Sunday, February 22, 2015

English in Chinese classroom?

What I feel about students using English in my classroom?

I was asked a question. This teacher has a concern and she wanted to know how do I feel about it. Apparently, she has learned an immersion classroom teacher has been sending students to time out when the students speak English in Chinese class.

She said it doesn’t feel right but she didn’t know what to say or think.
My answer might not be right but I have my reasons to not to agree with this kind of consequences.

Reason one, these students are living in US, of course they need to speak English and speaking English shouldn’t be punished. One might argue, but they are in Chinese My perspective on students using English in my classroom is rooted in fostering a balanced and respectful bilingual learning environment. I was recently asked about my thoughts on a situation where a Chinese immersion classroom teacher was sending students to time out for speaking English in class. While my response may not be definitive, I have reasons for disagreeing with this approach.

Firstly, considering the context that these students live in the United States, it's natural for them to use English outside of class, and this should not be penalized. Although they are in a Chinese immersion setting where Chinese is encouraged, I refrain from punishing students for using English. Instead, I kindly remind them in Chinese that we're practicing Chinese in this class, and that English is for other classes. When there's mutual understanding and trust, students usually respond with respect.

What if some students continue using English? Secondly, it's important to acknowledge that their Chinese vocabulary might be limited. We can't expect exclusive use of Chinese when their vocabulary is developing. To help them learn new words, I encourage students to express themselves as best they can, and I provide missing words when needed. I teach them to ask "how do I say this in Chinese?" When a student acted out "pirate" without using English words, I filled in the vocabulary gap and added it to our word list. Another student, excited about dressing up as a cowboy, mixed languages. Other students naturally encouraged him to express himself in Chinese, fostering peer support.

Thirdly, our aim is bilingualism. We want students to be at ease using both languages. Why suppress one language? We should explain that certain times and places are meant for specific languages. Personally, as a Chinese immersion teacher, I initially felt self-conscious using English due to the emphasis on using only Chinese. But I realized that teachers should be role models for balanced language use. How can we ask students to be bilingual if we only use one language?

The concept of "time out" is typically associated with misbehavior, and we should avoid equating speaking one's first language with misbehavior. As immersion educators, our goal is bilingualism, not making students feel guilty about their first language. I believe that students will respond positively when kindly prompted to use Chinese. Reminding each other to "speak Chinese" can foster a cooperative environment where children willingly engage.

In conclusion, my immersion teaching philosophy centers on nurturing bilingualism while maintaining respect for students' languages. I trust that students will respond positively to polite requests, and if we collectively encourage the use of Chinese, they will naturally embrace the language.

1 comment:

  1. Nice reading, I love your content. This is really a fantastic and informative post. Keep it up and if you are looking for Chinese Distinctions then Chinese Distinction



 给学生自己练习天气名称和对话用的幻灯片。大家有兴趣也可以使用。 天气这个话题,我上课的习惯是天天说,不会单独成一个单元。因为学生每天来说一点,随着天气变化,这些贴身话题才能深深刻印在脑海里然后被使用。 1. 可以点击这个 链接 播放。 2. 如果想要下载更改成自己的 链接在此 。