Jacquelyn Blain


I totally agree with what Ellen Carillo is saying mainly because I can relate to most of the issues that he pointed with the American common core system . In school I never really thought that I was just accepting what someone else wrote , I felt like that’s what I was suppose to be doing and if i didn’t understand something I would just simply ask questions to be more clear on the topic. However, looking at it now I realize thats all I’ve been doing my entire school life just accepting what my teachers told me and not really having my own understanding of it Therefore, I don’t really feel no type of way about it but now I know that instead of just accepting what someone else is saying as true, I should do my own research and get my own view on the topic that is being discussed. I never really thought about the difference between knowledge and understanding but I do know that it’s two different things. When a person understands something they can really explain it however, when a person has knowledge about something they have a less comprehensive grasp of the facts. Knowing the difference between knowledge and understanding is important because without knowledge understanding is impossible, But having knowledge doesn’t necessarily lead to understanding of a greater narrative which is the point of gathering information.

In order to better understand why I was so surprised with this sudden jarring realization , some context is necessary so as to better understand my point of view. When I was younger, I had often seen my father communicate with a variety of individuals using English. At the time I was quite impressed with him since bilingualism was not a common trait where I am from and to see him talk to others in English was quite a feat in my eyes back then. Do note though that at time I barely understood English and had very little context to actually understand what my father was saying. As such, the words that came out of his mouth and the way that he communicated was in my eyes flawless. A few years before I left to study in the U.S., I attended a local language school in order to prepare myself and improve upon my meager rudimentary knowledge of the English language. At the time I still thought that my father’s version of “English” was quite good and that I should aspire to be just as good as him. However, over time I noticed a few differences, just as Amy Tan in the story “Mother Tongue” noted that how her mother spoke English held her back, I believe that how my father spoke English similarly held me back in developing the manner in which I communicated in that particular language. As I mentioned earlier, I idolized my father and tried to emulate him in every way possible, the same applies to the manner in which he spoke English. Despite the language school teaching me a variety of grammar and types of phonetically appropriate methods of speech in relation to proper English speaking, I always differed back to the way in which my father spoke English and how he communicated with it. Thus, I mostly used his rules and his version rather than what the language school taught. What you have to understand was that at the time, my father’s way of speaking English was all I knew and all I aspired. I had little in the way of sufficient outside context and admittedly the language schools could only do so much without sufficient immersion in the English language to teach me.

1 Comment

  1. Jacquelyn Blain

    That is a wonderful story about you and your father! In fact, these are all really good comments; what you said about knowledge and understanding is important, I think. We need the knowledge but then we have to go deeper into understanding what it’s really saying to us.

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