Sunday, 6 February 2011

Part 1-English language reading provision for EAL Students who are not literate in their first language

For my case study I have chosen to look into the provision for a year nine EAL student from Ethiopia. He speaks Amharic and Somalian but he is not literate (can not read and write) in them. He has difficulties reading in English. I would like to find out what kind of strategies we can teach him to develop his reading and use this data for other EAL students with similar backgrounds. 
(The name has been altered for confidentiality reasons under the data protection act)

(All the information was collected during a series of face to face interviews with Malik and telephone conversations with his father. Malik was aware that he was being recorded and his father was informed about the purpose of the interviews)

Malik was born in Ethiopia and lived in a refugee camp ran by United Nations High Commission Facilities for refugees until he was 12. He came to Somali once or twice to visit his grand mother. He never went to school neither in Ethiopia nor in Somalia. The camp did not have any education facilities. They had just a clinic for emergencies. They had to eat what they were given and live in the tents.  

Malik’s father has been living in England for 12 years. He left his family when Malik was 1 year old. However, he kept in touch, supported them financially and helped them to move to England, even though it took a long time. Malik and his family flew to England last year. He was 13.

Malik’s father is currently unemployed. Malik told me that his father often reads to him and he helps him with his reading practice. He also goes to Deptford Community School ran by group of teachers. The family pays a small monthly charge to attend the lessons. There he learns reading and writing in English. Classes take place on Sunday morning for a couple of hours. In his free time, he likes playing football, computer games and reading. 

During the interview, Malik’s father told me that he was extremely proud with his son’s progress considering the hard life and the tough environment his son had to endure since he was born.
When I first interviewed Malik, he did not tell me that he was born in a refugee camp and he had never been to school. He also did not admit that he never lived in Somalia except for the time he went there to visit his grand mother once or twice. His father explained to me that his son feels embarrassed to admit that he has never been to school.
Brooker; Early Childhood Literacy

I would like to explore his background in detail in order to see the factors affecting his level of readings. I will use Liz Brooker’s early childhood literacy (2002) case studies format of data display from interviews with mothers before I start the reading sessions with him. I will inquire about Maternal Education, Family Literacy, Early Learning (Play activities), Pre-school experience, Home curriculum, Home Pedagogy and Preparation for school.



Maternal education

Mum did not go to school when she was young in Somalia. However, she went to the adult education and learnt reading and writing in Somali, before the conflict broke between Somalia and Ethiopia. At present, she continues going to Lewisham College since Malik started school at Crofton. She is literate in Somali but she speaks little English. She did not have enough confidence in herself to speak to me for this interview.

Family Literacy
They have books to read at home. His dad often reads to Malik. His father told me that the books he reads to him are KS1 reading books. The family has computer with Internet access at home.

Early Learning (Play activities)
Malik was born in a refugee camp in Ethiopia and lived there for 12 years. He has never been to school. In the camp they did not have any provision for children’s education. He can speak some Somali, Amharic and very little Arabic. He goes to Koran courses to learn to recite.

Pre-school experience

He has not attended to any nursery.

Home curriculum
His father helps him with his reading and writing in English. He also goes to a community school in Deptford every Sunday 2 hrs. in the mornings.

Home pedagogy
Malik has 3 sisters and 3 brothers. He is the 4th child in the family. They learn through play and conversation.

Preparation for school
There was not a lot of preparation for secondary school apart from his father trying to teach some English to him.

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