This week’s reading was truly one I enjoyed. I first have to say that after class on Tuesday and hearing about the fact about prison beds being accounted for based on the reading levels or scores of children really bothered me. I could not get over it and feel awful that young children are having their futures pinpointed in a direction without a fair chance.
I could write on and on about how awful I feel about that but never the less, this week’s reading was one that interested me a lot. I am choosing to go with the argumentative response for “Teaching Multilingual Children”. Everything in this article by Virginia Collier, is explained in such detail and I was so interested in how every point all fit together like a puzzle. The first paragraph, Collier asks, “ Don’t we as teachers wish that somehow we could capture this romanticized vision of what learning is about?” (222) And then asks, “ How do we prepare students to face this complicated world we have created and yet allow them to retain their love of learning?” She argues that teachers in the classroom face enough challenges today but states that things become more complicated in the multilingual classrooms. Not once does she state that there are any bad sides or troubles to having the classroom, but rather argues points that enforce why these multilingual classrooms are so important and how having the students within these classrooms learn English properly can be important for their whole learning journey. “ Teachers must be creative and flexible, serve as a catalyst for discovery as students learn to operate efficiently in their multiple worlds, be able to mediate and resolve intercultural conflicts, keep students on task and serve as a support base.” YES! This point is so key in why making sure all students are on board with what’s being taught. These students who are learning English as a second language are not going to wake up one morning and know every word of the English language; not to mention that we have so many social cues and “slang” terms that new words are created daily.
The guidelines to “learning how to teach English, as a second-language” were very interesting. Many of the guidelines were things I never thought of. Collier’s argument stating, “there are differences between first language and second language acquisition in children.” Her points that children will self-correct over time as they progress and how their families play a big role in learning was so interesting. Collier includes the “caregiver speech” and six features that go along with the speech.
This whole article is so fascinating to me as to how teachers are a huge role in teaching English as a second-language. On page 228 Collier describes the bilingual teacher. This teacher first of all learns to become a teacher and then takes on the differences between language and culture (228). The bilingual methods are another big argument point in this article. Code-switching and literacy development in English before home language are two of the methods. The literacy development is argued to be worst option. Collier states that sadly this option if offered to offer as well. This involves dismissing the home language when working on literacy development.
I was so interested in everything the author had to say. It made me want to go find students and help them learn to read and help them get up to par as to where they should be; even learn English. Though the article does state that the teacher usually has to know the second language or there is an aid available to help in the classroom when teaching English as a second language. I was also in a way inspired to continue my journey towards becoming a teacher. The points I mentioned that the author argued and then others I did not were truly something to consider. After the story in class and reading this article, I want nothing more than to help children learn and become successful. Bright futures all around. I think it definetly takes a lot to be a multilingual teacher in a classroom and think thats something we as a class can discuss! I also went and did some searching for some ways teachers help students who are bilingual in their own classes and found this post. Its a short but good read. The Scholastic website has tons of teacher posts and comments about all sorts of classroom and teacher activities with the class as well.