From: valerie boes
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 18 Oct 1996
Remote Name: mingong-mac-05.ucsc.edu
a girl(i forgot her name) around 13
On Wednesday I worked with a girl who didn't speak english.(I think she told me her nickname is nina but i'm not positive) This was my first time working with someone who didn't know any english. She is Helda's cousin, so at first we relied on Helda to translate a few sentences. Anyways she wanted to play on the c.d.rom but there wasn't any available. She settled on playing a few of the games that were added to the computers-hang man, sticks, etc. Hang man was a total disaster. I could't really explain to her how to play it and it's sort of important to be able to spell english to play hang man. But for a few minutes i think she enjoyed pressing the letters and watching the screen. The last game we tried out was jacks. at first neither of us got it but then i saw the point. so i tried to tell her in 1% spanish and 99% english how to do it but obviously she couldn't understand. Then i took the mouse away from her and with one hand moved the mouse and with the other pointed to what she needed to do.(For jacks you have to click on the ball, pick up one jack, then click on the ball before the ball touches the ground again. Once you collect all the jacks you move on to getting two jacks per bounce and so on) After watching me she started doing it herself. When she passed the first level she continued picking up 1 jack, so i told her 2 and put up two fingers. she had to start with one jack again but once she passed the level i put up two fingers and we said "two" together. we ended up playing this game for a long time. In this game you get frustrated because you may make it up to five jacks, then miss and you have to start from the very beginning again. At times she got frustrated and told me to play so i'd play for a game, then she would take over. by the end of our time together, whenever she had to start over or when i had to, we would go "ahhhhhhhh" together. I really felt by the end of the day that we were speaking the same language.
This experience gave me a lot of satisfaction, hope, and fulfilment. It was great to be seperated by language yet be able to communicate. It made me realize that there are so many other ways to express yourself. Nina reminded me of when i use to babysit babies. you have to try different ways of doing things before you realize what will work and what won't. it also made me remember individuality. different people have different ways of learning. Nina also made me realize how important it is that i learn spanish. with her it came easy to teach her a game, but if i decide to work with children, teenagers, or young/old adults in the future, i am going to need to communicate with them.
I think what i learned most, was how much i need to learn. not only spanish, but how to deal with children. most of my experience have been baby sitting. I feel im fun for the kids to hang out with, but im constantly feeling unadequate. I don't know if anyones ever noticed how i interact when im with the children at barrios unidos, but if anyone has i would like some feedback-what im doing well, wrong, etc..