“I only got a car for my birthday” – Phuong

I first encountered Phuong at my school. She was sitting alone and crying. When I asked what was wrong, she said that it was her birthday that day. I asked why she was crying and she replied that her parents had only given her a car. My immediate reaction was that she was a very lucky lady and I asked what make car – Toyota, Honda, Ford? No, she replied, opening her bag. She held up a birthday card.

Like many Vietnamese learners, Phuong had major pronunciation problems: she didn’t end her words, she stressed the wrong part of longer words and she spoke in a staccato, jumpy way. I used a number of techniques to work on all of these problems from reading limericks, to Dr Seuss (which is great for word endings) to recording her and writing down a transcript of what could actually be heard (eg car, not card). We counted apples, which teach the linking of words.

Phuong went up from a 4.5 to a 7.