The learner wanted to remain anonymous even though she was happy to be interviewed. For the benefit of this assignment we shall call her Saidy which was her mothers’ name.
Brief Description of the Learner’s Background
Born in 1940, Saidy was the youngest daughter of 4 children. She had 3 older brothers and was raised in the mountains in southern Lebanon. Saidy’s mother died when Saidy was 2 years old. So Saidy was raised by her brothers and father.
Saidy’s father was a potter who would make, fire and paint water jugs. He would then go and sell them in neighbouring villages. This meant he was away from home for extended periods of time.
Saidy attended a Catholic school run by the local priest. This school had about 20 in attendance, ranging from 5 years to 14 years of age. Saidy attended school, but hated the experience. She is a bright woman and found that the teacher was tyrannical and used a lot of rote learning which she found boring. She had to learn all her subject in Lebanese, English and French. This was quite difficult to do and if errors were made in class, the student would receive a sharp whip with a cane across the knuckles. So Saidy’s motivation to do well, was to escape this punishment, especially in winter, she said, when her hands were frozen from the 5mile walk to school. Saidy found learning more than one language at a time difficult, but manageable.
Needless to say, when Saidy was able to leave this formal education and take up with her father, she did!
To this day Saidy still remembers her French grammar and can converse (in a very basic manner) to French speakers.
This was the full extent of Saidy’s formal education.
After Saidy married at the age of 22, she went to work in Beirut in a missionary run school. She learnt to cook and worked in the kitchen. Here she was exposed to English speaking people and would practise speaking her English. This was a necessity as the people working with her only spoke broken Lebanese, so she had to...