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Posted on November 23, 2012 5:31 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 616
My Colleague Speaks Broken English
In my school we practice team teaching. One of my colleagues and I share the same students. She teaches Science and Social Studies, while I teach Math and Language Arts including Reading. Because we teach lower elementary students—2nd grade—I pay special attention to modeling correct use of English in both writing and speaking in my lessons. This is where my problem begins. My team teacher is an immigrant from Korea. She speaks English well, but she makes mistakes regularly. I can see some of my students making mistakes in their speech and writing that mimic the mistakes I hear from my team teacher. What should I do about this? I do not want her to get in trouble because she is a very good teacher. If I inform her about what I have observed in her speech, would I be culturally insensitive? How should I tell her about this? I am at a total loss.
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted November 30, 2012 4:39 pm

Meredith Hein
Meredith Hein
Reps: 139
I think if this teacher is a "very good teacher" she would want to know that her broken English is affecting the students. I would approach her with some of your students work portraying their mistakes attributed to her speech. I would try not to come across as aggressive, but only showing loving concern for your students and stating how great of a teacher she is and you would want to know. I don't think stating this problem would be culturally insensitive, so long as you come across as understanding how hard it must be to learn another language and TEACH another language. Overall, it's the students that matter and if they are being affected negatively, something needs to be said so changes can be made.
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Solution 2
Posted February 12, 2013 6:09 pm

Chelsea Yoshimura
Chelsea Yoshimura
Reps: 24
I would definitely address the situation to your colleague. If she has the best interests of the students in mind, she will be open to hearing your thoughts and corrections. Hopefully she will feel the need to correct her English language skills for the sake of the students. Most English language learners are open to constructive criticism. As long as the situation is brought about in the most productive way possible, nothing destructive should come of it. Great job of keeping the students in mind. As long as you make sure that she knows your are there to support and encourage her, good things shall come of it.
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Kady Schlemmer
Kady Schlemmer
Reps: 202
I agree. If you come forward to this teacher with a heart full of good intention, they will understand. You have the best interest of the students in mind and she will see that.
  Posted on: July 9, 2016 4:06 pm

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Solution 3
Posted December 7, 2012 5:12 pm

Jessica Oglesby
Jessica Oglesby
Reps: 110
Confronting team mates about problems is always stressful, however I think this one may be an easy fix. Ask your team teacher to collaborate with you and work together on planning units in order to teach throughout the curriculum. Explain to your partner the issues that you are having with your students, do this without ever addressing any language barriers that she may have. She probably doesn't even realizing that she is making mistakes and will learn from you. Be sensitive to her feelings and work together to help her become a stronger teachers. Put yourself in her shoes before talking with her about this issue.
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Solution 4
Posted December 7, 2012 12:41 pm

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
I would approach the co-teacher in a very gentle way. I'm sure she will appreciate your concern and be willing to work on her broken English. You could also suggest having students correct her when she uses inappropriate usage if she is comfortable with that. This would also help the students learn the correct writen and oral language. Of course, it would be necessary to discuss with students the appropriate way of correcting her in a friendly, helpful manner.
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Solution 5
Posted February 12, 2013 6:06 pm

Mary Beth Brammar
Mary Beth Brammar
Reps: 30
It is very important that you pay special attention to modeling correct use of English. As teachers we play an important role in the way students act and speak. When you notice your students speaking incorrect English correct them in a positive way. You should talk to your colleague one on one and give her constructive criticism and offer to help her if she needs it. Explain to her you feel she is a great teacher, but she needs to work on speaking correct English. If you discuss the matter in a positive and encouraging way she shouldn't become offended.
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Brianne Blowers
Brianne Blowers
Reps: 102
I think that it is all about how you approach this situation. I agree that speaking with the colleague could really help the situation as long as it was done respectfully.
  Posted on: October 19, 2014 11:44 pm

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Solution 6
Posted December 8, 2012 2:17 pm

areli saucedo
areli saucedo
Reps: 119
You should correct the students and inform them that they are speaking or writing incorrectly. Afterwards, you should take the time to speak to your colleague. This is what teachers do, they help and mentor each other. If I am making a mistake, I would appreciate corrections, that way I can improve my communication. You should talk to her and tell her the problem, I am sure she would understand and even thank you.
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Solution 7
Posted December 1, 2012 6:12 pm

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
Goodness, tell her when she makes mistakes. She is probably aware that her English is imperfect. Be her coach. I have a Vietnamese teacher who can't enunciate the difference between arithmetic and arithmatic or geometry and geometric. There is little to be gained for her or her students in holding back the different pronunciation. She will probably appreciate your concern.
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Solution 8
Posted December 6, 2012 9:01 pm

Melissa Tolbert
Melissa Tolbert
Reps: 104
I would also agree that telling her would be a great idea. I can appreciate how this could be uncomfortable to approach for many people but there are ways that would be appropriate. I definitely wouldn't go to administration or other teachers, I would go directly to her with the situation. If the mistakes were dramatic and something that would be detrimental to the students' overall educational achievement I would go to her pretty soon and be very honest with the patterns you are seeing and have a plan as to how you both together could work on it. Having a pre-set plan to help the problem is always great to have when approaching these situations.
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Solution 9
Posted December 7, 2012 12:22 pm

Selena W Farmer
Selena W Farmer
Reps: 121
Within the students work, I would obviously continue to correct their mistakes in their writing and speaking as their ELA teacher. As for your co teacher, I would approach her in way where she can recognize your concern for both her and your students (possibly giving her examples and helping her to correct them). Confrontation can be difficult esp when trying to be senstive to the others feelings but it is important for the students to correct their mistakes and to avoid picking up bad habits. The co teacher, I would imagine, would also share the perspective that the students come first and they need to learn correct grammar. In doing so, you can help students avoid making further mistakes and help your coteacher improve her English as well.
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Solution 10
Posted December 7, 2012 4:07 pm

Jessica DeLaigle
Jessica DeLaigle
Reps: 110
Though I can see how you think it might be culturally insensitive, I don't think you mentioning it to her that the students are picking up on it and mimicing what they are hearing is culterally insensitive. I think if she truly cares about her students, she will appreciate the concern and it will help her be more aware of her broken English. It's nothing she is doing intentional so it shouldn't offend her. I would just sit her down and talk to her, even show her the papers from your students. I don't think it will be a big problem if you just talk to her.
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Solution 11
Posted December 7, 2012 10:12 pm

Jessica Jacobs Graham
Jessica Jacobs Graham
Reps: 116
I think that I would find a way to diplomatically tell her. She would probably be happy to know so that she can work on that. Also, I think that it would be beneficial to explain to your students that because her first language is not English, sometimes it is hard for non-native English speakers to be grammatically correct at all times, as they may still be learning the language. It has nothing to do with her teaching abilities or intelligence, it is just because of the varied technicalities present in the English language.
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Solution 12
Posted December 9, 2012 1:07 pm

John Buxton
John Buxton
Reps: 114
I would mention the problem to your colleague so that you can work on possible solutions with her. Maybe even have a combined class with all of the students where you and your colleague talk about the issue. She can maybe give her experiences as an immigrant. Also, don't worry to much about the student's spoken language too much. They are only in the second grade.
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Solution 13
Posted March 15, 2015 5:02 pm

yTuGub
yTuGub
Reps: 107
Schools have for a long time employed teachers to teach subjects such you mentioned in your case. They are often very proficient with the content but the use of standard English is often absent. My preference is that these teachers not teach English. I would have the teacher be comfortable enough to let the students know that because she speaks a different language, English may not be perfect. That is where you come in to model great team teaching. The cultural difference is a great lesson your students can learn that we can all get along despite our differences.
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