Monday, June 04, 2007

Teaching Aid

I'm a math teacher, not an English or an ESL teacher but when one of my AP students told me she was worried about passing the English regents as she has only been in this country one year, I decided to help. We've finished the AP curriculum and are just wasting time until the last days of class anyways, so I figured I would try to make the time productive. First we did some reading aloud and I helped her with her critical lenses and essays. She told me the vocabulary and the listening is the hardest part. I asked an ESL teacher for advise to help her and he recommended television. I then hit on a great idea. I brought in my little DVD player and a Three Stooges video. I figured the Three Stooges would introduce her to some pop culture and entertain while teaching. I didn't realize until I started watching with her how much of a teaching aid this video would be. The Three Stooges were big on language play, one of the things foreign born kids have trouble with. When Curly had to "take the chair" as a witness in a trial, he literally picked the chair up and took it. I stopped the video and we talked about what was going on. When the judge told him to stop using vernacular, we got into a good discussion of current slang. Along with the girl who must pass the regents, I had 4 other ESL kids watching. They are all going to write a paragraph about the video for homework. WShe also picked up some good vocabulary words.

I once had a discussion with an English teacher about how math teachers can do it all. She got quite upset with me for even implying that I could teach someone English. I know I won't do as good a job at it as she does, but I am doing it the same. And, my way is entertaining.


Ms. Tsouris said...

This is just another extra something you are always doing for all kids.....and it can make such a difference. The English Regents is not the literacy-based test it used to be. Now they test whether or not you have the ability to read a manual and interpret its contents. So if you train the kids on any level, they will pick up some tricks and possibly pass this English regents also. This is yet another reason you more than deserve the PTA Heart Award!

Anonymous said...

I think there is a case to be made about math majors being good generalists. All that problem solving and logic is transferable.

Tomorrow is going to be my first day teaching ESL in a long, long time. It's volunteer, not a paid position.

Pissed Off said...

Thanks for your kind words Mrs. Tsouris.

All teachers use English every day. We read the newspapers, books, etc. We write. Math is a skill that is unused by most and hence not everyone can remember and teach it.

I always tell my students that math is a good major. People respect it because they have so much trouble with it.

ms. whatsit said...

Yet another reason why you deserve the Heart Award. Your students are lucky that you care about them so much that you can make learning fun and entertaining. I am anxious to hear what they report back to you regarding their experiences with the regents.

Of course, our ELLs must take "the tests" after only a year in the country too. Though I object to assessments being used this way, no doubt that kids who survive the process will certainly be able to overcome just about anything else academic that comes their way.