In-Depth Post #4

My Progress

Since my previous blog post, I have made a great deal of progress, including continuing to do reading comprehensions and trying some mock conversations with my mentor. I also started a journal I use for weekly writing practice by writing a poem or a paragraph. Over spring break, I fit in some extra mentor meetings, which allowed me to learn some new concepts, such as grammar.

Similar to my previous blog post, most of my meetings are spent practicing reading through reading comprehension. Practicing reading will help me develop flow and speed, which is an essential skill to learn so I can eventually begin practicing adding emotion to my reading. Reading at a steady pace will allow me to add fluctuations to my volume and tone based on the piece of writing I am reading, and I will not be able to achieve this ability if my speech is slow and broken up. Also, answering questions at the end of each passage ensures that I understand the material I am reading. I must either use a Punjabi to English dictionary or ask my mentor when I do not know what a word or phrase means to answer the questions correctly. Learning these new words will expand my vocabulary, which will assist me in writing an interesting and exciting story.

Along with reading comprehension, I am also practicing my speaking by trying to converse with my mentor in Punjabi while asking questions or discussing topics. Talking casually with my mentor outside of scripted or mock conversations will significantly improve my speaking ability and confidence as I will be practicing many conversational skills in a natural environment. I will continue to do mock conversations with my mentor as they are helpful for learning common phrases and idioms as well as formal and casual speaking conventions. One area where I want to improve is my confidence while speaking. Occasionally, I cannot think of a response or start a conversation because I am worried that my sentence will not make sense or that I will mispronounce a word. To overcome this obstacle, I need to try speaking even if I am unsure about my speaking. Then if I make a mistake, my mentor will be able to use it as a learning opportunity and teach me about a new concept I did not know about before. Also, by trying and making mistakes, I will build my confidence.

Since my previous blog post, I have started a journal. I practice writing a poem or paragraph once a week in my journal. Using my journal helps me practice my printing and engage my creativity. Since I have only done one journal entry so far, my writing is simple. I usually only use simple sentences, basic vocabulary, and only one tense throughout the entire passage. As I continue to write in my journal, I will learn about grammar rules such as creating compound and complex sentences, writing in different tenses, and verb conjugation.

This is an example of a poem I wrote in my journal. It is a variation of the mango poem from In-Depth Post #2.

My following meeting goals are to continue practicing my reading, move on to more difficult passages, practice speaking, and continue writing in my journal. I will combat my fear of making a mistake and build my confidence while speaking. Once I feel comfortable with making mistakes, I will be able to learn from them and gain a deeper understanding of my topic. I will also continue trying to speak Punjabi while asking questions or discussing topics to practice my speaking further. Finally, I will continue to write in my journal every week and learn about grammar and writing conventions in Punjabi.

What has been your most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?

My most difficult mentoring challenge has been maintaining a consistent schedule for mentor meetings. Currently, my mentor meetings are scheduled for every Friday, which is usually an adequate time to fit my mentor’s and my schedules since it is directly before the weekend. However, occasionally we cannot meet on Fridays due to my mentor being busy or me being occupied with schoolwork. Once I miss my Friday meeting, I am forced to wait until next week because I have soccer games and volunteering over the weekend. Although this issue has become less prevalent since my previous blog post, I still struggle to maintain a concrete schedule. To combat this issue, I must keep myself accountable for my learning by finishing my schoolwork before Friday to ensure I do not have any urgent homework to complete that might force me to miss a meeting. By maintaining a consistent schedule, I will be able to continue to make progress on my project and learn valuable skills from my mentor that I would not be able to pick up myself.

What is working well? Why?

Something that is working well is that I am very interested in learning Punjabi, which allows me to be productive and focused during meetings. Being interested in my topic makes me fully invested in every meeting, resulting in more effective learning and enjoyable mentor meetings. Since I enjoy learning about Punjabi, I also work on skills such as reading and writing in my own time outside of mentor meetings, significantly speeding up my progress. This extra time investment will also enable me to learn more complex concepts and dive deeper into my topic before making my final product. Having already known the basics of Punjabi before starting this project allowed me to grasp concepts faster as I had a strong foundation of knowledge. Reaching my final goal of writing a story in Punjabi will be much easier if I enjoy the process, and my enjoyment and hard work will make the entire project worthwhile.

What could be working better? How can you make sure this happens?

Something that I could improve is my reading speed. Currently, I struggle to build a flow while reading aloud, making my reading speed slow and broken up. Not being able to read aloud smoothly and fluently prevents me from telling a story with emotion, which is one of my goals for this project. Despite not being able to read quickly, my pronunciation is clear, and I can correctly sound out words that I do not know. Having the ability to sound out words accurately means I understand each letter’s sounds and how the vowels modify them. Since I understand the phonetics of Punjabi, I should eventually be able to read quickly with continued practice. Once I reach this milestone, I will be able to read stories with emotion, which is a significant component of my final product.

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