"In the Know" Weekly Newsletter - The International School

News from Alfonso - 11/28

Greetings, Friends,

I hope you had  a peaceful and caloric weekend and are ready for the final run up to the winter holidays.

Just before the Thanksgiving weekend, I heard from a few parents who were concerned about not being able to help their children with homework in a language they (the parents) do not know. Sometimes, students have forgotten some key elements of the instructions or the work itself and if they are the kind of students who feel they must always complete work, they won't rest (nor will their parents) until they do. I admire that. Sometimes, perhaps, students do not feel like doing homework (though I am sure none of us have ever procrastinated or shied away from more work after a day of work). As my former UK colleague, Frederick G. Sharp, MA Oxford, once commented "Oh my goodness, they're acting like children!"

To some extent this is part of life in a language immersion school. However, there is, no doubt, more that we can do to help facilitate the completion of homework without battles, tears, or consultation of Google translate or tarot cards. Linda Bonder has graciously gotten input from all of us and some parents to construct a parent survey about the whole homework experience at TIS. We will be inviting you to fill that out in January.

Some have suggested that teachers send home the assignment in English each day or at least an English description of what needs to be done. That would not work for all teachers. It would be hugely time consuming for non native speakers, and one teacher who recently tried to translate some math word problems from Chinese using Google produced one problem about farming in Iran. The simplest and most direct method to address this is to ask students to write down key words and instructions in English, and I have already asked faculty to be sure and do that with students who have trouble remembering. Once we take the survey and have more information, we will have a better idea of how to proceed.

On the Head Search front, the board is going through the final steps of the process and an announcement will be forthcoming. Just hang in there a bit longer. There are still a few i's and t's to be dotted and crossed.

Finally, as you know, this Friday we will have the Winter Festival shows at the Gerding Theater in the Pearl. See details below.

I look forward to seeing you there and until then, have a peaceful week and see you at the corner.

Dr. Alfonso Orsini, AOrsini@intlschool.org, 503-226-2496 x122