Foreign language and translation

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Nov 14, 2016

    Here's a family request I just barely got this morning that surprised me so much I'm not sure I have an opinion yet.

    I teach the general class of a bunch of kids who has about an hour and twenty minutes of intensive Spanish language instruction every day. Despite my husband's best efforts to teach me the language, I speak and understand very, very little of it (probably understand more than I speak.) Needless to say, this is my prep time and another teacher handles my class then, giving the Spanish instruction.

    This morning a kiddo comes to me with a note from her grandmother with the request Kiddo speak only Spanish in my classroom in order to increase her understanding of the language. Basically asking for an even more intense addition to the Spanish intensive instruction. I told Kiddo his would make talking me to very difficult. Her solution was that she would have have another (bilingual) student translate.

    It's an interesting suggestion, but... really? Am I anticipating a bigger deal than it would be while this is actually a great idea to help this girl boost her Spanish skills or am I just asking for a headache?
     
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  3. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 14, 2016

    Is this a dual-immersion program?
     
  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Nov 14, 2016

    No. The school used to have that back when, but the program is now considered Intensive as the students aren't immersed in the Spanish long enough. To put it in a nutshell, we now just teach a lot of Spanish and one class per grade gets even more Spanish.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 14, 2016

    If I was an elementary, middle, or high school Spanish teacher, I would probably ask students to try their best to communicate with each other in Spanish outside of the classroom, but I would not involve the other teachers (unless, of course, they were fluent Spanish speakers).

    Unfortunately, although you truly wish you could accommodate grandma's request (note sarcasm), you cannot do so at this time since you do not speak Spanish and this is not a dual language immersion program.
     
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  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I agree. Although I find the grandmother's enthusiasm towards the student's learning wonderful, one child should not change the entire structure of the classroom for a matter such as this. But I would agree that the kids could be encouraged to communicate in Spanish at lunch, recess, or after school, and s/he could be encouraged to communicate at home in Spanish, not in a mandatory way but allowing her to communicate bilingually. Some other ideas for enrichment, she could watch kids shows on Spanish television perhaps via the Internet, listen to Spanish music CD's, libraries often have Spanish picture books, and another idea (with appropriate caution, of course) might be to find a Spanish pen pal.
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Nov 14, 2016

    Uh Yeah, no. If that isn't a requirement of that class then no.
     
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  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 14, 2016

    You can also tell the grandmother that translation is not a best practice for language acquisition and would probably not be effective in this situation.
     
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  9. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Nov 15, 2016

    I read your OP assuming that the grandmother was a Spanish speaker. Is this an English speaking family? Either way, the answer can/should be a clear no. There's a lot of benefit to speaking another language, but the student needs to build their English skills too.
     
  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    The family is actually bilingual in Spanish and English--it's something of a trend for the Spanish-speaking families to enroll in the program to build up the Spanish culture (that bugs me, but the board has no problem with it).
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 25, 2016

    If it's a bilingual family, I'm sure they can speak Spanish at home. You only have the students for so long, they spend a lot more time at home. To accommodate this request, you would have to make a lot of changes. Grandma at home can just talk to the student in Spanish, turn on the Spanish Tv, radio, check out books from the library, go online, etc.
     
  12. MsAbeja

    MsAbeja Companion

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    Nov 26, 2016

    Why does that bother you?
     
  13. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I'd imagine because we've spent at least the last 20 years arguing that it isn't the job of the public school system to teach a specific culture.
     
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  14. MsAbeja

    MsAbeja Companion

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    But if the Bilingual families are enrolling in order to build up their culture, how is that considered to be the public school system teaching a specific culture? The district decided to teach Spanish to the students, and you cannot divorce a language from the culture from which it comes. I would think that having bilingual families involved would actually strengthen the program. The Spanish language is quickly becoming a larger part of American culture, so I guess I just don't understand the conflict.

    That said, I DO think that the request for the student to be allowed to speak only Spanish outside of the Spanish class, and furthermore in a classroom with a teacher who does not speak the language, is absurd and should definitely be denied. There are plenty of more practical ways for the student to practice the language outside of the Spanish class.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I always thought that Spanish speaking families would enroll their children is Spanish classes (immersion, or just a Spanish class) so that they can learn academic Spanish. 80 % of my students are Hispanic, and many of them don't speak it well, even on the conversation level. they use a lot of slang, some English and they don't have an extensive vocabulary. Academic Spanish is even worse, many can't read or write it well, poor grammar and spelling skills. This is only because the only input they get is from family and friends (and most are not educated). They won't even be able to become translators.
     
  16. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Nov 27, 2016

    The aim of the program is to teach Spanish first and foremost. Native Spanish speakers are learning little if anything new, are incidentally waving the right to ESL instruction, and non-Spanish speakers lose out on spots.
     
  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Nov 27, 2016

    And very little culture is being taught. I've seen the programs. it's pretty much just Spanish language instruction. Nothing more about Spanish culture than we already teach in the school.

    It's the illusion of learning more, sadly.
     
  18. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Nov 28, 2016

    This may be the best reasoning. It just seems to me that strategy would be best reserved for a more advanced class later on, rather than at a level where they're still learning basic vocabulary and at the expense of English instruction.
     

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