Parents of children in dual language classes are feeling pressure adjusting to the fact that their kids may know more than they do about some subjects.
“I think one dad put it best; he said, ‘My kid is getting to where she knows more than I do,’” said Kilgore ISD English Second Language Director Dan Stanley. “I’ve heard from other directors, and they’ve said, you get to that point and it’s really hard to help out because now you’re at a point where you’ve got to help everybody. That’s why we’ve kind of come to realize we’ve got to have more parent meetings, we’ve got to communicate a little bit more so that we can help parents.”
Stanley teach a class that is the first two way dual language class in the district. Half the students speak Spanish as a first language and half speak English as a first language. They are all learning a second language, and learning in those second languages. Resources for parents will include computer and phone applications to help parents understand vocabulary, translations, and pronunciation.
Stanley says he encourages parents to consider how their children first began speaking, and this helps their expectations. “They don’t start out speaking in complete sentences, do they? They start out babbling and cooing and how long does it take to say a complete sentence. It takes years of immersion… It takes several years of complete immersion,” he said. “First you get babbling, then you get words and those little broken sentences, then you get up to complete sentences. First you speak it, then maybe you can read some words, and then maybe you can write a few words, but you don’t jump right into writing those complete sentences.”