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Assignment 2 – Focus on the Learner
For the purpose of this assignment, I interviewed Maryanne Y., a 28-year-old Japanese student in the Elementary English class. Maryanne works in a trading company in Japan. Her job requires her to read documents written in English and speak in English with clients. She wants to improve her spoken English and receptive skills so that she can communicate effectively.
Maryanne began studying English in school at the age of 13. She studied English literature for four years in college but says she didn't learn much. “We study Shakespeare but not full book, only short (extracts),” she says.
Maryanne said she likes to learn English by speaking, writing, looking at pictures and working with friends. With the help of a Multiple Intelligence questionnaire (Multiple Intelligences and Language Learning, 2005 Alta Book Publishers), I determined that she has high linguistic intelligence, visual/spatial intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. This proves that she learns best by seeing, speaking, visualizing and hearing the language, and working in groups with other students.
Maryanne is confident while using the present tense and uses it extensively to talk about most things. In one of the few instances where her grammar was perfect, she said, “I want to improve my English.”
Maryanne often states the main subject of the sentence at the beginning of her sentence. According to Ian Thompson's essay, 'Japanese Speakers' (Learner English: A teacher's guide to interference and other problems. Edited by Swan and Smith, published by Cambridge University Press 2001), this is a typical problem with many Japanese speakers. “It is common in the Japanese language to announce the topic of the sentence separately at the beginning.” In describing what she likes about learning English at...