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Interview with Felipe Toro

Interviewee: 
Toro, Felipe
Interviewer: 
Chapin, Gary
Date of Interview: 
2003-02-02
Identifier: 
LGTO0374
Subjects: 
Relationships with people and places; then and now; overcoming obstacles
Abstract: 
Felipe Toro talks about language education and education in Colombia.
Collection: 
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Gary Chapin interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Transcript:
GC (Gary Chapin): ( ) Today is February second, and I'm speaking with Felipe Toro. And today we are interested in language education in Colombia, and uh, Felipe I'm hoping you can help our class, we're studying language education in other countries, and how students are tested. And we're interested in what your school experience was like, especially your language classes. So, uh, first, if you could tell maybe a little about your school experiences, uh, um, start about how your, your, uh, schools are organized, your elementary schools and your, your high schools, um, and Felipe did you go to a public or a private school?
FT (Felipe Toro): Well, I went to an elementary school, I went to a private school. In high school I went to public school. The elementary school are five years and the high school are six years.
GC: OK, and uh, are you assigned grade levels like here? People go to kindergarten then grades one through 12. In Colombia do they do a similar format, or is it a little bit different?
FT: Yeah. We have two levels before elementary school. Is pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Those are two years before you go to elementary school.
GC: And then you go up to grade 12? Or so you have 12 years after that?
FT: Yeah. Five years for elementary, and six years for high school. So we finish in 11th grade on high school.
GC: But it sounds like it works out to about the same.
FT: Yeah.
GC: So.
FT: Total is something like 13 years.
GC: Oh, OK. So actually you go to school more years even though you stop at what you call level 11.
FT: Yeah.
GC: Um, at what grade do language classes, I mean, I, I take it your curriculum is, is probably similar to our curriculum here. You, you, you study, um, uh, Spanish like we would study English.
FT: Yes.
GC: And you study, uh, you know, physical education, social studies, and science and other, you know, things in the curriculum, but, but at what, what age, what level, would you start at with foreign languages?
FT: Well, we start, um, high school exactly in sixth grade. We start with English and we start between sixth grade to ninth grade we study English and 10th and 11th grade we study French.
GC: OK. So, that's a little bit different. Here, I've, I've heard it said that uh, in, in some schools in, in Colombia you don't get to choose your classes. Like here we have our electives when we get to middle school or high school we get to choose a, a portion of the classes we take. Uh, do they say in, in at grade six, am I to understand that at grade six all students take English and they don't get a choice between English and French or whatever other language, but \\ all. \\
FT: \\ Ex- \\, exactly is like that. We have a curriculum you know, that you have to study what they say. They have the program for all the schools. Depends if you are in private or public school. They have the program and you have to study what they already had.
GC: OK. So you said in grade six, oh, you s-, everybody studies English, and for how many years again did you say sixth, seventh, and eight grades, so three years of English?
FT: Until ninth grade.
GC: Until-, and then in ninth grade you begin the other languages?
FT: No, in 10th grade.
GC: OK, so in 10th grade you would study French? Do you not have the option of continuing with English or, or is it?
FT: \\ No you don't. \\
GC: \\ Or is it pretty \\ strict?
FT: No, they are strict.
GC: OK.
FT: You cannot have that option. You have to study that.
GC: So you got four years of English study then, \\ in school. \\
FT: \\ Yeah, but \\ is just something pretty simple you know because you only study that like two classes per week.
GC: Oh, OK.
FT: So that is not really too much. It is not intensive.
GC: OK. Now in those classes, uh, twice a week for four years, uh, was your teacher a native English speaker? Were they, was your teacher somebody who, uh, was from United States or from, uh, you know somebody \\ who spoke the-. \\
FT: \\ OK, yeah. \\
GC: Language?
FT: Well, they were Colombian people but were people who maybe study here in the United States or had the opportunity to come here and study English or practice pronunciation.
GC: OK.
FT: Or something like that. But we didn't have American or people from other country. Were Colombian people who spoke English.
GC: Oh, OK. Now we're very curious what those language classes were like, um, uh, especially you know compared to how it is when, when we know what it is when we take language classes here, but did you have a set of books you used? Um, did the teacher have a, in other words how did you begin if you can describe maybe what your class physically was like, uh, was it different from your other classes or, um, if you could also talk about what materials you used in your \\ English class. \\
FT: \\ Well, \\ we first, we had one book that that was the how we started, you know, uh, like they start with something simple if you are in sixth grade, but we always had some book and we had in another book what was for practice. Like especial for homework. That was almost the same thing we saw in class but with homework with exercises that we can practice and we can memorize vocabulary or way to speak or way to write so that was the principal. So we had, uh, the in the class the teacher, um, speak would repeat, and we write down in the notebook, and we also had some ho-, homework to do about the class we saw in the day.
GC: OK. And, uh, so you had this class twice a week, and uh, as you went up, more years in other words in sixth grade it was twice a week, was it always twice a week in seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade.
FT: Always.
GC: Always twice a week?
FT: Always were twice a week.
GC: And, uh, how often did you have tests or any type of, uh, exam in your language class?
FT: Well, we had two different kind of tests, uh, we had write tests and we had oral test. The write test was in two different kinds. One for, for quiz that we don't have in that were not in, in advance that the teacher told us when will be. He just said get a piece of paper and a pencil or a pen and he ask things about the class, or about the la-, the class before, you know, was like quiz that you don't know exactly when will be.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: And we also had a like two or three tests that the teacher told in advance when we will have that test, especial in the last the period.
GC: Right.
FT: And the test was about everything we saw on the class for those \\ months. \\
GC: \\ These were \\ written tests?
FT: Exactly.
GC: OK, and uh, and then you said you also had oral tests.
FT: Yeah.
GC: Maybe if we could break it down a little bit, uh, because if you took it for four years, that could cover a wide area. Do you remember how you started, the types of things when you uh, uh, when you started in grade six? Do you remember the first I know that might be, uh?
FT: Yeah.
GC: Asking you to remember a long time ago but.
FT: Yeah I remember exactly that. The, those tests like the oral test was pretty simple like, "Hi, my name is Felipe," uh, "Hi, how are you?," uh, "I'm fine." Thing pretty simple like that.
GC: OK.
FT: When was oral test sometimes were only two persons and was like this, was the student with the teacher.
GC: OK.
FT: And sometimes we have, we call that dialogues.
GC: Right.
FT: And we have like two or three persons you know every time it was more intensive and more difficult we have more people, so they, sometimes the teacher choose who has to be this person and who has to be the other person, so we have to be in the front of the class doing the same dialogue that we study already in the book.
GC: OK. So this was really a memorization of something you had already studied in the book?
FT: Yeah, was something, sometimes was like memorize from the book and sometimes was like that we do some dialogue you know, something and like a conversation.
GC: OK.
FT: So we have to first write down, and then do the oral presentation.
GC: OK, OK. So sometimes you got a chance to practice first by writing down what you were going to \\ do. \\
FT: \\ Uh-huh, \\ exactly.
GC: And then you would say it orally and OK sometimes it was one-on-one with the teacher, uh what when sometimes you said it was two people the teacher and the student-
FT: Uh-huh.
GC: Was that in front of the rest of the class?
FT: Yeah, was in front.
GC: What was the rest of the class doing while you were they just waiting their turn or were they busy with some other work?
FT: No, they have to listen because that was pretty important because the teacher correct the pronunciation of every student so that was pretty good for the other students, so they ha-, they have can correct their own pronunciation.
GC: \\ Ah. \\
FT: \\ And \\ they can see the mistakes the other people make, so they will not make the same mistake.
GC: Oh, so if you don't have to go first really you're at an advantage the, the people who go first maybe it's a little more difficult?
FT: Yeah, but sometimes the teacher is pretty strict with the last students.
GC: Oh.
FT: Because sometimes those tests were not in just one class. Sometimes took like two or three classes you know because is not.
GC: They didn't have time to finish \\ in one class? \\
FT: \\ Exactly. \\ They didn't have time to finish so the teacher was pretty strict with the last students because they had more opportunity to listen the pronunciation, the correct way to say the dialogue, the things that we were saying especially was from the book.
GC: Do you remember any of those dialogues that you can you give an example of the kinds of things you said?
FT: Yeah. I remember s-, the first dialogue was something like the title was, "Welcome to Minnesota." And I remember was some guy like Jerry, and Jerry say, "Hey, how are you?" and the other guy say, "I'm fine thanks." That was pretty strict. Is not like here, like when you speak like, "Hey. How ya doing?" or so was pretty normal, pretty formal like a good tense and things like that. I remember that was pretty simple dialogue.
GC: And, uh, you got that from a book you were using?
FT: \\ Yeah. \\
GC: \\ Right? \\
FT: We got that.
GC: In that book, was it written all in English or was it like the textbooks we would use that would be written in English but with the language, you know kind of thrown in was it.
FT: \\ No. \\
GC: \\ How was \\ that book?
FT: That book was only in English. Only, only in English but the teacher spoke only Spanish and he, he spoke in Spanish and English.
GC: Oh, OK. So the teacher would explain the directions of what \\ the book. \\
FT: \\ Exactly. \\
GC: Wanted you to \\ do. \\
FT: \\ Exactly \\ and we use a lot of the dictionary because, you know always we use the dictionary for this class.
GC: OK.
FT: And, about the, the test, the, uh, the, uh, really both the oral and the, the written tests, do you remember how you were graded? You said that the teacher would be a little more strict with the people who got the benefit of hearing the other students' corrections. But do you remember, uh, what kind of feedback you got? You got, he would correct your pronunciation, but what kind of grade would he give you? Say you, uh. Well, in that time were not with letters, was with numbers.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: You know the high was 10.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: And you can go down.
GC: \\ So. \\
FT: \\ From 10. \\
GC: He would grade you on a scale of one to 10?
FT: Exactly.
GC: If he thought it was perfect he would give you a 10.
FT: Exactly.
GC: Oh, OK.
FT: Almost nobody get 10. He was pretty strict in that and if you make six that was the, uh, I mean you can pass with six, but that was pretty bad, you know, pretty average.
GC: OK, so uh, uh, in general the class, did you get the grading system, I should have asked about this earlier, uh, do you get A's, B's, C? Here we have a four, what is considered the best grade, B is good, C is average and, uh, D is failing, er, D, D is passable but really bad and then F is failing. In Colombia, you use a similar scale or-?
FT: They are, they are using that way in this moment. Especial with elementary school.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: But when I was in my high school that we are talking about we used numbers. We didn't use letters.
GC: On a scale of one to 10, what.
FT: One to, one to 10.
GC: For your grades? \\ And your subjects? \\
FT: \\ Yeah. \\ For my grades exactly. Exactly but not letters. Now they are using letters, but I didn't have that way.
GC: Oh, OK. Um, well that's, that's interesting. And, OK, you've talked about the oral tests and uh can you tell us a little bit about the, the written tests uh, do you remember the types of things you were asked to do on your tests? And um, and then maybe later you can tell us about how you were graded or how you were assessed on those.
FT: About the write test?
GC: Yeah.
FT: Well, this test was one was with grammatic, grammar, you know.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: That he, he always said sentences or he, for example, he write the sentences and we had to answer. Or he did questions we had to answer and he check especial the correct way. For example, eh, he ask, "What did you buy?" So you had to answer, "I bought these shoes," or, or whatever.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: So he check exactly how, I mean the correct way, to question and sometimes to answer. Depends in what he was asking. We also had some other test that was for vocabulary. He, we had a always every week list of vocabulary from the book and from vocabulary that the teacher give to the students. So we had that test and he say write down this and this and that word and was pretty long, sometimes were like 30 or 40 words, so depends in if you got the 40 you got 10. But if you got less you will, you will have nine or eight.
GC: Oh, \\ I see. \\
FT: \\ Depends. \\
GC: What you are saying, in other words if you memorized all the vocabulary correctly.
FT: Exactly.
GC: You would get a 10, the best grade.
FT: Exactly when was sentences say for example were 10 sentences, depends were questions, or for answers. So if you make for example eight sentences good, you have eight. If you make all, you have 10.
GC: Oh, OK.
FT: And also he take care about the, you know, if you write down bad some word.
GC: The spelling, did he check \\ your spelling? \\
FT: \\ Exactly. \\ The spelling.
GC: And uh, the grammar, the, the.
FT: \\ Everything. \\
GC: \\ That you \\ got the tenses right?
FT: Everything.
GC: OK, did you feel like this person who, uh, um, the, the teacher you had, that even though they weren't from United States or from, uh, whatever, un, country that were he was would have been a native speaker, that do you feel that he accurately graded your tests? Do you feel like he, uh, that his English was pretty accurate?
FT: Well, is funny to say this, but I don't think the teachers in high school they are that great. Because I had the opportunity to compare with teachers from other place in, when I was older in, in these teachers were really good you know and they, that principal place they take care about the teacher. So I guess the teachers in high school in Colombia, they are good but they don't have exactly the correct pronunciation and they don't know, I don't, I can not say how much they know, but I can tell something like some, they speak some English in something like some 70 percent.
GC: OK.
FT: That's what I think.
GC: I, I think I understand you. So, um, you studied from grade six to 10, you had four years of English?
FT: Uh-huh.
GC: How would you say you feel um after four years of having English classes twice a week, it sounds like you covered a lot of vocabulary, and a lot of grammar and, uh, would you have felt ready to take a trip to the United States at that time, or uh, like, like you really would be able to.
FT: \\ Not at all. \\
GC: \\ Speak to \\ somebody?
FT: Not at all. Because we, I remember we memorize a lot of things, but we didn't really think in English. We just took care about memorize something, you know, in the correct way, but not like conversations like, was you know was some other class you know, and I don't think that anybody can be ready to come to United States or whatever country who speaks English, just with that classes that we had in high school, I don't think so.
GC: But, would you say that would have been a good start? I mean you, uh-.
FT: Yeah, yeah, because we memorize, I remember we memorize a lot of vocabulary and especial verbs.
GC: OK.
FT: And especial the, the if was in past or in present. I remember we memorize a lot of verbs.
GC: So now that you're here in the United States you would say you find yourself remembering back to things you did learn in that class?
FT: Exactly.
GC: OK, well, that's good. Um, now, um, if you could tell us just a little bit, I understand that you, you took additional English courses, uh, after your university. But, uh, maybe if you could say you, you were in a private school during your elementary years, is, is that right?
FT: Yes.
GC: Uh, from pre-kindergarten and kindergarten up through uh \\ fifth. \\
FT: \\ Fifth grade. \\
GC: Grade?
FT: Fifth grade.
GC: And do most people in Colombia go to private, uh, how would you characterize is about half and half or does it kind of depend the, the schools either being public or private, uh, did most of the people you know in your neighborhood go to private school?
FT: Well, I guess that is can be something like half and half. That depends just from something, money.
GC: \\ Uh, yeah? \\
FT: \\ Because \\ private school you have to pay a lot of money and some private school, are more expensive than the others. We don't have some regular price. The private schools can charge whatever they want with some rules, you know.
GC: \\ Sure. \\
FT: \\ But \\ can be expensive or not. And the public school you don't even pay, almost nothing. So I saw a lot of people, you know, I can say that is something like half and half.
GC: S-, so then from grade six through 11th.
FT: Uh-huh.
GC: -You said you went to, uh \\ public. \\
FT: \\ A public \\ school.
GC: School.
FT: Uh-huh.
GC: And uh, were you at the same school all those years from, from both kindergarten through five and then that was all at one school?
FT: Yes.
GC: And then were you at all um, at one school the whole time from, uh-.
FT: \\ Six to. \\
GC: \\ Six to. \\
FT: 11.
GC: OK.
FT: Exactly.
GC: And uh so you were at a public school then uh, was that a, would you say that was a typical public school?
FT: Well, that wasn't really a typical public school because I chose that school because I wanted to be a teacher. So in that school you star, you start on seven grade taking some special class that only that school has.
GC: Oh.
FT: So when you finish the high school the degree I got was teacher for elementary school.
GC: Oh, OK. So you got a degree, a high school degree to be an elementary school \\ teacher. \\
FT: \\ Exactly. \\
GC: And so then Colombia has special schools, special public schools, set aside to train teachers?
FT: Exactly.
GC: Did everybody that go to this, I mean was that what everybody at this high school was learning to do, to be a teacher?
FT: Yeah, all of it.
GC: \\ And-? \\
FT: \\ Because \\ that was exactly, that public school was for that.
GC: And did you say anybody could go to this school if they wanted to, or were there some special, uh.
FT: Well.
GC: Requirements to \\ get entrance? \\
FT: \\ I mean. \\ they are pretty strict about it and they, I mean and, and it's only one school for city you know.
GC: OK.
FT: So just a few people can get in this particular school but the other public school were like the, like whatever school, you know they have their classes and they got just high school degree.
GC: Oh, OK.
FT: Not with some \\ particular. \\
GC: \\ So \\ you had to take some entrance exam to get in to this.
FT: \\ Exactly. \\
GC: \\ Uh, \\ this particular public high school? It's almost like a private public school?
FT: Yeah.
GC: Uh, OK and uh, OK, so you, you then graduated to, to be a, a teacher, and you got a, it's interesting that you would start so young to be a public school teacher. Um, after you graduated from high school then at grade 11, did you then become a, a public school teacher?
FT: No I didn't. I didn't for too many reasons that that is more like economic problems on Colombia.
GC: \\ OK. \\
FT: \\ For \\ that, I didn't chose that. I did in another thing, and I went to college, and I didn't study anything about education. I studied in another thing.
GC: Oh, OK. And what was that? Just, we don't have to spend a lot of time on that, but what else did you study?
FT: Well, I studied accountant.
GC: OK, accounting?
FT: Yeah, accounting. Yeah.
GC: And uh, I don't think, I said earlier on. I asked you earlier in the interview, but what city in Colombia, where were you?
FT: In Cali.
GC: In Cali, so that's uh one of the largest cities in Colombia \\ would you say? \\
FT: \\ Yeah, \\ that's the third city.
GC: Oh, OK. And do you know uh are schools in the cities different from schools in, in other in rural areas? I mean when people go to school, do they have similar opportunities in rural areas that they would in, in cities, or would you say they have more opportunities in cities?
FT: Yeah we have the more opportunities in big cities you know, because for example my public school, where I studied the high school was only on big cities. They don't have that in a small cities.
GC: OK.
FT: So that's a lot of difference. You know, in small cities they have just the normal schools, and the normal way.
GC: OK. And uh, we've, we've probably spoken, uh, close to the amount of time we need to, but there's still a couple of other things I want to ask you, you, you studied English for four years, we didn't talk about, uh, French. You said that once you get to grade 11 or so you, you take \\ French. \\
FT: \\ Yeah, \\ 10th and 11th.
GC: 10 and 11. Uh, were the classes done in a similar way except a different language?
FT: \\ Exactly. \\
GC: \\ Or \\ was there something different?
FT: Was exactly the same way.
GC: OK, so you had some book, but this time it was written in \\ French and-. \\
FT: \\ Uh-huh, \\ exactly.
GC: OK, now another thing I'm interested in is, uh, you said that you took some classes in English after you graduated from your university.
FT: \\ Exactly. \\
GC: \\ Where \\ you got a degree in accounting.
FT: Uh-huh.
GC: Can you tell us what, what those classes were like?
FT: Well this classes was pretty intensive. These classes were every day, two hours \\ a day. \\
GC: \\ Where, \\ where did you take these classes?
FT: I took these classes in some particular center that they call ELS.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: Is English Second Language, but you know, so that was Monday to Friday, two hours a day. And was pretty intensive, and we didn't speak any Spanish in these classes. These classes were absolutely in English. The only day we spoke in Spanish were the first day. After the first day those classes were absolutely in English.
GC: How many people were in this class?
FT: Were only 15 to 20 persons.
GC: OK. This was, uh, every day, Monday through Friday for two hours. How many weeks did you do this? Did you say?
FT: I did that for three months.
GC: Wow. And, uh.
FT: Excuse me, and they had like four levels. Like some beginning levels, and the other levels, was something like every three months. So I, I only did the first level really.
GC: Did you have to take an exam to be placed into what class? Or did you \\ just?\\
FT: \\ No. \\
GC: \\ Sign up? \\
FT: \\ No. \\
GC: For this class? OK.
FT: You, everybody start in the same. That is the beginning, so the started with vocabulary, the-, but theirs was more intensive. That, this wasn't simple like high school.
GC: OK, but did you find yourself repeating some of those things that you had done already in high school? At least at the beginning?
FT: Exactly, exactly.
GC: And, when you took this course, did you have a purpose in mind? Had you already made plans to do traveling to go to the United States or some country? Or did you just want to \\ speak English? \\
FT: \\ Well, \\ English in Colombia is pretty popular and pretty essential for your life, especial if you are a professional, you know. You have or you should speak English. So, a lot of people in different if they are think to travel to some country who speaks English, or so you, you want to speak English. I thought that because maybe I wanted to come to United States, for some travel, I mean to travel, so I wanted to be able to speak a little bit.
GC: OK. And uh, since this was not part of a university you were, uh, you were, uh, just taking those lessons sort.
FT: \\ Private class. \\
GC: \\ Of privately? \\
FT: Yeah.
GC: Did you get grades?
FT: Yeah we did and but, uh, yeah we did grades like exactly with numbers, one to 10, but also in this one they were pretty strict, and if you don't pass the level you have to repeat.
GC: Oh.
FT: The level is a month. Every month they do tests and if you don't pass that test you have to repeat. You don't have to pay again, but you have to repeat.
GC: Oh, that's, that's interesting and then, can you maybe speak a little bit about what those tests were like? How did they differ from the tests you took in high school?
FT: Well, these test were exactly write, writing, and oral.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: The write tests were exactly with vocabulary and sentences, also. And sometimes she-, and the oral, the oral test was with some oral presentation, and with some interview. That was the difference between this class and high school. The interview, that was pretty important, they make some percents. And percents from the writings, percents from the oral presentation, and percent from the interview.
GC: Oh, for your overall grade.
FT: Exactly. And the writings was pretty much the same than high school, you know with vocabulary, and with grammar about sentences and the way, how you are supposed to write, and the teacher take care a lot about the, you know the correct spelling.
GC: And do you remember was this teacher, could you tell a difference between this English teacher and what you had in high school? Was this a native English speaker or somebody with better e-, English education?
FT: Absolutely. The difference was a lot, uh, was you know you can tell the difference because these teachers were people who used to live here in United States. That's, maybe they are not American like white people, but they were citizens or they were residents and they used to live here in United States or in another country, where they speak English for something like 15 or the 20 years. I remember my first teacher, she used to live in New Jersey, and she live here for something like all her life. That was her first job in Colombia. That was an English teacher. They take care a lot \\ of.\\
GC: \\ OK. \\
FT: \\ Those \\ things.
GC: And when you had your, uh, oral presentations, you said you gave an interview and uh, you did something else, some kind of presentation.
FT: \\ Yeah. \\
GC: \\ Class \\ presentation? Do you remember any of the topics or any, \\ any kind of issues? \\
FT: \\ Yeah, I remember that \\ they, in the first class when we spoke in Spanish, they made the points about the topics, about the interview and about the oral presentation. The oral presentation they, you can speak about maybe your family, or about vacation or about the school, or about your friends, but what you have to do in that oral presentation is use all the vocabulary that we saw already in the class, and you have to speak for not less than 10 minutes in the front of the class.
GC: Wow.
FT: That was also pretty stress for everybody because you know, that was, and you had to way the correct grammar and the correct way to say all you saw in the class.
GC: Did the teacher give you feedback during your presentation or did he wait 'til after you were finished and tell you, your corrections?
FT: Exactly. He wait until you finish because she or he was writing down.
GC: \\ OK. \\
FT: \\ All \\ those mistakes that you did. But usually you don't make mistakes in that oral presentation because you had, I mean you are doing this in advantage.
GC: Oh, OK. So you \\ practice ( ). \\
FT: \\ So \\ you practice and you memorize pretty much what you are going to say. But the oral presentation you cannot copy from some book, you, that has to be from your inspiration.
GC: From, from memory.
FT: \\ Exactly. \\
GC: \\ That \\ has to be memorized.
FT: Oh, yeah.
GC: And uh.
FT: About the interview, the interview was in the end of the month, and this interview was oral, also. And she ask you things about, depends e-, exactly all this was about the class, and she ask you about everything in sentences and was more like this interview was just normal questions and but she take care a lot about the way, how you speak and how you say the things especial grammar. She takes, they take care a lot about the grammar.
GC: So you felt that the feedback you got from doing those oral presentations and the writing really helped you?, you were able to make corrections, and you felt that uh, they really did help you get better in learning to speak \\ English? \\
FT: \\ Yeah, \\ I think so because the way they teach was pretty different. They use a lot of tapes, like a movies and everything was in English, you cannot speak with the other students in Spanish you had to speak in English, and they also, they also give you some book, and some book that was for homework. Exactly like high school but their, in this situation you have also some tape. When they, they speak about everything in this book so you have the opportunity to read, and have the opportunity to listen. And was American people who made these tapes.
GC: Oh.
FT: With some good pronunciation.
GC: Oh, OK. Well, you've given a lot of good information here Felipe and I, I appreciate it, and my classmates appreciate it. Uh, did you feel at, at the end of this, one thing I guess just asking, after you took that last class, did you feel like you were ready to come to the United States.
FT: \\ [Laughs] \\
GC: \\ And, \\ and could be comfortable interacting with whoever you needed to speak with?
FT: Well that's funny because, that's what I thought in Colombia, you know, I thought that I was ready to speak and ready to do just normal things here in, in America. But the real situation is when you come here, and you going to speak and people don't understand what you are saying, because your pronunciation or your accent is absolutely strange and difficult. So what I used to do, what I used to do first when I came here was to spell the people what I what I wanted to say. Because I said the word or I said something, and I knew what I was saying but people didn't understand, so, I guess the more difficult thing when you speak English in, in, in the country in, in another country is about the pronunciation, and is about the accent, more than grammar and more than whatever thing.
GC: So.
FT: And, and also is pretty difficult, eh, to get accustom to listen in English and try to understand, because you know one thing and people, I guess when they are learning some other language, they are always try to translate, you know. What, what is this in Spanish? Oh, I have to answer this but they first think in Spanish and they translate to English.
GC: Uh-huh.
FT: And that is a, is a big process. And the way when you really speak and is easy, is when you think in English and when you get accustom to listen English and to answer in English, but never think in Spanish.
GC: Well, it seems like you've gotten to that level now. You've, uh.
FT: \\ [Laughs] \\
GC: \\ I \\ appreciate all the help you've given to this interview, and uh, and, and thanks again for your time today.
FT: Oh, you're welcome.
END OF INTERVIEW
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