In certain areas of the United States, having the luxury of knowing another language is nearly a necessity. Arizona is one such state, where if you are in the job market you are sure to see “Bilingual Help Wanted” for Spanish, when searching for employment of any kind. Many positions, such as teachers in schools for all ages, will at some point or another be faced with inter-language confusion with their students. So what can be done to fix teacher and student loss in translation? One of the things that may be appropriate for a teacher to educate themselves in is the latest research findings in language acquisition.
Culture shock is only one thing to consider in a student's experience and transition from one very different place to another. In a letter to the Editor of the New York Times called "Why Be Bilingual?", a reader highlights their idea on this issue, “When I travel around the world, people are eager to practice their English with me, because English is the language of choice for business and computers,” they explain. If you grew up learning some variety of English, you were quite lucky, because English is as many would refer to it, a lingua franca: the world’s bridging language.
The third entry in the Oxford English Dictionary defines this term as the language “used in many varieties throughout the world”. The point is that students who emigrate from outside are eager to learn, not only in the United States but among other places like Australia and the United Kingdom. One specific aspect of a teacher’s involvement, which is perhaps most rewarding, is the ESOL program, for which acronym stands for English for Speakers of Other Languages. If you are contemplating a career change, consider teaching ESOL; there is a high demand and our website offers information to learn more. Just click on our "Browse Programs" tab on the main webpage.
Nothing compares to a higher education when trying to get acquainted with such an aspect of today’s curriculum, but here are some interesting facts to consider on-the-go, based on the informative title called 5 Facts About Bilingualism, by a an “American Journalist/Blogger based in London,” posted on an International Newspaper source:
• language development, such as bilingualism develops as early on as in-utero
• there are cognitive benefits of learning other languages (such as the case of employment earlier mentioned and general benefits towards problem-solving)
• openness to diversity which is an integral part of living in America
Many books have been written about these wonderful facts. They are worth sharing as they sure can get anyone’s interest it seems. These are just some of the topics discussed in TESOL training. Is it not amazing how babies are able to pick up sound patterns from so early on?
This pedagogy is a tradition according to Bilingualism and Bilingual Education in the United by Richard Ruiz. “Different language communities have contributed to the social makeup of the nation, but also ... there has been a degree of tolerance for the use of several languages for official purposes (especially for schooling, administration, and the courts),” he informs in his writing. If you are struggling as a teacher to get through to some introverted students, here are a couple tips you might find useful:
First, get to know who they are by researching their place of origin.
The best way to make a student feel like you understand them is if you make an effort to let them know you are aware of their little part of the world. If you try this, your most shy pupil will open up to you.
Secondly, be determined to make a difference in their lives.
Although this might seem like an elementary thought to you, if you are an educator of any sort, you know it may sometimes get frustrating when you try to make a point of something that does not get through. Be vigilant. Praise is key, as is enthusiasm. Do not give up, for their sake. Learning another language is tough, so being patient and encouraging is crucial.
Thirdly, get to know their family; their parents.
Taking an initiative to let the parents know of their progress may open communication between you and the student. So take these simple, yet thought-provoking steps and you will ease into a better understanding between you and your student.
So please consider these amazing facts and suggestions to liven up your routine in the classroom, if they apply. Knowing at least one other language makes you smarter by default. Why not even pick it up as a fun hobby? If you like to read, it might also be interesting to pick up something on the latest research. It is sure to fascinate. If you are looking to advance your career, this topic might seem interesting. Also, do not forget how fortunate you are to know a language that so many struggle and yearn to learn.(Image source: Stock Free Images)
Olja Šipka is a writer and content editor for 360 Education Solutions