When English is not a common language!

books on languages

This was topic that I put up for round table discussion at the recent Global Education Day, which was part of the ISTE 2016 conference. The full agenda for the Global Education Day can be found here.

As technology enables teachers/students/classes/community members to become increasingly globally connected, it cannot be expected that all connecting parties will speak English or a share a common language. This leads to different demands in communication and collaborative skills.

This session will encourage participants to discuss, share, interact and take a look at some of the apps, tools and physical ways of ensuring that communication and collaboration can still take place. Looking at challenges and enablers.

Although most participants were interested in working with their own mixed culture/language classroom, the same principles apply with virtually connected students.

Questions to be considered:

  • Why is it important to work around students who are connected but do not speak a common lanugage?
  • Other means of communicating?
  • Where do we find people who do not speak English?
  • Resources available
  • What tools can we use – synchronous and asynchronous to overcome the language barriers?
  • What would/could you put into your grab bag of objects to share local culture?
  • Further tips and hints on being prepared.

Participants at the Global Education Day round table included representatives from 

  • Edutopia
  • The Wonderment – creativity is the common thread
  • 1to1 Learning

A number of individual educators

Students with neurology problems – communication is important for these.

 

Suggested Apps used for teaching and learning for students who are bilingual within your classroom

Lingro – brand new students who have no English – converts into their own language. How to mediate meaning

Need to be very explicit in connecting visual materials with language.  Tech helps bringing to life eg little farmers, toca nature, age dependent – kinder: framework for basics of how things work in world, little builders etc Break it all down visually in explicit steps.  PBS kids, visuals show timelines, visuals extentuate.

Skype – direct audio translation Tried European languages, Latin America

Figures of speech can cause problems

 

Autistic kids – stories to tell, bring in the photos, audio. Social stories. Where do I live? Made it personal – pics of sons room, house etc to make personal connections. Could make it cross cultural.

Edmodo, facebook, twitter, google have translation options.

Make videos that are very visual so that anyone of any language can understand that. Takes away from the spoken language. Kids around world, kids create what they like. Biggest problems is to make connections. Language is a form of communication but not the only one. Kids creativity is universal. They all have ideas. Art based, pictures based, what do you hear?

Common Challenges and Strategies – how to group students

What is the common challenge for teaching students of mixed languages:

Often the baggage that comes to classroom, how to create a culture that helps them handle their “baggage” (ie the problems they bring with them from previous experiences).. Students come from war torn countries, some dont have electricity, some are here illegally. What stops them completing their homework etc and how can we overcome that.

Brian’s connections are with refugees, how to preserve culture, figures of speech, how to understand different types of humour, sarcasm – didn’t translate on any and every level. Cultural barriers. Global Education projects – use a variety of technologies that can be tailored to student needs.

System challenge is assessment – regardless of advancement of students, they never get to the top.

Assisted technology is a huge barrier – the classroom cannot be carried over into the community – digital inequity. Disagreement – Columbia has private school – all resources, cf with another school that only has books both achieve well on the standardized tests.Gifted kids from other cultures/languages- how do you meet them. Can’t even assess what they really know.

Multi lingual team in some districts – if one school has more than 20 non-English speaking students, then get language experts to come in for 1 hour per week. Google translate is used – gets ideas across, although translation is not yet fully functional. Get students onto one platform so they can communicate – translation problems, get teachers to be able to access the site.

China cannot access the sites. Google translate does not translate all the alphabets. Trying to meet stakeholders wherever they are. Parent/teacher interviews: greet parents in their language first, then communicate using lots of pictures etc.

 

Difference  between real time mediating and non real time.

When starting with students at personal level, educators can give support at different levels. Classroom of 60 students, the more you give to enable students to make decisions, the less you have to provide support. Eg crying may indicate being hungry, pain, outside comfort zone etc when kids need you.  Get others to collaborate with those who are good at certain subjects.  Collaboration is key to synchronous learning.

Learning one to one foundation Erika Twani CEO Community and parents want the kids to attain a certain grade but kids new to country it is ok if you try it again. Unlimited ‘redos’. Collaborate collaborate collaborate

The first story that kids will read in class is Romeo and Juliet – come up with ways of teaching it that does not talk about Shakespeare.

 

Second session –

Apps – google translate – audio conversion. Google translate app on the ipad or android devices- even translates signs overseas – images, audio and text

 

An idea for collaboration beyond languages

Bi-lingual setting – English and Spanish will look at pattern of shadows – different shadows in different latitudes.

Gnomon Project –thegnomonproject.com

Look at what the shadow does every day for a long time, it will alter. How will it look if other side of equator, north of equator.

Dept of Defence Schools cos they speak English

 

Collect height of the shadow, length direction, Record as a percentage – 50% is a common language-

Winter vs summer, different hemispheres etc

 

 

One response to “When English is not a common language!

  1. Great resources! Excited to follow along your journey!
    (This is kelly from the wonderment- from my old WordPress account Student Ties)

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