Tuesday, March 07, 2006
So I started my second week of school this week, working on the literacy project. It's been an interesting challenge and has taught me as much about language acquisition and linguistics as all my linguistics and langauge courses in college. It's really amazed me how much context and content knowledge affects a student's ability to acquire new vocabulary. The best example is the word 'ghetto'. It was in an article we read, and the students, all Samoan, didn't know it. I used the example of World War II and the Jewish ghetto's, but they hadn't learned about that either. This caused me to realize that there is no word in Samoan for ghetto, because a ghetto is something that, due to the culture here, really can't exist. I'm now working on expanding these students' backgrounds in multi-cultural knowledge and some history so that we can continue expanding vocabulary and reading level. So far, this has been a learning experience of the highest degree. I didn't envision this, but I'm enjoying the challenge of it a great deal!