From The Tutor
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 04:00:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Jordan
Thanks so much for the links. All of the attachments work.
There are two children, and I guess when I say children I should specify that they are young adults. The son, Yazan, is 22. He is the one who translates anything that needs to be. He doesn't really need to be taught anything because he's been to the U.S. twice for summer camp programs. His English is very good so I just hang out with him and talk and correct anything that he says in a wrong tense or tell him any word that he needs help with. He's not around for too much of when I teach the rest of the family, he works in the evenings so he's away. I think it's working out better that way though because now they can't ask him to translate, they have to think for themselves.
The daughter is 16. When I first arrived she said she didn't know much English even though she has to study it in school. But now that we are talking more she finds it easier. I help her with her school homework in English and I also brought a magnetic poetry set from home so she likes to play around with that. I have been taking walks with her around the city for the past few days and she can converse with me when we do that. She's realized that she's much better than she thought she was.
The mother doesn't know as much, but she has definitely made improvements because she is around with me and the daughter in the evenings and so if she wants to be in the conversation she tries very hard to speak in English. The daughter helps her with translation, but I have definitely already noticed a difference. Earlier today we talked about her wedding and what it was like when she got married. She described as much as she could. Talking about food with her is helping too. She loves to cook so we talk about how to say different foods and ingredients in both Arabic and English.
The father is the hardest to teach. He knows almost no English, and even in Arabic he doesn't really know how to write much because he said he didn't go to much school when he was younger. I have just been sitting with him teaching him a few words a day. We started with things around the living room where we sit, like curtains, carpet, pillows, etc. He can only work on six or seven words a day he says, but I think in time he will start being able to do more.
Anyway, that's pretty much the whole situation. It's going well so far. They are all very nice and trying hard to make me feel at home. It's not an uncomfortable situation at all, and as we're getting to know each other better it's becoming more fun. Pictures have been a nice way to help with English too. I've showed them some pictures of my family and pets and other places I've visited and they're very interested to see them.
Thanks for your help and I'll be emailing again if I have more questions.
From Help Me Teach
Thank you so very much for your great update. I really appreciate it - and learning about your circumstances. Sounds as if you will have a fine adventure with this family. Just your presence speaking English will be of benefit to everyone. I suspect the father will strengthen in English as he interacts with the other family members and you. You may be quite surprised at the progress made by everyone. It is often a matter of having the confidence to speak out and try the language.
Please keep in touch and let me know if you need more suggestions. Again, thank you. Very best wishes to you for a wonderful adventure in Jordan!