This is my paper that is due today for my Theories of Second Language Acquisition course and it's an analysis of my personal social and cultural linguistic location. It's about 7 pages long double-spaced, so brace yourself if you decide to go further. It gives a perspective of how my background influenced my road to literacy and how it would contribute to me being a teacher one day. I thought it would be a good post for my future grandkids when I start to catch a breath for every sentence =). Enjoy!
It was spring of 1980 when my parents received news of possibly being sponsored towards a new life in
My mother was 7 months pregnant when she arrived in
After two months of immersing themselves into the culture of
Mr. John and Mrs. Peggy housed my parents for a year before my parents moved out to their own place. Within those two years, my parents learned how to speak, drive, cook and assimilate themselves into the culture. They were placed in a language development program to learn the grammar and pronunciation of the English language. As for me, Mr. John and Mrs. Peggy thought it would be best for me to be placed in a daycare program. Although Vietnamese was my first primary language, I was able to emulate and learn from the other kids at the daycare I attended, which included small phrases and habits enabling me to become bilingual. Furthermore, I was able to spend a lot of time with Mr. John and Mrs. Peggy’s family. They always made time to take care and embrace me into their home and culture. As an infant, I learned the meaning of biculturalism, a life consisting of Vietnamese and American values.
My family’s encounter with them was one to never forget because it was a stepping-stone to their future. As much as they loved the relationships they have strengthened throughout the two years, my parents were not accustomed to the winter in
When we first moved to
We stayed in
When we moved to
Due to my parents being occupied with work, they decided to send me to preschool at
With me being placed in the ESL program for first and second grade, my parents and I discovered that I began lacking the ability to understand other subjects. It was difficult for me to comprehend math. The curriculum and methods were helpful because it challenged me to think and allowed me to catch up. After two years, my parents had to take my brother and I out of private school to go back to Braddock Elementary since tuition increased and my parents were no longer able to afford for us to continue.
When I returned to Braddock Elementary for fifth and sixth grade, I was able to attend school without being a part of the ESL program. My fifth and sixth grade instructors were the best teachers I have ever experienced throughout my elementary years. Mrs. Schillinger and Mrs. Blythe both challenged me in the field of history and literature. I enjoyed class and it helped me improve on my self-efficacy in literature. Another great influence towards literacy was my father. He brought us to the library every weekend to pick out books to read and it was our way of spending time together.
In the same year, my brother and I were enrolled into
My teenage years were spent at Culver City Middle and High School and it was the first time where I was surrounded by such a diverse group of people. Once I came home though, it was a different atmosphere altogether. The peace and security I felt at school, sometimes made me feel weary when I was at home. I would witness graffiti on the walls and gang members stationed at every corner. The one benefit I acquired living in
Throughout high school, one of my favorite courses was my English Literature class during my junior year. It helped me take interest in other types of readings that I would never pick out for myself. My favorite author of all times is John Steinbeck and this class helped me develop a liking for reading and writing. Another language I was able to acquire in high school was Spanish. It was a part of our curriculum to take a language course for a minimum of three years. It was helpful that many of my friends were bilingual in Spanish and English and were able to train and have me feel comfortable in speaking the language around them.
As I approached college, I had the opportunity to take on electives that further enhanced my knowledge and outside of my business program. One class I valued in particular was my Chicano Literature course taught by Dr. Limon. In the class, I ventured onto my creative side and focused on all types of short stories in Chicano Literature. Towards the end of the semester, we were assigned to write a short story for a novel we all put together and it was published in Encantos. From the class, I was able to appreciate literature and writing as an art.
After college, my passion for writing and reading followed me. It was more for my enjoyment and knowledge versus being assigned to in a class. Nowadays, I find myself reading all types of books consisting of fiction, self-help, motivational, history and autobiographies. In addition, I enjoy journaling or blogging on my free time to keep note of my life to pass on to my future generations and allow them to get know to me in a more personal level.
Throughout my life, it was helpful that I was immersed in a various cities and had the chance to learn different ways of communicating depending on my social setting. It motivated me to become well rounded and open to life and see what it has to offer and give back as a teacher. Experiencing numerous cities and community organizations that placed me in all types of neighborhoods, I never felt as if I did not belong, it only enabled me to transition and conform immediately to build my understanding.
Although my cultural heritage is Vietnamese, I believe that my linguistic heritage consist of both Vietnamese and English with a working knowledge of Spanish. Having this as a background is helpful with my interaction with others by creating a more welcoming aura to others. As a teacher, it would help me to communicate to the parents and student to work together and build a curriculum that would motivate and challenge the student. Furthermore, this helps me become a more understanding instructor for English Language learners by putting an emphasis on gauging the students’ abilities and help those students utilize their language skills to focus on content and material by creating proper assessments to see where I need to devote my time.
A collaborative environment is what I would like to achieve by working together with the parents as the primary teachers and community participation is encouraged as an integral part of the education of our children. I would like to promote intrinsic motivation on part of the students to use their L1 and L2 actively in order to generate their own knowledge and remind those students to see that it is a gift and strength to know another language and it would not inhibit them from learning, but only make them better.