Saturday, December 10, 2005

Speaking Spanish at school

Student gets a rude awakening - suspension

Sixteen-year-old Zach Rubio (pictured here, bottom right) speaks like most kids. He embraces the slang of his generation and talks clearly in unaccented English. But Zach is also fluent in his dad's native language, Spanish. Speaking a few words of Spanish led to Zach getting suspended from school. The Washington Post has the story.

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10 comments:

Jaimie said...

Oh my God!

Ridiculous. When I first started teaching I was warned by many teachers "You can't speak in Spanish here to the kids." "How will they understand me?" I asked.

It's like Spanish is this dirty language or something. It's so disturbing.

Rose said...

Wow...that's amazing Jaimie. How are they going to learn?

DCS said...

Jaime and Rose, thanks for stopping by.

Jaimie: Did you get a response to your question? ("How will they understand me?")

I know that a debate continues among educators on the subject of bilingual education. It would be interesting to know if your school district has a policy addressing this issue. My guess is that your school had many Latino students.

Jaimie said...

Yes, we have many Latino students in the district. I believe my school is probably about 85% Latino.

I was told that through immersion, the students would learn the language. In actuality this is true, but they often do not learn either Spanish or English in all of the languages' grammatical capacity.

They often combine Spanish and English and make up their own words ("pushe" is a favorite-meaning she/he pushed me).

DCS said...

Interesting. Thanks, Jaimie.

Brea said...

Intolerance. This story and others like it makes me so upset.

nikki said...

i would think the school system would be more concerned with the child learning by any means necessary as opposed to getting caught up in the language it takes for the child to learn.

what utter nonsense.

Deb Sistrunk said...

Brea and Nikki - so true! But if a kid walks up to me and says "pushe," I'll know what it means. Thanks, Jaimie. :-)

Emmanuel said...

While it should be a minority right to speak your own language and follow school in that language as well, there is also something to be said for the enormous advantages of all people in a nation having one language in common.

DCS said...

Emmanuel: Good point. Without question, there are enormous advantages when a nation speaks one common language. At the same time, there is something to say for meeting immigrant and refugee children where they are with their language skills and bringing them up to speed. I think it goes a long way to help children become proficient in English without disrespecting the their cultural roots. Thanks for stopping by.