Friday, April 19, 2019

Quick Fix


U.S. history. It was the week before spring break. The classes had mostly been excellent. Third period was the "bad" class, although I'd take this "bad class" over most middle school classes any day.

Martin was one of the reasons it was a "bad" class.

When Martin walked in, he was in a bit of a panic. He was not ready for his Spanish presentation.

He had mentioned the presentation two days prior. He wasn't sure how he was going to memorize it.

But this was Friday, and it appeared Friday was the day.

Martin had a solution. He'd record his speech on his phone. Then he'd go into class with his hood up and one earbud in his ear. He'd give the speech as he heard the recording.

I can see several problems with this...

I had been covering the history class for a week. They had assignments, but they weren't immediately due. I saw more than one student working on other assignments--math, science, English.

(My general policy is work is work. If I'm collecting something, I'll push for them to be on task. But if I'm not, or if they've finished, I have no problem with them catching up or getting ahead with another class' work. Working students aren't causing problems.)

I would not have prevented Martin from reading through his speech. He could have spent the period preparing.

I'm sure you'll be unsurprised to hear Martin and his two buddies did not prep his speech or his cheat. Nope.

Their conversation, after asking me if I liked specific bands (The Police, The Cure, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, etc.), revolved around their teacher's prowess as a football coach. (He's not the school's current coach, and he hasn't been for at least a couple years.)

Ah, Martin. Typical.

I wonder how his presentation went.

What problems can you see arising from Martin's proposed plan? Did you take a foreign language in school? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

31 comments:

  1. I had to laugh with his ingenuity on how he would do the presentation. I bet it wouldn't have gone over too well and the teacher would have saw through it. I can see the ear bud falling out as a problem with his thoughts of doing the presentation that way. I took a year of Spanish in high school which really wasn't much and I don't know any Spanish except for the words one might know like hello, goodbye, thank you etc. in Spanish.

    betty

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  2. I started Hebrew school when I was in 4th grade. In Hebrew school I learned how to read and write the Hebrew alphabet, with the focus being on gaining the ability to follow along in a prayer book. We were exposed to conversational Hebrew but didn’t really study it. I can read my prayers but have to look at the English translation to understand what I’m saying.

    I took Spanish throughout junior high and high school, and took 6 credits in college a well. If you don’t use a language you lose it, and I’ve lost my fluency. I’m sure if I studied it would come back to me.

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    1. Yeah, it's one of those things that need to be practiced regularly.

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  3. I took Spanish in junior high (now middle school) and high school. I remember very little. Ah, ingenuity. If only these students would apply their ingenuity to their studies they would all be "A" students. Too bad - fluency in Spanish is a plus in the job world today.

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    1. I keep trying to tell them this, but they don't listen.

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  4. I learnt 2 foreign languages at school, English (I'm French) and Spanish. It's easier to understand than to talk, but both are ok (well, people mainly understand me, so should be ok 😉)

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  5. I don't know. The kid doesn't deserve to fail but he doesn't deserve an A either. I'd probably award him a C and say, "It was obviously important enough for you to try because you actually spent time recording it and used that recording to make up for what you perceive as a memory disability. You pass, and maybe you also learned a little Spanish along the way."

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  6. I appreciate that you let the kiddos work on assignments for other classes, time permitting.

    Martin's idea was clever. I'm trying to imagine getting away with reciting a speech in Spanish using my Walkman. :D

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    1. I can see so many problems with this, though.

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  7. I am glad there are folks like you out there that teach these kids....I can't believe that the yr is almost done.

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  8. I studied German. Now I'm still learning Mandarin. I've never had to give a speech in another language, although I've had to use Mandarin in daily life while living in China.

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    1. They're doing more presentation-type assignments nowadays.

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  9. I took the same philosophy when I was a sub and later when I was the teacher. As long as you were quiet and not disturbing other students, I was pretty lenient. Work on anything you want. I don't even care if it's not school work. Just keep to yourself and do not be a disruption.

    I took Spanish for two years in high school and then later lived in Puerto Rico where I had to brush up on it.

    In college, I took Koine Greek and Hebrew. My Greek was much better than my Hebrew.

    Studied Mandarin while living in Beijing.

    Learning Vietnamese now that we are in Hội An.

    As for Martin, I don't think I would let him do it based upon what I read in your story. Now, if he was giving it his all and working diligently to try and it just wasn't sinking in, then I would allow for a little ingenuity.

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    1. Yeah, well, he wasn't actually working. If he had been working...

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  10. You wonder what will happen to kids like Martin. He has ideas but doesn't even have the motivation to try them out. As you said, if he had at least tried to record his presentation it would have shown some effort.

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    1. True. I have a feeling his 20s might smack him around a big and he'll grow up. Well, I hope that's true.

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  11. Something (my experience in the working world) tells me Martin will get by in life just fine ;-)

    In (the German part of )Switzerland we learn French and English (mandatory) and Italian, Latin, Spanish, even old Greek (voluntary), and languages were my favorite subject. Hey, that's what ultimately helped me to become an English writing blogger ;-)

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    1. You'd need all those languages. We're spoiled here by having bascially one language needed to get by most of the time.

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  12. Oh bless Martin - I go with there is more than one way to skin a cat ... (what a dreadful expression, not quite sure where I dragged that idea up from, sorry!) If he needs to prepare and present a presentation who cares if he is repeating it from his recording? The great schools and teacher, like you Liz, recognise that students learn in different ways. Keeping him engaged by allowing this, rather than setting him up to fail, will be the key to his life long learning!
    I have the same panic about learning Thai - the one written word can be said in four different ways, with four different meanings! I would be the Martin in the class :)
    Happy Easter Liz.
    Wren x

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    1. Oh, yeah, that's way worse than our homonyms.

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  13. I studied Spanish in high school. Had terrible problems with verb tenses. Trying to learn Japanese about a decade ago brought back some of my Spanish vocabulary, though, noticeable when visiting Florida during that time. I may have mentioned that fact before. I found it fascinating. Hope he gets his act together!

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    1. Yeah, Spanish would be useful in Florida.

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  14. I took Spanish but did not do well

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    1. I think that's a theme. Most of us haven't done all that well in our high school language classes.

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  15. I took Spanish in high school, and later, lessons in ASL. It's beneficial to be able to have basic communication skills in more than just our native language. Q is for: Question Everything

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  16. oh, I can see this go horribly wrong and I would be laughing. I took French in school which I suck at and German in University

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    1. Me too. I would have loved to see him try, though.

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  17. Children like Martin can be a major challenge.
    My school didn't have an foreign language option, though my college did have. But I didn't choose, because I felt it would be very tough.
    But later in life, I pursued my interest in French and studied in their cultural center Alliance Francaise.

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    1. You already learned at least two languages, though, right? The US is very uni-lingual, but other places knowing a couple languages is normal.

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