Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

Here's a novel idea that will help our students and not cost the city a dime.

Jiaq, a new immigrant from Pakistan, is taking an algebra class and Ms. Panto, a math teacher is teaching the class Jiaq needs to pass. Wouldn't it be great if Jiaq and all the new arrivals could be in Ms. Panto's class? Jiaq would not feel so lost if he could ask a private question in his own language. Ms. Panto could certainly offer him words of encouragement and a little extra help with words he could understand.

I won't take credit for this idea. It came from one of my algebra students as she watched a young man, in this country only a month, struggling in class. This seemed so simple to implement I immediately went to Mr. AP. He agreed and made the change immediately. Jiaq was happy with Ms. Panto. Ms. Panto was thrilled to be able to help Jaiq and practice her language. It was a win-win situation for all.

Notice, I used the word WAS. Ms. Panto told me Jaiq had a program change and was no longer in her class. She had no idea where he ended up. Being the rabble rouser that I am, I went in search of Guardian Angel. I explained the situation and she promised to get on it and get Jaiq and Ms. Panto back together. I'm confident by tomorrow this will be done.

There are no bilingual classes in Jaiq's language. Teachers like Ms. Panto are the only hope for kids like Jaiq. With ARIS and all the other sophisticated computer programs around, shouldn't it be easy to find these kids and put them with teachers they can help them in a language they can understand? I'm sure there are others floating around that need the same help. And Mayor Money Bags, this won't have any affect on the additional 2.7% you are cutting from our school's budget so you can still hire your expensive consultants and private contractors.


EFM said...

I've wondered for a long time why, when someone who does not speak English enters the school system, they are not given a period of time, say a year, that is devoted solely to learning English, before being placed in regular classes. Surely the loss of that year will be made up for tenfold in how much more they will be able to achieve.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you ever hear this...

"If it makes sense, the Bd of Education won't do it!"

Now of course it's the DoE.

Anonymous said...

English language learners either go to a bi-lingual class or take ESL classes during the day. They used to have a 3-year period of adjustment before they were tested.
Now it's down to 2. Some tests are even given in their languages. The thing is...we don't shouldn't assume they were taught the materials in their native land. And if that student comes from an English speaking country, they are expected to take all tests even if they just entered the day before the test.

kherbert said...


It sounds like a good idea, but it takes longer than a year to learn academic English.

It each at a school were BIL Spanish -> English students are bussed to get a BIL program. We are struggling with this.

For example Science vocabulary in Spanish is very difficult. So K - 5 our science teachers are teaching in English with Spanish support for the BIL students.

In writing we have found kids do better if they first master writing in their native language, then switch to English.