7 replies 


Location: Philippines

Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher

I am a teacher in an all boys school in the Philippines and as a teacher, it is my policy (and also the school’s) that when a boy recites in class we use English as our means of communication.

The problem with our classroom setup is that English is not our native language. Therefore, when a student recites in class he has to translate his thoughts from our native tongue (which is Tagalog or Filipino) to English;

I think this is what happens:

(1) I ask the question;

(2) He tries to answer it in his head using our native tongue;

(3) He translates it to English;

(4) Then finally recite what he has translated.

What he has translated is more of a TRANSLITERATION rather than a translation making the sentence structure very weird, and at times without sense.

My students and I have difficulties with regard to this language barrier. As a teacher, I struggle a lot in letting my students understand our discussion because of words or statements they do not understand. I have to repeat the statement or paraphrase it or even translate it in our native language to be understood. That consumes time.

For my students, I think their difficulty is in trying to understand not just ONE language but TWO! It is hard enough to study one language much more get a good grasp of a language which you are not a native of. I could also see some students opting not to recite (even if they know the answer) because they would find it hard translating their answers in English, and much worse if they think they are able to translate it well, their translation is wrong.

This situation is a bit frustrating for the teacher and the student as well.

If students could have a better grasp of words and teachers know how to motivate students more then classroom discussions would be an enjoyable learning experience.

I think the very root of this problem is that the habit of reading has not been imbibed in our students. When I was a kid, my dad would not allow me to let the day end without me knowing at least two new words in the dictionary. Knowing two words a day in the dictionary does not consume that much time. Why don’t we let our kids do it?

What better ways could we motivate students to read?


~~~a stone is not carved by force but by constant friction~~~



Location: philippines

Position: Classroom Teacher

Its true that its a struggle for the students to speak and write English specially that it is not our native tongue. It is even more difficult for us Visayan because, the medium of instructions in classroom could either be Tagalog or English. So can you imagine the dilemma.

Anyway, what i did to encourage the class to recite especially the boys,is to let them use whatever language most convenient to them as long as they can explain correctly the ic being discussed. But the mark that I’m going to give them will be lower than those students who can recite and explain it in English.



Location: Philippines

Yes, that’s the big problem here. Maybe after assigning the students to find the meaning of 2 to 5 words in the dictionary everyday, let them put that words into a sentence (of how they understand the meaning of it). It will be easier for them to remember the meaning of the words, and how to add that specific word in a sentence ,by then they can verbally used it easier.



Location: Rhode Island, USA

Position: Parent

As a parent my heart goes out to the students and teachers alike. It has got to be so tough trying to learn two different languages. I think back to whenI had to learn a foreign language and that was tough enough.


Thanks, Debby



Location: Setif, Algeria

Positions: Classroom Teacher Administrator, English Teacher

What I can tell you Chuck is : you need to teach your student how to think in English that answer with English because if they do what are you saying (Thinking A and speaking B) the & you’ll find a big problem in learning new things.



Location: Philippines

Position: Parent

Practice and plenty of reading. Fluency in a second language takes time. The kids have to practice what they learn in school and parents need to help their kids in doing this too.

It is not at all impossible to be fluent in two languages. We just have to work on it.



Location: philippines

Position: Classroom Teacher

I agree with you Rose, Practice does really help. One can only perfect the skill through constant correct practice.



Location: Philippines

Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher

I also agree with Rose, practice indeed makes perfect. I think it is the only way kids will learn to love reading. Set a discipline time for them to practice reading just like the way they practice playing the piano or guitar before playing in in a recital.

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