Language Development for New Students.

Valentina Leisse, Staff Reporter

On a classic cloudy Friday in the City of Renton where the chances of rain are usually 80%, and it’s even a pain to get up at 8:00 am because it’s still dark. The inclement is cold, going out to the street reddens your cheeks and freezes your hands. I get out of the car and walk into the school, I climb 6 stairs with many steps to reach the 3rd floor to open the brown door of Mrs. Licano class. A Caucasian woman, young as about 30 years or less, short black hair, tall, thin but with beautiful green eyes that give a little color to this dull city. With his usual jeans and long knitted sweaters in pastel tones he welcomes us at the door. Take my hand and with her soft and leisurely voice she says good morning.

They will ask why I am talking about Mrs. Licano, but casually days ago I asked her if we could have an interview which she very cordially agreed, for me it was a pleasure. She is the teacher of English language learners at Renton High School in Washington state. She currently teaches 3 classes or levels that are: Newcomers, intermediate and advanced, most of her students speak Vitnamese, Spanish and Somali. 

Her second language is Spanish, she expresses that having studied abroad and having immersed herself in this language has learned to learn it, saying “I made many Spanish-speaking friends, she lived with a Spanish-speaking family, so everything I had to function in the new language. “That is why he identifies with his students. Her main objective is to help his students understand the English language so that they can use their skills and strategies in the real world.

When I asked her what is the motivation to teach English with a smile said: (laughing) “I love language, working with young people.” Regarding that if this language is difficult to learn or is difficult for your students, she said: “There are multiple factors, I think the main ones are: The separation of their country, culture, support and the empowerment of the family and the confidence in itself .”

With her modest personality, she said “she didn’t understand the question when asked if it was easy for her to teach them? After a pause she continued on with “There is not much to say, sometimes it is more fun to laugh at everyday things.”

Belonging to the teaching and learning philosophy, she exclaimed: “There is a lot of planning to prepare a lesson for English learners, control the task of the sea at a certain level and think about how the lesson will connect personally with the student.”

I asked Mrs. Licano if she thinks she has progressed with her students, “how?” She replied: “As teachers we measure progress in different ways, exams, essays, spelling tests, etc.… There are also other ways to measure the progress. When students are friendlier they become more easy to share their stories, this is also progress. “I finally asked Mrs. Licano what valuable message she wants to give to the next English teachers:” have a lot of patience, be flexible, and creative.”