Students speaking other languages

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Students speaking other languages

Post by Genie » Sun Jun 29, 2003 3:10 am

This past May I substituted in several 7th grade classrooms, a variety of subjects. I had one occasion where there were several students speaking Spanish to one another, during free time. I think these students might be ESL or they are bilingual I am not sure. I am a little uncomfortable with students not speaking English because I want to know what they are saying. What is a good way to get past this? I know the best thing is to allow the students to speak in their native language but what if the students are making fun of other students?
Growing up I was around people who spoke Spanish around people who did not because they were talking about them, or to be spiteful. This has carried over to adulthood I want the students to speak the language they feel comfortable with but as the teacher, I also have to manage the class.
Any suggestions would be great.

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Post by Jen » Mon Jun 30, 2003 3:58 pm

You have a very good point!! I never thought about students using other languages to talk about the teacher or other students. And I agree with you that they should be able to speak their native language some in the classroom, like at free time. My suggestion is that you could learn some words in Spanish (or whatever the language) or maybe get a Spanish Dictionary. That way if you hear some of the words you've learned being used, depending on what they are, you can have an idea if what they're saying is appropriate or not. With a Dictionary, you could look up some words you hear to know their meaning. Also, I would listen for other students names being used, that way you could tell if someone was being talked about. That is all I can think of for now, maybe others will have more suggestions. Let me know if you think of anything else. Jennifer

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Post by Tammy30 » Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:09 pm

Genie you have a good point and I agree with Jen. It would help if you could take some Spanish classes. I have taken two years and I can pick up most of what they say. Just listen closely to what ever language is being spoken and watch their face for expression, you can usually tell when they are making fun of other people. I hope this helps

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Post by Chronda » Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:28 pm

Genie, I have to agree with Jen, I never thought about them talking about the teacher and or students in their native language. I guess like Jen and Tammy I would keep a Spanish dictionary with me and look up words that I hear. I would also listen for a child's name. If someone suggests something else to you, please let me. Thanks, Chronda

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trying to help

Post by arlet » Tue Jul 01, 2003 1:46 am

I think you need to be positive and don't think they are talking about other students in their class. I know we tend to want to know what is being done and said all the time so that we can correct it if it is a bad behavior. But I think we also need to understand that students will talk about other students even if they speak the same language. I think something you could do is go up to them and ask them what they are talking about and to teach you some spanish words.

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Post by Genie » Tue Jul 01, 2003 1:51 am

Thanks Ladies, You all had wonderful points. I agree Arlet I need to be positive. Learning a few words in a other language is a great idea.
As long as my classroom is one of a community of learners hopefully the students will not feel the need to be ugly/mean to anyone else in the class.

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Post by blanca » Sat Jul 05, 2003 1:21 am

One of the reasons Spanish speaking students speak Spanish with their friends at free time, is because it is easier for them, they feel more comfortable speaking in their own language. I as an adult if a see my Hispanic friends I address them in Spanish. I agree with Arlett, we have to be positive and don't assume the students are talking about the teacher or other students. You can also tell with their body language or expressions when they are acting up. It will be a good idea id the students also tech you some words from their native language. Our ESL teacher at CHS is learning Spanish that way. :lol:

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Post by Shottie78 » Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:45 pm

Genie –
I agree with Arlette. Be positive, but at the same time, keep learning that language and try to pick up as much as possible. Like Blanca said, watch their body language. I like Blanca’s idea of getting the students to teach you their language, including the slang and expressions they use often. This can help them believe you are interested and care about their language and culture.


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Post by Tammy30 » Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:04 am

I agree with everyone and I think that if you keep learning their language it can help make you a better teacher. Letting the students teach you their language will help you, because I have taken Spanish in college and what I can speak is a little different than what my friends speak. Just keep an open mind and let yourself grow in all cultures. :D

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Post by serendipity » Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:30 am

I am a little uncomfortable with students not speaking English because I want to know what they are saying.
Well, there are limits to *knowing what they are saying*. I mean, you've got Hispanic students in your class, what if you had Nigerians and Slovaks and Turks and Chinese students, too? Would you want to be able to understand all these languages to keep an eye on what they're saying to each other? What if they whisper? Would you want to install amplifiers so that you can make out what they're on about?

There is a private little space that comes from being privy to a language that others don't have access to, and if this private little space is used to talk about others, then well, that's their prerogative. Do you think that they refrain from talking about you once you're out of the class? Or from talking about each other? Of course not - it's human nature to gossip, and being the subject of conversation, that's something that people have got to learn to live with, in particular when they are teachers.

Try to appreciate that their language skills give them an extra little bit of freedom for teacher control and teacher interference, a little extra edge. It's you own attitude which is the problem here - you don't *have to* control each and every little issue in your classroom.

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