By Mariah Blystone

The Spanish language is becoming increasingly relevant in America. Certain businesses and companies cater to both English speakers and Spanish speakers.
The United States Census Bureau reports that about eleven percent of the United States population is Hispanic, and the number is quickly increasing. The Hispanic people have various characteristics to their growing culture.

Some students come into school knowing little or no English.

“I started learning English when I came here in the eight grade,” junior Girsan Negron-Quiros said.

Students have obvious difficulties learning the language

“The hardest thing for me is when people talk fast and pronunciation,” Negron-Quiros said.

Some students have ways to help them adapt to a whole new language.

“Watching TV and movies helped me understand,” Negron-Quiros said.

Negron-Quiros has advice for future students like himself.

“Don’t be shy,” Negron-Quiros said.

Negron-Quiros had to see teacher Angela Mitchell to learn the language. She helps students with their speech.

“Teachers refer students to me when they notice speech problems. I then screen them to determine their English proficiency,” Mitchell said.
Students can take advantage of Mitchell’s help at various times of the day.

“I meet with them during their ETEH periods and at the request of the teacher as well,” Mitchell said.
Various activities are used to help the students with the English language.

“I do lessons with them to help with oral speaking, writing, reading, comprehension, and listening skills,” Mitchell said. “I also can read the test out loud and read them pieces from their English classes.”

Having many students at different schools can cause difficulties.

“The hardest part for me is coordinating between so many teachers both here and at Clements,” Mitchell said.

Although Mitchell is exposed to Spanish speaking students, she does not understand the language well.

“I do not speak to [the students] in Spanish. By doing that I am not helping them, so I make sure to only use English,” Mitchell said.

Teachers now and in the future may be faced with a language barrier between students.

“A good thing to do is to write things down so they can see the words as well as hear you say them,” Mitchell said.

When students get involved in the school, they can grasp the language better.

“It is good for them to have English speaking friends so they can pick up the language and the culture because when they come here it is much of a culture shock for them,” Mitchell said.

Working with other students will help, but they may still have problems with certain parts of the language.

“Conversational language can be learned easily, but academic language can take from two to five years to learn. Certain simple words, like over and under, that we take for granted they don’t understand,” Mitchell said.

The students are more than willing to work hard to learn the language.

“Some of the students have to pay to go to school in their countries so when they come here they do not understand why some of the students do not take it so seriously. In the United States we take education for granted. They come here with great work ethic,” Mitchell said.

When it comes to education teachers will do what they need to do to help their students.

“I always say that good teaching is good teaching. The teacher will always do what they have to do,” Mitchell said.

22 COMMENTS

  1. I have never thought of how difficult it must be to learn English because I have spoken English as my first (and only) language. This is a great view into the other side of that and showing how Hispanic people must think the same for knowing Spanish. It makes me think that if I had truly committed to learning Spanish for the last four years I might have actually remembered more than I do now.

  2. When I was in sixth grade in Williamsburg a Chinese girl moved in after Christmas. They put her in my history class. She spoke absolutely no English when she came to our school. She sat up straight and stared at the teacher and didn’t speak a work for nine weeks. I felt so sorry for her, she looked so lost and sad. I tried to talk to her but she never said a word. The third nine weeks she wrote every single letter of notes that the teacher wrote. By the last nine weeks Mae Ye was reading, writing,and speaking English better than a few of the kids in the class. I asked her how she learned English so fast and so well. she said that her father forbid her to speak or read anything but English at home until she received A’s in school. wow the pressure and isolation she had to live with must have been excruciating .

  3. Accommodating people’s differences is an integral part of public education, if not a tricky one. This article really highlights that issue by including Mrs. Mitchell’s struggles with tying to find time to work with the students. I think this is definitely an important issue that is often underrated to the general populace, thanks for shining some light on it.

  4. English is not an easy language. Everyone is human and have weaknesses. I personally have been exposed to difficulties in learning a new language because my siblings when we first came from Panama had to learn English quickly to pass. I do know what they are going through and I applaud them for putting forth such effort. I also like that Prince George is actually supporting the needs of others to increase our success rate as a whole.

  5. I honestly can’t imagine the difficulty of having to learn a new language like that. One of my best friends in elementary school moved here from Greece, and when she got here, she spoke very little English and had to learn it quickly. It never really occurred to me back then how truly challenging it is. By the end of the year, her English had really improved, and she was making good grades and understanding everything. It’s truly incredible how people can learn a language that quickly and under that much pressure.

  6. I have always heard that English is the hardest language to learn. Just look around. Sadly many Americans can’t even speak proper English. It’s amazing to think that someone can learn a language so quickly when thrown right into it. I am in my fourth year of Spanish and I feel like I’m still struggling to keep up sometimes and I most definitely can’t speak it fluently yet.

  7. I was surprised when I read that the teacher Mitchell who teaches English to foreign students did not know Spanish well, but maybe this pressures foreign students to more exclusively use English and thus learn it more quickly.

  8. It’s still amazing to me that the United States is so amazing, and yet so far behind other foreign countries. Most citizens in Europe know at least two languages, but in America, it isn’t as crucial for us to know multiple languages since English is such a popular language. This article is great to make people think about what other people struggle with every day.

  9. There really is a serious culture shock and language barrier when you go to a new country. For one i lived in germany for a few years and it was difficult to interact with the locals but it is easier to learnt he language when your surrounded by it. I know when i lived near warrez mexico, spanish was alot easier to learn rather than when i moved away from their.

  10. This is a very good topic to write about. I definitely understand the difficulties of learning new language. I know so many people who had to go through the process of learning a new language and still today I know some people who are still trying to overcome this dreadful barrier.

  11. I think we can all empathize with these students to a certain extent. Last year, I was in Spanish IV and felt that I was the dumbest person. The teacher expected way too much out of us. I can understand how it feels to be forced to read, write, and speak in a language that you just can’t understand or isn’t your native tongue. I give big kudos to the teens who come to an english highschool and learn the language. English is a pain to understand, even for a majority of americans (grammer wise).

  12. I really admire students who have had to come to American schools and learn English, a completely new language to them, as well as take all of the other classes. I could not imagine going to Germany and trying to take seven classes in German.

  13. I have never really paid attention to this issue. It is eye opening to understand that some people have no knowledge of a language we know and understand because it is natural for us. I’m glad that this story was written so the student body could understand better.

  14. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to move to a new country where you know no one and you don’t speak the same language. I have great respect and admiration for those who do because it can’t be easy.

  15. English, in my opinion, is one of the hardest languages to comprehend. It appears to have an endless amount of grammer rules. Even natural born speakers have issues with the language because we have to include it in our school curriculum ofr 12 years. Those who spek Engish fluently don’t speak proper English; they use alot of slang. Good Luck to those trying to learn the language, I know that it’s extermely and intensely difficult!

  16. It is amazing for students to be placed into a school, where they must learn a new language, as well as the school material, and they succeed. Being a native english speaker, I still find a touch time learning some parts of the language, so I am positive that learning as a second language is astonishingly difficult. I commend anyone who attempts and/or overcomes this task.

  17. I never realized how many people at Prince Goerge High School don’t use English as their primary Language. I have a lot of respect for those kids and I understand where thier coming from because I used to live in Italy when I was younger and attended Italian public schools and the only option I had was to learn the language. I have alot of respect for those poeple who realize that an education is not somethign to be taken for granted and work hard inspite of adverse conditions to get a good one.

  18. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to have to learn any language like that, that quickly. It must be especially hard for students to learn english since it is such a complicated language with many exceptions and since people often use sarcasm or idioms.

  19. This was exactly how I felt about speaking Spanish when I took that class. Like Girsan said, when they talk fast it’s hard for me to understand. This article really opened my eyes to how hard it can be for people to adapt to a extremely different culture and language.

  20. grammar and learn new words but it doesn’t get you ready to have an in-depth conversation. English by far is one of the hardest to learn. There are many rules, almost all with several different exceptions, and some things just don’t translate. Especially between English and Spanish the sentence structure is so different, it’s hard to get the true meaning.

  21. I completely understand how hard it is to have to learn a new language completely. You can study the grammar and learn new words but it doesn’t get you ready to have an in-depth conversation. English by far is one of the hardest to learn. There are many rules, almost all with several different exceptions, and some things just don’t translate. Especially between English and Spanish the sentence structure is so different, it’s hard to get the true meaning.

  22. I cannot fathom being completely immersed in a new culture and language and then be expected to learn the language that quickly in order to succeed. I simply commend students who have to overcome this feat.

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