San Diego Citizenship Interview with Teacher Thu Ha Nguyen

San Diego Citizenship Interview with Teacher Thu Ha Nguyen


This is Teacher Jennifer from US Citizenship Podcast. Every week, we bring you practice interviews, quizzes, resources, and the latest news that help you get ready for your US citizenship interview. (Today) I interview Teacher Thu Ha Nguyen about her online citizenship course that she developed for the San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) which is the Adult Education Division of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD). This interview was recorded at the San Diego CATESOL Conference where we also recorded five quick citizenship videos with her fellow SDCE citizenship teachers, Mechelle Perrot and Rose-Elena Lopez. The first video is up now in which I, the examiner, doesn’t think that Mechelle is ready for the interview because Mechelle doesn’t understand one of the first interview questions about eligibility. Mechelle insists (politely) that she has studied for the English and Civics test and asks the examiner to rephrase the question which has the key word “eligible.” Note: If you do not understand an examiner’s question, DO NOT SAY “YES,” AND DO NOT SAY “NO.” Request that the examiner to use different words to ask the question. Check back for the rest of the San Diego Citizenship Interviews in the upcoming week. On to Teacher Thu Ha Nguyen’s interview about her online citizenship course Let’s get started! Hi, this is Teacher Jennifer. I’m in San Diego at the CATESOL conference and I’m sitting here with Teacher Thu. Please introduce yourself. My name is Thu Ha Nguyen. I’m teaching Citizenship. Where are you from? I’m originally from Vietnam. Where in Vietnam? Đà Nẵng Oh very good! I have so many students from Đà Nẵng. Good and then how long have you been
teaching Citizenship? I’ve been teaching Citizenship for more than four years. Okay very good. Now you teach Citizenship one-on-one in a classroom but I also understand that you use a computer to teach Citizenship. Can you talk about that, please? Yes, I’m teaching on-campus classes–
Citizenship classes and online classes. What software do you use? I’m using BlackBoard. San Diego Community College, we have to use BlackBoard for online classes. We requested a BlackBoard “shell” and I developed the course. What kind of things are in your Citizenship Class in the BlackBoard System? I organized my lessons and my modules. I have 12 modules for each nine week course. Do the students do it in the classroom or do they do it outside of the classroom? They have one mandatory orientation at the beginning of the semester to register and to know how to navigate the Blackboard. And after that everything is online but I offer online office hours Monday, Wednesday, and Friday–every
night, two hours. So you have to be at your computer but they can be at home on their computer, right? Yes What kind of questions do your students ask you? Mostly at the beginning of the semester… mostly to how to navigate BlackBoard: How to do this? How to do that? And I can share my computer screen with them to walk them through. Oh very very good And in addition, they can contact me by sending me messages or send me text messages. So you were talking about the 12 modules . . . it’s self-paced, isn’t that correct? Self-paced. Are you in the first part of your semester Or are you in the middle part in the first part of the semester? In the first part of the semester. What is one of the first modules that they would be doing? The first module: it’s like a dictionary. Module One is Steps to Citizenship. Everything an applicant needs to know to apply for naturalization. In that one, do they watch videos? Are there quizzes? Yes, in each module we have discussion forum and quiz again at the end of each module. But they have some reading–especially the first module is Steps to Citizenship. We have direct link to www.uscis.gov How to get an N-400 or the 100 Questions and legal assistance fee waiver, fee reduction . . . You know income guidelines . . . everything that they need to know is there. A question about, you know, the worksheet for eligibility Everything they need to know is in Module One. Then how about in Module Two? For Module Two, we go by chronological order for history and
government, and you what know I mean? Module Two – we talked about the New World Are they learning civics and the N-400 together or are you keeping the civics and the N-400 separate? Everything together. So in the second week,
they’re learning about the New World; they’re learning about the Pilgrims;
they’re learning about the Native Americans Are they learning about parts of the N-400? For instance N-400 Sections 1, 2, and 3 about Eligibility and Name and Nation Origin. Yes, that’s how I structure my modules. Are they watching videos? They do. Where your videos coming from? I created a playlist from the (USCIS civics) playlist You know, I selected the video related to the topic of my module Created a short video four or five questions And then another video–I created on YouTube and I linked it there. They’re embedded in BlackBoard for reading and writing practice. Do you have any favorite sources or any favorite channels on YouTube? I’m sure you use USCIS. Yes, but you know I am going to use VOA (Learning) English . . . to improve my online courses because I always look for ways to improve BlackBoard. VOA News and VOA English are excellent! When I’m embedding things, I use videos from NYTimes; I create my own videos . . . Have you ever thought about creating your own videos with your students? I thought about that. I tried one time but the video is so long. The shorter, the better. Yeah. This is what happened I recorded the Zoom.us session. meeting with one of my student whom just
had just passed the interview at that time She logged in Zoom.us and shared with other students. How interesting! Yeah and then it took too long and I could not close caption it and put it on BlackBoard, but that is my ambition. So I told my student, you know to try to make it short and I will show the video to other students but if we hear (watch) the video for more than one time and then we have to (use) close caption. That is really exciting. I’ve never thought about recording a Zoom.us session, but that’s something we’re going to try– Maybe that could be another workshop. Okay! Is there anything else that you would like to say before we leave today? I enjoy your trainings very much. I’ve learnt a lot–more than you can imagine– because you linked something that I did in the past for more than ten years– which is VOA English–which I love very much! And I’m gonna do it! I want to
use that resource for my online classes My students are predominately Vietnamese in Milpitas. Is there anything you would like to say to encourage our students everywhere? My Vietnamese language is totally different from English –that’s why the Vietnamese students– they have problems with pronunciation. And I strongly recommend that they practice pronouncing words, especially ending sounds, in order to make communication better, because usually people don’t understand very well what they really mean. In San Jose, that’s no problem! Vietnamese students are serious. They are very serious learners. Some of them need a lot of encouragement. They need to be confident & take a small step every day. Thank you so much My pleasure Thanks to the students & staff of Milpitas Adult School. A special thanks goes out to Teacher Thu Ha Nguyen from the San Diego Continuing Education Program. Please visit us on the web at uscitizenpod.com where you will find more resources about citizenship. While you are there, click the link for USALearns.org Citizenship, a free online citizenship preparation course from the Sacramento Office of Education. You can also click the link to visit uscitizenpod channel on YouTube or download our free apps or buy our book US CITIZENSHIP BOOCAMP which is now available on Amazon or ESLPublishing Thanks for listening. I know that you will be a great American citizen! www.uscitizenpod.com

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    Luay Maher

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