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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Emerging Literacy Profile

The student that is the subject of this practicum is a fifteen years old Latino male. This young man is the oldest of two children and is of Mexican parentage. The subject was born in Veracruz Mexico. Veracruz is a deprived neighborhood and school is not a priority for people in this community.

For the purpose of this assignment, to protect the subject from becoming stigmatize and to avoid any legal repercussion we will call student Philip.

The subject came to the United States of America at ten (10) years old; however while in Mexico his elderly grand mother was entrusted with his care and responsibility since the subject was two years old. As a result the subject had a poor school attendance whilst he was living in Mexico. The subject currently resides in a Hispanic community and is required to live in an overcrowded, low income, extended family setting.

The subject has a younger brother, who was born in the USA. Both brothers attend the same school and are in the eighth grade but they are in different class. When the subject entered the United States of America school system, the general assessment placed the subject two grades below that of a child his age. The subject is withdrawn, rarely speaks and appears to be tired or low of energy.

Although there is a father present in the home, the mother takes the leading role as it relates to the care and nurturing of the children. She also takes a keen interest in the academic advancement of her children; unfortunately she lacks the kills necessary, the academic background and the finances to make any meaningful contribution to support her sons in improving their literacy skills.

Even though the family is required to exist in an English speaking society where English is the first language; Spanish is the primary language that is spoken in the household which Philip spend the last five years. This do not aid in facilitating the subject in gaining a full appreciation for the English language. The primary recreation factor and social pastime in the subject home is the television and although there is a presence of books every where in the home; reading for any reason (information, educations and entertainment) is none existent.

The children in this extended household spend a large amount of time unsupervised when they are at home; this is so because the adults in this family work very long hours performing laborious task in order to meat their primary financial obligation.

The subject in-school behavior:
I can report from a review of the student’s records; there are nothing adverse about his behavior no bad or poor conduct sheet follows him. Although the parent said the child is vocal when he is at home he appears to be very quiet when he is in the class. from my observation of the subject I have concluded that behaviorally he can be considered withdrawn he rarely interact with the other student but will participate in group activities only when it is required that he so do.

Although the subject has good oral command of the English language he has a deep Spanish accent and is teased by the other children about the way he speaks. The student has poor reading skills and this affect his ability to comprehend text that is required and expected from someone in his grade level. His reading and comprehension of the English language is very poor hence the reason he perform in these two key areas three grades below his current assigned grade.

Professional Observation:

Philip is a very intelligent student with the ability to progress academically, his ability to proficiently read and understand Spanish is a sign that he does not have a learning disability; when that is combined with the progress he made in the command he has in his vocal expression of the English language; this in itself a good indicator that the subject is capable of meeting and surpassing the requirements of his grade; However the student will have to develop a desire to do so.

The subject needs help in dealing with the effect of a Culture Shock: Culture Shock refers to the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not. This is often combined with a dislike for or even disgust (moral or aesthetical) with certain aspects of the new or different culture; which also includes attending new schools and have to go over the process of making friends again.

It is important to note that culture shock may not be totally avoided but the impact could have been limited if his parent had took the time to properly prepare the lad for his new environment and aid him in the adjustment period.

Philip is insecure and timid. Such insecurity and timidity may be the effects of the culture shock; he also needs the help of his parent and guardian. He needs help in building his self-esteem and an attitude that he can do anything he want to.

The Recommendation:

Although I feel inadequate to tackle such a task, my observation has lead me to come up with a few ideas that may aid the subject in improving his academic aspect of his life. In order to make Philip the subject of this study a stronger student; it will take the cohesive or the combined efforts of the two primary institutions in this student’s life which are the home: the parent, the guardian as well as the school system (the teachers).

  1. Philip teachers will have to ensure that particular attention is paid to Philip thus ensuring that he received a level of personalized attention.

  2. Philip needs to be supervised while at home, his parent and guardian need to get involved in Philip’s academic life. They need to ensure that Philip spend quality time doing homework.

  3. Philip’s family need to manage the television and encourage the children in the household to read. This should be done by designating reading times and the adults in the family must also participate in such events. This will give the children in the household including Philip an appreciation for reading.

  4. Both the family unite and the teachers has to help Philip in developing a healthy self-esteem.

  5. Philip’s family need to develop and teach the children an appreciation for the English language and this can be accomplished by making English the primary language of communication within the home setting.

  6. Philip is aware that he is not functioning as is expected, however he needs the help of the parents to instill within him and to motivate the lad to pursue as well as to gain a comprehensive reasons why he should pursue his academic.

    The teacher’s role:

    It is important that the people who are entrusted with this student on site (in-school) academic development to show him that he is capable of performing above his present skill level.

    The Conclusion: a teacher must always enter the class with the concept that there is no student that cannot learn but there are teacher that do not have the necessary skill set to reach a particular child or children. A good teacher will look beyond the surface and help the child to address the psychological and external variables that are creating a block and is preventing that child from learning. For the potential is endless.

    Reference: Wikipedia on line encyclopedia

    Culture Shock: Dr. Carmen Guanipa, Dept. of Counseling and School Psychology,San Diego State University.