I have a student whose struggles learning English have been monumental. B. is one of the few students at my place of employment who is not here for two or three years to learn English. He’s emigrating here. This has been a source of stress for him because a) he doesn’t have a naturally good ear for learning languages, and b) he has a slight speech impediment.
He has been so valiant in his effort to learn to speak English clearly. Although he still has a very heavy accent that embarrasses him, this year’s classroom teacher had his class giving oral presentations at least once every two weeks. He’s getting more comfortable, and less frustrated, with his own ability to speak English.
Another thing he has going for him is that he wants to communicate. His book reports are detailed works of art in critical thought and precise vocabulary. His control of language is excellent, although word placement sometimes stumps him. Even before he felt comfortable speaking to me, he was handing me book reports that said things like, “The main character is diffident and standoffish because of his relationship to father, who has trouble to understand his son wants to practice being a good father. William is not effeminate, also, he can show his father how to be a father.”
This year at his school, he was awarded the “Most Improved English Speaker” award.
He deserves it. Way to go, B!