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Thread: Teaching ESL. . total English immersion or bilingual teaching?

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    Farang Ki Nok Array mcatt66's Avatar
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    Teaching ESL. . total English immersion or bilingual teaching?

    In this particular situation:

    Teaching primary students ESL. . (grades3-6)
    In a school that only teaches conversation with the complete focus being on speaking and listening.
    Teachers are told not to teach any reading and very little to no writing.
    English teachers see their students 2 times a week for 45 minute periods for English. .
    All other subjects are taught in students native language by L1 teachers.

    In the above situation if one is a bilingual teacher do you think he/she should use it as they teach or should there be a strict rule that only English is spoken in the class. .

    Have been debating this with some co-workers and curious what others feel. .

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcatt66 View Post
    one is a bilingual teacher do you think he/she should use it as they teach or should there be a strict rule that only English is spoken in the class. .
    Personally I only use English. My attitude is that long term gains outweigh short term efficiency. There are coping mechanisms for teaching without using L1. In terms of a faculty, what happens to those teachers that aren't bilingual? Do they have to put up with the inevitable bellyaching "Mr So-and-So speaks Thai why don't you?" etc. More often than not using L1 is used to cover sloppy teaching practice rather than in a pedagogical way.
    How did I come to this position? I taught primary P2&4. I used Thai in the class room. I had a co-teacher who couldn't speak Thai. After 6 months her sts could at least communicate with me in patchy English. Most of mine couldn't/wouldn't. Never used L1 in class again.
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    Hangin' Around Array Cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcatt66 View Post
    In the above situation if one is a bilingual teacher do you think he/she should use it as they teach or should there be a strict rule that only English is spoken in the class. .
    I don't understand that, sorry.

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    Farang Ki Nok Array mcatt66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrille View Post
    I don't understand that, sorry.
    If you can speak Thai, should you use any Thai while teaching an English ESL class? or should you strictly speak english and fully immerse the children in an English atmosphere?. . Especially when it comes to giving directions for an activity. .or explaining new vocabulary. .

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcatt66 View Post
    In the above situation if one is a bilingual teacher do you think he/she should use it as they teach or should there be a strict rule that only English is spoken in the class.
    Strictly English in an English class if its a bingual teacher, if its a TA then that's different.
    Quote Originally Posted by mcatt66 View Post
    Teaching primary students ESL. . (grades3-6)
    They're primary students you don't need to explain quantum physics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcatt66 View Post
    when it comes to giving directions for an activity
    This is a point where a strictly English approach becomes problematic, it is far more efficient to use L1. Problem is that once it's established that you can speak Thai, many students will simply wait for you to use it.
    Quote Originally Posted by mcatt66 View Post
    new vocabulary
    sts will retain new vocab better after coming to an understanding of it, rather than a simple translation. Also you need to have pretty good Thai to do the translation right.

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    Farang Ki Nok Array mcatt66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markle View Post
    This is a point where a strictly English approach becomes problematic, it is far more efficient to use L1. Problem is that once it's established that you can speak Thai, many students will simply wait for you to use it.
    not even sure I agree with that .. i think maybe in a math class or science class it could be helpful, but this is an esl english conversation class. . I think even giving directions and having them comprehend is important to be done in English. .

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcatt66 View Post
    I think even giving directions and having them comprehend is important to be done in English. .
    as do I. It's just that using L1 to explain how to do something quickly can be argued as being a more efficient use of time, it gives sts more time to actually do the activity, to actually use the language.

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    out of control Array bewildered wanderer's Avatar
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    I must say that in past I would have fought those who go against using any Thai in the classroom, but as the years add up, I see that even I use less Thai in the classroom. I still do use it with some P1 kids, but some of our kids have an excellent command of English while others have not a lick. Using Thai with those students gives them a chance where otherwise they would fail out of the program.
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    I use English most of the time. The only time I use Thai is for example with P1 where I would show the difference between English and Thai on a grammar point such as capital letters. Interestingly I never took this line with p2/p3 and P1 where more tuned onto basic grammar points. My bad. I know better for next time!

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    Always a tricky one. Thai is useful to ensure everyone understands. All depends on the level. My smart M3 always get 100% English. Whatever produces results works. I am always worried when Western teachers are told not to teach kids to read but only to teach conversation. I find the vast majority of kids at Pratom level leave unable to read basic English. As a a result teaching them conversation is extremely challenging if not impossible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcatt66 View Post
    In a school that only teaches conversation with the complete focus being on speaking and listening.
    Its an English conversation class, using Thai would defy the purpose, cut the crutches and they will pick it up faster than having to explain in Thai, seems logical to me. Thai has no place in a conversation class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markle View Post
    Problem is that once it's established that you can speak Thai, many students will simply wait for you to use it.
    No problem, just make it known that they have to listen and speak in English. My kids all know I can speak Thai, but if they ask me a question in Thai I tell them I don't understand. They laugh then think how to ask me in English. I think too many people forget that speaking the native language is just a tool, not a teaching style.

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