Posted in Distance Learning, Education

On Acceleration and Bilingualism

Module 6 eJournal – 30days and counting…

It’s been a month since we transferred from China and settled in Philippines. Among the difficulties we faced is my son’s schooling. Using the homeschool curriculum, the instruction and materials were all in English, my son should already be Grade 2 but because of his age which is 6years old, he was accepted as a grade 1 student when we transferred him in a mainstream school. Acceleration is the least of my concern, I only wanted my son to blend in school first especially socially since the only interaction he has is every Sunday in Sunday School.

The first week have been difficult. My son is excited to go to school the first day, no problem so far. The second and third day, he is having separation anxiety, Filipino language difficulty and also adapting to his new environment. He would ask me, “Why do I need to go to school?”, and I would answer “So you will learn and have many friends”. He will tell me, “but I already know what the teacher is saying and I don’t like to have friends”. He is correct, when I checked the Math and English books, we already finished the lessons in homeschool. He gets bored when he also knows the subject and would be wandering around instead of listening to the teacher.

Problem is Math and English are the only subjects taught in English, the rest are in Filipino language which are Filipino, Araling Panlipunan, Mother Tongue, MAPEH (Music, Arts, P.E. and Health) and even the Bible stories and memory verses were taught in Tagalog.

As learned in student diversity, “Supporting the gifted and talented usually involves a mixture of acceleration and enrichment of the usual curriculum (Schiever & Maker, 2003). Acceleration involves either a child’s skipping a grade, or else the teacher’s redesigning the curriculum within a particular grade or classroom so that more material is covered faster. Either strategy works, but only up to a point: children who have skipped a grade usually function well in the higher grade, both academically and socially. Unfortunately skipping grades cannot happen repeatedly unless teacher, parents, and the students themselves are prepared to live with large age and maturity differences within single classrooms. In itself, too, there is no guarantee that instruction in the new, higher-grade classroom will be any more stimulating than it was in the former, lower-grade classroom.”

Although my son is advance in Math and English, he is behind in terms of Filipino subjects.  We need to do double time tutoring in the local language. As read in the reading material “Redesigning the curriculum is also beneficial to the student, but impractical to do on a widespread basis; even if teachers had the time to redesign their programs, many non-gifted students would be left behind as a result.”

I think my son also is a case of unbalanced bilingualism based on the reading material, “the bilingualism of many students is “unbalanced” in the sense that they are either still learning English, or else they have lost some earlier ability to use their original, heritage language—or occasionally a bit of both.”

I thank my son’s teacher for displaying creativity and innovativeness in dealing with the situation. First, the teacher seated my son to an English speaking classmate. Secondly, she serves as translator whenever possible and thirdly, she gives a star stamp for any little successes like finishing copying what is written on the board, speaking, writing or reading anything tagalog.

I find comfort to those who have been in  my situation that in a year or two, my son would be able to speak and write the Filipino language.

Like this teacher, I am also open to creativity, innovativeness and thinking out of the box especially if this is the only way to reach and teach more children with diverse culture and backgrounds.

References:

Student Diversity (Seifert, K. and Sutton, R. (2011). Student diversity (Chapter 3). In K. Seifert (Ed.), Educational Psychology (pp. 64-79). Athens, GA: The Global Textbook Project. Retrieved from http://www.oercommons.org/courses/educational-psychology/view

Image Source: http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/25600000/filipino-alphabet-alpabetong-pilipino-learning-filipino-tagalog-25629618-320-460.jpg

 

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