Situational Analysis of Esl Student Essay

3155 Words Sep 3rd, 2010 13 Pages
CONTEXT Katie, aged 15, is a highly motivated student from a family with a strong educational background, currently living and studying in a British-style International School in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, and is a member of the increasing group of globally-mobile students. Katie can be solidly placed into the “entering phrase” of the transition from Taiwanese national to immigrant in a Western society, where she “has decided to become part of the new community, but is still figuring out what that means” (Hayden 2006:53) at the age of thirteen. She is an example of what has recently been identified as a common occurrence for international school students, children going through a “sojourner adjustment” (McKillop-Ostrom 2000), as can …show more content…
The discussion focused on a meta-discussion of learning English in a new environment. LEARNER LANGUAGE ANALYSIS Overall Ability Katie demonstrates skills and proficiency consistent with that of an intermediate-level communicator. She engages with the speaker and enjoys conversation, at times during interview she expresses enthusiasm with gestures, leaning over to listen intently. She has a solid ground of basic conversational English and is adept at “communicating what she means” through circumlocution. Borrowing Cummins’ (2003) distinction between “Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills” (BICS) and “Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency” (CALP), we can derive a very intuitive understanding of where in particular Katie struggles. These two distinctions are often cited in cases like Katie, specifically in understanding the time duration required for achieving native-like fluency (Cummins 2003). Since Katie has been submerged in an English-medium environment for a year and a half, theoretically she would be at the cusp of making the transition from BICS-like to CALP-like proficiency. In addition, Rhodes argues that “obtaining information about an LEP [Low English Proficiency] student’s skills in both types of language proficiency” is useful because it “sets the stage for expected levels of performance” (2005:139). In our particular case, we are concerned about performance on an externally-assessed examination, and so

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