Separate language courses are required for beginners and native speakers – The GW Hatchet
Like more bilingual students to register in colleges, schools across the country are increasingly face with a difficult choice when it comes to language courses. Administrators and language teachers should consider whether to allow native speakers to take language lessons with students who are in the early stages of learning a new language.
GW should consider offering separate courses for native speakers of foreign languages. Bilingual students are more comfortable with classroom materials, which leads to a fragmented classroom where some students thrive while others revel in anxiety and uncertainty by comparing themselves to their fellow students. class. Providing separate lessons will help reduce the gap in student understanding and allow all students to learn at a pace that works best for them, as each group of students has its own educational needs.
At GW, students are placed in foreign language courses on the basis of a placement test or their performance in the prerequisite courses. In my Advanced Spanish II course last semester, there were no native speakers. The class went fairly smoothly, as we all had comparable reading comprehension levels. Neither of us spoke particularly fast, which made the conversation flow smoothly as the others were able to follow.
This semester in my top level Spanish course there are several native speakers, all of whom participate more in the classroom conversation than most non-native speakers. This participation is almost certainly related to the relative ease with which native speakers can interpret the material, while many non-native speakers have to translate from the language they are learning into their native language. Due to the background of native students and their ability to participate more in class, less time is spent on students who may need more attention or who have difficulty with course material. A class dedicated to beginners would create a more level classroom and simultaneously allow professors and teaching assistants to focus on the students who need help the most.
To narrow the gap between the two groups of students, managers can create courses suitable for native speakers. These would be similar to the English courses offered by the University, meaning that the emphasis would be on exploring different types of literature rather than developing grammatical skills. Half of GW’s peer schools already offer courses like this in their Spanish departments. Miami University offers three courses for native speakers and Boston University offers a class specifically designed to include only non-native speakers, meaning that schools have already started to separate the two groups of students to better meet the needs of each population.
It is an opportunity for GW to change and to follow its peers. By offering a greater variety of courses for students who wish to learn a foreign language in an academic setting but who are already comfortable speaking, GW can cater to a wider audience of potential students while ensuring that educational needs of existing students are satisfied.
While there are many advantages to dividing native speakers and beginners into different sections, there are some advantages to having lessons together. Native speakers give other students the opportunity to hear their study language fluently spoken by someone their age, which means they use slang and other words than teachers or assistants educationalists may not know or teach.
Native speakers push me to do better in class by challenging me to read more in preparation for class and to speak more in class. But despite the advantages of having native speakers in the classroom, the fact that the two groups have different educational needs calls for separate classes. The learning experiences of students who grew up with a second language and students who learn a language for the first time are very different. While our desire to learn the language is the same, our specific needs are at different levels which justify individual lessons and individual teachers.
These two groups of students have unique educational needs, and it is time that they were treated as such so that students can receive the best possible education.
Matthew Zachary, a second year major in political science, is a Hatchet opinion writer.
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