Dear Rozanne Crawford,
I want to thank you for a well written, comprehensible article representing the sharing of true information regarding “There’s a better way to teach” (Voices, April 25).
As a retired teacher of 37 years, I totally agree with your argument.
I have personally had direct experiences with students in my class not previously having any command of the English Language. This included, among many others, students from Russia, South America, Mexico and France. Each one of them was immersed in an English speaking school without any assistance in the classroom of a second language being an option.
However, there were assistants and an afterschool program that assisted students with homework using another language. The other language options were limited. Each student I had speaking only their native language when they entered, was speaking English by the end of the year. Several times I tutored the same students during the summer months for a better understanding and comprehension of reading and writing.
The parents of the students only wanted English spoken to their children as a complete immersion. One parent of a child from Russia wanted to pay for the child’s grandmother to attend my class every day, as they were so impressed by the short time frame their child learned English.
I feel it is a disservice to have a bilingual program for non-English speaking students. I think it is the school’s responsibility to give every child the knowledge, tools and experience they need to survive and be successful in this country.
It is obvious to have a command of the language of the country is an asset to anyone upon taking residence in a country other than their own. The definition of a teacher is to transfer useful, helpful, honest information and knowledge to students to prepare them for becoming productive, involved, knowledgeable citizens of tomorrow.
I always ask if the people who propose the new laws have ever had any experience in the classroom with foregin students? My past experience shows the answer to that question is no, and their intentions are governed by their need to control.
Thank you again for expressing your well-founded opinion, which clearly represents the best interest of the native-speaking parents and their children.