Dr. Sally: Response to “My English Language Student” post

May 30, 2013 by

emergent_literacy_buttonAs noted, this site is about generating information. That can include conversation among colleagues, parents, educators and more. I recently wrote a post titled, “My English Language Student (progress report).” My colleague and long time friend, Dr. Sally, took some time to go through my points and made her own observations.

I have known Sally for many years now. We met at a networking meeting in Arizona and later ran literacy workshops together at a local bookstore.

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post, Sally!

Based on my initial post, Dr. Sally shares:

1. Here is what I wrote: During our first visit I allowed him to play at my house without talking to him very often. I wanted him to feel safe.

Sally replies: Setting up for success is basic to all teaching situations. A child has to be ready to learn before being open to being taught.

2. Here is what I wrote: I began to play with him and named everything we did. At first I used very simple statements, just like I do when teaching infants to talk: “Ball. We have the ball now.” Or, “Fish. That is our pet fish.”

Sally replies: Naming things is the exact right first step for stimulating beginning speech. Next comes “expansion.” After you hear a word, you expand it with more information about what that word means.

3. Here is what I wrote: Many times I got down on my knees to make direct eye contact with him as I said words or showed him an item.

Sally replies: The most effective communication with children is done by talking with them on their level and with excellent eye contact.

4. Here is what I wrote: I invited my kids to join in on the play-dates so he could hear them talk, also.

Sally replies: While adult modeling of language is good, child models are the best. Children identify with other children and are motivated to what they do.

5. Here is what I wrote: We inject humor into our meetings. My teen son went to the park with us and he made a bed and pillow from sand. He pretended to sleep. We all giggled and said, “Sleeping! It’s day time, though. He is napping in the sun.

That’s funny!” The mother let me know that he walks around his home now laughing about that and reminding her of the funny moment.

Sally replies: Turning  to the field of memory, ordinary teaching often needs much repetition. However, when an event has an emotional quality to it, like happiness, it is much easier to remember. Humor creates happiness, and people really like that.

6. Here is what I wrote: As time has gone on, I’ve gotten a bit more persistent with him. Rather than simply stating words I will say, “Okay, I can see that you want to get off the trampoline now. Please ask for my help.” He will then say, “Please help me.”

Sally replies: The most popular speech stimulation technique is to create a purpose for the child to speak. Adults are encouraged not to respond to a child’s facial expressions or pointing.

7. Here is what I wrote: When I sense that the lessons are overwhelming him, I back off and let him play alone for a while.

Sally replies: Child-centered teaching. That is a must.

8. Here is what I wrote: When he heads for the door I know he is ready to leave. I don’t push it. I let him go home early if he tires out. There’s always more time for learning on another day.

Sally replies: Being sensitive to others. Very nice.

9. Here is what I wrote: I didn’t ask for a hug until the sixth meeting. At that point he gladly gave me a high five, a hug and even kissed me. He also said good-bye to my four kids and named each one by name.

Sally replies: Love has its own energy. Once it arrives it has it’s own energy and impacts learning exponentially.

10. Here is what I wrote: I have not attempted to read with him yet. I’m working on language first. His parents told me that he doesn’t enjoy books yet. My guess is that he will enjoy them more after he is able to better identify with the terms inside those books.

Sally replies: A basic level of oral comprehension is definitely a prerequisite for the introduction of books. Right on with that thought.

Final thoughts:

Samantha (Shara’s six-year-old daughter): Mom – you’re not going to have this job for very long. He’s learning too quickly.

Sally replies: A teacher’s job is to put herself out of business. Nice job, Shara!

As you all can see, Shara and I have a synergistic relationship when it comes to education. She teaches with great skill, and I explain the educational principles behind her strategies.

About Dr. Sally

Sally Goldberg, Ph.D. was the first parenting expert on “Parent to Parent,” a FOX TV Channel 7 weekly news segment. Dr. Sally is a professor of education and parenting book author. Dr. Sally has been published often in a multitude of magazines across the country. Consumer Reports featured her concepts in two major editions of Best Baby Products. Dr. Sally worked for many years as an instructor of early childhood education on the adjunct faculties of Nova Southeastern University, Barry University, and the University of Phoenix. Well-known for her tools and strategies for self esteem development, Sally was a national conference presenter and a frequent guest on TV and radio.


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