Dual Language and Bilingual Teachers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by The Dual Trio, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. The Dual Trio

    The Dual Trio Rookie

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    Mar 17, 2013

    Hi all!
    Any dual language or bilingual teachers out there? What have been your biggest challenges as a dual language teacher, or what do you wish you would have known before you started teaching dual? Bilingual teachers, where are your favorite places to find Spanish resources? Sometimes finding resources in Spanish can be a struggle for us, especially finding matching Spanish/English ones.
    Thanks!
     
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  3. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Mar 17, 2013

    I don't know where to start. I guess what's at the heart of this program that I have a problem with, is all the minutia that's involved behind the scenes and how you are suppose to follow it. It's a lot of work and frankly I question how effective it is when I have kids in fifth grade who are still struggling with one language. I don't if its because the precious teacher didn't follow the program or perhaps the students' learning level or may be its both.

    I frankly don't know but it's a struggle and challenge for the teachers. We had a walk through about a month back from the DL group and we had to invest so much time and effort to get ourself ready to meet their '$&# check list'. It was so ridiculous! Particularly when they didn't give good guidance to begin with not to mention the timing of this--- gearing up for state assessment.

    Frankly, I'm having my doubts about continuing to be a DL teacher if things don't improve. For one thing, you ask about Spanish resources, well you pretty much have to create it yourself. We get very little resources in Spanish and the DL offer very little support since they have so many schools they have to provide support, which is mostly just additional training. Training that is not always helpful.

    In the perfect world, I could see this program being very effective. The reality is that there too many factors to consider for serving the needs of students and in order for this program to work well, changes have to be made.

    This is just a quick and dirty response of what my experience has been. I'm sorry it's sounds so bleak. This is just the reality of how it's been for us and how we in secret express it.
     
  4. The Dual Trio

    The Dual Trio Rookie

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    I'm sorry to hear about your dual experience. I know it's a challenge when kids are struggling in their native language, and then to add another language on top of that. Have your 5th graders been going through a dual program since Kinder or 1st grade? Which model do you use? Gomez and Gomez, 50/50, 90/10? We do a 50/50 model, most classes use a co-teach model but some are self-contained. When the DL groups walk through, what is on their checklist? I'm so sorry to ask a million questions, but I find it so interesting to talk to other dual teachers because it seems like our dual community isn't very big! It's exciting to find others who have shared the dual experience. We make a lot of our Spanish resources as well!
     
  5. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Mar 17, 2013

    Yes, most of the students either started in K or 1st grade. There are, however, some exceptions such as a couple of students that transferred into the district--- some came from BE or ESL and we have one student who is new to this country. He speaks and knows pretty much no English. We also have one that has been in the district since Pre-K and also knows very little language. On the other spectrum, we have some high kids that are reluctant to do the work in Spanish because they find it harder. The model we use is the 50/50 where math is in English, social studies and science is in Spanish and they get ELA/SLA according to the guidelines of the program(I don't do LA so that's all I know).

    The walk through check list can be found in the back of the Gomez and Gomez training manual.

    As far as the Spanish resources, it becomes less when dealing with the upper grades (4 & 5). A few months after school started, we received subscriptions to Stemscope and Science Starters. These two learning sites are offer in both languages. This has been helpful, though the Spanish side tends to either have mistakes or misses something that the English version has.
     
  6. The Dual Trio

    The Dual Trio Rookie

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    Mar 17, 2013

    We have Stemscopes too and really enjoy it. Our model is set up in K and 1 they get one day in Spanish, then the next day in English. As they get higher up in the grades they switch less often, but still get 50/50 instruction. ex-5th grade they do a whole week in English, then a whole week in Spanish. I appreciate your input and honesty, like I said before I love having the opportunity to talk with other dual teachers!
     
  7. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2013

    I have been the bilingual (early exit) teacher at kindergarten and then second grade. Our district got rid of the program about 5 years ago in an effort to boost test scores.

    My biggest challenge was fitting it all in! In an already crowded and full academic day, it was so hard to model the English and Spanish. Our bilingual program was early exit so most of our students were expected to transition into English-only by 4th or 5th grade.

    The other challenge was trying to convince the admin. that learning how to speak a second language vs. knowing how to read and write in that second language were two different timelines. One year, our Junior High teachers got a 10k bonus for an increase in test scores with our former ELLs from the elementary school...
     
  8. The Dual Trio

    The Dual Trio Rookie

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    Oh yeah, it's always a challenge when the people around you don't understand the program. Our school is very fortunate we are not in that situation. Time is one of our greatest struggles as well! We do the 50/50 dual model where we see classes every other day, so we like to do guided reading with all our kids the same day, otherwise they might only get guided reading in a certain language once a week! Fitting in 4 guided reading groups a day is tough! What does your district do now instead of early exit bilingual? So glad to have found other dual and bilingual teachers here!
     
  9. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2013

    I have always wanted to work in a dual language program:)

    We moved to a "immersion"/"transitonal"/English-only programs although we ALL have a mixture of all three in our classrooms. My specialty is ELD and I LOVE limited English students so I tend to get most of them at my grade level though. It is definitely much easier to teach in only one language! (But I do miss my little bilingual class)!
     

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