Accent/dialect/immigrant question

Discussion in 'General Education' started by peachacid, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 16, 2010

    Gooood morning.

    I work in an inner-city school in Philadelphia, and many of our students' parents are from Africa. Most of them speak English well enough, though with an accent, and we don't have a problem communicating with them. However, there are a few parents, namely the parents of two of my students, who are extremely difficult to understand.

    Now, here is the thing. They both insist they speak only English. I am sure they do -- it is just heavily accented English. This is a problem only at report card conferences, when it is extremely difficult to understand some of the things they say, and when we are not sure whether they fully understand what we say.

    The main concern I have is with their boys. The two of them are relatively strong "readers" but their comprehension is really low. I don't really know what to do -- they do not have accents, but they speak in sort of jumbled English -- incomplete sentences and thoughts. I don't know how to best instruct these children. I feel that ignoring what I know about their families does them a disservice, but that putting too much emphasis on it also does them a disservice.

    I am worried that my efforts at improving their comprehension will be for naught if I do not adjust my instruction to take into account their language differences, but I do not know how to adjust my instruction in that way.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2.  
  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Mar 16, 2010

    Do you have ELL/ESL instruction at your school?
     
  4. CathyST

    CathyST Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 17, 2010

    At least in Georgia, if the parents do not indicate on the PHLOTE form that another language besides English is spoken at home, the child will likely not get tested for eligibility for ESOL services.

    The student can be LAC'd into the ESOL program but this requires a meeting with teachers & parents, and ultimately will require the parents signed consent.

    You will need to 'tune' your ear into what the parents are saying, this will help with your comprehension. You will find that the more you speak with the parents, or people with a similar 'accent', the easier it will become for you to understand.

    Does your district have a community liaison that can call the parents & have a chat with them?

    Good luck with it all!
     
  5. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    2,518
    Likes Received:
    9

    Mar 17, 2010

    How old are the students?

    I have found that primary students usually struggle with reading and comprehension, but in the upper elementary or high school level, they usually take off if the reading, phonics, writing, and sight word instruction is heavy and consistent.

    I've seen this pattern over many years: kids from a home where the parents either 1)speak a different language or 2) grew up speaking a different language usually struggle, but make great gains after a few years. You need to really stress phonics, tongue placement, complete sentences - model model model. They will probably get it and pass up non-bilingual students.

    As for the parents, keep trying to converse with them. You will get better and better at understanding them.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. miss-m
Total: 224 (members: 2, guests: 209, robots: 13)
test