Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lost In The Translation

Thank goodness I speak 'Preschooler'. Sometimes what little ones do and say don't quite match. Getting to truly know each child is the main goal of mine whenever they are with me.
Of course yelling and throwing slobbery fits is not an effective way of communication. But being angry or sad because you miss a parent is understandable.
I do a lot of dictation with little ones. When emotions get lost in the translation I'll ask them when they are calm if we can write a story or a letter about what they are feeling. In every case the children prefer to hold their special letter throughout the day. They play, laugh, join circle times and then happily deliver the letter to the family member.
I guess sometimes having someone to listen to your feelings really does validate them. Sometimes all we need is to know someone cares.


Sara R said...

It is so true! The adage that "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" is very wise. As a secondary foreign language teacher I have many students who are afraid to try to speak in Spanish. I have found that they can get over that fear by hearing stories about how I used to be scared to speak in Spanish too. Also, I give them options to do their speaking. They can speak with a partner in the class, they can record their speaking and/or they can have the floor and speak to the whole class. Giving the students options lets them know that I am sensitive to their fears and anxieties and it also lets the not-so-shy students still have a chance to show off their talents. The shy students can show theirs off too. Sooner or later, the majority of students transition into being more comfortable talking to the whole class in their new language.

Sara R said...

I understand what you mean. The adage "Kids don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" is so true. As a foreign language teacher at the secondary level, I see a lot of students struggling with fear and anxiety as they try to speak Spanish, their newly developing language. I frequently remind them that language learning is a process that takes time and that I was afraid to speak in my second language too. One way that I try to ease their feelings of anxiety is to offer them options. They may speak with a partner, they can make a recording of themselves, they can make videos. Eventually, most of them improve their confidence and are able to speak in front of the class. Giving them these options lets them know that I am sensitive to their fears and that I do care about them.

Unknown said...

I think that is so beautiful. Both stories have really touched my heart. When you add caring and compassion to teaching it really is a universal language!