My name is Amanda, and I'm an employee/continuing student at Rutgers University New Brunswick campus. I work as a preschool teaching assistant at an on-campus daycare, and I do have my masters and NJ teachine license for K-5.
I joined the group as part of a class that I'm currently taking called Web Based Multimedia Design for Educators (quite a mouthful, I know). Though I found this group as part of an assignment, I chose to join this group for my own interests.
First, a lot of the children at the daycare center are from families whose first language is not English (we have a large Asian ratio at our center). I know that some of their parents may have tried to teach some basic English to their children before starting, or they come to the center worried about their child's ability to learn English right away. I am an advocate for children growing up bilingual, and encourage the parents to keep their family's language strong at home. This kind of leads to my second reason for joining...
I am not bilingual myself. When I was in preschool, I apparently was very quiet, and my preschool teacher had told my parents that they were afraid I was not understanding enough English and that would hurt my progress in school. Under my teacher's encouragement, my parents took me to speech therapy, where I was kind of saturated in the English language at a very young age, which put learning my family's language on the back burner. Now, I always wish I could communicate better with my older relatives and have more connected ties with my culture, and it is difficult for me to find online resources appropriate for the language I would need.
I do not want my class parents to feel pressured as my parents did, and thus want to find ways to make a more open environment for bilingual families and help them feel at ease about their child's progress while in our care.
I hope to learn more through this group and look forward to sharing any stories or questions I have!
Thanks for sharing, Amanda...you have a fascinating story! I could surely feel your disappointment at not being bilingual. You are certainly doing the right thing by helping your students to embrace their native language.
It is so surprising to hear that your speech teachers never encouraged use of your first language at home. I have been teaching ELLs for over 20 years and never discouraged use native language. As a matter of fact, I prefered that parents/guardians not use English at home, since their language skills tended to be weak and students would develop poor grammar habits.
Your class in Web Based Mulitmedia Design sounds intriguing...I'd love to hear more about what that encompasses. I am glad your assignment led you to our group...what else do you have to do?
BTW are any of your Asian students Japanese? If so, I just discovered a link to a great website that is Japanese/ESL...It is posted in my recent discussion about "summer surfing for resources"... Perhaps you might find it interesting and can share with the parents of these pre-schoolers.
Here's the link - http://edahellocircle.homestead.com/soundindex.html .
Keep up the good work...and please keep us posted with your progress...
We are looking at aspects of design; what kinds of media, visuals, and design choices are better for conveying certain messages. We're currently using our blog entries to complete an ongoing collection of work called "Mini Art School." Attached to our readings are different exercises or activities we can choose from and attempt to practice the elements of design that we're reading about. It hasn't been what I thought the class would be so far, but that's not a bad thing. haha.
None of the students at the center are Japanese, the vast majority of the Asian children speak Mandarin, and one family is Korean.
Thanks for sharing those resources, though. I'm sure I'll find something similar and helpful for my class families!