Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Still Pregnant!

Page 230 (Collier)
“One kind of code-switch is conversational, which can be a signal ‘that the students feel a common bond among themselves and a teacher’. To allow the child to express himself/herself can motivate the student, which encourages learning.”

I never thought of a student switching their language as code switching, instead I saw it as a student speaking broken English. This made me really think about judgments I have made on ESL speakers. I also thought how unintelligent they may sound but in reality they are really “learning” the language. I have never had the experience where my students code switch in the classroom.

Page 35 (Rodriguez)
“. . . the clash of two worlds, the faces and voices of school intruding upon the familiar setting of home.” (of course I had the same as Jill)

This really made me think about how separate the school life is from their home life. The comfort Richard had when he was home, versus how uncomfortable or silenced he felt in school. This first hand experience was very moving. It was so sad to see how the dynamics of the family changed because they wanted to teach their children English. I understand, in the eyes of the parents, how important it was for their children to learn the dominant language, but to lose their culture was very sad.

This really made me think about the ESL program at our school. I believe it is the pull-out method. Students are in ESL for a maximum of three periods a day. There is one ESL teacher, who does not speak the language of all his students. How much can he be helping them? I have a student from China and I know Mr. P does NOT speak Chinese. So how does he help him?

I got a new student yesterday, directly from Cape Verde. I was called by the Guidance Counselor and was told that he does not speak one word of English, but they needed to put him somewhere. How sad is that. . . there is no way for me to communicate with him. What do I do? (not to mention a sub will be in there on Monday)


  1. Lindsay,

    The idea of ESL in schools really makes me nervous. I have no training and would not know what to do if I had got your Cape Verde student. I honestly don't know! I guess this goes to show that bilingualism isn't really valued or embraced in our schools if teachers, like me, aren't ready for it. There needs to be training, and some something! I honestly wouldn't know what to do. I couldn't even handle watching "Home Alone" in Spanish while covering for a foreign language teacher Friday! Yikes!

  2. Oh....

    And I'm sorry you're still pregnant! He/She will come soon!

    : ) Meg

  3. Our school doesn't even HAVE an ESL program. All of the students in Warwick are sent to one of the three high schools for the ESL program. And with that, I'm not even sure what is involved in the program. I agree with Megan that we don't have any type of training for us as teachers.

    Lindsay, I can see where it might be overwhelming to have a student who doesn't speak English in your classroom-- for both you AND the student. It frustrates me that they put him in your classroom because they 'have to put him somewhere.' It just shows how unready our schools are for students who are non-English speakers. It also makes me think about how when/if your student begins to learn English, how it is going to impact that students family life-- I think we need more resources!!!

    Hang in there mama-- any day now! :)

  4. First - Me + Blogging = Nightmare... I apologize if I have partial posts somewhere for all of you to read!!! I type and then things disappear!

    Second - Pop that baby out!!! I'm guessing April 5th tho... sorry!!! Only a few more days!! Jill - your job of bringing in pictures is coming soon! :)

    Third - Lindsay -

    I completely understand your frustrations about the ESL program at your school. You are placed in an unfair situation with your new student as one, there is no common language, two, you're leaving, and three, there's no support! We have an ESL teacher who does not even speak a 2nd language running the program at Rogers. It's such a disservice to the students!

    Thank you for your honesty with your comment about judging ESL students. I have had some of the same thoughts and I feel that they come more out of frustration and having to break down what the kids are saying than anything. Like Rodriguez, I find it easier sometimes to say never mind... I realize how awful that is :(
    I have a student in my Honors class who is Spanish and struggles with his English but is so insightful. He has been hanging back to discuss his connections to the text and I'm trying to get him to participate more in class. He is frustrated by how long it takes him to pronounce certain words and get his point across so he is opting to remain quiet in class. It is difficult to watch and I feel it is such a shame that he doesn't share with his classmates because his thoughts and ideas are so beyond what his classmates are producing. The poor kid has had his classmates calling him a different name each year and not knowing his real name because he will answer to whatever they call him. His name is Yoni (I'll pronounce it next week - just like Megan will her student's name!!!) and he would never correct anyone because he wanted to "fit" in with his classmates.

  5. Lindsey,

    Maybe today was the lucky day (April Fool's Day is a hard bday though, so maybe tomorrow would be better)!

    We don't have an ESL program at my school. We have a family from China and they can't understand English at all. They take one English class with a teacher, but they struggle in every class.

    I am pretty sure that my school violates some laws in their practices.

  6. Lauren,
    I felt so guilty being honest on my post but I think that is the purpose of the class. It really opened my eyes to the struggles of ESL students, the lack of 'real teaching' and the lack of training for most teachers.