Allophone students in kindergarten
Allophone students face several challenges in the introductory phase of learning. Among these is learning a second language in a new environment, i.e., both in their lives and their literacy journey. Helping the learner at this age is a daunting task that requires multi-stakeholder input, particularly the parents and the instructors. Most importantly, helping the allophone student develop confidence in speaking and using a new language is considered a crucial step in their literacy journey.
To prepare the allophone learner for the kindergarten curriculum, the goal should be to keep learning simple, enjoyable, relatable, and as practical as possible. The parent or guardian’s role should be to support the instructor’s part in imparting new language and literacy skills. Generally, the parent should help the child with behavioral change to meet the curriculum’s expectations and the child’s need for literacy. Some children are slow; hence patience is required to a great extent.
Role of the Parent
The parent should support the allophone student with chores such as those assigned by the teacher. In learning self-sufficiency skills, the child may be slow or take considerable time, including in simple tasks. Parental guidance comes in handy to promote the self-reliance mentality . The parent should also support the student in familiarizing themselves with the school environment, e.g., hanging school pictures in their rooms and including school items such as drawing items in the play toys. The parent should encourage their child into practical tasks at home, such as cutting paper and shading a colorless picture. The parent should also introduce their child to building social skills and proper social conduct. An allophone student may find creating social ties challenging; hence, the parent may support them in finding playmates, meeting new people, and acknowledging relationships.
Role of the Teacher
To realize the goals of learning, teaching should be accessible and effective to allophone students to establish the quest for learning in young learners. Developing literacy skills – reading and writing – for a child in a second language should be approached carefully and built gradually. At this stage, the teacher should be careful about how they speak. Common speech monitoring tactics include avoiding idiomatic phrases, speaking plainly, and frequently pausing between sentences. The teacher should incorporate visual aids in the delivery of the information. Legible printing, issuing written and other hands-on tasks for the learner improves their ability to relate to information and process it.
In addition, the teacher should effectively adjust the questioning procedure by avoiding repeat questions and instead eliciting actual comprehension, e.g., “what do you see on the board?” In the classroom, cross-cultural collaborations are essential since they enhance the learner-to-learner approach to information. An allophone student may sit with a native-language speaker, or the instructor should distribute the learners appropriately while issuing group tasks. Cross-cultural exchanges not only enhance the speed of learning but also elicit the development of new insights amongst learners. Encouraging the learner to use available resources and material is also key in preparing them for literacy, e.g., linking them with linguistic tutors in school or elsewhere. This is the part where the role of the parent is needed.
Message from the Principal
The principal advises that instructors must be creative in developing the teaching materials. Virtually, the kindergarten materials for allophone students do not exist. Unlike older learners, kindergarten learners still have no benefit in literacy of their first language, which doubles the problems to be solved by the instructor.
In addition, Mrs Marie-Claire Martin recommends that the environment for learning should have low pressure and create a relaxed atmosphere. More excellent learning succeeds from oral skills; hence recitals talks, and play with language should be involved in learning in scale.
The instructor and the parent should be able to categorize their allophone learner. The principal advises that there are two kinds of learners – risk takers and risk-threatened. The first group of learners joyfully participate and engage in learning activities, while the other group perceives a threat from the instructor and the other learners. A child must not be forced into an activity; instead, the teacher should attempt to develop inner curiosity.