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I'm not sure why or what inspired me to pick up a book for the first time. I recall learning to read in Pre-Kindergarten at the school I attended. I took lessons in both Spanish and English, which included combining the two languages and translating from one to the other. I had two classes in all, each with a separate group of teachers and aides. Spanish class clearly taught us how to read and write in Spanish, while English class exposed me to a new way of reading and talking in this entirely unusual new language known as ""English"". To be able to read and write, as a child, one must know the basics; our teacher first made sure we knew the alphabet. It was easy since Spanish is my native language; so it was just organizing symbols to the sounds of words we heard.
As I mentioned in my last anecdote, we were taught English by mixing it with Spanish. However, learning two subjects at the same time was not that easy for a school beginner at a tender age since mind had not yet developed enough to accommodate too much. Besides, there was a lot to be taught within a limited time frame; the teachers had to teach most concepts in a hurry to save time for the following class. I must confess this had a negative impact on my development as far as other fields such as extracurricular activities were involved since there was too little time left for such activities. I could understand Spanish better compared to English since was the subject which was widely spoken by most people surrounding me at El Salvador. As the English language was developing, it became a giant for to comprehend. It was a requirement for me to write and speak English since I was a school in The American School of El Salvador which taught language as the main subject.
Throughout my primary school curriculum, I was becoming better in both Spanish and English languages though my writing skills and speaking for The Spanish language was better compared to English. My family and society affected this performance. I could hardly speak English while at home since none of my family members was good in English. All my family members were not interested in the English language, and therefore I did not have anybody to teach the English language which could have helped me to improve my language. Besides, an attempt to communicate in English to some community members who had little knowledge of English language was considered as ‘pride'. These two aspects greatly declined my morale for speaking in English while I was at school. Particularly, during vacations, my skills for speaking English became poor. However, when I went back to school, I worked hard and consulted both my fellow students to assist me in areas I felt I was weak in as far as speaking, writing and reading English was concerned. Although, it was not easy for me to get the help I was seeking for since most of my classmates were from the area and were poor in the English language. Therefore, it was difficult for them to offer me much assistance in English. The teachers could also no be in a position to offer me personalized attention due to their tight schedule. This contributed to my worst part which has remained an issue since I was in primary school to date I can neither read nor write good English.
Upon completing my primary school, I joined a secondary school which was based in the same location as the former primary school. The management of the school was also from America, and therefore it was a must for me to better my speaking, writing and reading English language skills. The challenges I encountered in primary school were still there which made it hard for me to meet the required English language standards. No matter how hard I tried, it remained a challenge to be fluent like my schoolmates mostly those from America. On the controversy, I was fluent in Spanish unlike them though this was not considered as important as English. Besides, my dream was to Miami, Florida, the USA which made being fluent in all aspects of English language a must.
I come from a financially stable family which believes in the value of offering quality education to its siblings. My family status made it easy for me to access most books which I required for literacy learning. When I enrolled for my secondary school education, my father bought more English materials for me and stocked them in our home library. He did so in order to prepare me for my university education in Miami Florida a location where residents speak pure English. Although I cannot remember their exact titles, the books were interesting and educative, and I could regularly check on them despite being a poor reader. I could read them most of my free time when I was at home more so during weekends and vacations. My reading culture encouraged my parents to start reading them which acted as a guide for them to write simple texts in English which gave me an opportunity to practice English while at home while teaching them. They could also use one or two English words in their daily conversation. Besides, my younger siblings joined Escuela Americana in Spanish which was stricter in ensuring all students understood English than my school. I could, therefore, assist my siblings in doing their homework which mostly involved constructing a few English sentences and interpreting from Spanish to English and vice versa. However, I could only practice what I already knew, but I could not learn anything new from them since they only knew a few Basic English words. My friends also enrolled in schools which spoke English, and this move gave us an opportunity to practice English while we were at home. Our church also introduced an English service where the pastor preached in Spanish and someone competent in English translated into English. This was a good opportunity to enhance my English language speaking skills.
Besides, when I was in high school, I participated in various co-curricular activities such as school games, music festivals, and dramas which gave me an opportunity to enhance my speaking. We could meet other students from the region more so from America-managed schools, and we could communicate in English throughout these activities. Besides, we started holding debates in the school in English to improve our communication skills. Also, at home, we could have storytelling sessions in which we communicated in English. Due to all these efforts, the English language turned out to be my favorite subject in my high school. This interest developed from the fact that all my family members showed interest in the subject. Besides, most of the teachers played a significant role towards my improvement in the English language more so my class teacher who was always willing to assist me anytime I approached her for help. She also encouraged me and assured me she believed in me when I was about to sit for my end of four years course exam. All these efforts improved my skills in English, and I performed well in the subject in my final high school examination. The results made me as happy as a king. I was able to secure myself admission to the university of my dream.
In my family I am the first generation to attend college to further my education. The beginning of college journey was not that easy, and it was characterized by a number of colleges. First, schooling in Miami somewhere miles away from El Salvador my home place has not been easy since I have to cope with the new way of life in the region.Also, being away from my caring parents and siblings used to make me feel insecure. However, I had to cope with these challenges since schooling in the college was the only way to enable my future dream. Therefore, to survive in the college easily, I had learned to depend on myself for most things that my parents used to do for me when I was schooling back home.
In my college education, I am making more effort to enhance my English language skills. However, am still finding it a bit challenging to speak English fluently like the natives since I have Spanish ascent. Besides, I still speak Spanish most of the times while in Miami when with other U.S.A. residents who are fluent in Spanish away from the school premises. Speaking in Spanish give some sense of satisfaction, it makes me feel connected to my people back home despite being away from them.
Besides, am involved in activities which take most of the time leaving me with very little time to concentrate with writing course which am undertaking at Barry University. For instance, I usually spend my time at "Emerging leaders program," rushing for Alpha Delta Gamma National fraternity, and spending time on my part-time job. Due to all these activities, I had some difficulties in completing the assigned assignments for all my classes on time. Particularly, I used to face more difficulty in writing because I needed a lot of time to understand and write the assignments. However, "Claiming an education" by Adrianne Rich and "The banking Concept" by Paulo Freire helped me understand how to analyze texts much better. Besides, these materials have enabled me to learn how to write my research paper which has been my hardest task. Generally, the course am undertaking at Barry University has enhanced my confidence. I feel a little more confident when it comes to reading, writing, and analyses of texts.
My parents were the most influential parties in my literary development. First, they took me to schools which were being taught the English language from Pre-Kinder to University since they were interested in enhancing my literary skills. Besides, the ensured acquired all the materials I required to improve my literary skills which included English-Spanish book, English story books, and Compact Disks containing Spanish movies with English subtitles. Most importantly, my parents influenced me when they showed interest in the English language, and they started speaking basic English words and writing texts in English. The most two memorable incidents are my siblings doing their English homework and my parents writing texts in simple English. These two incidences had a significant impact on me and encouraged me to study the subject harder.
Spanish students learning both English and Spanish find it hard to understand both languages more so those at pre-kinder level. The minds of these students have not yet developed completely to cope with challenges of understanding the two languages. I was not exceptional, and I encountered the same difficulties in my school life particularly in my early schooling stages. In this section of the paper, I will discuss challenges and achievement which I encountered throughout my school life from pre-kinder to college level.
When I wrote my literary memoir, I was targeting students studying both Spanish and English and their parents, school management, as well as the teachers teaching in this kind of curriculum. My target audience was reached through various communication channels depending on the audience being addressed. For instance, I used meetings, social media platforms and media channels such as TV and radio to communicate to students and their parents regarding my experience while studying both Spanish and English. While reaching school managements and teachers, I used emails and paid directly to the targeted schools. However, I faced challenges in accomplishing my mission; it was difficult to trace students schooling in American schools which are based in the region since they are scattered. Meeting school management and teachers too was not an essay task due to their tight schedule in teaching the students both languages "the teachers had to teach most concepts in a hurry to save time for the following class."
Besides, the exercise enhanced my self-awareness since I can now understand the English language better and communicate in it unlike when I was starting my course a time when I know very little regarding the subject. Besides, through studying the two subjects, I have discovered how strong I am; despite being from a region where Spanish is the major language used by most of the residents, I could still manage to learn and understand English like a person who was raised in an English speaking region.
Throughout my experience, I learned various skills. First I learned how to pronounce and speak good English. Though I had challenges in reading and writing English texts at the beginning of my course, towards the end of the course, I was able to acquire skills in reading and writing. These skills were gotten through the help of ‘claiming an education' by Rich and ‘The Banking Concept' by Paulo. Besides, I learned the most important lesson in my life; nothing is impossible as long as you are willing to do it. Finally, this literacy narrative contributed greatly towards a new perspective on learning. From experience I have acquired a new perspective in learning that learning is mainly influenced by external factors. Education is a behavior in which an individual is trained to acquire new skills, conditioned to cope with the acquired knowledge, reinforced to deal with all the requirements, and finally reflexive.
Rich, Adrienne. Claiming an education. na, 1977.
Paulo, Freire. The Banking Concept of Education. (1970).
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