Christian Faltis: Student Success

we really we really work towards that. That’s hard. Our students here, you know, I’ve I come from the University of California and we had a student teacher aid program there that they claimed was the best in California. And I, when I came here and had my first students and I had them do lessons and they put together. And I just I mean, I was stunned at how well prepared these students were. And it turned out that these were TAFE students. That is that they had been doing this since high school. And then they come in and they’re really, really well prepared. So those students, I think they’re just you know that some of the most brilliant student teachers or teacher candidates that I’ve seen in my career, the other students that come in, they’re like any students that need work in pedagogy, pedagogical content, knowledge, language, pedagogical knowledge, those kinds of things that that that we do. And what we try to do here is provide lots of opportunities for them to both rehearse certain kinds of pedagogical moves, how they get in and out of discussions to make sure that students around are participating equally as part of our sort of social justice bend on certain kinds of things that that we make sure that we pull language out of students to so that we can interpret what they’re thinking. Do they understand things? We try to engage them and play in lots of children’s books. We have we’re going to be starting this summer with one of the colonials here, where parents and children and elders begin to make children’s books around certain kinds of activities and experiences that they have in that community. one of the things about Laredo that’s interesting there. There’s really literally only one bookstore here. It’s called the Phenix Bookstore, and it was just opened a couple of years ago during the pandemic. And it’s a bookstore that has a huge cache of books that are bilingual children’s books. It has a lot of children’s books in English with all sorts of topics. They they try to do try to find children’s books that are relevant to this particular area of Texas. So that’s really good. But again, there’s only one bookstore, so we’re trying to do. We’re trying to help our families create their own children’s books. I’ve had a number of honor students here that I work with, who are creating children’s books, who are trying to write children’s books that are done in Spanish and English. And I found that a lot of the books are just they’ll have a sentence. Let’s say I’m going to my abuela house, something like that, and then they’ll say, Yes, my grandma is going to feed us. So it’s a lot of translation, but I’m trying to get them to write books that where there’s where there are chunks of language in Spanish and chunks and English, because I want children to be able to learn to read longer ideas and ways of communicating in both Spanish and English. And I think that will help there by literacy, because one of the areas that that is probably the most difficult for children here and youth in Laredo is that there’s not a lot of bi literacy. So there’s a tremendous amount of bilingualism. And everywhere you go, you speak Spanish, Spanish and English, so you go to the store and you can say all lines school must that. And then they’ll say, OK, would you like your receipt? And I said, Oh, see? And then they’ll say, OK, when the and then you say, OK, thank you. So it’s just, you know, it doesn’t matter. I go to all of my, you know, medical consultations here and it’s all in Spanish. But then sometimes the nurse will come in and speak to you in English and Spanish. So that’s it. And so the world that that I would like the children to grow up in. And I think our teacher education faculty as well is that the children develop their knowledge through schooling in ways that promote their bilingualism, but also support developing by literacy and. Anderson, English and the schools here. It depends on who the superintendent is, who the principal is and what their views are about language and the role of English in the lives of these children. So we try to work with the school district and and they have their views about schooling and children and what they need to learn. And we have ours and we we try to work together and communicate our ideas so that we know where we are. There are no there are no big surprises. And I think that we’ve been very successful with our school district here because, you know, when I get into groups with them, we speak Spanish and English and and we talk about those kinds of issues with the understanding that when those kids, our teachers get into those schools, they’re going to be teaching in English. But there are multiple ways that they can communicate with, with the children, with their parents on family nights, in the communities, in both languages. We also bring something that is almost a trend in and bilingual education now, and that’s called trans language. That’s the idea of using two languages dynamically and understanding that a bilingual child does not have separate languages like English here and Spanish here that they’re what they belong to one sense of identity so that they can pull those out on multiple occasions, given the context of person, the topic and all those things. And they can use those two languages to communicate so that we’re trying to do that and inform the teachers as well that are in the local school districts about the kinds of things that we’re doing with regard to trans language. So we’re doing that.

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