Dr. Alan Kersten
Learning English as a second language: A case study of a Chinese girl in an American preschool
A study of a three year old Chinese girl named Jasmine, focused on the semantics of her learning English as a second language. She was the only participant in the study who was learning a second language. Others in the study consisted of the teachers, interns, children in the class, and the observers of the study. Her native language was Chinese, which is not very similar to English at all. She came into her preschool program not knowing any other language but Chinese and also having a past bad experience at a prior preschool.
The study did not consist of any real strategies. The only type of strategy that they used, but not the main one, was using sign language to songs and chants of familiar nursery melodies. They exposed Jasmine to normal real-world settings in which she was exposed to the English in her preschool classroom. Jasmines real learning came from her peers and friends in the classroom. This is where she got to interact with children of her age who helped her learn this new language. The other children where the main teachers of the new language to Jasmine, her teacher was there for support and comfort and also assisted in some of the learning, but the main source was her peers. With the friends that Jasmine made they interacted in play which allowed her to be exposed to English as real world settings and helped her acquire English more rapidly. These different types of play provided Jasmine with opportunities to develop friendships which helped her language development of English tremendously. This play also helped her by mimicking these other children which led to her using these words, even though one word at a time at first but eventually leading to whole sentences.
The teachers in the study both international doctoral students in early childhood education at the university. One...