En una de las sesiones del seminario de nuevos centros bilingües, le pedimos a Alberto Garrido, profesor del CEIP Rosales del Canal, que nos respondiera, desde su punto de vista y la experiencia de su centro, a las “preguntas frecuentes” sobre los programas bilingües (las “Frequently Asked Questions”). Aunque en principio las respuestas se refieren al contexto de los centros de infantil y primaria, algunas de ellas también se podrían aplicar a los centros de secundaria.
- ORGANISATION OF SCHOOLS
How do you involve parents and colleagues in a bilingual project? How can we motivate and involve the teachers at school?
Every school is different, don’t compare it to other schools (there’s a different context, there are different students, teaching staff…)
Try to get all the teachers at school involved: with your work, try and show them that it’s possible.
All of the teachers are in a bilingual school!! (not just the project teachers) [It takes time, though]
All the school take part in the celebrations, in the same way that project teachers take part in carnival, or other school celebrations.
Is it better to teach Social Sciences or Science through English?
There’s no difference. The important thing, how students get contents and skills through a communicative approach
- Explain a poster
- Create a leaflet
- Write a story
Which is the best way of organizing the staff in the first stages of a bilingual project?
Try to establish a linguistic referent: the teacher is a model, so the teacher must speak English all the time: in the classroom, in the corridors, in the street…
(He never speaks Spanish to students- to build up their confidence)
2. PARENT INVOLVEMENT
Every time a project is finished, parents are invited to come.
Sometimes, parents are invited to come to lessons (for example, on Friday afternoons). If they can speak English, some of them join in. Then the teacher doesnt’t have to convince parents any more, because they know what’s going on.
You can also invite other teachers, to involve them as well.
How can you involve parents that do not speak English?
Parents, don’t panic: parents don’t need to teach them English (or anything). Rather, teach them values- leave the teaching to the teacher (trust us)
Also: Social networking sites ( Facebook page, blog…) to share what they do in class with parents. Parents find it useful. Kids’ faces are never shown
Essential: project teacher and class teacher must be planning together
In their school, infants coordinator and primary coordinator have weekly meetings to plan ahead
When the teacher asks the question, they give the answer to their partner…then, whole class (that’s a established routine).
The classroom teacher, involved in the project as well (for ex. shooting the video). She did some related project as well in Spanish.
How to involve kids who can’t really speak English?
Example: Show and tell: they have to prepare it at home
They have to think of how to prepare the speech
Think of the questions their classmates might ask
Lower ability students can prepare a 5- sentence show and tell (instead of the longer speech other students might prepare, so you can reach all sorts of students
Students have to ask relevant questions- fostering critical thinking
Parents are invited to the class
There’s no pressure on the students- Show and tell is done once a term, but students do it whenever they’re ready
You get to know the students…you learn about their interests
Students explain to younger students from other classes: everyone loves it—whole school project
Integrating the content from diferent areas…
How to assess contents / language? What is more important?
It depends on what you’re assessing…if students can understand and apply the contents from Science / History, etc….then the content is the important thing- focus on that
If you’re doing literacy…then language is the important thing…but beware: they are bound to make mistakes
Assessment through writing? In curricular areas? There are lots of other ways to assess children…nothing to do with writing (ex.projects)
Assessment of learning…summative…I’ m going to teach 1,2,3… At then end, you will repeat what I said
Assessment for learning…every student will know where they stand in their learning…where they need to go…and how they’re going to get there…so teacher can help them where they are…give lots of feedback
Assessment techniques…ongoing assessment tools…students’ confidence is boosted
LOW-ABILITY CHILDREN…learning difficulties
Promote a “partnering pedagogy”= teacher as a helper
(Vs. Bullimic pedagogy…I want you to learn this)
Class arranged into mixed ability- groups / pairs, depending on the activity / purpose of learning
Differentiating…same activity, but different levels of attainment
Flexibility (small groups), independent learners
Effective coordination with teachers
Kids with learning difficulties…both in English and Spanish
Late comers to the project: it’s just a matter of time. They can start working with a “good” student
At the moment, in CEIP Rosales del Canal, they’re doing “adaptaciones curriculares” in English
5. TEACHERS’ LINGUISTIC COMPETENCE:
LESS IS MORE
If you’re not ready to do something big, then do something you feel confident with