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Gonzalves _ YemeniWomen_LESLLA2011


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What do non-literate Yemeni females perceive as success in learning English? Via interviews and focus groups, this emic study shows how they define success, what they view as their obstacles, and highlights what they need to be successful.

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Gonzalves _ YemeniWomen_LESLLA2011

  1. 1. YEMENI WOMEN NAME SUCCESS Presented by Lisa Gonzalves St. Mary's College/Alameda Adult School
  2. 3. <ul><li>Teachers not trained in teaching non-literate Ss (Condelli & Wrigley, 2004; Barton & Pitt, 2003). </li></ul><ul><li>Non-literate Ss require different kinds of methodologies ( Onderdelinden, van de Craats, & Kurvers, 2009; Tarone, 2010; Bigelow, delMas, Hansen, & Tarone, 2006; Perfetti & Marron 1998; Burnaby & Bell, 1989) </li></ul><ul><li>Preferable to teach literacy in L1 and later learn L2, but not always realistic </li></ul><ul><li>Women have different learning needs than men (Murphy Kilbride, Tyyskä, Ali, & Berman, 2008; Prins, Toso & Schaff, 2009; Filipek Collignon,1994). </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Site #1 - citywide </li></ul><ul><li>10% of all adult ESL Ss assessed as non- & low- literate </li></ul><ul><li>Site #2 - citywide </li></ul><ul><li>7% of all adult ESL Ss assessed as non- & low literate </li></ul><ul><li>Both sites- majority female </li></ul>
  4. 5. Only 30% of all Yemeni women are literate. (CIA) Yemen is culturally constructed around gendered space. (Kotnik, 2005 ) Major areas of immigration to U.S. include Buffalo, Detroit, SF Bay Area & the Central Valley. (Taylor & Holtrop, 2007).
  5. 6. <ul><li>Little or no schooling </li></ul><ul><li>Rely on other literate family members </li></ul><ul><li>Very little public space to call their own </li></ul><ul><li>Often prefer single-gendered classrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Have many obstacles to education </li></ul><ul><li>Not much research previously conducted </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Often a mismatch between: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what the teacher wants Ss to learn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>& the student’s perspective (Milligan, 1997) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Paulo Freire (1970a, 1970b, 1985, 1998) alleged it was critical that students’ lives and realities be the crux of the classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>My goal: to bring their voices to the table! </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>1. What do non- and low-literate adult Yemeni females in the ESL classroom perceive as their successes in learning English? </li></ul><ul><li>2. What do they view as the main challenges to their success? </li></ul><ul><li>3. What do they feel they need in order to be successful? </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Site #1 – Multilevel CBET (family lit) class </li></ul><ul><li>Site #2 – Even Start Family Literacy class </li></ul><ul><li>All interviews conducted on site </li></ul><ul><li>April through June, 2010 </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>8 non-literate women interviewed </li></ul><ul><li>2 focus groups (18 adult Yemeni ESL Ss) representing a variety of literacy levels. </li></ul><ul><li>20 women participated altogether </li></ul><ul><li>Convenience sample - my own students </li></ul><ul><li>Women from urban and rural settings </li></ul><ul><li>Aged 18 - 65 </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><ul><ul><li>1) Most Arabic translators = men </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2) Subjects silent with an unknown woman </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(high cultural value of maintaining honor) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3) Rapport between the students in the classroom was already deemed high </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4) Better to sacrifice some content to create a safe environment </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 13. <ul><li>30 minutes to one hour each. </li></ul><ul><li>18 Individual interview questions included: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What constitutes classroom success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A memorable class moment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What their biggest obstacles are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Their own learning process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Areas of support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If they were the teacher.... </li></ul></ul>
  12. 16. <ul><li>18 adult Yemeni female ESL students </li></ul><ul><li>Variety of literacy/ESL levels </li></ul><ul><li>6 questions total, focused on particular difficulties for Yemeni women in ESL </li></ul>
  13. 17. <ul><li>Results </li></ul>
  14. 18. <ul><li>Ability to perform concrete tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Salma: “The basic thing, you know, the phone, the address, how to write their name. You know, stuff like, do you use every day.” </li></ul><ul><li>Leena: (re: telephone) “She was looking for an ‘on’ button, she didn't know how to use it. . . . In Yemen, she tried. But in here she didn't try, because she scared that she’s gonna call the police.” </li></ul>
  15. 19. <ul><li>Being able to speak for themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Bahiya: (re: husband not always translating for her): “…he said wait, wait and I get so mad. I want to understand . . . I want to know what they're talking about.” </li></ul>
  16. 20. <ul><li>Being able to speak for themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Inas: “You know you go to the doctor, okay, and somebody call me for school, for my kids, you understand little bit, you know, I'm happy teacher.” </li></ul>
  17. 21. <ul><li>Confidence & Empowerment at the core of classroom & curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Dahab: “We want to depend on us.” </li></ul>
  18. 22. <ul><li>Feeling encouraged & supported </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling supported by each other </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling supported by their teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Other women in the class inspired them </li></ul><ul><li>They knew they could become literate too </li></ul><ul><li>Pep talks </li></ul>
  19. 23. <ul><li>Resolve to learn/self-efficacy </li></ul><ul><li>Inas: “I need that English for me strong.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rihana: “She can try and try, and maybe she can learn something. It’s gonna take a long time to understand, but she could learn.” </li></ul><ul><li>Yaminha: “When I learn something new, I need to know more and more.” </li></ul>
  20. 24. <ul><li>Logistical issues </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of transportation/school too far </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of childcare </li></ul>
  21. 25. <ul><li>Domestic duties taking precedent </li></ul><ul><li>Zahra: “Like my husband… he's like…you want to go to school, go to school. You want to go shopping do anything that you needed. But these three things have to be ready: My kids have to be cleaned and feeded, the house is clean, the food is cooked.” </li></ul>
  22. 26. <ul><li>Traditional view of education </li></ul><ul><li>Bahiya: “…the woman in Yemen, they didn't get some education. Because they say, what are you going to do? You gonna married and you going to stay in the house and take care of the kids and the husband and, your husband family, you not going to do nothing.” </li></ul>
  23. 27. <ul><li>Discomfort as non-literate/ unable to envision success </li></ul><ul><li>Bahiya: “…for the Yemeni woman, it's hard for them to come to school, because they never go to school before….Just a lot of women they say, well why am I going to go to school, I'm not going to learn nothing.” </li></ul>
  24. 28. <ul><li>Discomfort as non-literate/ </li></ul><ul><li>unable to envision success </li></ul><ul><li>Leena stated she, “…didn't even know anything…doesn't even know how to count, or how to say ABC's …[I] felt embarrassed.” </li></ul><ul><li>Not feeling part of the ‘in’ crowd </li></ul>
  25. 29. <ul><li>Essential qualities of teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Female </li></ul><ul><li>Be patient and encouraging </li></ul><ul><li>Be warm, friendly, and happy </li></ul><ul><li>Friendship & support go much further than just being knowledgeable or covering the appropriate content. </li></ul>
  26. 30. <ul><li>Leena: “If you ask them anything, you don't make fun of them ..You just answer everything. Even if they pronounce like wrong or funny stuff, you help them, you correct them.“ </li></ul><ul><li>Thurayya: “You have to be good heart when you with new student. Please don't be mad. Don't be, you know, angry all the time. She have to be like a sister.” </li></ul>
  27. 31. <ul><li>Techniques/methods of teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Start off slow & focusing on the basics </li></ul><ul><li>Take time to explain, repeating often </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t take any prior knowledge for granted </li></ul><ul><li>Assume that Ss either have not been previously exposed to material or may need it presented once again. </li></ul>
  28. 32. <ul><li>Support at home </li></ul><ul><li>Childcare </li></ul><ul><li>Homework </li></ul><ul><li>Supportive family (quiet time in house) </li></ul><ul><li>Farah: “Sometimes she learn here some words and she go there [home] to give it to the kids. They learn from her, and some words they teach her.” </li></ul>
  29. 33. <ul><li>Ss’s ownership of her learning </li></ul><ul><li>Must find a way to persist, even when it’s hard </li></ul><ul><li>Never give up </li></ul><ul><li>Ss must encourage each other </li></ul><ul><li>“ She have to go to school. She have to learn. She have to go every day. She can learn something. She can learn. Even, like…her address or her phone number or, you know, anything.” </li></ul>
  30. 34. <ul><li>Ownership, self-efficacy, confidence </li></ul><ul><li>She needs the space and self-confidence to feel successful in her own right. </li></ul><ul><li>She must know that she is capable of achieving great things </li></ul>
  31. 35. <ul><li>RQ#1: What is success? </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to perform concrete tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Being able to speak for themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling part of the ‘in’ literate crowd </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence & empowerment at the core </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling encouraged & supported in class </li></ul><ul><li>Having support and resolve to learn </li></ul>
  32. 36. <ul><li>RQ #2: Main challenges to success </li></ul><ul><li>Logistical needs </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic duties taking precedent </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional view of education in their community </li></ul><ul><li>Discomfort as a non-literate woman </li></ul><ul><li>Unable to envision success </li></ul>
  33. 37. <ul><li>RQ #3: What do they need to be successful </li></ul><ul><li>Essential qualities of the teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Techniques/methods of teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Support at home </li></ul><ul><li>Student’s ownership & confidence towards her learning </li></ul>
  34. 39. <ul><li>Barton, D and Pitt, K (2003) Adult ESOL Pedagogy: A Review of Research, an Annotated Bibliography and Recommendations for Future Research . National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. London. </li></ul><ul><li>Bigelow, M., & Tarone, E. (2004). The role of literacy level in second language acquisition: Doesn’t who we study determine what we know? TESOL Quarterly, 38 (4), 689-700 </li></ul><ul><li>Burnaby, B. & Bell, J. (1989) The role of Literacy in Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language. In Taylor, M.C. & Draper, J.A. (Eds) Adult Literacy Perspectives . Culture Concepts, Inc., Toronto. </li></ul><ul><li>Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook. 2010. factbook/index.html </li></ul><ul><li>Condelli, L., & Wrigley, H. S. (2004). Real world research: combining qualitative and quantitative research for adult ESL. Paper presented at the Second International Conference for Adult Literacy and Numeracy, Loughborough, England. </li></ul>
  35. 40. <ul><li>Filipek Collignon, F. (1994). From “Paj Ntaub” to paragraphs: Perspectives on Hmong processes of composing. In John- Steiner, V., Panofsky, C. and Smith, L. (Eds) Sociocultural Approaches to Language and Literacy . Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK. </li></ul><ul><li>Freire, P. (1970a) Pedagogy of the Oppressed . New York: Seabury Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Freire, P. (1970b) The Adult Literacy Process as Cultural Action to Freedom. Harvard Educational Review, 40 (2), 205- 25. </li></ul><ul><li>Freire, P. (1985). The politics of education: Culture, power, and liberation . Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey. </li></ul><ul><li>Freire, P. (1998) Pedagogy of Freedom. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Kotnik, T. (2005) The Mirrored Public: Architecture and Gender Relationship in Yemen . Space and Culture 8 (4); 472 – 483 </li></ul>
  36. 41. <ul><li>Milligan, J. (1997) .  Second Language Learning Needs of Illiterate Italian Adults, Students of English as a Second Language . M.A. Dissertation, University of Toronto, Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>Murphy Kilbride, K., Tyyskä, V., Ali, M. & Berman, R. (2008) Reclaiming Voice: Challenges and Opportunities for Immigrant Women Learning English. CERIS Working Paper No. 72, Toronto, ON. </li></ul><ul><li>Onderdelinden, L., van de Craats, I., & Kurvers, J. (2009) Word Concept of Illiterates and Low- Literates: Worlds Apart? Low-Educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition, Proceedings of the 4th Symposium, Antwerp 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>Perfetti, C.A. & Marron, M.A. (1998) Learning to read: Literacy Acquisition by Children and Adults. In D.A. Wagner (Ed.) Advanced in Adult Literacy Research and Development . Hampton Press. </li></ul>
  37. 42. <ul><li>Prins, E., Toso, B., & Schafft, K. (2009). “It Feels Like a Little Family to Me.” Social Interaction and Support Among Women in Adult Education and Family Literacy. Adult Education Quarterly, 59 (4 ), 335-352. </li></ul><ul><li>Tarone, E. (2010) Second language acquisition by low-literate learners: An under-studied population. Language Teaching, 43 (1), 75–83. </li></ul><ul><li>Taylor, J. & Holtrop, T. (2007). Yemeni Families and Child Lead Screening in Detroit. Journal of Transcultural Nursing , 18 (1), 63-69 </li></ul>