Geplaatst in Personal

Foreign language 

According to some of my native speaking American friends my written skills has improved since I started my blog last year. I can not judge myself on my written skills, but I do notice that my verbal skills have improved over the last three years. Especially my vocabulary has enlarged. For me the active forms of a language, speaking and writing, are easier than the more passive forms, listening and reading. When it comes to writing I have to admit that I use the spellings control on my smartphone and if I have do not have a clue on how to spell a word I use my dictaphone. To ensure that I will not get a RSI thumb, by writing all my blogs on my phone with only my thumb, I sometimes use my dictaphone as well. The problem with that is my pronunciation. There are many words that sound equal to me or I do hear the difference in pronunciation but can’t pronounce it the right way myself. For example ‘Dough’ and ‘dog’ or ‘goat’ and ‘coat’.  There’s only a slight difference in the way it should be pronounced. Like most people I find it harder to grasps and make sense on what I hear than to speak. As in reading English or even Dutch, reading has never been my strongest suit. Despite the fact that my English has improved a lot over time my English vocabulary is by far smaller than my Dutch vocabulary, what really annoys me from time to time.

I just can’t identify with people who do not have the urge to speak the national language. Like the other day I spoke to this Armenian guy who lives most of his life in NY, 27 years, but did not speak proper English. In my job as a teacher it really bothers me that I have to bend over backwards to make myself clear to third generation immigrants because they speak poor Dutch. To me integration is adjusting to the national culture while maintaining your own culture. A great part of integration is being able to communicate in the national language. If it would be up to me you should not be given legal residency or citizenship without speaking the language of the country. – by Bregje

Geplaatst in Personal

Read or not read

In certain social environments, like my own, books are the quintessential symbol of intelligence, education, knowledge and status. Not reading is often viewed as shallow and unintelligent.

From an early age it was clear that, unlike my sister who was straight ‘A’ student and read every book on the shelf, I had difficulties with reading, writing and math. The problem is that our education system treats reading as if it’s the ultimate way of learning and development. Yet it’s not my way.

My mom knew the importance of reading bedtime story’s. Besides the fact that it supports the relationship between child and parent, it develops the passion for books and it promotes emerging literacy and language development. Except for the fact that she failed fostering a lifelong love of book reading, I am grateful that she continued reading me books till the age of 13! Along with that she tutored me, with all of my schoolwork, throughout my entire school career.

It took me quite some time to admit but I do not read books nor do I follow the news. I find no comfort in sitting still and gazing at a book or watching the news. You might think it’s unwillingness, it is not. I can not lose myself into the reading or absorbing information like the news. I am not able to focus, my brain is not willing to detach from reality around me. I tune out and drift away unless it has my full interest.

For a long time I felt dumb and at times I still do. At the moment I am in the middle of a process of accepting the fact that my limitations are due to a learning disability. Career wise I would like to take it to the next level but more than ever I realize that there is a big discrepancy between my cognitive skills and my intellect.

On account of my creativity, determination, intelligence and the help and faith of my mom I overcame many struggles by finding my own tools. It’s my call to deal with and overcome my limitations and to focus on my strength. -Bregje