ELL Student Case Study

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Introduction This is a case study of an 8th grade student named Mateo. Mateo is a recent arrival—he has been living in the United States for 8 months. His family hails from Cali, Columbia. Mateo’s L1 is Spanish. Through informal discussion he stated that he went to private school in Columbia and that his family lived, “a very good life there”. He told me that his father Herman is an academic and is in the US on a 3-year assignment for the United Nations. This information leads me to believe that he has been raised in an affluent household and has been well educated in his L1. The family consists of his father Herman, his mother Rosa and his 7 year old sister Karla. Mateo seems to be indifferent to the school environment. He doesn’t seem particularly happy or unhappy to be here. I noticed that he seems to be tired a lot. He sits in class and seems very sleepy. His interaction with other students seems to be minimal. I don’t think of him as a particularly quiet it child; he just seems to be disinterested. I wonder sometimes if the material bores him. I think in many countries education is more of a drill and children are pushed to learn concepts faster than they do here. Thus, many times foreign children have already been exposed to what they are currently learning in America. Findings- Informal and Formal Assessments I observed Mateo on 3 separate occasions. The first was conducted in class. The other two were done individually in my room. I observed him in class because I wanted to see how he interacted with the teacher, his peers and the text that was presented. From the first observation I gleaned several things about Mateo as a student, his literacy behaviors and the educational implications created by receiving the majority of his instruction in an L2. The first thing I observed was that Mateo seems pretty reluctant to use English or speak at all

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