May 30 – international life

310/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Okay, I’m going to admit a flaw in myself.  A teaching flaw.  I was one of those teachers who prefer his students in class all understand and dialogue in English.  No, not because it makes my job easier (although that is a great benefit that some of my teacher brethren and sistren may take for granted based on where they teach) but rather, I feel that the students who can’t understand me are at a loss and might be hating the class.  This phenomenon of more and more non-English speaking students is becoming quite common place in grade 11 and 12 (especially in Richmond where a lot of funding comes from International Student enrolment).  I know that I, as teacher, need to respond to the new face of the classroom but then I decided that perhaps not.  Yes, I use a lot of group work as I feel it’s beneficial for students to be working with different students and if I were to all of a sudden eliminate that aspect, I really wouldn’t be doing English speaking students as well as International students any favours as the educational experience would be watered down by catering to a smaller minority in class.  The other thing I learned from having International students is that most, if not all, want the true Western educational experience.  I have students from Venezuela, China, and Brazil in my classes and I am finding that almost all of them have competent enough English to have a conversation and try hard to do the work.  I, as well as the regular students, have benefitted from the International students’ experiences when we hear about what their home schooling is like.  I am not saying that all the International students are forthcoming but those that do share enlighten me and keep me teaching the way I teach as I have been told that although it is quite different from what they are used to, they enjoy it and are learning.  Thus, I am glad that I got over my initial aversion to having non-native English speakers in my class as I have greatly benefitted from what they have brought to my classrooms.  Do I want a whole class of non-native speakers – oh hellz no, I taught ESL/ELL learners for one year and that was enough 😉 but a good balanced mix is what I prefer and look forward to as everyone benefits.

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