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Case Study | Abdi

Background

Abdi was born in Somalia in 1982 and attended school for only three years before leaving to work on his family farm. He had to flee his homeland when war broke out and spent 4 years in a refugee camp in Kenya. He came to Australia as a refugee 8 years ago and is now living in a high rise flat in Carlton. He speaks Somali at home with his wife Khadra who has very little English and cannot read and write. They have 6 children. He gets some family support benefits and has worked as a taxi driver for two years, currently doing night shift. He supports his wife with the children before and after work and helps his older children at primary school with their homework. He is responsible for paying all the bills and dealing with social security, tenancy and school issues. Now, there are changes in the taxi industry with many drivers required to do a knowledge test. He belongs to a Horn of Africa men’s group. They advised him to go to his community centre to work with a volunteer tutor to consolidate his literacy skills.

Literacy ability

Abdi learned to read and write in his own language and used the Roman alphabet to write at school in Somalia. He learned good basic language skills in his preliminary settlement course in English when he arrived in Australia. He is gaining fluency and confidence in his speaking through interactions at work and in the community but he works at a basic functional level in literacy. He can write the names and personal details of his family members and fill out forms. Spelling, grammar and familiarity with formal written English are his main problems.

Interests
Family, the Mosque, soccer 

Immediate Literacy Needs
• Read and write materials from primary school for children’s education needs.
• Investigate English language requirements for the taxi drivers’ knowledge test.
• Complete forms for work and family needs.

Lesson 1

Introduction
Spend time talking to Abdi and getting to know each other. Discuss his work and family as well as his goals for these literacy sessions.

Reading
Using a laptop or Ipad, visit the Taxi Services Commission website: www.taxi.vic.gov.au to find a short text about taxi driving. Ensure that both of you can share the screen. Encourage Abdi to navigate the home page and follow the links with support. Then read the text to him slowly and indicate each word. Ask Abdi to attempt to read one section with support. Pause, prompt and praise as he reads. You write a simple summary of the reading to reinforce main ideas.

Writing
Get Abdi to write about his work as a taxi driver, including recent shifts. This will give you a picture of his literacy skills and provide material for the session. Encourage Abdi to proof read his text and read over the writing together. Provide feedback on clarity, coherence of ideas, spelling and grammar.

Spelling
Have a personal dictionary note book ready. Add a few words from the website, eg, business, passenger, fares, licence. Break difficult words into chunks eg are, ess, ence. Focus on one target phoneme, eg /s/ . Get Abdi to highlight the /s/ sound in each word. Identify the range of ways we can spell one sound. Then read each word aloud.

Grammar
Draw on Abdi’s writing to work on one aspect of standard English grammar, eg past tense verb endings. Talk about the regular ed past tense ending and practice the spelling and pronunciation of key examples, eg collected, charged, hailed.

Conclusion of Lesson
Ask Abdi to bring along any materials from his family’s primary school including how to access the online parent portal. Read over the taxi reading summary and his spelling words and remind him to practise at home.

Lesson 2

Introduction
Chat about Abdi’s week activities and his goals for this session. Discuss any responses to last week. Get him to read the taxi reading summary and target sound words. Revise letter/sound /s/ and possible spellings.

Reading
Using a laptop or Ipad, visit the website or parent portal for his children’s primary school. Assist Abdi with access requirements, passwords, etc. Encourage him to navigate the home page and follow the links with support to an item of interest. Then read the text to him slowly and indicate each word. Ask Abdi to attempt to read one section with support. Pause, prompt and praise as he reads. You write a simple summary of the reading to reinforce main ideas.

Writing
Get Abdi to write about his children’s primary school and any problems he has experienced. This will give you a picture of his literacy skills and provide material for the session. Encourage Abdi to proof read his text and read over the writing together. Provide feedback on clarity, coherence of ideas, spelling and grammar.

Spelling
Focus on any words Abdi found difficult in his writing on school. Show him how English words grow from a root word, eg: educate, education, educator, uneducated or study, student, studious. Discuss familiar morphemes, their meanings and spelling patterns. Explain the different word classes formed with each morpheme. Abdi can copy these into his personal dictionary.

Grammar
Draw on Abdi’s writing to extend his work on past tense verbs, this week with a focus on irregular verbs. Provide him with an alphabetical list of common irregular verbs and explain participles and simple past forms. Practise key examples, eg went, taught, spoke.

Conclusion
Ask Abdi to bring along any forms that he needs to complete for himself or his family. Read over the school summary and his spelling words and remind him to practise at home. Set up email contact to communicate future session plans.

Take the Next Step

1

Teaching Adults

Follow this link for how to teach an EAL learner.

2

Hub Resources

Check out these resources that will help you teach the EAL adult reader writer literacy learner.

3

Hints

This link contains easy-to-understand hints & tips to help you tutor the intermediate adult literacy learner.

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