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Sunday, March 22, 2009

by Natalie Bodmer

By now the student is less shy and more comfortable with me. I have also learned that it is helpful to read the notes from the teacher and the other tutors to get a good idea of the work the student did in the past week. I have also gotten used to predicting what the student needs to work on and what concepts he has trouble with sometimes. In the fourth grade they are putting emphasis on learning the multiplication tables. After learning about the English as a second language programs verses bilingual classrooms I went into teaching this week with all those concepts in mind.

Challenges:

  • After a whole school day, spending even more time doing homework is difficult
  • Multiplication tables are difficult to explain, or teach without the direct memorization
  • Division is also difficult to understand the first time students learn it

Solutions:

  • Make compromises about doing one homework problem and then play a game so that it is not all work
    Explain the relationship between addition and multiplication
    Use concrete examples to show the concept of division

My student is also bilingual but more comfortable with his Spanish and speaks Spanish with all of his friends. Since he is more comfortable with his Spanish I use Spanish to explain the concepts of fractions and practice the multiplication tables. As a group they then review the multiplication tables in English. My student is able to transfer all of what he learned in Spanish to English because he understands the concepts; it is just a matter of realizing the synonyms.

I really enjoy working in a school and especially having the chance to work one on one with a student to really see the progress he is making. I also enjoy working in the community and learning how students learn in different environments. This experience has been eye-opening since throughout all of my grade school education there was not any bilingual or ESL programs.

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