202.   I teach at a small high school in North Central Arkansas and we have very few bilingual students. So my questions deal with the correcting of my adopted daughters. 
1) How can I explain that what might be culturally accepted in their former country, is not accepted  here?  They get very defensive when we attempt to correct this.  
2) My daughters have a bad habit of not finishing their words. For example, " May I go to Cindy hou?" instead of, "May I go to Cindy's house?" 
3) Because of the language difference, should they be disciplined differently than others?

Answer -Part 1:

I think the best way may be FOR YOU to try to learn to do something the way your adopted daughters may do it, given their cultural background. For example, you may wish to ask them to teach you to eat with "chopsticks," or dress "their cultural way," or to greet people, or do some "acceptable" cultural behavior from your daughters' cultural background. By YOU learning this "new" way of doing certain DIFFERENT but "acceptable" behaviors from your daughters' cultural background YOU are providing an example of how YOU would learn new behaviors IF YOU would visit their country. Now, you may wish to practice with your adopted daughters the "new behaviors" that are DIFFERENT but "acceptable" HERE and that they must master to be successful in their new lives here. I think that if YOU are willing to learn "new" ways of doing familiar behaviors, your daughters would be more willing to do the same. Cultural patterns of behavior are different from culture to culture. For example, on very few occasions we see men kissing each other upon arriving or departing. However, this is the way MEN greet each other (and say "Bye!") in the Middle East. It may be very difficult for you to adopt this new cultural behavior should you move to the Middle East to attend to a new and very well-paid job!!!!  Discuss these kinds of differences with your daughters. It will help.

Answer -Part 2

Are you sure this "bad habit" is not "THE" way of talking for all young people? Here in California English-ONLY speaking YOUNG people talk English (English????) in a way that would scare you --and actually scares ME!!! They talk fast, they connect words that do not need to be connected, they are constantly shortening words or abbreviating them to the point that I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!!!! Now that kind of language is totally tolerated at HOME, in English-ONLY speaking HOMES!!!! I am sure it is NOT tolerated in homes where either MOM or DAD or BOTH are TEACHERS!!!! At least I did NOT tolerate that kind of " YOUNG KIDS' " slang with my own children. But, here again, patient modeling is the best solution, JUST LIKE I DO AT SCHOOL ALL DAY LONG!!!! Just rephrase their words: "-You mean . . . .(restate correctly the complete thought expressed by your daughters) . . . .? Always tell them YOU know that THEY know how to say it correctly, they are just talking like other "young kids" and their language will be perfectly correct IF they would be speaking to the Principal or to someone in authority.  (Remember, you are JUST their DAD!!!!)

Answer -Part 3

My suggestion to you is to talk to your daughters' teachers. They may be the best people to do the "correcting." You may discuss with the teachers their "mistakes." Probably they are enrolled in an English-As-A-Second Language class or in classes where the teachers know how to handle and help correct "mistakes." The teachers may also explain to you WHY these "mistakes" occur as a result of your daughters' native language interference --something your daughters canNOT help correct by themselves.  Thus, I suggest LOTS of patient modeling, lots of encouragement about using another language, and, with lots of understanding and concern and love, I am sure your daughters will speak ENGLISH better than most English-ONLY speakers do!!!!!

 

 


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

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5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
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Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
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