My first week of data collection was a little slow. I started the week off with my survey. I had a total of 8 questions asking about their level of usage, understanding, and comfort with their native language. I also wanted to know if they could count in their native language. The results for my survey are below. I actually started the survey with just 5 questions, and after reviewing those answers realized that I needed more information. I was left with a feeling of incompletion, like what I really wanted to know was not questioned properly. So, I made a second survey with 3 more questions and I am happy with my results.
Q1: How strong is your Yup’ik?
Q2: What language do you feel comfortable using to explain information?
Q3: Can you count to 20 in Yup’ik?
Q4: Can you count to 50 in Yup’ik?
Q5: Can you count to 100 in Yup’ik?
Q6: What language do you speak socially, with your friends and family?
Q7: How well do you speak Yup’ik?
Q8: How well do you understand Yup’ik, if it is spoken to you?
I was very surprised that not many of the students remembered how to count to 20 in their native language. However, I remembered that the last time they had math in their native language was second grade. I decided to put numbers 0-20 on my dual language word wall because I feel that this is a skill that should not be lost to these students. I am hoping that seeing the numbers on a daily basis will strengthen that skill for most.
I realized from the second survey that even though most students do not feel comfortable speaking their native language to explain things, more of them do speak it socially and could understand what someone is trying to explain to them in Yup’ik. I felt this was important information to have because I wanted to use the survey, along with their MAPS scores, to set my dual language pairs for the classroom.
By mid week, I had the students paired up and was able to do a math activity to test their communication levels. During the activity, I did some informal classroom observations. I was happy to see that most of my students communicating well, or at least trying to . There were a couple of pairs who were having difficulties. I think most of the difficulties were not because they could not communication, but because they chose not to communicate with each other. There are a couple of students in the class who just do not have the motivation to work well with others. I tried to have a conversation with these students and will continue to observe them over the next couple of weeks. Communication is the key for many of my dual language strategies to work.