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Requiring English in the Classroom (instead of Spanish)

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bGracie bGracie is offline
 
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Requiring English in the Classroom (instead of Spanish)
Old 01-30-2018, 08:01 AM
 
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I work at a school in Mexico where we teach all of the material in English, and the majority of the students have been learning English since preschool or early elementary.

Part of my job is mentoring the new teachers in instruction and classroom management. One problem I've noticed several teachers having is that their students speak a lot of Spanish in the classroom during group work, partner work, etc. We try to require only English. When I was in the classroom, I used strategies that worked to keep them speaking only English, and I've shared those strategies with a teacher who is having a hard time with this specifically. We've tried adjusting them for her age group because she teaches 9th and 10th and I taught 2nd, but it's just not working. If you can share any ideas for strongly encouraging spoken English in the classroom, I would welcome them!


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Encouraging while not prohibiting
Old 01-30-2018, 11:31 AM
 
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I am definitely in favor of helping students to master English. If that is the goal of speaking English in class, it's an essential skill for students to master. It's also important not to be excluding non-Spanish speakers from group participation by having some English speakers choosing to speak Spanish. We do a disservice to students who are not helped and encouraged to master English.

At the same time it is important to empower students who may not yet have mastered English and those who are choosing to honor their culture by speaking Spanish. Back in the days of the Indian boarding schools in the Southwest, students were forbidden to speak anything other than English. Their native cultures were disrespected and some children grew up unable to communicate with their own parents and grandparents--and possibly even ashamed of who they were. We need to avoid repeating that chapter of history.

Finding the right balance is not easy.
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:21 AM
 
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If I understand correctly the school, while located in Mexico, is English immersion. All instruction is in English. So by grades 9/10 students who have been at this school should have a working academic vocabulary.

My question is if this is a problem only with this group or is it a continuing problem from grades 7/8. The solution depends on the problem.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:54 PM
 
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I had that problem in a school I taught at in Honduras - 8th and 9th grade. One girl told me it was because Spanish is a much prettier and more expressive language. After that I included more idioms, metaphors and colorful "slang" expressions in English in my instruction. I think it helped some..
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