Cultural and linguistic diversity: Case study

One of the other children in our class is a little girl called Annelle and she comes from France. She only spoke French at the beginning of the year, no English whatsoever. Because Annelle had no English she had to have some strategies to connect with the other children. She did this by gesturing — she would grab their hand, she would laugh, she would smile with them. She made a special connection with another little person who spoke no English — she spoke Korean and they managed to get along. They would dramatic play, they would talk on the phone together. One would speak Korean and one would speak French and they would laugh. But if she wanted to do something like painting she would come over and she would take my hand, she’d speak French and then I would go with her and she would show me what she would like to do. So with routines we would start calling people or have a transition game and she’d be about the fourth or fifth person to do so and she managed it very well.
But to enable her to follow the routine, what I what I did was I had visual cue cards. So I would have handwashing cards and I would show her. I would show her “lunchbox”, I would show her “chair” to sit down or to get her “hat” and she managed that very well throughout the year. We’re going to brush our?
(Children) feet Put our hats? (Children) in our bag Do I brush my feet? Yeah, we’ll all brush our feet because they could have a little bit of sand on them. Okay, and hats in your bags. Annelle now can write her name, and she can actually write her siblings’ names
and she can write a few of her peer’s names within the classroom. And we’ve accomplished that with name cards, so she has her own name card where we had her picture with her name. So she could go and get her name card, copy it, trace it and it’s there for reinforcement. We also have their names for sitting down for mealtime so they need to recognise what their name looks like. We also play transition games with their name cards. In October we actually started calling the roll with the children’s first and surnames, and Annelle picked up on that and she has learnt all the children’s Christian names and surnames and she calls them out very fluently. now would you like to stop calling out
friends to get changed Now would you like to start calling our friends … to get changed? To sweep their feet, I should say? Yep. Okay, me and you, okay…Michael. Katarina, Joseph Sarah, Charlotte, Erika Annelle’s special friend, Brooke, who spoke [only] Korean and now speaks English, so now she collaborates with Brooke in communicating in English — all day they speak English together. They turn take and they share everything together, they actually resolve lots of conflicts and negotiate everything together.
Her parents have played a part in her learning to speak English as predominantly they speak French at home. The mum was very concerned about her not learning English at all. So we put some strategies together and we asked the mum if she could speak some English at home. So we had a plan that in the car on the way home, mum would speak English to her and that’s the only time they spoke English and it seemed to work. I do have friends who haven’t seen her for a while and now when they see her they say, “oh, she’s improved a lot in English”, and she can hold a conversation. She can hold a conversation and just things like if I ask her to do something, she knows exactly what I’m asking her to do. She can go and initiate games on her own, she can do her own routine, she’s lovely. I’ve spoken to Annelle’s parents about the transition statement and they would love it to be forwarded on to the school as they need to be aware that Annelle is a visual learner and she will need to have a teacher that is aware of that and that they will speak precisely and clearly to her.


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