Flash Cards

Aquil has labeled many of the items in his home in Spanish, in order to help increase his vocabulary.  Here are just a few of the many:



“The microwave”


“The refrigerator”


“The cabinets are here”


Aquil’s Progress

Aquil has been meeting with his tutor, Dominick, since July 2016.  Aquil greatly enjoys his tutoring sessions.  His face says it all!   Upon completion of the Got Mike! Mini Grant, Aquil plans to maintain his monthly tutoring sessions with Dominick so that he can continue to practice and learn the Spanish language and work towards his dream job of possibly becoming an interpreter one day.

I had the opportunity to speak with Dominick about his sessions with Aquil and he reported that Aquil is one of his favorite students!  Dominick explained that Aquil continues to gain confidence and is speaking more clearly.  Dominick said that they continue to work on slowing down Aquil’s speech as he has the tendency to speak very fast.  Dominic stated that Aquil’s vocabulary and grammar have increased since the start of their sessions.


Pictured above is some of Aquil’s Spanish work


Aquil receiving tutoring sessions from his tutor, Dominick


Aquil and his tutor Dominick in the midst of a tutoring session

“Don’t Use Google Translate!”

Below, another video of Aquil practicing translations with his tutor, Dominick.

In this video excerpt, Dominick analyzes Aquil’s choice of words while translating Spanish phrases. He notices a few errors that Aquil has retrieved from relying on Google Translate. He states, “Do not use Google Translate for single words, the exception being a phrase”.

Aquil becomes excited to practice the Spanish language and at times, needs to be reminded to slow down and practice. Dominick reminds Aquil to “Habla mas despacio” or “Speak more slowly”.

At one point, Aquil begins to explain where he did his homework by saying, “Hice mi tarea en la computadora … [sic] en una página aquí y aquí” (I did my homework on the computer on a page, here and here).


“In Spanish, We Speak Backwards”

I had the pleasure of witnessing one of Aquil’s tutoring sessions with Dominick.  Dominick is working with Aquil to break his habit of relying on Google Translate, as it doesn’t translate things in the appropriate context.  Here, you see Dominick and Aquil practicing translations.

In this video excerpt, Aquil’s tutor Dominick quizzes him in translating a few phrases from Spanish to English.

Aquil was able to successfully translate the following:

  • Él esta nervioso. –> He is nervous.

  • Él no quiere estar aquí pero él no tiene opción. –> He does not want to be here but he does not have an option.

  • Ha perdido su trabajo, su casa, su familia y la mayoría de sus amigos. –> He has lost his job, home, family, and most of his friends.






Catching up with Aquil

Beginning in July, I had the opportunity to catch up with Aquil once monthly and speak with him in Spanish. Anyone who knows Aquil knows that he has a grand passion for learning the Spanish language. He possesses some fluency in Spanish, courtesy of a generous individual he crossed paths with at his job. He has turned his passion for Spanish into a dream of becoming an interpreter.

In order to assist Aquil with expanding his fluency in Spanish, I (with the assistance of my supervisor Ellen) explored numerous tutors who would be compatible with Aquil and his learning abilities. We finally stumbled across a tutor who appeared to have the patience and tenacity to teach Aquil the Spanish language. Aquil already had a tendency to write down Spanish phrases and sentences into his notebook. He liked to practice what he took in and would apply it to the real world.

On July 22nd, 2016, Aquil had his first tutoring session with Dominick. He was elated to experience his first tutoring session and he was not let down. He reported that he was incredibly happy that he would have the opportunity to continue learning Spanish. He shared the great news with his family and friends. When I visited him for his monthly home monitoring, we would switch our monitorings to take place in Spanish. Aquil was determined to reply in Spanish. His fluency has greatly increased since his first session.

When I visited him after his second session had taken place, I noticed his apartment was covered in index cards with words in Spanish. I asked him about his previous session. He reported that he was working on labeling items throughout his home. He had labels such as “la cama” (the bed), “los gabinetes” (the cabinets), “la micronda” (the microwave), and “la puerta” (the door). He reported that being able to see the physical labels helped him to memorize the words. He felt it was an effective way to learn.

During our last monitoring together, I took the opportunity to ask Aquil about his experiences with his tutoring sessions with Dominick. I asked him the following questions:

  • What skills have you learned since you began your tutoring sessions
  • How do you feel about your sessions now?
  • How do you practice the Spanish language?
  • Do you feel you have shown improvement in your speaking abilities?

When responding, Aquil was to the point. He mentioned that he has learned how to make better use of his present tense, past tense, and future tense. He is still working on writing with the correct grammar but he feels confident in his abilities. He feels he continues to benefit from his sessions and he enjoys taking the time to learn new material. He practices his skills by writing it down, speaking it verbally, and labeling items. He believes he has shown improvement in his Spanish by his consistent homework assignments and his ability to better speak Spanish.

Although Aquil continues to receive his tutoring sessions in Spanish with Dominick, he has improved significantly since he began back in July. He continues to improve his skills, his fluency, and his abilities. With additional practice, Aquil can move forward towards his dream of becoming an interpreter.



“Hello, my name is Aquil. I love to speak in Spanish. I have learned a lot in the last few months and I would like to continue learning Spanish.”