Saturday, May 23, 2015

English speaking middle schoolers to see what it feels like to be a non-English speaking student

However bad it feels to be a non-English speaker in a class taught in English, however hard it is to learn new subject matter while at the same time learning a new language, students at Hayes Middle school will now find out for themselves, link.

The "leadership of the APS" has made a decision.
Made the decision mind you, not are thinking about  deciding to require English speaking students to take two of their core classes in Spanish, even against their will.

It is one thing to offer classes in Spanish.  It is an entirely different thing to require* non-Spanish speaking students to enroll in them.

* Students who don't like it are free to leave; uproot themselves from their community and attend other school.  If this isn't coercion, what is?
Students are invited to move away if they don't want to participate in a self-evidently ridiculous plan. Do the math;
  • There is a quantity of knowledge students are expected to acquire during one school year.
  • The quantity of knowledge in the classes must remain the same (or they will not be prepared for subsequent classes).
  • Students are clearly struggling to acquire the knowledge, even in their own language.  Witness test scores and reading levels.
  • It is more difficult to learn a body of knowledge in any language in which the learner is not fluent!

Even if the scheme could be made to work, there is no way that the same amount of information can be presented and acquired in the time they have.

These kinds of decisions are the product of APS' decision making process; without any open and honest two-way communication with people who were stake and interest holders in the decision.

Just so my personal opinion on teaching non-English speaking students is not misunderstood, I would like to clearly state it; each student's individual needs should be our top priority; right along side their becoming fluent in English at the earliest opportunity.

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