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Ms. S Ms. S is offline
 
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Ms. S
 
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Classroom Management/Do I really have to pick this battle?
Old 04-24-2012, 04:54 AM
 
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I am a tutor working with several students right now. Two of them are a pair of brothers, 2nd and 4th grade, with a lowish English level. I have no problems with the second grader--but it's a different story with his older brother. He understands more English than he speaks, and appears to understand most of what I say to him in English. He, however, responds in Spanish most of the time and writes most of his reading responses in Spanish as well. (I do speak it, fortunately.) He continues to do this although I frequently try to get him to respond in English.

Part of me questions whether I really need to pick this battle, but I do believe that he needs practice and work to advance in his overall English proficiency.

How should I approach this? I am running out of time with him.


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elltch elltch is offline
 
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:16 AM
 
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I wouldn't say it's a matter of "picking a battle," more so, it's what he is capable of producing at this point in his English language acquisition. You can't ask him to solve algebra problems when he's still learnig to add and subtract. Writing is always the last literacy skill to acquire proficiency. I'd focus more on building his vocabulary, increasing his reading level, and writing very simple sentences. If he wants to respond in Spanish, it's only natural and I wouldn't discourage it. As his vocabulary increases, and he becomes more familiar with English, he will start writing in English. When he writes, encourage him to use as many words in English as he can, but still allow him to use his native language. The point is, you want him to increase his writing skills, whether in Spanish or English. The English will come as he learns more. As for the younger brother, I'm just guessing, but he started going to an English speaking school at a younger age, where they are learning the basics (alphabet, basic vocabulary, repetative books, etc) It's more challenging for the older ELL students. Hopefully he's had a good education from where he came from. That will be helpful. Good luck.
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build his confidence
Old 05-14-2012, 04:12 PM
 
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the older boy may be shy and very concerned that his English isn't good enough. If his peers are making fun of him when he tries to talk (and they are at an age to do that), he may be very reluctant to make any mistakes.

Make your setting as safe and comfortable as you possibly can. Have him respond in situations where he is very secure in his vocabulary and structure. I'm sure you are encouraging and rewarding his responses and not correcting minor mistakes in grammar or pronunciation, but still it is a huge step to move from understanding to expressing, especially in content areas.

Perhaps he might like to practice things he can say in class and on the playground with you so he'll feel more comfortable with his peers. This comfort level may spill over to other areas.
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