Wednesday, November 07, 2012

There is Plenty to Say for Expectation

I tutor a 2nd grade boy in the home of his Somalian family of 5 children.  They are Muslims and though I know many Somalian parents and Muslims,  I had never been in their home. I  understand the value of visiting people where they live and allowing them to visit you at your home. It is the best way to form cross cultural understanding, respect and relationships. Culture is important, it supersedes race in human experience. 

Being in their home has helped me be a better tutor to their son. To learn their expectations for him.  During one of the tutoring sessions, their daughters and two other young girls were studying and reciting Quran in Arabic. Arabic is a difficult language, and not the primary language of Somalians, nor the language of their schooling.  It was a privilege to observe 5 girls between the ages 7 - 13 under the instruction of a young woman no older than 20 years. Any who understands how children learn, could observe in the parent and the young teacher that these girls would learn their Arabic and Quran lessons. There was no talk of can't or “special education” or learning disabilities.   

I immediately transferred this expectation to the young son, who has an IEP and learning challenges. I have spent time in Kenyan schools and clearly understand the ability for poor children and all children to learn well beyond what our children learn in the USA.  I know his parents, culturally,  do not and can not accept that their son will not learn to be an excellent reader of English.  It will just take more time on task and patience. 

Knowing this me and my young student are focused on this expectation. he reads, he write, he questions, I challenge him.  When pencil and paper and book learning is done, he gets to practice on the IPad, a great motivator.  The family is not asking me to teach him Arabic, I do not know how to read or speak Arabic but I do know English and if that young woman in the next room can teach 5 girls how to speak and read Arabic, I surely can teach their brother how to read and write English with a high proficiency and I will. 

I will comment on our progress as it occurs. 

1 comment:

Dawn the Retired One said...

Update to progress. I attended a conference for my student with his teachers. He has made progress in his reading up from 25 words a minute to 75 words a minute. Now that is progress.