How can we actually say we are learning the active way? Despite the wide range of learning techniques available nowadays, illiteracy is still one of the major problems of our society today. Hundreds of different schools, universities and colleges are being established every year and offer the latest and the most extensive state-of-the-art facilities for the students’ convenience and ease for learning. owever, being the high class schools, taking an education under these institutions, takes an aiming individual, shell-out thousands for their learning. Moreover, even at these situations, students still have difficulty in comprehending the lessons being taught in their classes, making it, for that matter an inactive learning.
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Aspiring teachers are also being taught with the most updated lectures and aids for learning to be able to make them good teachers to their future students. Later on, they would face the real world of teaching. Such a noble profession but a difficult task, so to speak. Especially when they are the teachers of the so-called language minority students, educating is not that simple.
Language minority students are the people learning English as their second language. Most of them are from native lands having a prime language of their own. They tend to acquire education in the city and urban lands near their areas, because they don’t have the resources to build their own schools or an establishment that could offer such service. As such, schools that are teaching English as their primary language are their only option for learning. They are then compelled to be in these schools even if they know themselves that it would be really hard for their part, intellectually, emotionally, and socially. They value their education as well.
Ovando and Collier then created the ESL textbook for bilingual students, to give them the ease in learning that the regular students are also having. They’ve been aware of the teachers’ difficulty in inculcating the topics and lectures to these students. They know, it wasn’t the students’ fault to belong under this kind of community where people speak in a different language.
After which, the teacher could then teach the prime language which is English. The “supplementary” lesson makes it tedious for the teachers because instead of directly teaching the topic for the day, the excess learning process is still to be taught. As such, students under this category tend to be isolated from the majority of the class. Furthermore, they have teachers exclusively for their learning.
Let’s get acquainted with the learning environment first. The regular students and the bilingual students are under the same institution. They are taught by the same teachers. The school of course has the available facilities for the regular students (i.e. computers, internet access), which are the majority population of the school. The bilingual students are obviously left behind. How are they to learn all these new things if they don’t even know how to speak English?
We cannot avoid this (their isolation from the regular students) from happening for if we don’t do this, we will make it even harder for them to cope. If they are to be merged with the regular students, they would have problems in dealing with the latter. If this happens, they would gain no friends and eventually develop inferiority. Most of the students might not understand their native background and we really can’t blame them either.
Next, what are the teachers supposed to teach them then? Since they are still under the same school as the regular students, they should be taught the same topics and lectures. However, apparently, they need more time in deeply understanding their lessons. They need more explanations from their teachers and they need more assistance in their studies. This makes them, again, left behind. Sadly, they are being treated like they have something abnormal which is not the case. They just need additional patience from their teachers because the task for them is never easy to them as well. A separate curriculum for such students should then be developed. It would help both teachers and primarily the bilingual students greatly and would make learning easier and fun!
Teachers should also further reach out to their needs. After all, they know they are being treated extra special. So they themselves, exert more effort in studying and comprehending their lessons. Learning a new language is not as easy as ABC. So we don’t have to regard them as minority actually. Even if they are “left behind”, the study of a new language is an entire subject for a regular student. They are as intelligent for that matter. We will never know their potential as an employee someday if we always treat them as “minority”. As mentioned awhile back, they value their education as much as the regular students do. They wouldn’t go away from their native lands and seek fortune in the city if they didn’t know the importance of education to their future.
After the first step, which is to learn the language of the other, teachers can now teach them the regular lectures; Math, Science and General Knowledge. Still, it is never simple. Let’s go back to the basics, learn their language. How can we teach science or math with ease in their language? Familiarity is always essential for intellectual growth…the subject must be at work (Hendrikson, 2007).
It’s like teaching a 5 year old kid how to count and know their numbers and we may repeat this several times for the information to sink in. It may look awkward for the teacher but the students are delighted because they know their classmates, are being taught just the same. They would feel that they truly belong to this group. The feeling of inferiority will be eliminated. Even if it takes a longer time for them to be totally educated with these, at least, they are going somewhere. Their future is not anymore difficult to achieve.
How about the cultural differences? Are they aware they are somehow “different” from the others? Do the regular students know they have fellow students with such cultural backgrounds? Again, they are now under the same institution. We cannot isolate them forever in their classrooms; they also need to meet other people and gain friends. By this, we can help them at their social aspect. Students from the regular class should also understand the cultures of their schoolmates and realize their need for education. The learning process is never-ending. It is ACTIVE. Use of these methods in the learning environment is fundamental because of their strong impact upon students’ training (Eison, 2003).
The textbook by Ovando and Collier also mentioned that as teachers they should serve as motivation for their students to make the best use of their two or more languages. They should be learners as well, because during the process of reaching out to their students, they are also inculcated by their native language and their culture. Being bilingual, and the belongingness to a different culture, should be a great tandem and never should be treated as “third world”. The learning process is continuous and both parties benefit from the course.
The students from different cultures are like having an exchange student from a foreign country. They serve as representatives from their homeland and become “subjects” for learning. They are even delighted to be treated as such. So why not make these happen with the bilingual students? Active learning is not influenced by culture or language; it’s how we arrive at it. It’s not merely the education, but the learning process.
It is not only being the teacher but being the learner as well. Why make learning difficult for the bilingual students, when it can become otherwise? No one is “minority”, for education is not exclusive for a specific individual. Let’s give them the joy of learning and education. We all deserve to be educated from whatever manner. Wherever. Whenever.
Eison, C. C. B. a. J. A. (2003). Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom [Electronic Version]. Retrieved March 14, 2007 from http://www.ntlf.com/html/lib/bib/91-9dig.htm.
Hendrikson, L. (2007). Active Learning [Electronic Version]. Retrieved
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