The second language learner that I have chosen to assess in my case study is an international student from Korea who is now attending year 11 and does the ESL course at my school, the Hills Grammar School. I will refer to my student with the name ‘John’ for confidentiality reasons.
In this case study I will introduce my student, his language background; his exposure to English before coming to Australia and his current level of English based on the ESL scales after analysing his speaking, reading and writing work samples. I will assess John’s proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and responding and writing and I will make a detailed profile of the reading and responding aspect.
John was born in South Korea and lived there for 13 years. He attended the Wolchon Middle School in Korea till the age of thirteen. His mother tongue proficiency is very good as he likes reading and still reads books in Korean when he has time. John moved to Australia together with his mother four years ago, so he has not lost the contact to his first language. He uses both Korean and English in his everyday life, both at home and at school, he keeps in contact with his family in Korea, reads the news on the internet and listens to Korean music.
His first exposure to English happened while he was still in Korea. He studied the language for about 4 years in school and from a tutor. Learning a foreign language in Korea does not include conversation in that language. English is taught only for reading, writing and listening purposes. For this reason John had a good knowledge of the grammar, he understood written language, but was unable to communicate in his second language.
When John arrived in Sydney he was not enrolled in an intensive English centre. He started school at The Hills Grammar School where he received the needed help to cope with his studies.
Over the past four years since John started school in Australia his level of English has improved a lot; especially his receptive use of the language. John is a talented language student and is achieving great results in both additional languages he is studying at the moment, English and Japanese. Due to his cultural background John does not volunteer to speak freely during class. This makes it hard for his teacher to find the degree of depth of his understanding of new concepts learned in class. However, he is a passionate language learner and his focus is to perfect his knowledge in both additional languages.
The ESL scales have been developed to help teachers clearly understand the level at which each non- English background student is working in all of the language skills; listening, speaking, reading and writing. These skills develop differently, at different stages and the role of the ESL scales is to identify the level and strategies needed to improve the student’s proficiency. “A knowledge of the ESL scales supports all learning areas and enables those involved in education to cater more effectively...