I can write all of my assessments in English, right?

Assessment is a tricky subject, I think we can all agree on this.  It is never something teachers enjoy doing, and makes students anxious beyond belief. But have you ever wondered: What kinds of challenges do teachers face with assessing Immigrant children and how do you adjust assessments to fit their needs?

This question has plagued many teachers and students alike, but it is necessary.  How do teachers create a meaningful assessment that is fair to those students?  Assessments take TONS of time to create and consequently grade.  Yet, not all assessments are graded.  Some are based on observations.  But, there is still criteria the teacher looks for.  This question that I chose intrigued me because I do know assessment is necessary, but how do you create one that is fair for immigrant students who may not speak English?  They deserve an even playing field because they may understand the information, just not in this new language.

The article, Assessment in early childhood education: threats and challenges to effective assessment of immigrant children, discusses assessment in Early Childhood Education and how it effects immigrant children and why it is tough to gauge their learning.  Immigrant children generally speak another language when they come to the United States.  When these children take the standardized tests they are unable to do well due to the fact that they cannot speak English.  Therefore, they are then placed in the Special Education classes and receive ‘help’.  However, this help is not useful because the students don’t speak English.  When conferencing with parents about these issues, there are more complications.  The parents are typically low income families and do not speak English either.  This also makes it hard to communicate the problems to the parents as well as making sure their home can provide the necessary tools for the student to succeed (i.e. food, water, stress-free living situation).  This connects to my question stated above because teachers have to work around all of these obstacles to find the best way to assess immigrant students.  It is important to find solutions that allow these students the most optimal learning experience.

It is important to consider that these students will need special accommodations for assessments.  With what the article said about where immigrant students are coming from and the language barrier, it is important that the child is fed and healthy.  If a child isn’t fed, they won’t have an optimal learning experience because they will be hungry.  The language barrier with the students and parents is another important thing to consider. Does the school offer a translator?  That could be an easy communication tool during conferences.  During tests, maybe offer the test in the student’s home language.

These are all things to consider when creating assessments for immigrant students as well as teaching immigrant students.  So I will leave you with this: When an immigrant student comes to your classroom, what steps will you take to make sure they feel welcomed and can learn on the same playing field as every other student?



Why would I join a cult (one of pedagogy)?

I chose to subscribe to education blog: The Cult of Pedagogy.  I chose this blog because I found some of the topics that were discussed to be relevant to my teaching and I found some of the ideas to be different and very open and honest as to what can go on in a classroom.  The things that may not be openly talked about, but all teachers are aware of.  The blog posts on this site are simple to read.  Not simple ideas, but wording that is not bombastic.  It is simplified so you don’t feel confused as if you’re reading in circles.

One of the posts I chose to read was titled: When Students Won’t Stop Talking.  This post describes what it is like to have a chatty classroom and how to handle it.  Talking amongst students is okay and probably means they are learning and collaborating! However, a new teacher can feel like they are loosing control of the classroom when this occurs, I’m guilty of this!  The post was very honest and explained ways to still be in control of your classroom while students are talking.  This post addresses the rhetorical triangle because the message is very clear and open.  There are headings throughout the piece, making it easy to read section by section.  It divides up the thoughts of the author, creating an introduction that connects to teachers, informational bits and then ways to address the talking in classrooms.  Throughout, the author includes a link to an interview, and quotes from Linsin that make the post relevant with factual support.  The author also includes some pictures with text to support the message.  This helps to divide up the text as well.  The author speaks to the audience and makes it relevant to them by speaking about their worries in the classroom.  The target audience is: all teachers, parents, pre-service teachers, school aides, or anyone who works with children in a setting where they give instruction!

Some questions that I would like to explore in this class are:

  1. How do blogs gain a following and maintain that following?
  2. Do blogs need to have a theme of the topics they discuss or can the topics vary from classroom management tools to curriculum ideas to working with colleagues?
  3. A final thought is can the audience change from post to post on a blog or does it need to remain the same throughout the entire blog?