Teaching English to an Italian Born Sri Lankan Girl

Shehana Mahabethmage

Parents of an Italian born Sri Lankan girl requested me last week to teach their daughter some English during this month while they are in Sri Lanka. Teaching a student a language with just 4 hours a week within a month is a big challenge. But I took up the challenge to at least make her comfortable with English language within a month.

The girl is Shehana Mahabethmage. She is just 10 years old and study in Grade Five in Roccasinibalda School in Varco Sabino, Italy. Her first language is Italian. She knows basic Sinhala but not the big words. She can read English fast but with Italian pronunciations. I started from the very beginning such as the alphabet in a double rule book. She catches the lessons very fast. She is very keen to learn.

As part of the lesson, we started watching “Racing Stripes” movie. She enjoys it very much and learns a lot from English subtitles. Kids can learn from subtitles of good movies. This is something I tested for the last couple of years.

My problem is what will happen after she leaves for Italy at the end of the month. She cannot find an English teacher in the small town she lives in. I have experiences in teaching few Japanese youth English through Skype and perhaps we can continue to do the same with Shehana.


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