Classroom Lessons from Learning Six Languages

A MiddleWeb Blog
I still remember the very first purchase I made all in Khmer. My pet enjoys the marinated chargrilled pork served over damaged rice, and I wished to purchase numerous parts of just the pork to make a weeks worth of canine food.
At this point I had been finding out Khmer for a few hours a week, a simple drop in the ocean that is the Khmer language.
All morning, I practiced how to state basic expressions: wish to purchase this, no eat rice, can buy. As a backup, I typed the order request into the Google Translate app on my phone. I went down the street and began buying in Khmer.
Excellent early morning. How much is this?
Purchase only meat can?
Just how much meat do you want?
Please wait. The seller scampered to find the manager. The attendant returned and beamed the word can. She took a slab of newly grilled pork and asked sliced with the knife held in mid-air, waiting for my response.
Yes! Thank you.
Knowing languages, though, is less a superpower and more of a discovered ability. Discovering one language is like discovering another as numerous of the principles are the same.
As a self-proclaimed polyglot and a language instructor by occupation, Ive learned there are principles that teachers can utilize to support students multilingualism, including:
Taking full advantage of translanguaging
Having found out one language is the best possession in discovering a new one. Knowledge of a previous language isnt a barrier but the structure for new learning. That is since the principles, sounds, patterns, and words we learn in one language can support the acquisition of another (Cummins, 2021).
Taking a look at the notebook I used while finding out Khmer, you would see 2 alphabets: English for the significance of the words and Lao to capture the Khmer letter sounds (phonemes). I used Lao due to the fact that there are phonemes that just do not exist in English.
As another example, I utilized the very same sentence structure from Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese to state complete Khmer sentences. While in English we would say a black cat, these Asian languages would state feline black. I didnt need to work to discover this brand-new concept as it was currently in my language schema.

Educators can produce a translanguaging-friendly classroom by:

highlighting cognates
translating target vocabulary words
translanguaging themselves, if possible
sharing language connections
welcoming students to compose in another language
encouraging trainees to check out sources in another language
providing students to brainstorm and work together in another language

One application of this idea is to abandon pulling MLs out of their material classes to register them in extensive English classes. Well-intentioned, this practice is extremely misinformed, as the most appropriate environment to discover content-specific language is within the content-specific classroom (Ward Singer, 2018; Snyder & & Staehr Fenner, 2017).
The context of a science class, for instance, will make molecules, photosynthesis, and food chains genuine to students due to the fact that of the tactile, memorable learning experiences that come from engaging with science.
On the other hand, we need to question the effectiveness of plans and workbooks as they provide little to no appropriate context. These approaches concentrate on learning more about a language rather of producing experiences that motivate using a language for significant jobs.
Incorporating all domains
Language lives through listening, speaking, reading, and composing. Listening helps us form the noises of words while reading can assist us structure our writing.
Students establish listening abilities at a quicker rate than writing abilities, teachers can not wait to build composing abilities only after students are extremely skilled speakers.
When I initially began discovering Lao, I just remembered words and expressions. When I began finding out the Lao alphabet, I understood I was mispronouncing some words. As I established my Lao alphabet, I had the ability to check out high-frequency words and expressions. My grammar then improved in Lao as I started to internalize the grammar and sentence structures I experienced in the text.As I learned to read more in Lao, my composing ended up being more precise and stylish. Each time I engaged with one of the domains, my Lao improved. As I picked up Khmer this year, I began by discovering the Khmer alphabet as I discovered high-frequency words to strengthen my reading, writing, speaking and listening abilities.
I motivate instructors to design lessons that trigger as numerous language domains as possible (Motley, 2016). To purposefully activate all of the domains when I went to buy groceries at the wet market, I would make a list in Lao, ask for the cost in Lao, checked out signs in the market, and listen for the rate. All of the domains were utilized together through this one experience.
I encourage teachers to find ways for trainees to listen to content-based videos and podcasts, check out to find out content, write about content, and speak to others about material. Sometimes, only two domains will be activated, which is still much better than just working on one.
Closing remarks
When I share that I am learning my 6th language, some individuals marvel, while others fear. Some express that they are “constructed” to only understand one. There is a little reality in the belief that being multilingual is a superpower, yet it is equally real that discovering a language is a skill that is purposefully established, not a present some are lucky enough to be born with.
Our charge as teachers is to produce conditions where trainees can develop this life-enhancing, world-expanding super skill, one that is discovered and not given.
Cummins, J. (2021 ). Reassessing the Education of Multilingual Learners: A Critical Analysis of Theoretical Concepts (Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights, 19). Multilingual Matters.
Honigsfeld, A. (2019 ). Growing language & & literacy: strategies for English students: grades K-8. Heinemann.
Motley, N. (2016 ). Talk read talk write: an useful routine for learning in all content locations (K-12). Seidlitz Education.
Snyder, S., & & Staehr Fenner, D. (2017 ). Unlocking English students potential: methods for making content available. Corwin, A Sage Company.
Ward Singer, T. (2018 ). EL excellence every day: the flip-to guide for separating academic literacy.
World image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Knowing in context
I take Khmer lessons weekly, I am learning more through context-based interactions. I get Khmer numbers as I announce ball games during badminton video games. When conference coworkers at the water cooler around noon, I ask if they have eaten yet, in Khmer. When I hear thunder, I make predictions about the rain in Khmer with easy expressions (e.g., will rain, will not drizzle, you have raincoat).
The majority of these words I discovered out of context while I sat in front of my laptop to participate in synchronous lessons. Though I might discover them in this formal way, those words become etched deeper in my mind as I utilize them in context. The ideas in the context imbue these words with meaning.

Learning one language is like discovering another as numerous of the principles are the same.
Having actually discovered one language is the biggest property in learning a new one. That is since the principles, sounds, patterns, and words we find out in one language can support the acquisition of another (Cummins, 2021).
As I picked up Khmer this year, I began by finding out the Khmer alphabet as I found out high-frequency words to enhance my reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
There is a little fact in the belief that being multilingual is a superpower, yet it is similarly true that discovering a language is an ability that is purposefully established, not a present some are lucky sufficient to be born with.

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