The English Language Learning

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Updated: Jun 29, 2022
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English was one of those languages. It was the official language of Ghana, and almost everyone communicated in English. There were two forms of English, formal and informal (commonly referred to as broken English). Every school going child was taught English, French, and a local language. I spoke English fluently,-but I was not a fan of studying it as a subject in school. During my early years, I performed better in my French class as compared to my English class.

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I only studied when I had to finish homework. I grew as a reader and writer partly due to fear. Fear? One may ask. In my 3rd and 4th grade I had the same English teacher. He was a very strict teacher and was pivotal in my development as a reader and writer. Prior to his class, I was not performing so well in English. I struggled to understand what I read or skipped words when reading. Other times I just didn’t read at all.

As part of his class we took a quiz every time we had his class. It was sometimes oral or written. For each reading we were assigned, my classmates and I were expected to be able to spell more than 80% of random words picked for the quiz and also be able to point out the parts of speech in the text. Failure to do so meant the student would be punished. The punishment could come in the form of kneeling[LB1] or sometimes caning. These punishments were painful and embarrassing as some kids laughed at others when they were punished. It made a lot of us cry and sometimes led to confrontations between parents and school authorities when kids went home with marks on their bodies. I didn’t like being laughed at and was also scared of getting caned. This fear pushed me to spend more time on my English books and ensured I was always on top of my game[LB2] .

It wasn’t always scary in his class. It was when we had a quiz. But after we discussed the readings that were assigned to us[LB3] . It was a fun time as we discussed our different views on the readings assigned and what we would have altered if we were the writer. I didn’t notice this[LB4] at first because i was little. But this part of the class is how my journey as a writer started. I did not struggle on narrative essays on tests or exams in my later years because I had read quite a number of books in my early years and could use different ideas and techniques to start and end my essays. I mostly ended with a moral as I had read may “Aesop fables” and “Ananse stories”. These were my favorite kind of books. They provided me with lots of new words, morals, taught me different forms of literature, helped improve my grammar, and allowed me to think critically[LB5] .

My grades improved in English greatly, but I had another problem which my teachers brought to my notice. I did not write legibly and they found it difficult to read what i was writing. They advised my parents to purchase “My First Copy Book” to help improve my writing. However progress was slow. It was around this period I was coincidentally enrolled in Arabic school by my parents. Writing Arabic was just like drawing and needed the writer to pay attention to detail just like an artist would to his paintings. This improved my English writing greatly as I paid more attention to each letter and made sure each was legible. My scores improved term by term. When I took my Entrance Exam for Secondary school years later, English was my highest performing subject and was one of the highest grades for my year group. This helped me to get admission the best Secondary School in Ghana, Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School. I spent just a year in Secondary School in Ghana before moving to the United States.

It was a huge culture shock for me because there was a sharp contrast in the education systems of both countries. I studied British English in Ghana as Ghana was colonized by the British. There was difference in grammar rules which was minimal. But the major difference was the diverse genres and types of readings done in school. There were readings on History, Literature, Science and many more. We sometimes even read whole novels as a class. Something I usually did on my own. It was not really a thing at the Secondary school I went to. It was a new and fun experience for me. The reading were discussed in class and I got to know different perspectives on a topic. I liked the history readings because I didn’t know most of them and they intrigued me.

My years in high school in the United States shaped the writer and reader I am today. I had a great teacher who explained the readings thoroughly and taught the subject creatively so students were always hooked and had fun with the readings. One key thing that helped me was “close reading strategies”. My teacher used it to teach and it was the first time I had heard of it. It helped a reader to be able to analyze and understand the text better. Although I had analyzed text in the past, it was not in an organized way and did not help me to understand the text deeply as “ close reading strategy books” did. “ Close reading Strategies” allowed me to think critically about a reading and analyze the author’s work. Although i consider myself a better math student, I performed better again in English than in Math on my SAT and ACT. “Close reading strategies” helped me to shorten time spent on reading and improved my test taking skills.

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The English Language Learning. (2022, Jun 29). Retrieved from