Focus on the Student

Assignment 1 Focus on the learner

Roberto is 40 years old, Italian resident and works as a salesman for a frozen foods company. He is married, with two children and has completed high school, but no tertiary education. He did not study English in school, but did a 50-hour course in Italy. In school, he studied Spanish as a second language. The English class was quite small – 5 or 6 students and while he felt that the teaching was adequate in terms of lexis, grammar and drilling, he did not feel that the course allowed for adequate interaction and conversation practice. This is reflected in his conversation, which is animated but not particularly fluent.

He is anticipating changing his job, and feels that improving his command of English will enhance his career prospects. This is his prime motivation for undertaking the course.

In class, he is responsive when spoken to, but does not often volunteer. However, he is animated and enthusiastic when speaking with other students. He follows instructions well when they are clearly given and participates in all student tasks with energy and enthusiasm. This is consistent with his presentation out of class, which is extremely friendly and eager to communicate. He is aware that fluency is an issue for him and welcomes any opportunity to communicate in an informal environment.

He enjoys all classroom activities, with the exception of role-playing and listening to songs.

He uses a range of techniques for self-study, and lives with an English family. This gives him some opportunities to speak English quite extensively outside the classroom. He watches English films, although American content leaves him confused and he uses sub-titles when available. He also uses a grammar book regularly and finds both Internet and face-to-face conversations in English useful.

He has many of the difficulties that are common among native Italian-speaking English students, including pronunciation issues - /i:/ for /I/, /e/ for...