Correcting Speech

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by mandymay, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. mandymay

    mandymay New Member

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    Dec 3, 2011

    I'm a new teacher in 5th grade. There are only two classes in 5th grade and the other teacher is new as well. It has been quite an experience so far. We have very different teaching styles, but it works well. I teach social studies and math while she teaches language arts and science. We both teach reading to our own homeroom classes. Lately an issue has come up in which she feels that we should be correcting their speech when they use 'like', 'um', 'well' etc. while speaking or answering a questions. She will have the student rephrase what they want to say in "correct English" and even write their incorrect version on the board and use it to teach correct grammar. As the language arts teacher, I understand why she would do this. I however do not feel that I should be spending time correcting their speech as long as I understand their meaning. I am more concerned with their content. I also have a couple students who have trouble with oral expression so they struggle to get things out and will say "um" and "like" as they try to process what they want to say. I actually do this myself as I have trouble with oral expression at times.
    Usually we both try to reinforce what the other is doing so that things are consistent. I am just wondering if I should correct them to keep the consistency or just leave it alone if they are able to clearly get their meaning accross. To be honest, I often don't notice when they use "like" or "um" as I'm usually focusing on what they are trying to say to me. Any opinions on this?
     
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  3. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Seems petty to me, and I wouldn't want to embarrass a student by writing his incorrect grammar on the board to correct.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Using a rubric to grade oral presentations would be a better idea. Making kids' mistakes even more public by writing them on the board is humiliating.:(
     
  5. mandymay

    mandymay New Member

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    I should clarify a bit. I don't think she writes the exact words a student says on the board. She will write a made up sentence and use it to explain if you shouldn't write using "like" or "um" that you shouldn't speak using "like" or "um".
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 4, 2011

    Kids pretty much know not to use 'um' in their writing. Nervousness and habit bring out the 'um' and 'like' during oral presentations. Seems to me that constantly bringing it up will only make the kids more nervous.:unsure:

    We have a curriculum coach who 'um, eh's every few sentences....:dizzy: so does Lucy Calkins. I can understand it in a kd presenting information they merely researched and are regurgitating, but professionals who are the 'supposed' (the curric coach in this case is WAY over her head) experts?:dizzy:
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I can understand making this a rubric for oral presentations and even making this a lesson. I wouldn't correct individual students' speech in front of others, but I would increase their awareness of it in other ways. I don't have a problem with her writing on the board as a general lesson. Part of our job as language arts teachers includes oral language skills. Nervous fillers are one thing but in some regions kids like talk like they are like you know um what's the like politically correct way of saying like you know this type of speech. Lol. I had to do it!
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think probably a more effective lesson would be a chalenge: try to go through one day without using the word "Like." Just one day of making the kids aware of how many times they use that one word.

    They'll be aware, and at the end of the day it's over.
     
  9. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I agree, Alice, as I have done this! We banned certain words-a different word each day-and it did help. Also, I am with the OP. I am definitely more concerned with the content. I can appreciate correct grammar, and occasionally I will use verbs incorrectly to show how "funny" it sounds coming from an adult, but I don't spend my teaching time correcting grammar. I do, however, teach grammar, which we then practice in our writing and speech!
     
  10. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    My oral grammar got corrected all the time--at home. I benefited from those lessons.

    Edit to add: This wasn't done publicly of course but it wasn't just about correction. It was about teaching. That's the part I benefited from.

    The OP didn't say, however, that the individual students are having their speech corrected. Rather it is treated as lessons. While there could be more effective ways to teach the lesson, I am still on board with oral language being something that is within the language arts instructional umbrella.
     
  11. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Dec 4, 2011

    I don't correct ums and ahs, but if a child says something gramatically incorrect, I will rephrase what they just said correctly. For example, I had a student share with the class, "I lost 2 tooths". I said, "Oh, you lost 2 teeth? How did that happen?" Then students hear the correct way to say something. If it keeps happening, then I make a small lesson out of it at a later time - not immediately after a student has made the error.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I would include it as part of a rubric for oral presentations if it were a big concern, but unless I was a speech teacher it wouldn't be worth a lot of points. I think writing it on the board would futher embarrass the student, especially since those mistakes often come out when one is nervous- so making them say it again correctly I think is humiliating. I'd be afraid to raise my hand if my teacher told me to rephrase in "correct English" simply because I said "um". Even adults do it- I can tell when our speech path. is with a parent that makes her nervous in an IEP meeting, because she will start saying "um" quite often, which isn't something she normally does. And she teaches correct speech!
     
  13. mandymay

    mandymay New Member

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    Thank you for your replies. My co-worker is mainly concerned with the students talking like they um like never learned how to like speak without the um word 'like". I guess I'm mainly concerned with how to repsond when a student speaks like this in social studies or math (the two subjects I teach). Like I said before, a lot of time it seems as if they use the "likes" and "um" to process their thinking as it comes out loud, especially in math. For example when as student shares their answer they will repsond with "Well, first I um mutliplied the two numbers because um they wanted to know the total cost of like ten shirts. Then I um subtracted the number from 30 because that is how much money they like had." I also do a lot of "correcting" by simply restating what they say in the correct manner such as "I divided 6 by 24" and I'll reply with "So you divided 24 by 6 because 6 can go into 24." Is it okay to let her focus on the grammar while I focus on the only the content in my classrooms. I agree that they need to learn to speak correctly, however when it comes to math and social studies, I want to focus on our content. At the same time I don't want them to think its okay to forget correct grammar in my class. Am I correct in thinking this way?
     
  14. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    It's your classroom, and you are the professional in charge. Do as you wish.

    I agree with your approach, but do whatever you think is best for your students.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    I always find it interesting that as a society, we find it to be very rude and bad manners to interrupt someone, but somehow adults think it is okay to interrupt a child or even other adults when they use ums, ahs, or incorrect grammar. I am a decent speaker, but I hate it when I talk to a friend and they interrupt me to correct my grammar or if I say "um". It often causes me to lose my train of thought.

    I do think it is okay to pay attention to ums and ahs and maybe even tally them and talk to the child later privately. I do think they are important. I just think it is inconsiderate and embarrassing to the child to point it out publicly while they are talking. I especially feel that way as a 5th grade teacher and knowing a bit what 5th graders are like.
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    In math, it is likely to be an issue of nervousness. I would not correct it.

    In social studies, if it is a presentation, I might talk about public speaking skills and award it with very small points on a rubric under "speaking with confidence."

    I think you can reinforce it in your class but in a way that is supportive rather than corrective.
     

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