I think that language buddies has taught me to be a lot more observant of all cultures, because it helped me keep an open mind. Going into language buddies I didn’t know what to expect, so I tried to be as observant as possible in order to learn from others. Helping in a classroom was really cool because I got to observe the culture of the students, and learn about their own personal cultures. Even if I shared a culture with some students they had a completely different experience, language buddies helped me see that and be open to learning about similar cultures from different perspectives. I didn’t have a particular experience that made me think critically about my culture. However, after spending time learned about the students and their cultures I started look deeper into what my culture was. After I had a better understanding of my own culture, I was able to compare it to the students and theirs much easier. I was also able to learn a lot more, and see how similar some of the different cultures are. Overall language buddies was a very cool experience, and I am glad that I had an open mind and was able to learn so much about the students and their different experiences and perspectives.
Today was my last day with the students and it was kind of sad to know that I won’t be back with the same students again. They had a work day, and they had to finish their essays and turn them in online. The kids didn’t really need any help with their essays since they were just finishing them up, so I just made sure that they stayed on task and finished their work. They behaved pretty well today, which was nice for my last day, but i wish I would’ve had more time with them! I am so glad I did language buddies and got to have this experience!
The students had a worksheet to fill out about a story that they read and when they were done with that they got to have free time. The students filled out the sheet relatively quickly, and I helped a student who was having trouble focusing. We didn’t get a whole lot done today, but it was cool to be able to help a couple students who were struggling. I had to remind some students to be quiet during their free time until everyone was done though, because it was hard to focus when everyone was being loud.
Today was another catch up day, so the students watched Narnia while those who needed to work did it. There was a substitute again, and she had a very difficult time getting the students to be quiet. I sat in the back and helped a couple students make sure that they finished their work, but most of the time the class watched the movie. It was really nice to see them ask me questions when they needed help, and to get to know them better.
We had more lit circle meetings today, and most of the students did not want to concentrate again. This time I walked around a little bit and tried to help keep all of the groups focused on what they were doing. It was difficult to work with the students today and help them get their work done. They are more comfortable with me now, but I have to remind them to focus on their work a lot.
The students had a lit circle meeting today and they got into groups according to what book they were reading. It was really hard getting them to focus today, so I sat with a group that was having a particularly difficult time staying on task. We talked about the book that they were reading, and I made sure that they assigned character roles for next week so that they would be prepared.
How have your expectations regarding your service-learning component changed since you began the semester?
When I began the semester I had no idea what to expect regarding my service-learning component. I did not know what I would be doing with students or community members, or how much I would be teaching them. I did not know where I would be working either, or if I would be alone or with others doing the same thing that I was. I assumed that I would be teaching Spanish to others, which changed very quickly once I arrived at my classroom. I realized that the students that I was working with mostly spoke other languages, and did need much help with English/Spanish at all. All of the students I work with speak English very well, and I mostly assist with classwork rather than helping with any language difficulties.
Reflect upon the notion of reciprocity within Language Buddies. Do you feel you are giving more than you are receiving in return? Are you receiving more than what you are giving? Elaborate in detail.
I feel that I am generally giving more than receiving because I am helping in a classroom setting where the students have assignments and are taught everyday. I expected to teach more than I did learn, however the students have also given me a lot of insight into new things. Although I often help them learn, they also have given me a lot of information about their cultures and lifestyles.
Relate and/or contrast your own language learning process (with the acquisition of Spanish, for example) to that of the students you are working with this semester (children youth or adults).
The students that I assist in the classroom learn a lot from discussion with each other in small groups or pairs rather than in a class. The teacher will often as a question and then allow the students to talk with each other before she asks the class to answer as a whole. We do this a lot in Spanish class with our partners. They also learn a lot from worksheets where they can read and learn new words that pertain to the discussion. We do this in Spanish as well and often discuss with our partners to help each other answer the questions.
The kids had a discussion about the little mermaid today and focused on flat and open-ended questions about the story. I helped them figure out which questions were flat, and how to make them so that they were open-ended. The students needed a lot of help determining if the questions were flat or not, but I think I was able to help them understand the material better.
We didn’t do much today because the students were given the chance to catch up on their work. After the students figured out what they were missing, they were given work time to complete it. Most of the kids didn’t need any help, so I got to answer a couple of questions. I am getting to know the kids a little better, and they are becoming more comfortable with asking me for help.
My first day with language buddies was great. They had a substitute teacher so we didn’t get a whole lot done, but the students were able to register for classes that they want to take next year at the high school. I helped explain some of the elective classes, and figure out which classes the students would be interested in taking. It was really cool to meet all of the kids and be able to help them out.