Students in language immersion programs are typically either (1) English dominant; (2) partner language dominant; or (3) bilingual already. These young brains already know how to take the “easy” road to communication and will resort to their most dominant language unless a teacher expectation alters that. Since our long-tange goal is professional proficiency as measured by the ACTFL scale, TWIN-CS educators need to be aware of the classroom expectations and language dynamics occurring everyday.
Asking teachers to complete a Classroom Language Map is one way to help collect data on what language the students are using (click HERE for a Google slide presentation on how to do this). By identifying students as either E for English dominant, P for Partner language dominant or B for Bilingual and then using tally marks next to names as students speak out in class, a data set for student language output can be created.
Teachers are often so immersed in delivering the lesson, tracking classroom management, etc. that having a coach or colleague collect this data can be helpful.
Afterwards, the teacher analyze the data by reflecting on the following questions:
- Am I calling on the same students to answer questions? Is there a pattern?
- Are my quiet students staying below the radar, not participating?
- What might be the root cause for those students that are not willing to take a participation risk?
- What language are students talking to me in?
- What language are students talking when in small groups?
- What’s my expectation for students to use the partner language in the classroom?