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April 1, 1994
Vol. 51
No. 7

The Quechua Connection

      After living in the United States for about two years, 8-year-old Carmela, an Inca Indian from Peru, continued to have difficulty learning English. Our Child Study Team was perplexed at her lack of progress.
      As the English-as-a-Second-Language Teacher, I believed the solution was to study Quechua, Carmela's native language, and make necessary adaptations to English. After consulting my reference books on linguistics to no avail, I called the ESL professors at Rutgers University, Trenton State College, and NYU. When they could offer no assistance, I thought I had reached a deadend.
      At the time, our school was receiving training on how to use the Internet—an electronic network known to bring the outside world into the classroom. Perhaps the Internet could help me. I posted an inquiry on MacPost and Linguist about how to use the grammar and syntax of Quechua for second-language acquisition. Within 24 hours, I received messages from several people, ranging from professors at Princeton and Cornell Universities to a linguist whose aunt could speak Quechua. I couldn't believe the wealth of information available at my fingertips. I could communicate with researchers in the field of linguistics!
      One professor referred me to an Introduction to Bolivian Quechua (2030.517.179) at Princeton's Firestone Library. Through an interlibrary loan, I was able to study the book and begin to understand how the oral language of Quechua differed from English. Using other resources obtained from the Internet, I began to develop instructional materials to bridge the gap between Quechua and English for Carmela. I'm happy to say that she is now progressing at a rapid pace!
      My story is just one example of how the Internet is revolutionizing the field of education. It is opening up a new world for both teachers and students that will change the face of teaching and learning.
      End Notes

      1 Carmela is a pseudonymn.

      Donna L. Clovis has been a contributor to Educational Leadership.

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