The kids I encounter all have coping mechanisms for being in a foreign country and learning English. I know it. It is fricking hard to be dropped into a foreign culture and be expected to thrive.
That aside, one of the most extreme coping mechanisms students use is to be electively mute. The kid doesn’t talk. Ever. Extreme, but it’s also very effective. Eventually, people stop asking you questions in a language you are not comfortable with. They let you drift.
But no one drifts with me. Not for long.
Two months ago, Moon did not say a single thing in class. Even to direct Yes/No questions. I got a slight shake or nod of head, and never eye contact.
I started with simple yes-or-no questions. I got a nod or a shake. Still no eye contact.
So I upped the goofy. I got her to make eye contact a few times with clowning around. Got a giggle acting out the answers and the ideas about what she was reading.
Last week she whispered when she tested her flash cards.
This week she spoke audibly, at least half the time.
It’s a start.