English, German and Magyar. He had profound general learning disabilities.


 


Several years ago, I developed a simplistic but efficient "listen and repeat" test of language learning aptitude.  It consists of a series of five and seven syllable utterances that are very unlikely to be understood , which is necessary for this test to work. What we are checking is simply the ability to briefly retain and imitate what the tester has said. If we used a sentence like "Good morning, how are you?" the results could easily be in memory, invalidating the repetition results. There are students with little or no English who are able to repeat three to five syllables of what they have heard rather accurately. None of my non-language learners could come close to this. Using this test and another one with seven syllables, I can fairly consistently predict the "winners and losers" at the beginning of a class. I know that there are many factors involved in language aptitude. However, I believe that short term retention and mimicry are key at basic levels to becoming functional in a second language. Seven syllable retention seems to be the natural limit for most people.


 


Following is a sample of some of the five-syllable utterances that I have used. Sentences should be delivered at normal speed with no exaggeration or repetition. Students should be told to NOT try to understand what is said. Only imitate. Count syllables and note the number of accurate or fairly accurate repetitions.


 


        

Peg has the pepper.                 The pig ate apples.                  Paul took a big nap.

Tom saw the hotel.                  Betty went later.                     Nate was very late.

Mac heard an echo.                 Connie likes to kick.               Ken caught two catfish.

Bud has bubbly beer.              Betty said "don't sob."            Bob likes to babble.

My dad's name is Dan.           Don did the ladder.                A deal is a deal.

Go get it again.                       Gail is an Aggie.                     Gabe gave some goggles.

Effie found a fig.                    The "F" was a fake.                 Frank was fairly safe.

Think about a path.                 I thought of a bath.                 Thor was a Norse myth.

Sing a song slowly.                 Bessie has a boss.                    Is Cyrus silly?

Sherry has lashes.                    She's wishy washy.                 What does Sean wish now?

 

 

    Theodore A. (Ted) Klein, Jr.
       www.tedklein-ESL.com


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


----- Original Message -----


From: < lboivin08 at comcast.net >


To: < englishlanguage at lincs.ed.gov >


Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 6:34 PM


Subject: [ELA 8285] question - ESL vs. learning disability


 


> Hi, My name is Lenore Boivin and I work with supporting tutors' work with students at our Siena Literacy Center. We have an ESL student who has been with us for several years who does not seem to be making any progress. He never received any education in his language of origin and has lived in the United States for over twenty years. His present tutor is a very patient teacher who has tried many different approaches to help him learn the alphabet, their sounds, how to fill out simple forms and many other things. She repeats always and never gives up trying to find a way to help him remember things. We suspected for a long time that he just did not have much opportunity to use his English because of the tight-knit community of immigrants from Africa. We now suspect that he may have a learning disability. But how can this all be sorted out - low level literacy in ESL vs. learning disability?

> Thank you for your help with this.

> Lenore Boivin

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To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to http://lincs.ed.gov/mailman/listinfo/englishlanguage
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The Adult English Language Acquisition Discussion List
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Email delivered to eweiss at freeportschools.org