domingo, 20 de mayo de 2012

Homogeneous classrooms and weak students

Reminder: students are not native speakers

We really forget too often that our CLIL students are learning in a second language. Fluency is something we almost take for granted with our students who have a good/very good/excellent ability to speak the target language. Many times you're almost "charmed" by their accents and slight errors, so much so, that you forget that it is our job to  help them as much as possible with the language. When you grade the writing, however, you are sometimes overwhelmed by the errors you see. Deciphering their text can be an arduous task. You always have to consider the objective of your assigment when grading these pieces of work and you must force yourself to reconsider the cultural context in which you find yourself as an educator (...)

Andrew Frzludeen, teacher and CLIL programme manager, Qatar

Scaffolding is essential!
I've highlighted this quotation when I was attending the Licenciatura some Saturdays ago because I felt very identified with these ideas (I have a lot of learners that are excellent speakers but then when I read their pieces of writing I feel overwhelmed by all the mistakes) and I've decided to include it in my May's reflection because in my copybook we talked about that all students are not outstanding and we have to evaluate weak students in a more appropriate way. I have a very homogeneous group as regards level and abilities so I believe that the biggest challenge for me this year is not feel tempted to rush with the stronger students and don't use them as a parameter for evaluating the others: each learner has his/her own pace and may have differents needs, skills and interests. As regards writing I strongly agree with Andrew F in that we have to be very objective with corrections: if in the success criteria we stated that we'll concentrate on punctuation, capital letter and for example include a nunber of new vocabulary we have to stick to that: if we correct too many things at a time kids may feel threatened or insecure. Working with creative writing is excellent for providing students with scaffolding since you can correct mistakes or improve their writings gradually.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mehisto P., Frigols M. Marsh D.(2008), Uncovering CLIL, Macmillan