58.  How to handle differences in speaking ability in class. Some non-native speakers are intimidated.

In all groups of people, big or small, there are differences in terms of speaking proficiency, fluency, vocabulary development, accent, rate of speech, etc. Finding differences in groups of students within language classes should surprise no one. What should we do about differences?

We should take advantage of these differences. Indeed, students can, and should, serve as models for other students. How? Through the questions a teacher chooses to ask. Let me explain.

In other questions in this section I have illustrated how a teacher can help ALL students successfully answer questions by re-phrasing (h)is/er questions to insure each student can provide a successful response. For example, if the teacher asks:

Zero (0 C) degree temperature in the thermometric scale is equivalent to how many degrees in the Fahrenheit scale?

And no student can answer the question successfully, then THE TEACHER must rephrase the question:

Zero (0 C) degree temperature in the thermometric scale is equivalent to 32 degrees in the Fahrenheit scale, right?

Would you say that zero degree (0) Centigrade is equivalent to 0 Fahrenheit, 10 Fahrenheit, or 32 Fahrenheit?

Is zero degree (0) Centigrade the same as 35 F., 32 F., 15 F., or 0 F.?

So, zero (0 C) degree temperature in the thermometric scale is equivalent to how many degrees in the Fahrenheit scale?

By rephrasing the original question the teacher has provided ALL students opportunities to successfully respond and to, eventually, correctly respond to the original question s(he) asked. By rephrasing (h)is/er questions, and by requesting that other students confirm that the answer provided is the correct answer, the teacher can help students with less fluency, less language proficiency, or less language development reply on a par with students with greater fluency, greater language proficiency, or greater language development. The question and answer sequence may be as follows:

Teacher asks: One hundred (100 C) degree temperature in the thermometric scale is equivalent to how many degrees in the Fahrenheit scale? Teacher calls on a student who cannot respond. So teacher rephrases the question:

One hundred (100 C) degree temperature in the thermometric scale is equivalent to 412 degrees in the Fahrenheit scale, right? Teacher asks this question of a greater fluency student. Then teacher confirms correct response:

Do you agree with what "So-and-So" said? Teacher asks this question of a less fluent student. Teacher continues confirming previously stated response: What exactly did "So-and-So" say? Teacher asks this question of a less fluent student.

Teacher rephrases question: Would you say that one hundred degree (100) Centigrade is equivalent to 100 Fahrenheit, 250 Fahrenheit, or 412 Fahrenheit? Teacher asks this question of a greater fluency student. Then teacher confirms correct response:

Do you agree with what "So-and-So" said? Teacher asks this question of a less fluent student. Teacher continues confirming previously stated response: What exactly did "So-and-So" say? Teacher asks this question of a less fluent student.

Teacher rephrases question: Is one hundred degree (100) Centigrade the same as 350 F., 412 F., 150 F., or 500 F.? Teacher asks this question of a greater fluency student. Then teacher confirms correct response:

Do you agree with what "So-and-So" said? Teacher asks this question of a less fluent student. Teacher continues confirming previously stated response: What exactly did "So-and-So" say? Teacher asks this question of a less fluent student.

Teacher returns to first student who could not answer the original question: So, one hundred (100 C) degree temperature in the thermometric scale is equivalent to how many degrees in the Fahrenheit scale? Then teacher confirms correct response:

Do you agree with what "So-and-So" said? Teacher asks this question of a less fluent student. Teacher continues confirming previously stated response: What exactly did "So-and-So" say? Teacher asks this question of a less fluent student.

In the above question and answer sequence, ALL students can participate, whether they are more fluent, less fluent, native or non-native students.

 

 

 


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

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
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.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.

 

For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:

CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.

Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net