Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oai-deki-te ureshii-desu!

Hey guys! Anyone know what my title says? Bonus points if you do...

I'm taking a quick study break because I just have to share this story with you all!

As most of you know I am completely switching gears and have begun a career in education and am working on my Master's of Science in Teaching - Elementary Ed. at Drake University, here in Des Moines. My endorsement areas when I am all said and done will be in Special Education (my primary focus), ESL, Reading and Middle School. Currently I am in my first ESL class and I am loving it!

One of the big class assignments in almost every class is to teach a chapter of the book to the rest of the class in a group. I'm a little sick of this assignment because it's been done so many times so I am so excited when groups switch things up and incorporate great activities. The group that went today was working on the Writing chapter which focuses on how an ELL student learns to write in English.

Right away the group started with an activity. This is perfect for me because it really grabs my attention and gets me thinking.

Their activity was a writing activity... in Japanese.

One of the group members came in and said, "Welcome to Japan! We don't have a lot of time so we have to get started!" then he handed out a sheet of paper that look like this:

Then he said:

"Wo toshi wo America jean des"

Uhh, what?

(btw, I'm sure I butchered that sentence... if there is a correct way to spell that. I don't think there is, but phonetically that is how it sounds)

He said to go ahead and use the key to write down that Japanese sentence. We asked him to repeat it a few times. He sighed and said he didn't have all day, but still repeated it slower for us.

Here is what I wrote:

The top line is what I "turned" in. As he walked around to "correct" our work he sighed quite a bit, shook his head, and repeated, "no, no, no!"

After he checked our work he wrote the sentence down on the board the correct way in Japanese, which is the second line on my paper.

He went on to say that in Japan we do not write from left to write - that is just silly! Here we write from right to left and top to bottom! Then he goes, "Everyone knows that!"

We all kind of chuckled, but deep down we knew that this is what some ESL students feel like when they first get here. It's overwhelming and exhausting!

Obviously, the activity was meant to put us in the shoes of an ESL student in America - or well... a JSL student in Japan??? It definitely worked and was very impactful! The little bit of studying I have done of the other languages around the world just amazes me and now I am very interested in Japanese!

If you're wondering, the line in the activity translated into English is, "I am an American."

Also, the line in my header is, "I'm glad to see you!" Which I am! :)

Are you bilingual? Have you tried to learn another language?


Mandy said...

That was a great exercise for that guy to focus on. I can't even imagine how frustrating it would be for someone learning a second language like that.

Shoshanah said...

I'm most definitely not bilingual. I took French, and when I was in France for about a month back in 2005, I knew enough to get by. But now, well I'm sure I could recognize words, but nowhere near bilingual.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

What a great exercise - it's always great to find things like that to similate the frustration of those trying to learn our language! It would be so tough to learn English. I mean, we can't even come to a consensus on how to pronounce aunt. ;)

I am not bilingual. Some day I WILL learn French, though!

Lesli said...

That was a great way to put things into perspective for you! I often wonder about the people who come to America who don't know any English and have to learn everything from scratch! I wish I could speak French, Spanish and Italian--I keep saying that but I really should learn instead of just saying I wish. I did take French in school and I am of French descent, but I know very little and remember very little of what I learned except very basic conversational French and such basic things as colors and numbers in French. Le Sigh!

Kara said...

Even though Canada is a bilingual country, I only know one language. I took French from Grades 8 to 10 but it never stuck. I'd love to learn Chinese one day though.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I took French ALL through school and in university. I could read and write it really well and could carry on jilted conversations in it. And then I didn't touch it for 4 years and lost it all :( Boo. My little cousin is in a French Immersion school and she is fluent in french - at 12 years old! I think it's so cool.

That is a GREAT exercise that guy did. I love it. I think it's always important to be put in someone elses shoes from time-to-time!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

Learning another language is definitely hard. I got my second degree in German and that was such a hard language and culture to learn. What a fun lesson though!

Anonymous said...

I wish I was bilingual. I can speak spanish...very poorly. Haha.