Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Academic or Social?

Annabel has been here from China for three years now and gone through the state mandated final exams three times, but has been exempt so far due to her still learning English.

For the 4th year, the rules change and this year the exam "counts". But thankfully the state has adopted a new testing system and from what I understand, everyone will have a fail safe and no one's scores will count. Thank goodness.

But all of this has made me worry about her language skills and recognize the language used in 8th grade is considerably more advanced than what she was learning for 5th grade when she arrived. And with each day, much less each grade, more vocabulary that is even more difficult is introduced!

Annabel is very smart and learns quickly, but having missed those life experiences and the acquisition of her language in a gradated manner have proven difficult.

I had someone remind me again that social or conversational fluency is achieved fairly quickly, usually in 2-3 years, but it is the academic fluency that can take 5-7 years. But I am learning there are some categories of language that don't quite fit into either social or academic.

Anyway, all of this leads up to a conversation we had tonight.

I announced that tomorrow is Groundhog Day.

She asked what is that?

I explained the story behind the groundhog and his shadow.

Then she asked, "do you shoot it?"

Me, "What????"

Her, "After it comes out then do you shoot it?".

Me, "NO!"

Her, "Why?"

So I'm not sure if this falls under the category of academic or social? I'm pretty sure the reliability of weather predicting by a groundhog and his shadow is not academic.

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